Mountain Strings and BYU’s Irish Session Ensemble Share the Stage on March 1

Mountain Strings and BYU’s Irish Session Ensemble Share the Stage on March 1

Mountain Strings will perform songs from their new album and recently released music videos after joining the Irish Session Ensemble on a traditional piece

Two BYU folk music ensembles, both under the direction of Mark Geslison, will take the Madsen Recital Hall stage on March 1 to highlight various cultural and musical traditions.

The concert will open with an early St. Patrick’s Day celebration by the Irish Session Ensemble. The group will play three dance-inspired pieces on traditional Irish instruments before joining with BYU’s premier folk ensemble, Mountain Strings, for one number.

Mountain Strings will take over for the remainder of the evening with a set of folk tunes spanning from jazz to bluegrass to ‘70s rock, including songs that have become band and fan favorites over the years.

“We have a wide variety of music,” said Laura Waters, a family studies major who is both lead singer and fiddle player for Mountain Strings. “Folk music is cool in the way that it can connect with people of all ages. We’re playing songs that people in the older generations might have danced to at school dances, and other songs that will be more familiar to a younger generation.”

Two of the renditions the ensemble will perform — Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “Down at the Twist and Shout” and John Denver’s “Country Roads” — were recently released as music videos. The group is also preparing to launch a new album, which will be a culmination of the Mountain Strings experience for the current student musicians, most of whom have been in the ensemble for the last two years.  

“This show is one of our last hurrahs as a group,” said Waters. “We’ve really enjoyed our time together, and I think that comes across in our music. We’ve worked and practiced hard so that we can sound good together and have chemistry on stage.”

Isaac Geslison, a psychology major who plays guitar and banjo in the group, hopes that audiences feel that they are a part of this chemistry and the concert experience.

“We hope audiences can get the feel that folk music should bring to people, which is a connection with the music and with us as musicians,” said Isaac Geslison. “We want the show to be interactive and connect people with the songs and the stories we’re telling.”

The concert is bittersweet for the Mountain Strings performers as some of the group members near graduation and prepare for a final tour to China in May.

“I have loved my experience in Mountain Strings the last two years,” said Waters. “It’s been life-changing, actually. The performing experiences are amazing. The international tours and even the stateside tours we’ve done have allowed me to connect with people from all over the world.”

Waters is most grateful for the friendships she has made in Mountain Strings, a feeling echoed by Isaac Geslison.

“I think the number one thing Mountain Strings has given me is friendship,” he said. “Even when we get new members every year, they fit right in. It’s like a family. Playing music together is one of the best connections you can have with people.”


Tickets and Show Details

Performance Dates and Times: Mar. 1 | 7:30 p.m.

Location: Madsen Recital Hall, Franklin S. Harris Fine Arts Center, BYU

Price: $7

Tickets: Available in person at the BYU Ticket Office in the HFAC or Marriott Center, by phone at 801.422.2981 or online at