In 1, School of Music

Under the direction of Mark Geslison, the BYU Folk Music Ensemble will perform traditional and contemporary folk music from America and Great Britain

The BYU Folk Music Ensemble, made up of four smaller ensembles, will join with folk dancers to present a concert that promises to entertain and educate audiences on March 7.  

The first half of the concert will feature the Celtic and American ensembles accompanying dancers demonstrating American “Flatfooting,” a precursor to modern clogging and early Irish folk dance, followed by contemporary clogging and Irish step dance.

“The idea for this first part of the show,” said Mark Geslison, director of the Folk Music Ensemble, “is to feature traditional music and dance to show how they have always been connected. These two groups will also show the Irish ‘session’ versus the American ‘session.’ This will be music without dancing to show the difference between American folk music and Irish folk music in the way that we play our music in a music-only setting.”

“A unique feature of this concert is that we will have dancers demonstrating some of the traditional dances that the music would accompany,” said Erica Suggs, a member of the Celtic ensemble who plays the fiddle, concertina and accordion and sings in English and Scottish Gaelic. “We hope to heighten the audience’s awareness of, and interest in, different music and dance traditions. I love playing Celtic folk music because most people don’t know much about the culture. I get the opportunity to express my love of Celtic traditions as well as expose people to something they otherwise might not know about.”

The second half of the concert will showcase the Folk Music Ensemble’s two performing groups, “Mountain Strings” and “Folkalicious,” the former of which will be touring in France, Belgium and Poland this summer.

“They will show how folk music has progressed in the 20th and 21st centuries—in the sense of becoming a true performing art,” Geslison said about the two groups’ repertoire.

“One thing that really sets folk music apart from other groups,” said Aubrey Nielsen who plays the piano in “Mountain Strings,” “is the intimacy of the performance. With big groups, it’s hard to really connect with an individual person, but with folk music, there are only seven of us. You really get to see the personalities of each member. The goal by the end of the night, really, is for audience members to feel like a part of the folk music family.”

Tickets and Show Details

Performance Dates and Times: Mar. 7 | 7:30 p.m.

Location: de Jong Concert Hall, Franklin S. Harris Fine Arts Center, BYU

Price: $7

Tickets: Available in person at the BYU Ticket Office in the Harris Fine Arts Center or Marriott Center, by phone at 801-422-2981 or online at


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