Brett and Pan Riggs

Local performers Brett and Pan Riggs.

The First Thursday Old-Time and Bluegrass Series at Western Carolina University continues Thursday, Feb. 7, with a concert featuring three traditional musicians who make up the band Cullowheezer – William Ritter and the husband-and-wife duo of Pan and Brett Riggs.

Their 7 p.m. performance and the open jam session that follows will be held at MadStone Cafe and Catching Light Books, which is located on the ground floor of Noble Hall on the WCU campus.

Ritter, a WCU alumnus and Bakersville native, earned a degree in technical theatre at the university but says he also spent a large amount of his student time studying the folk music traditions of Western North Carolina. He performs on a variety of stringed instruments, including the banjo, fiddle and guitar. Pan Riggs, who plays guitar, is the research services coordinator in WCU’s Office of Research Administration, and Brett Riggs, a banjo player, is the university’s Sequoyah Distinguished Professor of Cherokee Studies. The three musicians have been performing together recently for a square dance that takes place monthly at the Family Resource Center in Webster.

The First Thursday concerts and jam sessions will continue through the spring, with programs from 7-9 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month. The March 7 event will feature the Berea Bluegrass Ensemble.

The concerts and jam sessions are free and open to the public. Pickers and singers of all ages and experience levels are invited to take part in the jam sessions, which also are open to those who just want to listen.

For more information, call the Mountain Heritage Center at 227-7129 or visit

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