Monday, June 12, 2006

Kim (Urbanik) Cyr's BG bio

Although no longer on the air at WHUS, many listeners are still familiar with Kim (Urbanik) Cyr, as she's still very much involved in the Connecticut and New England Bluegrass community. Here's a look at Kim's Bluegrass connections:

UCONN undergrad Kim (Urbanik) Cyr began co-hosting The Magic Of Bluegrass with host Bud Godreau in the Fall of 1986. During that initial run, Kim stayed on the air until her graduation in 1990, and then returned to WHUS for four years, beginning in 2000.

Kim Cyr had an insider’s point of view of the Bluegrass genre. Having grown up with the music, and having had the privilege to get to know many of the performers on a personal basis, she could often include first-hand knowledge in her programming, as well as the latest news. In this way, she could offer her listening audience a special opportunity to peek behind the curtain of the Bluegrass music scene.

Kim’s experience with Bluegrass started early, as her home life was filled with the music of her banjo-playing father, Don, and various relatives and family friends. There would be jam sessions or band rehearsals at the house on a regular basis. That practice continues to this day with the occasional hosting of touring artists in Kim’s home, and frequent music gatherings at a small lodge on the Urbanik Family ‘compound’.

As Founder and President of the Connecticut Bluegrass Music Association (or, CTBMA - a nonprofit organization), Kim has served as the fulcrum for all things Bluegrass in Connecticut for several years now. No one in Connecticut’s relatively short Bluegrass music history has had as much impact on the promotion and preservation of the genre. She is also extremely active behind the scenes volunteering as a backstage hostess, organizer, stage manager, and occasionally in the limelight as a festival stage manager and emcee.

Kim has had a long-standing relationship with the International Bluegrass Music Association [IBMA]. She is a member in good standing, volunteers her services at the annual “World of Bluegrass” convention in Nashville, TN, and has hosted showcase suites at this international event. Kim is also an alumnus of the ‘IBMA Leadership Bluegrass’ program.

Closer to home, Kim organized a “Bluegrass In The Schools" introductory program for CT elementary schools long before such programs became fashionable and spread nationwide. In the Summer of 2003, Kim started bringing this program to some of the state's public libraries. The goal is to teach young children about Bluegrass history through live music performances, short lectures, and to give youngsters some hands-on experience with Bluegrass instruments.

Another project Kim introduced, and organized, in Connecticut is the “Bluegrass Kid’s Academy” at a major festival in the state. It’s a three-day “crash course” teaching Bluegrass songs to young beginner-to-intermediate level musicians. The ‘Kid’s Academy’ culminates in a performance on the main stage where the students present the songs they learned during the festival weekend.

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