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'The soundtrack of our region'

Rattletrap honors OHIO's musical heritage on Founder's Day
Feb 11, 2010
By Krista Bradley

Their music is typically associated with square dances, corn shuckin's and country porches. On Feb. 19, the old-time, mountain music of Rattletrap Stringband will resound through Baker University Center as part of Ohio University's annual Founder's Day celebration. The band will play during the Founders Day Ceremony and in a performance that will take place at 11 a.m. in the Baker University Center Theatre Atrium.

"The type of music that Rattletrap plays is part of the cultural heritage that Ohio University seeks to honor during Founders Day," said Ann Fidler, interim associate provost for strategic initiatives.

Rattletrap, composed of Matthew McElroy (fiddle and vocals), Tim Peacock (banjo and vocals), Thom Hirbe (bass fiddle) and Frank McDermott (guitar), is an Athens-based band best known for its traditional Appalachian tunes.

"We chose Rattletrap because they play what you might term the soundtrack of our region," said Fidler. "The music of Appalachia, which has its origins in the 18th century, weaves together ballads, Celtic fiddle tunes, African-American folk rhythms and hymns for a sound that is distinctive and complex." 

The band's distinct Appalachian sound should not be confused with bluegrass music, according to Peacock.

"Rattletrap's music is pre-bluegrass. Bluegrass music reared its head in the late 1930s and early 1940s, and it is a more commercial form of the music we play," Peacock explained.

Rattletrap's genre is traditionally informal and not played for a formal audience, according to Peacock. It is music more typically played in square-dance settings or at family gatherings and harvest parties.

"Now that this music is more of a museum piece, it is often heard at formal events such as the Founders Day celebration," Peacock said.

The band, all friends finding common ground in their love of music, formed about nine years ago.


* Following this link takes you outside Ohio University's Web site.


Published: Feb 11, 2010 8:40 AM

Founders Day 2010

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