ELKINS - The sounds of harmonicas, pianos and finger picking guitars will fill the air on the Davis & Elkins College campus as Augusta Heritage Center ushers in Blues & Swing Week, July 16 - 21.
The public is invited to participate in activities every evening Sunday through Friday on the College campus during the Augusta Summer Sessions. Events include dances in the open-air dance pavilion, concerts on Tuesday and Thursday evenings in Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium, nightly jam sessions and much more. For a complete schedule, visit www.augustaheritagecenter.org or call the Augusta office at 304-637-1209 to request a public events rack card with the details for each week.
Anyone who wants to sample what Augusta has to offer may sign up for an evening mini-course. Most classes run from 6-7:15 p.m., Monday through Thursday, July 17-20. Participants may choose from an array of classes: Barbecue Cooking (all levels) from 5-7 p.m. with Derrick Helzer, Blues Harmonica Performance (all levels) with Joe Filisko, Fundamental Lindy Hop Swing Dance with David and Amy Loomis, and Variations on the 12-Bar Blues Form (all levels, all instruments) with Thomas Bryan Eaton. Registration is available online at www.augustaheritagecenter.org. Tuition and some material fees apply.
Spaces are still available in the all-day classes for those who have an interest in deepening their knowledge of blues and swing music, songwriting, dance, instrument repair, stained glass and glass fusing. The Folk Arts for Kids course, “Art with Soul” taught by Sarah Ferguson, is open to youths in grades K-5. Registration for day classes and Folk Arts for Kids is available online or by calling the Augusta office.
Blues & Swing Week begins on Sunday, July 16 with a gospel jam session in Robbins Memorial Chapel at 9 p.m., followed by jam sessions in country blues, jug band, juke joint blues and swing. Jam sessions will be found in the evenings all across campus throughout the week. Area residents and students are invited to participate.
Two public events are planned for 8 p.m. Monday, July 17. A blues and swing house party will take place on Halliehurst Porch, and a doo wop jam session with Joan Fenton and Ian Walters is set for Timms Lounge in Madden Student Center.
Augusta’s weekly Pickin’ in the Park jam sessions with old-time, bluegrass and country music is scheduled for 6-10 p.m. Wednesday, July 19 in Elkins City Park. At 8:30 p.m., the annual Participant Cabaret will take place in Timms Lounge in Madden Student Center.
The tradition of Tuesday and Thursday evening concerts continues July 18 and 20 with electric blues and swing music featuring the talents of Phil Wiggins, Ian Walters, Valerie Turner and many more. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. in Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium. Prior to the Thursday concert, a craft showcase in The Joni and Buck Smith Arts Forum from 6-7:15 p.m. will feature exhibits and demonstrations by the Arts, Craft and Folklore classes as well as the Folk Arts for Kids class. Blues and swing dances in the Augusta Dance Pavilion will follow each concert. Admission to the dance is included with the purchase of a concert ticket or can be purchased separately at the door for $7 general admission or $5 for students and AmeriCorps members.
Concert tickets are $12 general admission, $6 for students on the night of the show or $85 for a season pass. The Augusta Season Pass includes all Tuesday and Thursday concerts, the Augusta Festival Concert featuring Mountain Stage with Larry Groce and admission to all dances following the concerts. Tickets may be purchased by calling 304-637-1209 or online at www.augustaheritagecenter.org.
On Friday, July 21 the week will wrap up with a participant showcase from 2:30-5 p.m. in the Madden Student Center, a cakewalk dance competition at 7 p.m. on Halliehurst Porch and a blues and swing dance at 8 p.m. in the Augusta Dance Pavilion. Admission to the dance is $7 general or $5 for students and AmeriCorps members.
To register for classes or learn more about the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College summer sessions, visit augustaheritagecenter.org, or call 304-637-1209. Augusta wraps up its four-week summer sessions with the Augusta Festival and Craft Fair featuring workshops, performances and a juried craft fair from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, August 12 in Elkins City Park. Highlighting this year’s Augusta Festival is the West Virginia Open Fiddle and Banjo Contest. Admission is free.
Entertainment continues at 7:30 p.m. with the Augusta Festival Concert featuring Mountain Stage with Larry Groce in Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium. General admission tickets are $25 and are currently available online, at the Augusta Box Office in Jennings Randolph Hall or on the night of the show at the D&E Box Office. Student tickets are $15 with an I.D. on the night of the concert only.
Programs offered by the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College are presented with financial support from the WV Division of Culture and History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the WV 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.
Photo Caption: Halliehurst Porch on the campus of Davis & Elkins College is always filled with entertainment during the Augusta Heritage Center Summer Sessions. Dancers and musicians will share their talents in jam sessions throughout Blues & Swing Week beginning Sunday, July 16.