The Morehead News

Local News

September 7, 2012

KCTM making music in new home

Sept. 7, 2012 —     Morehead State University’s Kentucky Center for Traditional Music (KCTM) is up and running in its new $2 million facility that previously served as the county library in downtown Morehead.

    With KCTM on the east and the Kentucky Folk Art Center on the west, the long-envisioned Morehead Arts District now is anchored at both ends of First Street.    

    Coinciding with the opening of the renovated facility, KCTM now offers a bachelor’s degree in traditional music.

    Students have been able to obtain a minor in the subject since 2000.  

    “The degree has the approval of the National Association of Schools of Music,” said KCTM Director Raymond McLain said. “That’s the accrediting body for music at colleges and universities.”

    NASM, founded in 1924, is an organization of schools, conservatories, colleges and universities with approximately 644 accredited institutional members. 

    It establishes national standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees and other credentials.

    “It’s a beautiful validation of our music and of our culture,” McLain. “It means a lot to me.”

    The new facility houses two ensemble classrooms, one large classroom, a recording studio, individual practice rooms and KCTM’s traditional music archives where students and the public can access a catalog of audio, video and printed traditional music materials.  

    The archives are dedicated to Kentucky’s traditional musicians.

    “All the offices and practice rooms and classrooms and the whole building, really, were designed with the assistance of acoustic consultants so there’s good sound insulation and quality sound control,” McLain said. “Not only can you practice when someone’s playing something loud next door to you, it sounds good in your own space.”

    When the master control room is finished by the end of October, a recording console and conduits will be connected to all of the rooms.     

    McLain said students and staff will be able to effectively record from any room in the building.  

    Ensemble classes are basically band classes, McLain said. They are small, with usually no more than five students playing different instruments. The students use class time to practice songs as a band, on a riser and in front of a mirror.  

    McLain said although it may seem like ensemble classes are simple, they are not.

    “There is a lot to it because in ensemble class you’re learning about bandsmanship. You’re learning about arrangements and about choreography and about lots of things, including, showmanship, performance and presentation techniques, ways to work on material, and ways to be supportive of other people in the group.”

    There is one larger classroom at the center, which was designed for a more typical classroom-type setting.  

    McLain originally thought there would eventually be 25 students in the room.

“This semester we didn’t put a low cap on it and 42 people enrolled so we had to bring chairs and tables from all over the building to accommodate the students in one of those classes,” he said.

    KCTM’s archives include photographs of Kentucky musicians that have been enlarged and mounted to the walls throughout the building.      

    There’s a picture of Molly O’Day, who was a country music vocalist. Another picture is of the old time fiddle band, the Kentucky String Ticklers.

    “I love these photographs because it gives a flavor for what goes on in this building,” McLain added. “I like the pictures, also, of our students because hopefully people will get the hint that we’re all part of something that is not just right now but something that has been important and a priority for our people for a long time and it’s going to continue to be important for an even longer time.”

    He said KCTM not only has to satisfy the requirements of NASM but also of MSU’s Department of Music, Theatre and Dance. Therefore, prospective traditional music majors and minors have to do auditions for admission to the program.

    “Usually, auditions are for placement rather than whether or not you’re going to be admitted to the program,” he said. “Even if you have no experience you can be admitted provisionally.”

     McLain is excited about the facility’s grand opening, a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 20, at 1 p.m. with musical entertainment by KCTM faculty and students.

    Tours of the building will be available to the public and refreshments will be provided.

    KCTM is located at 185 East First Street.

    Nicole Sturgill can be reached at or by telephone at 784-4116.

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