The bluegrass group Kilometer 81 will perform at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 2 at Moundridge High School Auditorium. This is the third annual Labor Day Concert planned by the Moundridge Arts Council.
The musicians from Newton include Ken and Amy Regier, their four children and their son-in-law Matthew Graber, who teaches vocal music in the Moundridge schools. The family began doing special music in church almost 15 years ago, and they have been performing in faith and secular venues more regularly over the past five years.
“We are huge bluegrass fans, but we also enjoy dabbling in gospel, folk and many other genres of acoustic music. In addition, we have begun writing and performing our own songs,” said Ken Regier.
The push toward more serious bluegrass happened in 2014, when the Regier family visited son Austin in Paraguay, where he was volunteering for a year after high school, and they took along a banjo for him. During that year, Austin visited Kilometer 81, the east Paraguayan leprosy hospital, located 81 kilometers from the capital, Asunción. Ken’s uncle and aunt, John and Clara Schmidt, started this hospital nearly 70 years ago, and its name seemed the perfect name for the musical group.
All the members of the group sing, accompanied by mandolin, cello and bass in addition to guitar and banjo.
“We are so pleased that the Regier family has agreed to bring their bluegrass music to Moundridge, and we know Mr. Graber’s students — even those in grade school — will want to hear the group perform. This will definitely be a concert for all ages to enjoy,” said June Krehbiel, of the Moundridge Arts Council.
Admission is free. A collection will be taken during intermission to support this concert and other work of the Moundridge Arts Council. Checks can be made out to Moundridge Arts Council.
The Moundridge Arts Council will celebrate its four-year anniversary in September. The council’s mission is to assist area residents of all ages in appreciating the arts, to provide public art for citizens to enjoy through performing arts, visual arts and literature, and to offer opportunities for continued learning through workshops, lectures, programs, concerts, exhibitions and other activities.