Appalachian Ensemble Premiering New Works at Fall Showcase

Date Posted: 

Friday, October 16, 2015

ELKINS - The Davis & Elkins College Appalachian Ensemble will premiere several new works and present a selection of pieces they’ve perfected on tour this fall in the annual Fall Showcase at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 20 in Boiler House Theatre on the Davis & Elkins College campus. The Ensemble will be joined by special guests from Augusta Heritage Center’s October Old-Time Week. The show is free and open to all ages.

Appalachian Ensemble is a student performance group at D&E that presents traditional music and dance from the Appalachian region and beyond, focusing 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 tunes and numerous traditional American styles of harmony singing.

“The Ensemble was hired to perform at two different gospel music events this fall, so we have been working on a lot of wonderful new gospel songs, which we are excited to share at the Fall Showcase,” says String Band director Emily Miller. “We have also been working on several new traditional tunes and a swing song to play for the dancers. The collaboration between the string band and the dancers just keeps deepening every semester.”

Appalachian Ensemble has been performing almost every week since the beginning of the fall semester and members are looking forward to presenting their full-length show for the Elkins community. Students have performed at Appalachian Music and Dance shows at the Purple Fiddle in Thomas, Frostburg State University’s Appalachian Festival in Maryland, Floyd Country Store in Virginia, Lewisburg’s Taste of our Town and the 79th Mountain State Forest Festival in Elkins.

Members of Appalachian Ensemble String Band are fiddler Scotty Leach, a senior from Centralia, Wash.; banjoist and dancer Kaia Kater-Hurst, a senior from Ontario, Canada; percussionist and dancer Matthew Olwell, a junior from Elkins; bassist Devon Rose, a sophomore from Benwood, W.Va.; fiddler and mandolin player Ben Zorn, a freshman from Chicago, Ill.; and guitarist Dakota Peak, a freshman from Berkeley Springs, W.Va. The dancers in the Ensemble are freshman Yoni Callahan of Charlottesville, Va., sophomore Katharine Manor of Rockville, Md., junior Will Roboski of Lansing, Mich., sophomore Eli Lucchesi of Elwell, Mich., sophomore Alina Soltis of Saline, Mich., freshman Sam Butcher of Summersville, W.Va., senior Mia Gresak of Bridgeport, W.Va., senior Madalyn Humphrey of Elkins and sophomore Isabella Nieves of Elkins.

This performance is in conjunction and collaboration with Augusta Heritage Center’s October Old-Time Week, October 18 - 25. Workshops in fiddle, claw-hammer banjo, mandolin and guitar take place all week, as well as a mini-course in Appalachian Baking. It’s not too late to sign up today by calling 304-637-1209. Public jam sessions are happening every night and the week concludes with the Halloween Square Dance on Friday, October 23 and the Fiddlers’ Reunion on Saturday, October 24. For additional information on Old-Time Week or the Fiddlers’ Reunion, visit www.augustaheritagecenter.org.

For more information about Appalachian Ensemble, call Becky Hill, Appalachian Ensemble dance director, at 304-637-1209.

A D&E center of excellence for more than 40 years, the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College offers several week-long programs featuring instruction in many traditions of music, dance, craft and folklore. Concerts, dances, a summer festival and other heritage arts events are part of the Augusta experience. The Augusta Heritage Center is also home to significant collections of field recordings, oral histories, photographs, instruments and Appalachian art.

Programs offered by the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College are presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

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.

Davis & Elkins College Appalachian Ensemble