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Ryman's Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman Celebrated Monroe's Centennial

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Birth of BluegrassNashville, TN -- /The Ryman/ Earlier this summer, the famed Ryman Auditorium celebrated Bill Monroe's 100th birthday celebration with their special edition of Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman which featured bluegrass artists Doyle Lawson, Bobby Osborne, Sierra Hull and more. The date was in December 1945 that Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys consisting of Earl Scruggs on Banjo, Lester Flatt on Guitar, Chubby Wise on Fiddle and Howard 'Cedric' Rainwater on bass took to the Ryman stage and the sound of Bluegrass Music was heard. A genre was born.

During the International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass week long trade show, convention and fan fest, the Ryman will also be hosting the International Bluegrass Music Awards, will be held at the Ryman September 29th -- 5 years to the day of the unveiling of the marker that stands outside the famed auditorium acknowledging the Birth of Bluegrass.

On September 29th, 2006, the Ryman Auditorium hosted a ceremony to mark the occasion of the installation and unveiling of a state historical marker celebrating the "Birth of Bluegrass." The marker, presented to the Ryman by the Tennessee Historical Commission, commemorates a formative moment in the history of Bluegrass Music that took place on the Ryman stage. The ceremony was scheduled to coincide with the 2006 International Bluegrass Music Association conference, IBMA awards, and Fan Fest events which were held during the same week. The ceremony was held outside at the 5th Avenue end of the Ryman Auditorium.

During the 1920's, 30's and 40's, Bill Monroe, universally recognized as the Father of Bluegrass, pioneered a new kind of music by taking Appalachian mountain music – or Old Time music - and infusing it with aspects of many other types, including blues, gospel, and jazz. Much of this creative process took place at the Ryman where he starred as a regular performer on the Grand Ole Opry. Most Bluegrass historians agree that the final ingredient to this new form of music was added on a Saturday Night in 1945. That night, a young man named Earl Scruggs joined Monroe and his band - including guitarist Lester Flatt - on the Ryman stage. When Scruggs stepped up to the WSM microphone and played his 5 string banjo with his innovative three finger roll, Bluegrass music as we know it today was born. It is this seminal event that the historical marker commemorates.

The marker reads:

"In December 1945, Grand Ole Opry star Bill Monroe and his mandolin brought to the Ryman Auditorium stage a band that created a new American musical form. With the banjo style of Earl Scruggs and the guitar of Lester Flatt, the new musical genre became known as “Bluegrass.” Augmented further by the fiddle of Chubby Wise and the bass of Howard Watts (also known as Cedric Rainwater), this ensemble became known as “The Original Bluegrass Band” which became a prototype for groups that followed."

Earl Scruggs, who is mentioned by name on the marker, was the ceremony's guest of honor. Radio personality and Bluegrass historian Eddie Stubbs will serve as host of the event. Mayor Bill Purcell and Bluegrass artist Ricky Skaggs will also take part in the ceremony.

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