ELKINS - Davis & Elkins College’s Appalachian Ensemble will present new works and a selection of pieces they’ve perfected on tour in their annual Spring Showcase at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 12 in Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium. The show is free and open to all ages.
“The students have been working hard to polish some very challenging new repertoire this semester,” says Musical Director Emily Miller. “In addition to several new traditional West Virginia songs and tunes, the dancers have learned a complicated piece of jazz choreography which is accompanied by a Duke Ellington big band jazz number that we’ve adapted for our six¬piece string band.”
The Davis & Elkins College Appalachian Ensemble is a 13¬person student performance group that includes string band and a percussive dance team under the direction of Emily Miller and Emily Oleson. The Appalachian Ensemble 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 Sean nós dance and numerous traditional American styles of harmony singing.
“This year our students have had the opportunity to perform in Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland and all over West Virginia. We have performed at middle schools and high schools, festivals and concert venues,” says Becky Hill, Appalachian Ensemble’s manager. “We covered more 2,000 miles in two vans and we are very excited to present everything we’ve learned throughout the year in a final showcase at Davis & Elkins College May 12.”
Members of Appalachian Ensemble’s 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., senior Mia Gresak of Bridgeport, W.Va., and sophomore Isabella Nieves of Elkins.
For more information about Appalachian Ensemble, visit www.dewv.edu/appalachian¬ensemble.
Davis & Elkins College offers substantial scholarships to talented dancers and old¬time musicians who are interested in attending Davis & Elkins College and performing in the student ensemble. More information is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.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.