The EOCenes to Perform Live at Pendleton Center for the Arts

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The EOCenes will perform next month at the Pendleton Center for the Arts. (PCA photo)

One of the rituals of Round-Up week is catching live music, and great bluegrass at the Pendleton Center for the Arts is a core part of that tradition.

The EOCenes (formerly Cabbage Hill),  a band featuring some of the finest bluegrass musicians in the northwest, will take the stage Thursday, Sept. 14. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and show begins at 7 p.m.

EOCenes mandolin player Ron Emmons will be joined by classmates Hugh McClellan, Duane Boyer, and Hal Spence. Emmons and Boyer met during freshmen orientation week at Eastern Oregon College and connected with Spence and McClellan through their involvement in the Eastern Oregon College Ambassadors, a musical touring group that performed high school assemblies all over the Northwest. Each man went on to have great success over the past five decades on the national bluegrass scene, performing with a wide range of groups and ensembles.

Bluegrass musicians tend to mix and match themselves into different arrangements for different performances. The name EOCenes is a play on the college’s monogram, EOC (which later became EOU) and the Eocene epoch, a period on the geological time scale that occurred 55-34 million years ago.

Emmons lives in Hermiston and has played mandolin and sung lead tenor and baritone with the Blue Mountain Crested Wheatgrass Boys, the Muddy Bottom Boys, Blue Heat and The Thatchmasters, as well as Cabbage Hill.

Boyer now lives in Haines, Oregon and plays banjo and guitar, and sings lead, tenor and baritone. He taught banjo and guitar at EOC and played a major role in bringing national Bluegrass acts to that part of the state.

McClellan resides in Oregon City and plays rhythm guitar, harmonica and is known for is low, lonesome bass voice. He’s also fronted a country-swing band and sang in a gospel quartet.

Spence of Dallas, Oregon played guitar and sang tenor for 27 years with The Sawtooth Mountain Boys, one of the nation’s best-known bluegrass bands, whose travels included three tours of Europe.

Doug Jenkins first played with the other members at festivals and fiddle contest in the late 1960s. He went on to win many titles with his fiddle, earning the nickname “Lightning.”

The performance is made possible through the generous support of the family of Nyla Macomber, and the event is being presented in her memory. Tickets are $15 and available at pendletonarts.org or by calling 541-278-9201. Early ticket purchases are recommended.

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