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“Class-grass” concerts celebrate the culture of agriculture


The Madison “class-grass” band Graminy, which blends bluegrass and classical music traditions, will perform two concerts cosponsored by the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems.


The University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS) is cosponsoring a pair of concerts celebrating the culture of agriculture.

The performances will feature the Madison class-grass quintet Graminy. Class-grass is a musical style that blends bluegrass and classical traditions. At the concerts, Graminy will debut a new piece entitled Germinations: A Bluegrass Symphony in D.

“We think of the piece as cultivation, but in a cultural sense, encouraging the creative potential of people, land and farming,” says UW-Madison Professor Michael Bell, director of CIAS and a member of the quintet.

The band will premiere Germinations at performances in Madison and Sauk County. The first will be Saturday, Oct. 13 at 3:30 p.m. at St. Boniface Catholic Church, 105 Church St., Lime Ridge (near Reedsburg). Tickets are $8 ($5 for students) at the door. The second takes place on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall on the UW-Madison campus. Tickets for that event are $10 ($8 for students) at the door.

The concerts are part of the D-Composition Project of the Wormfarm Institute, a Wisconsin rural and environmental arts organization, and also part of Wormfarm’s annual Fermentation Fest.

“The goal of the D-Composition Project is to convene a musical conversation about culture and its environments, social and biophysical, especially with regard to food and agriculture,” Bell says. “Graminy’s new piece will serve as the starter culture of this conversation. Other composers will listen to Germinations and write new D-compositions in response, to be performed at next year’s Fermentation Fest.”

In addition to Bell, who plays the mandolin, Graminy performers include Shauncey Ali (fiddle, viola), Chris Powers (guitar), Chris Wagoner (fiddle) and Mary Gaines (cello).

The concerts are cosponsored by the Aldo Leopold Foundation, Wisconsin Farmers Union, and the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.