ELKINS - Davis & Elkins College Appalachian Ensemble will present a showcase of several works-in-progress, as well as pieces they performed throughout the region this fall, in a free public concert at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 19 in Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium.
The student string band and dance group, led by Dance Director Becky Hill and String Band Director Emily Miller, has expanded this year to include five musicians: freshman Devon Rose of Benwood, W.Va.; freshman Tessa Dillon of Saint Albans, W.Va.; sophomore Scotty Leach of Centralia, Wash.; junior Rebecca Wudarski of Davis, W.Va.; and junior Kaia Kater-Hurst of Ontario, Canada; and eight dancers: freshman Mariana Madden of Charlottesville, Va.; junior Madalyn Humphrey of Elkins; senior Will Roboski of Lansing, Mich.; freshman Eli Lucchesi of Elwell, Mich.; senior Mia Gresak of Mount Clare, W.Va.; freshman Alina Soltis of Saline, Mich.; freshman Katharine Manor of Rockville, Md.; and Kater-Hurst. 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 and numerous traditional American styles of harmony singing.
The show will include a variety of regional dance styles, contemporary choreography, and a selection of traditional songs and tunes performed by the Appalachian Ensemble's string band. After the concert, the audience is invited to participate in a few square dances to close out the evening.
“This group of students has come together from various dance and musical backgrounds and has formed an incredible ensemble in such a short time,” Hill says. “I'm excited to show Elkins what we've created since September and I can't wait to see where they'll be in two years."
Appalachian Ensemble expanded its reach in 2014, bringing live music and dance to audiences in West Virginia and beyond. The Ensemble toured extensively this fall with performances at Frostburg State University Appalachian Festival in Maryland, Berea College Celebration of Traditional Music in Kentucky and in Charleston, W.Va., as part of a U.S. State Department funded “Common Notes Partnership” with the Clay Center and Gorji County Museum in Romania. The Ensemble was named the “People’s Choice for Entertainment” for performances at the 2013 and 2014 Ramps and Rails Festival in Elkins, and was featured in a recent edition of Goldenseal, the magazine of West Virginia traditional life produced by the Division of Culture and History.
Upcoming performances are scheduled at the Purple Fiddle on November 21 and a FOOTMAD Concert in Charleston with the Glenville Bluegrass Ensemble on November 22. The final spring showcase is slotted for May 7 at Davis & Elkins College.
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.