Three members of the ETSU community recently represented Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Studies at the 2018 International Bluegrass Music Awards. The awards ceremony was featured at the five-day World of Bluegrass event hosted in Raleigh, North Carolina. The International Bluegrass Music Association, which presents the awards, was first established in 1985 in Owensboro, Kentucky. The first International Bluegrass Music Awards was held in 1990 and has previously been held in Nashville and Louisville, Kentucky.

Aynsley Porchak


ETSU alum Beck Buller received eight award nominations in 2018, including Song of the Year, Gospel Performance of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year and three separate nominations for Recorded Event of the Year. Buller went on to win the award for Gospel Recorded Event of the Year for her original recording “Speakin’ To That Mountain.” Director of Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Studies Daniel Boner was featured on the song playing mandolin and performed the song live with the Becky Buller Band at the awards show.

“The awards show is a place where all of that hard work is celebrated by the industry and fans,” said Boner. “To see anyone recognized for working that hard all year brings happiness to our entire musician family.”

Part of that family includes current student Aynsley Porchak, who has played the fiddle for 14 years. She currently plays the fiddle in Carolina Blue, a vintage-inspired bluegrass band from North Carolina. Porchak was one of three people to receive the Instrumentalist of the Year Momentum Award in 2018. The momentum award was designed to recognize young musicians starting out in the industry.

“It is truly such an honor to win it since so many other talented individuals have received it before me,” said Porchak. “It’s an honor to follow in their footsteps.”

The night proved to be truly memorable to the ETSU winners.

“My favorite memory was leaving the stage after getting awarded the trophy and being met by my mother, my boyfriend and my fiddle teacher from ETSU,” said Porchak. “It was such a thrill to even be nominated, let alone win the award, and the fact that I got to do it surrounded by people who are so important to me was such a blessing.”