Friends of Fort Macon

It's live music at the beach.  The Friends of Fort Macon Concert Series is happening again this year.  Public Radio East's Mac McKee speaks with President Tom Kelly about the free performances.

  Performance Schedule:

June 12   The Unknown Tongues
June 26   Scearce and Ketner
July 10   Wild Honey
July 17   The Morehead Brass
July 31   4EverAll
Aug 7   Samantha Casey and the Bluegrass Jam

This week, Fort Bragg soldiers were among 100 troops sent to West Africa for a humanitarian aid mission.  On the Down East Journal, we speak with Fort Bragg spokesperson Ben Abel about how the unit will help efforts to stem Ebola and precautions in place to protect the public upon their arrival back home. Listen for the Down East Journal, Friday at noon on all of the PRE stations.  And Saturday at noon on News and Ideas. 

This week on the Down East Journal, we hear about the Governor’s plans to make the port in Morehead City more globally competitive by deepening the channel to 50 feet and developing underutilized properties, such as Radio Island.  And, the Triangle’s Red Clay Ramblers have a new CD that takes the band into the world of dance. The Down East Journal airs Friday at noon on all of the PRE stations.  And Saturday at noon on News and Ideas. 

We travel to New Bern High School where students are learning music and drill for their 2014 show "Framed In Black."

We can feel summer winding down… students are savoring the last few weeks of vacation before school starts again.  But some have already returned to practice and rehearse at summer band camp.  Today, we’re at New Bern High School to hear how the marching bears preparing for a busy season.

We speak with highly praised and often used background singer Lisa Fischer about her Oscar award winning documentary "Twenty Feet From Stardom" and her performance in Raleigh on Saturday, July 26th.

Public Radio East is a media sponsor for the Pamlico Opry summer series.  It starts this weekend at the Turnage Theater and is sponsored by the Beaufort County Arts Council and the Beaufort County Traditional Music Association.  Kicking off the series is Raleigh based bluegrass/americana band "The Outliers" this Saturday at 8pm.  Mac McKee speaks with band member Julie Brown about her beginnings in music and her career with The Outliers.

Cliff Hollis, ECU News Services

Public Radio East collaborates with students at East Carolina University’s School of Music to change the way Down East Journal sounds.

Irene Young

Public Radio East's Mac McKee speaks with Diedre McCalla about her upcoming performances in eastern North Carolina.

  This week, local researchers embarked on a 10-day mission off the coast of North Carolina to map the ocean floor.  The new data may reveal areas where offshore wind energy development could occur with minimal impacts to sensitive fish habitats and ocean resources.  We’ll have more on the research project, this week on the Down East Journal, Friday at noon on all of the PRE stations, and Saturday at noon on News and Ideas.

This week on the Down East Journal, a workshop on February 20th aims to connect K-12 teachers with local environmental scientists to help students learn coastal biology lessons.  We visit a 3rd grade class at the Tiller School in Beaufort where scientists are teaching students about coastal ecology and food chains.  And, the North Carolina Symphony will make a stop in New Bern next week where they will perform one of the most powerful pieces of music ever written, Beethoven's 5th Symphony.

On Sunday, November 10th, the "poet of the violin" Joshua Bell will perform at Wright Auditorium on the campus of East Carolina University at 8pm.  This week, Public Radio East's Finley Woolston spoke with him about the upcoming recital.

After being vacant for two years, the iconic Turnage Theater will soon open its doors again for theater performance and live musical entertainment.  We talk to the executive director of the Beaufort County Arts Council about the non-profit's plan for the century old venue for the arts. 

  This week on the Down East Journal, the latest on the Highway 70 bypass project in Kinston and how it might impact a historic battleground site.  Plus, its muscadine grape time in eastern North Carolina.  Learn how you can grow this native fruit in your own backyard during the Garden Journal.   And, new music drawn from the old-time tradition out of Carrboro from the duo Mandolin Orange and their latest CD.  Listen for those stories and more, Friday at noon on all of the PRE stations.  And Saturday at noon on PRE, Public Radio East, News and Ideas.

This week on the Down East Journal, we highlight a partnership between local farmers and the military aimed at eating locally grown food- and producing energy from local biofuel crops.  And, we speak with the organizer of the Crystal Coast Music Festival about Saturday’s event on the Bogue Sound Waterfront in Morehead City.  Catch the Down East Journal, Friday at noon on all of the PRE stations.  And Saturday at noon on PRE, Public Radio East, News and Ideas.

The band “Coyote” has multiple concerts set for this weekend in our area: Friday night at the Trent River Coffee Company, Saturday night at Clawson's Restaurant, and Sunday at Swanfest.  For more information, visit:

The North Carolina Symphony is celebrating their 80th season. We talk to the Senior Director of Statewide Development about their upcoming holiday pops concert in downtown New Bern.

Cigar Box Guitars

Feb 11, 2013

A New Bern man is using cigar boxes to make instruments for playing the blues.

Since human existence, people have been making music using the materials they have lying around – like sticks, rocks, or animal hide.  One of the earliest instruments was a flutes carved from hallowed out bird bones and mammoth ivory. It was carbon dated to be 42,000 years old.  The tradition of using recycled items to create sounds still continues today.  David English, owner of Black Owl Guitars in New Bern is using old licenses plates, peanut can lids and old cigar boxes to build guitars.