If you walk by the Student Activity Center on a Friday afternoon, there is a good chance you will hear the sound of banjos, guitars and other instruments playing in harmony.
Burnt Orange Bluegrass is a group of students that plays from 4 to 6 p.m. outside of the SAC every Friday. The president of the group, biology senior Matthew Lyons, encourages people who want to join in on the music to just show up and play.
“All it is, is just a bunch of people hanging out on a Friday afternoon giving a kick to their weekend just having fun playing music,” Lyons said. “Everyone is smiling, having a good time.”
Lyons first became interested in bluegrass music after coming to college and seeing a bluegrass show.
“The next weekend was my birthday, and I went out and bought a mandolin … and then from there it kind of took off,” Lyons said.
The group started when Lyons was a freshman, with three other players who have since graduated. Lyons said the group started playing together his freshman year, but it wasn’t until his sophomore year that they became official.
“Fall semester of my sophomore year, we put together more formally, and right around there is when we officially applied to be an organization, and we started meeting regularly outside the SAC, and it just kind of took off from there,” Lyons said.
Over the years, Burnt Orange Bluegrass has grown and gained many members who all share a common love for the music, including undeclared freshman Sammy Sanchez.
“It’s just a great way to get musicians that like bluegrass to come together and play together and jam out,” Sanchez said.
Civil engineering sophomore Teagan Wevv said bluegrass is a community and a family.
“It’s a group of people that are bonded over this music, but also kind of this culture of coming together and enjoying stuff together,” Wevv said.
The group is open for anyone to come out and play, and Wevv said, if you show up, you will become part of the family.
“The most unique thing is, when we come out here, we don’t know who’s going to be here,” Sanchez said. “So sometimes it’ll just be a banjo and a guitar or a base and a violin. So I guess it’s a different sound every time you come out.”