Banjo Legend to Tug at Corvallis Heartstrings

Can you hear that banjo a playin’, calling you home?

String instruments are at the root of American music and sound, which is what makes Oregon State University’s new “American String Series” so unique. The series will go beyond just the average concert experience to include split live performances, and Q & A sessions with acclaimed and talented musicians, followed by free workshops and jam sessions. 

Participants will have an intimate and interactive look at select string instruments, starting with banjo legend Tony Trischka, performing first in the series, Oct. 11 at the Majestic Theatre.

Created by OSU director of performing arts Bob Santelli, the series is a brand new concept.

“Imagine Inside the Actor’s Studio and MTV Unplugged together, that’s what this is,” commented Santelli.

Though the performance will cost you $15 to $17, the workshop and jam session, also featuring Trischka, are free and open to the public. The workshop welcomes all levels of banjo musicians seeking know-how, while the jam session invites all types of musicians just looking to rip it. 

Santelli seeks “to dive deep into [America’s] love affair with string instruments” and he’s not selling anyone short, Trischka being a prolific musician who’s worked alongside big names like Pete Seeger, Earl Scruggs, and Steve Martin, and was awarded the United States Artists Friends Fellow in 2012 for his work’s mastery.

The series will be filmed and archived, and available to teachers and students alike at OSU. The series’ next installment is set for November, and will be announced soon by the College of Liberal Arts.

Tony Trischka performs at the Majestic Theatre at 115 S.W. 2nd Street in Corvallis, 8 p.m., October 11. Tickets are $15 in advance or $17 at the door and can be purchased at 

The Bluegrass Banjo Workshop starts at 4 p.m. the following day, Oct 12, at OSU Benton Hall room 204 – 1605 SW Pioneer Place. Following will be a Jam Session at Odd Fellows Hall – 223 SW 2nd Street, Corvallis – at 8 p.m. To RSVP, search ‘Tony Trischka’ at

The “American String Series” is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts, the School of Arts and Communication, and the GRAMMY Museum.

By Stevie Beisswanger