ELKINS - Davis & Elkins College’s Appalachian Ensemble will premiere several new works and present a selection of pieces they’ve perfected on tour during the annual spring showcase at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 7 in the Boiler House Theatre on the Davis & Elkins College campus. The show is free and open to all ages.
The Appalachian Ensemble is a student performance group 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.
“I am constantly impressed by the care with which the students study and perform,” Appalachian Ensemble String Band Director Emily Miller says. “They all have their own distinct styles as individuals, and the trick is to let each of those styles shine through while also respecting the traditions. I think we found a pretty nice balance in that respect this year.”
The Appalachian Ensemble expanded its reach in 2014 and 2015, bringing top-notch live music and dance to audiences in West Virginia and beyond.
“It’s been a big year of traveling throughout the region and we are looking forward to presenting our full-length show in Elkins,” says Appalachian Ensemble Dance Director Becky Hill.
This past year, the Appalachian Ensemble has traveled more than 2,300 miles to perform, including trips to the Celebration of Traditional Music at Berea College in Kentucky, Frostburg State University’s Appalachian Festival in Maryland, FOOTMAD Concert Series in Charleston, Pocahontas County Opera House, Tamarack Sunday at Two Concert Series, Jackson Mill’s 4-H Dance Weekend, Worley Gardner Music Festival in Morgantown and the Common Notes Partnership with Targu-Jiu Romanian Folk School in Charleston.
“Performing with the Appalachian Ensemble is like building a community – not just among the dancers and musicians, but also across the region,” says dance student Will Roboski. “In return, we are gifted with new tunes, dance steps, stories and friendships.”
Members of Appalachian Ensemble are bassist Devon Rose, a freshman from Benwood, W.Va.; fiddler Scotty Leach, a sophomore from Centralia, Wash.; fiddler Tessa Dillon, a freshman from Saint Albans, W.Va.; banjoist and dancer Kaia Kater-Hurst, a junior from Ontario, Canada; and percussionist and dancer Matthew Olwell, a sophomore living in Elkins; and dancers freshman Marina Madden of Charlottesville, Va., freshman Katharine Manor of Rockville, Md., sophomore Will Roboski of Lansing, Mich., freshman Eli Lucchesi of Elwell, Mich., freshman Alina Soltis of Saline, Mich., and freshman Isabella Nieves of Elkins.
For more information about Appalachian Ensemble, call Hill at 304-637-1349.
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.