For the first time, a program for national distribution by PBS will be taped in Owensboro on Nov. 17.

Todd Squared LLC, the production company behind the PBS series "Bluegrass Underground," will be producing "Masters of Bluegrass," a concert headlined by The Del McCoury Band, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Sam Bush and several other major bluegrass musicians, in Woodward Theatre in the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum that day.

Tickets will go on sale soon.

Since Woodward Theatre seats 447, they are expected to go fast.

"This is a really big deal," Mark Calitri, president of the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau, told his board Tuesday. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

In 2002, PBS filmed "An All-Star Bluegrass Celebration" at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.

With Ken Burns' highly-rated "Country Music" series raising the profile of bluegrass this fall, PBS decided to do another bluegrass special.

Chris Joslin, executive director of the Hall of Fame, said, "It would have been cheaper for them to have gone back to the Ryman this time. But they reached out to us. They said there would be something special about doing it in Kentucky and at the Hall of Fame. It's one of those opportunities you have to take advantage of."

The lineup also includes Alison Brown, Becky Buller, Michael Cleveland, Bela Fleck, Sierra Hull, Missy Raines, Billy Strings, Molly Tuttle and possibly more artists, he said.

That's a high-priced lineup, but Joslin said the production company is footing the bill.

Joslin said the show will be distributed to PBS affiliates for at least two years.

It will be aired in March for the first time.

And it will bring more national attention to the Hall of Fame, which was also featured in KET's recent "Big Family" bluegrass documentary on bluegrass.

Although Burns' "Country Music" series didn't mention the Hall of Fame, it did have a heavy focus on the pioneers of bluegrass, which is expected to create more interest in the museum.

Joslin said a lot of visitors to the museum have mentioned the series.

"It's a good stake in the ground for us," he said of the upcoming concert.

An announcement about the concert says, "Handpicked from the cream of America’s considerably talented musical crop of Bluegrass’ers, (the musicians) will be trading licks and blending harmony vocals in celebration of the collaborative spirit and high energy that is bluegrass music."

The $15.3 million Hall of Fame opened its doors on Oct. 18, 2018.

Without it, the concert probably wouldn't have been scheduled for Owensboro, Joslin said.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

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Mark Calitri

Every day Owensboro continues to touch the world."This is a really big deal," Mark Calitri, president of the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau, told his board Tuesday. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

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