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Vol State Bluegrass

As part of the visual and performing arts program, Volunteer State Community College students can earn an associate of science degree in bluegrass music. Vol State’s program is modeled after the East Tennessee State University’s Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies program, and thanks to a new articulation agreement, Vol State’s classes transfer directly in for seamless transition.
Heading up the program is Lynn Peterson, who has served as president of The Tennessee Songwriters Association International and has been teaching music at Vol State since 1987.
He said that while the program is geared toward musicians, what is necessary is a love for music. The skills can be created through lessons. Those with experience will have their abilities honed.
Private lessons and ensemble performances are a required part of the program, along with such classes as American Folk Music and Commercial Songwriting.
ETSU’s program, which started offering a major last year, is helmed by Dan Boner. He said that while other schools do have music programs that offer a concentration in Bluegrass, there are some “pretty significant differences” such as requiring music history and theory based on classical European composers, as opposed to folk, country and Americana styles. For most bluegrass musicians, this is not the way music is approached.
“These students have spent their lives learning this music through bluegrass jams, churches and family traditions.” The new programs are remaining true to that, while applying the techniques to an academic style.
Boner said that ETSU had hoped for 20 degree-seeking students by the end of their program’s second year. Today, just a year after the inception, there are 61.
Vol State’s newly appointed Interim President Dr. Bruce Scism has been instrumental in the creation of our program. He said that given the school’s talented students, staff and proximity to Nashville made it a natural addition.
Scism said he has always had a passion for music and spent one year as a music major in college before switching to political science. He never lost his interest, and in 2005 became more serious. He is an accomplished songwriter and musician in his own right.
Scism agreed with Boner as to the need for music education to approach bluegrass differently. “Oftentimes music programs focus and end with formal styles, whichi s great, but oftentimes students are looking for something different.”
The Bluegrass Program is designed to reach out to those students.
It is the intention of both schools to continue to grow. Scism called this a “first step” and said plans were in place to add gospel, blues and other types of music one day.
Scism sees it as a chance to elevate the reputation of our creative arts programs. The school also hired a new coordinator for the Commercial Music Program. Steve Bishir is a 5-time Grammy Award-winner.
The Commercial Songwriting class hosts monthly Songwriters’ Nights at the Whippoorwill in Gallatin. Last year, the department released four episodes of “Vol State Presents,” a 30-minute television program highlighting the visual and performing arts scene in middle Tennessee. It was shown by the PBS station in Cookeville and on YouTube. A CD featuring student ensembles is released every year.


Can’t wait for us to #PutOut again? Fol

Can’t wait for us to #PutOut again? Follow on Twitter @TheSettler and like us on Facebook #VolState

Email received from Vol State: Vol State

Email received from Vol State:

Vol State is open for business and classes as usual today. Vol State generally doesn’t cancel classes before severe weather happens, as tornado outbreaks are very hard to predict in terms of the areas they will impact. However, if that situation changes we will update everyone on Facebook, the web site and on the text alert system. You can sign up at to receive those texts. We take great precautions on campus to keep everyone safe. Campus police will alert everyone if there is a tornado warning. As always, use your own judgment about whether it is safe to travel to class. If you can’t attend a class, notify the instructor to make up the work.

Eric Melcher

Coordinator of Communications and Public Relations

Volunteer State Community College

1480 Nashville Pike

Gallatin, TN 37066

Office: 615-230-3570

Cell: 615-483-8994

Ron Hibbard Toyota donates $10,000 to Vol State foundation scholarships

Dawn Wyatt
staff writer

Ron Hibbard Toyota in Gallatin, TN, in conjunction with the Toyota Corporation, donated a $10,000 gift to the general scholarship fund of Volunteer State Community College.
“The Toyota Corp., in their philanthropic desires, . . . [matches] up to $5,000 for charity,” said Ron Hibbard, owner of the dealership.

“Vol State just has to publicize that Hibbard Toyota made the donation, and the Toyota Corp. will match that gift, dollar for dollar, so Vol State ends up with $10,000 for their scholarship fund,” said Hibbard.

“Ron Hibbard has been a member of the Vol State Foundation’s board of trustees for four years,” said Karen Mitchell, vice president of resource development and executive director of the foundation.

“Hibbard knew of the need for funds for the general scholarship fund.
The purpose of the board of trustees is to try to help raise funds for the school and to do things behind the scenes to make sure the school is as successful as it can be,” said Mitchell.

“From our perspective, as a company, we are part of the Gallatin community and Vol State is absolutely part of the community,” said Hibbard.

“What that does is increase the base of people who can go out and find better employment,” he said.

“Well, the better employment, the more money they make.  The more money they make, the more disposable income they have,” said Hibbard, “and the more disposable income they have, the more cars we sell.”

“Of all the things we do in the community, like the $10,000, that doesn’t count our support of the Vol State teams.  We put scoreboards all over the campus for every sports team they have,” he said.

“We are part of the annual golf tournament with coach Bobby Hudson, to help with the Vol State athletic department,” said Hibbard.

“When we first came here 15 years ago, most of our advertising was ‘Ron Hibbard Toyota, across the street from Volunteer State Community College,’” said Hibbard.

“Former Vol State president, Dr. Hal Ramer, came over and took the time to thank us for mentioning Vol State in our advertising,” said Hibbard.

“Dr. Ramer and I did a lot of things together.  He was just a great humanitarian and just a wonderful man,” said Hibbard.
Each year, the foundation awards more than 200 student scholarships totaling nearly $300,000. In the last 20 years, the foundation has awarded more than 3700 scholarships and raised more than $10 million, according to the foundation’s web site.

“If we measure success by what we give back, then we’ve been very successful,” said Hibbard.

Presidential finalists visit Volunteer State Community College for interviews

There is still time to participate in the search for Vol State’s new president.  The final campus-wide forum will feature Dr.  Mike McDonald. The event is 10:45 – noon on Friday, March 2 in Thigpen Library’s Rochelle Center.

Participation is encouraged.  This is open to the public, and will be streaming at  Questions may be submitted via Facebook for those not able to attend in person.

Sports writer Elliott Pratt

Photo facebook.comThe Settler sat down with Elliott Pratt, its sports writer, to talk about his future plans and how they affected his decision to join the newspaper staff.

Elliott Pratt makes 
new friends at a Nashville Predators game.

Click the link below to hear what he has to say.

Sportswriter Elliott Pratt speaks with The Settler


What you missed at lunch today

Vol State faculty members Mel Matthews and Melissa DuPuy perform in Wood Campus Center on Feb. 8, 2012.