About the Ensemble
The Davis & Elkins College Appalachian Ensemble, a student performance group led by String Band Director Emily Miller and Dance Director Emily Oleson, is dedicated to bringing live traditional music and dance to audiences in West Virginia and beyond. Composed entirely of students attending D&E, the group features an acoustic string band (fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin and bass) and a team of dancers with a diverse range of expertise.
The group focuses on the intersections of different American vernacular forms and their roots, ranging from old-time music and flatfooting to jazz music and tap dance, to Irish sean nós dance, body percussion and numerous traditional American styles of harmony singing. The performances include a variety of regional dance styles, contemporary choreography, and a selection of traditional songs and tunes.
“Performing with Appalachian Ensemble is like building a community - not just among the dancers and musicians, but also across the region. In return, we are gifted with new tunes, dance steps, stories and friendships.” –Will Roboski, '17, dancer
“Appalachian Ensemble does more than just provide a space for expression. It preserves and spreads the traditional arts of West Virginia and Appalachia in a way that is visually and aurally appealing. We respect those who came before us while holding in reverence our own interpretations of Appalachian traditional arts.” –Scotty Leach, '16, musician
All students receive scholarships for their participation in the Ensemble. Auditions are open to talented dancers and musicians who are interested in attending D&E and performing with the Ensemble. To schedule an audition or to learn more about the program, contact the Ensemble directors at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Concerts and Workshops
The Ensemble performs at festivals and concert halls during the school year (September-May). The Ensemble also leads workshops in the basics of traditional clogging, body percussion and singing styles for both children and adults as part of its mission to bring traditional music and dance to a broad range of audiences around the country. To inquire about booking the Ensemble, contact the Ensemble directors at email@example.com.
"Seldom do we have an assembly where all students are attentive and appreciative. Not only did the Davis & Elkins College Appalachian Ensemble put on a performance that had the students' undivided attention, but they had all students clapping, cheering and dancing in their seats. I look forward to see this troupe perform for our guys again in the future!" -Erin Marks, teacher at Tucker County High School
"The D&E Appalachian Ensemble was a real treat to experience! They made an afternoon out of demonstrating captivating dance, spellbinding music and interactive, educational workshops. Both my band and choir were thrilled to work with them, and as a director, it was wonderful to see collegiate performers donning an educators hat! We all had a blast, and can't wait for them to make their return trip!" -Denver Gaydon, teacher at Tucker County High School
September 2: First Friday; downtown Elkins, W.Va.
September 11: Grant County Arts Council; Petersburg, W.Va.
September 30 - October 1: Shepherdstown Appalachian Festival; Shepherdstown, W.Va.
October 2-9: Mountain State Forest Festival; Elkins, W.Va. (details TBA)
October 18: Fall Showcase; Davis & Elkins College, Elkins, W.Va.
October 23: Purple Fiddle; 7 p.m.; Thomas, W.Va. ($7 suggested donation)
November 11: Elkins Square Dance; Davis & Elkins College, Elkins, W.Va.
February 15: Brown Bag Lunch Concert; Randolph County Community Arts Center, Elkins, W.Va.
March 24: Floyd Country Store; Floyd, Va.
March 25: Eastern Tennessee State University/Warren Wilson College Collaboration; Johnson City, Tenn.
March 26: Sunday Concert Series; Tamarack, Beckley, W.Va.
April 21-23: Davis & Elkins Dance Festival; Davis & Elkins College, Elkins, W.Va.
May 5: Marlinton High School and Pocahontas County Opera House; Marlinton, W.Va.
May 11: Spring Showcase; Davis & Elkins College, Elkins, W.Va.
2016-2017 Ensemble Members
Elizabeth Brown, dancer
Jonathan "Yoni" Callahan, dancer
Madalyn Humphrey, dancer
Katie Little, dancer
Eli Lucchesi, dancer
Katharine Manor, dancer
Cierra Merrill, dancer
Matthew Olwell, dancer, musician
Branson Raines, musician
Allison Riley, dancer
William Roboski, dancer, musician
Devon Rose, musician
Alina Soltis, dancer
Tiffanie Toler, Dancer
Ben Zorn, musician
In the News
Musical Heart Work: Retooling Appalachian Tradition
Kaia Kater: A Portrait of a Young Quebecalachian
First Class of D&E's Appalachian Ensemble Program Shines in National Spotlight
Appalachian Ensemble Presents Spring Showcase
Cradle of Country Music
Appalachian Ensemble Performing in Georgia, Tennessee
FOOTMAD to Present Students’ ‘Rising Stars’ Appalachian Music Concert
Rising Stars of Traditional Music Coming to FOOTMAD
Could New Twists on Traditional Music Help Revive Appalachia's Economy?
Appalachian Ensemble Premiering New Works at Fall Showcase
D&E’s Appalachian Ensemble Performing Showcase
Rising Stars of Bluegrass and Old Time Music Perform in Charleston
Appalachian Ensemble Performing Free Concert Showcase
Students Explore Similarities Between Appalachian and Romanian Folk Music
D&E’s Appalachian Ensemble Performing in Cultural Exchange Program
D&E Reviving Forest Festival Pageant
D&E Students Showcasing Talents
Davis & Elkins College Students Preserve the Spirit of Appalachia
D&E Brings "Appalachian Spirit" to Highlands
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.