Section: Arts

Kenyon Bluegrass Revue brings fiddling fun to Rosse Hall

Kenyon Bluegrass Revue brings fiddling fun to Rosse Hall

PHOTO: Tuesday Grass performed songs such as “Wild Horses” and “Cocaine Blues.” | JACK RAYDEN

On Monday, I walked into Rosse Hall to find half a dozen students onstage tuning a variety of string instruments. The Kenyon Bluegrass Revue was about to commence its inaugural end-of-year concert. Ten student musicians and Adjunct Instructor of Guitar Mark Gonzalez came together for a magical night of fast-paced traditional American music, with a sweeping setlist of bluegrass classics, classic rock and even an original tune, “Johnson County Jail,” from Ethan Bonnell ’23 and Colin Bowling ’23. 

Gonzalez opened the night by crediting the student performers and Administrative Assistant and Applied Music Program Coordinator Donna Maloney for the creation of the Kenyon Bluegrass Revue. He emphasized that the Revue’s primary goal was to have fun — a priority that shone clearly through numerous jokes, laughs and calls and responses. 

The Revue was divided into two sections based on the students’ practice schedule, which Gonzalez referred to as Monday Grass and Tuesday Grass, respectively. The Monday section opened with a rendition of the traditional bluegrass tune, “Man of Constant Sorrow,” written by Dick Burnett and popularized by Bob Dylan. The song was complete with impressive vocals from Caroline Tanner ’25 and solos from each of the members. Some highlights included solos from Samuel Rabieh ’25 on the fiddle and Jackson Newell ’24 on the banjo; both performances contributed to the traditional bluegrass sound. All members took turns at center stage for an assortment of solos, sung verses and backing vocals. 

Tuesday Grass started with traditional songs but pivoted towards bluegrass renditions of classic rock staples. They ended their first set with a fast paced cover of The Rolling Stones’ hit song “Wild Horses.” The performance, led by Russell Thomas ’26, captured the sweet romantics of the original and featured solos from all members. Seniors Bonnell, Bowling and Isabel Jaffer ’23 were Tuesday Grass’ standout performers. Jaffer sang two songs, including a rendition of Johnny Cash’s “Cocaine Blues.” Bonnell gave spectacular performances on both the piano and harmonica, and Bowling capped off the night with a lengthy solo of Vassar Clements’ “Lonesome Fiddle Blues.”

Monday Grass echoed this switch to classic rock with a soft and sweet rendition of Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon,” followed by a more modern song from Billy Strings, “Dust in a Baggie,” that brought the two groups together as Tuesday Grass echoed the chorus from off stage.

Overall, the performance prioritized fun and highlighted  how much the group has bonded in the past year. The onstage antics were full of character, and the performers’ interpersonal dynamics were a joy to watch.


Comments for this article have closed. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor for publication, please email us at