"We've been talking about doing a square dance here at the museum for a while and finally had a free space in our schedule for the Special Exhibits Gallery this summer," says Head Curator Rene Rodgers. "This will be our first event of this kind, and we are excited to partner with Tyler and to welcome dancers of all ages and experience to the museum for a wonderfully fun night out. I've got my dancing shoes ready!"
Tyler Hughes hails from Big Stone Gap, Virginia where he began learning the traditions of mountain music and dance at age 12. He performs regularly, but also dedicates time to teaching through private lessons, camps (he is an instructor at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum's Pick Along Summer Camp), and a variety of music classes as an adjunct professor at Mountain Empire Community College. Tyler is an accomplished square dance caller and also took the third place ribbon in clogging/flatfooting at the Morehead Old-Time Festival in 2015. As a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, Hughes has performed across the Southeast as a soloist and with several bands including the East Tennessee State University Old Time Pride Band, Fifthstring, and the Empty Bottle String Band. Tyler holds a Bachelor of Arts in Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies from East Tennessee State University and has studied traditional music here in Appalachias and overseas in Ireland and Scotland. He is an instructor at the Mountain Music School in Big Stone Gap and has worked with the Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) program to incorporate the teaching of traditional music and dance to youth in the public school system.
The square dance is free and open to the public, though guests are asked to register their interest in the event so staff will know how many to expect on the night. Donations are greatly appreciated! The square dance will be held in the museum's Special Exhibits Gallery, and therefore participants are asked to wear sturdy, comfortable, no-scuff shoes (no heels, please!) to protect the wooden floor.
For more information or to register for the Square Dance, visit the events page at BirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org.