By Paul Collins

For the News-Gazette

In 2014, the Celebration Foundation received feedback that people wanted it to present a greater variety of music.

While maintaining our goal of presenting high quality music that we felt our existing patrons would appreciate, the foundation experimented with bringing Steep Canyon Rangers, a Grammy award winning progressive blue grass band, to Celebration. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive so this year we are continuing to feature quality, interesting Americana music.

One question the foundation gets is, “what is Americana music? “ Actually, it is only 20 years old. The Americana Music Association defines it as “contemporary music that incorporates elements of various American roots music styles including Country, Roots-rock, Folk, Bluegrass, R&B and Blues.” America has an incredible history of creating new music genres and Americana music celebrates those music forms.

It is interesting how some of these genres actually came about.

For example, Bluegrass originated with Irish and English immigrants who settled in Appalachia and played fiddle dance music. At the same time African-Americans introduced the banjo to America. From those sources, and the poverty the people of Appalachia experienced, evolved what we know today as Country and Bluegrass music.

This year the Celebration Foundation Concert Series celebrates Americana music with two very interesting concerts. First on Saturday, March 19, we feature a roots-country band from Asheville,The Honeycutters. Nashville Scene magazine highlighted them as “one of the not to be missed acts at the recent Americana Music Festival” writing, “one of the undiscovered gems in the roots world, Amanda Anne Platt, is writing some of the most imaginative, endearing songs out there.”  And Rock N Reel magazine in England added, “The Honeycutters must be destined for greater success, if not, the world is going to hell in a handcart.”

Our last concert on April 9 features New Orleans’ Rebirth Brass Band. In 2013, Rebirth won the Grammy for best Regional Roots album. The New York times writes, “In the wake of sometimes stringent competition amongst New Orleans brass bands, Rebirth is the undisputed leader of the pack.”

Season and individual tickets are now available for this year’s concert series, which will also feature a holiday concert with The Brass Band of Central Florida, The Orlando Philharmonic featuring Beethoven’s “Eroica” and The Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra.

More information is available at thecelebrationfoundation.org or by calling the Foundation at 407-566-1234.