Elkins – The Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College has been awarded the top honor for 2019 “Event of the Year” by the International Bluegrass Music Association. Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn presented the award during a virtual ceremony recorded at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. The award recognizes Augusta’s work preserving and elevating this Appalachian musical style.

Augusta’s Bluegrass Week, held every July at Davis & Elkins College, is well known for its classes, concerts, dances, jams, and cultural sessions. “It’s an excellent example of intergenerational learning,” says Seth Young, Augusta’s director. “Many times, classes are filled with ages ranging from teens to octogenarians. This style of authentic learning is beneficial to all students as they take part in the age-old process of passing traditions on face to face and knee to knee.”

“A big highlight of Bluegrass Week for me is the instructor concert. It’s wonderful to see the artists taking a break from their busy touring schedules and making music in new impromptu bands with the other teachers,” says Augusta’s artistic director Emily Miller.

In 2020 Augusta took their programming online, connecting master artists with students from all over the world. This November, Augusta will begin a new online winter lesson series that will feature musicians of many styles. It will include bluegrass notables Tim O’Brien, Gina Furtado, Lauren Price, Avril Smith, and Kimber Ludiker. These artists will teach alongside musicians of other genres, such as Alice Gerrard (Old-Time), Jontavious Willis (Blues), and Eamon O’Leary (Irish).

The winter lessons, available from November 30 to April 1, will provide instruction for musicians of all skill levels. “Whether you’ve just picked up an instrument or have years of experience, you’re going to find high-quality Augusta instruction,” says Young. “Students this summer loved learning music across many styles, and we’re going to provide that same experience again this winter.”

To find out more about the Augusta Heritage Center, email Seth and Emily at augustaheritagecenter@dewv.edu or visit augustaheritagecenter.org.

Related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Davis & Elkins College is located in Elkins, 2 hours east of Charleston, 3 hours south of Pittsburgh and 4 hours west of Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit the College website at www.dewv.edu or call 304-637-1243