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Grammy-nominated bluegrass artists to perform with SEK Symphony

September 16, 2011 12:00AM

The Southeast Kansas Symphony will open its 2011-2012 season at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 25, with a concert that is a tribute to performer, arranger and composer Steve W. Mauldin. The performance, under the direction of Dr. Selim Giray, will take place in Pittsburg's Memorial Auditorium at 5th and Pine.

Special guest artists for the performance are Grammy nominated pick guitar virtuoso Tim May and fiddler Gretchen Priest-May.

Steve W. Mauldin grew up in Greenville, S.C., where he took piano lessons from his mother and toured with the Mauldin Family Singers. He earned a classical degree in music theory from Furman University and worked as a studio musician for Mark Five recording studios.

In 1981, Mauldin moved to Nashville and within weeks was hired to play bass for guitarist Chet Atkins. Over his career, Mauldin has worked with a host of famous recording artists including Pat Boone, Seals and Crofts, Tanya Tucker, Ray Price, The Drifters, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson, Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Martina McBride and the Gaither Vocal Band.

Mauldin was an orchestrator for the Broadway musical adaptation of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and has composed and recorded orchestral music for many films. He has 28 number-one singles to his credit and has appeared in the top singles charts in Billboard, Cashbox, and The Singing News. Mauldin was recognized for his arrangements on Dennis Scott's tribute to Fred Rogers, "Songs from the Neighborhood," which won a Grammy Award and has won the Southern Gospel Music Association's Arranger Award of the Year three times.

Tim May began playing guitar and banjo at the age of 11 and by the time he was 13, he was performing at the Bluegrass Festival of the United States in Louisville, Ky. In 2003, May toured with recording artist Patty Loveless. Two years later, he recorded "Songs from the Long Leaf Pines" with Charlie Daniels. May was the solo guitarist on "I'll Fly Away," which was nominated for the 2006 country instrumental of the year Grammy Award.

May and his wife, Gretchen, perform regularly with their band, Plaidgrass, which is known for a high-energy instrumental mix of Celtic tunes and traditional bluegrass.

The program for the Southeast Kansas Symphony concert includes:

"Twilight in the Forest," a study piece written in honor of French composer Claude Debussy; "It is Well With My Soul," a commissioned work for an album of classic hymns; excerpts from "My Life: A Journey of Musical Experiences," a programmatic suite that Mauldin wrote as a graduate student at Belmont University; and three movements from "The Kansas Suite."

Tickets for the performance are $7 for adults and $5 for students 13-18. PSU students are admitted without charge, as are children under 4 and children 5-12 when accompanied by a ticket holder. Tickets may be purchased at the door the day of the concert or in advance at the Pittsburg State University Ticket Office, 620-235-4796 or online at

©2011 Pittsburg State University