Bluegrass Director



The young, talented guitarist and singer Ben Helson, from Brownsville, Ky., grew up surrounded by music. Ben was influenced by his dad, who plays guitar and sings and by his mom, who grew up playing bass in various gospel groups. It was natural, then, for Ben to set aside sports and pick up his guitar after surviving cancer discovered when he was just eight years old. Ben was 13 when he asked his dad to show him some chords on the guitar. He stayed up all night practicing, astounding his father the next morning with a flawless performance of the old standard "Home Sweet Home."

 While forming a rock band with his friends, Ben also played with his father in a local bluegrass group, on guitar as well as mandolin. This background made him a perfect match for the Bethel University Renaissance program, an eclectic group that enabled Ben to play guitar in the group’s rhythm section as well as in its bluegrass ensemble. Renaissance director Peter Jeffrey, himself a Dove award winning songwriter, recognized Ben’s talent and willingness to work hard at improving his skills, and opened the door for him to explore the world of professional music.

 Ben broke into the professional bluegrass world in July of 2007 by joining The Larry Stephenson Band. Soon after, he was hired as a member of the highly esteemed Kentucky Thunder, led by 13-time Grammy award winner Ricky Skaggs. After touring the world, making multiple network television appearances, and performing countless times on the Grand Ole Opry, Ben now contributes to the unique and renowned sound of the grammy-nominated Rhonda Vincent and the Rage.

 Ben received his degree in music business from Bethel in May 2009 and is now the director of The Renaissance Bluegrass Band.

Helson (far right) performs with Rhonda Vincent and the Rage at the Grand Ole Opry.