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November 26, 2007

Media Contact: Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
News and Information
The University of Texas at Tyler
903.565.5769

UT Tyler Administrative Associate Takes Music to Heart

Nelson and Harris

Dr. James Nelson, UT Tyler College of Engineering and Computer Science dean, and administrative assistant Edith Harris review paperwork.

Fourteen years ago, after Harris’ husband, B.J., surprised her with a Bluegrass band concert at her birthday party, the couple became hooked on the music that has its roots in the mountains of Virginia and Tennessee. Now Edith and her husband are both members of the Church Hill Bluegrass Band.

Edith Harris, administrative associate at The University of Texas at Tyler, has a special place in her heart for music.


Growing up in a musically talented family, Harris remembers singing old gospel songs with her large family. They eventually became known as the Harden Family Singers, singing at many churches throughout East Texas.


“I just loved music always. Bluegrass gospel is my favorite,” said Harris, a UT Tyler graduate. “I’m very proud of my Harden family ancestry. I remember singing with my family, standing on top of a chair and singing along to gospel songs when I was a child. I play the piano, and I sing. When I married my husband, I didn’t know he was into music as much as I was. He plays the fiddle and the guitar, but his main instrument is the mandolin.” 


Fourteen years ago, after Harris’ husband, B.J. surprised her with a Bluegrass band concert at her birthday party, the couple became hooked on the music that has its roots in the mountains of Virginia and Tennessee.


They joined the Church Hill Bluegrass Band approximately three years ago. Bluegrass is a type of music Harris says she can’t get enough of.

Church Hill Bluegrass Band
“From then on, anywhere we heard about a Bluegrass band, we’d go and listen,” she said. “Nearly every Saturday night we were going somewhere. It wasn’t long until we heard of the Church Hill Bluegrass Band, and they invited us to join the group. We’ve been singing with them for about three years now.”


The ensemble’s number one venue Harris said is at Sacul, Texas. Other places the group performs at include Lake Stryker and the Henderson Health Center.

This past year they performed for the United Steelworkers Retirees and at the Henderson Farm Bureau’s yearly banquet. Church Hill Bluegrass also recently performed at the 56th annual Henderson Syrup Festival.


“This was the second year we played at the syrup festival,” Harris added. “That is a lot of fun. It’s outdoors, and we really love outdoor festivals.”


Overall, Harris not only enjoys the music, but being a part of family fun.

Bluegrass Band performing
“I think that’s the best thing I like about it – it’s just good clean family entertainment,”

Harris said. “And you make a lot of good friends.”


What’s the future hold for Harris and her husband?


“My husband is nearing retirement, and our plans are to go to various Bluegrass festivals and move around. We would love to follow the music. We’ll see, wherever the Lord leads us,” Harris said.


The couple, members of Friendly Baptist Church in Tyler, also sing at other venues in East Texas apart from Church Hill Bluegrass. The couple has one son, Cody. Cody plays the fiddle and has performed with the Tyler Youth Orchestra for several years.


One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 70 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.

 

 
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