ELKINS - Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College will host several events for the public during October Old-Time Week and the annual Fiddlers’ Reunion, October 15-21. The weeklong series of workshops and events will focus on West Virginia’s rich traditions of old-time music, culminating in a showcase of West Virginia fiddlers.
Workshops, presentations from master artists, jam sessions and much more will fill the week. Public events are planned each evening on the Davis & Elkins College campus, including nightly jam sessions in The Icehouse and Halliehurst, a special presentation by Kim Johnson on October 17 featuring archival recordings of West Virginia master musicians, and an evening performance on October 19 by October Old-Time Week staff and the D&E Appalachian Ensemble.
“October Old-Time Week and the Fiddlers’ Reunion are at the heart of what we do at Augusta,” said Augusta Heritage Center Director Beth King. “This is a wonderful week to celebrate and share the music and musicians that are the history of West Virginia.”
Locals who want to sample an Augusta workshop but are not able to attend during the day can sign up for a Flatfooting from Scratch evening mini-course scheduled from 6-7:15 p.m. Monday, October 16 through Thursday, October 19. Alina Soltis, a percussive dancer and the dance captain of D&E’s Appalachian Ensemble, will lead the workshop teaching participants a variety of steps with the Tennessee walking step as a focal point. Participants will also learn how to create their own steps and improvise to live music. No previous experience is necessary.
There are still spaces available in daytime workshops, led by master West Virginia musicians, for those interested in deepening their knowledge of old-time fiddle and banjo. For more information or to register, visit www.augustaheritagecenter.org or call the Augusta Heritage Center office at 304-637-1209.
The week begins with a welcome jam at 8 p.m. Sunday, October 15 in The Icehouse. All are welcome to participate and fall time snacks will be available.
The music continues with a staff-led jam featuring West Virginia tunes in the Great Hall of Halliehurst at 8 p.m. Monday, October 16. Area musicians are invited to bring their instruments and join in.
Johnson’s presentation, “From the Archives: Films of West Virginia’s Master Musicians,” will take place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 17 in Halliehurst. She will share footage and stories about West Virginia musicians from previous generations.
Wednesday night Pickin’ moves indoors to Halliehurst and The Icehouse from 6-10 p.m. on October 18. The year-round event includes old-time, bluegrass and country jam sessions. A special addition to the event for October Old-Time Week will be a Cajun jam in The Icehouse at 8 p.m.
Augusta’s October Old-Time Week staff will perform with the D&E Appalachian Ensemble at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 19 in Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium. Admission to the concert is $12 for the public, $6 for students and free to the D&E community. Tickets may be purchased at www.augustaheritagecenter.org or by calling 304-637-1209.
The Halloween Square Dance and Cakewalk will kick off the Fiddlers’ Reunion weekend at 8 p.m. Friday, October 20 in the Augusta Dance Pavilion, weather permitting, or in Myles Center for the Arts Creative Commons. General admission at the door will be $7 for the public, $5 for students and AmeriCorps members, and free to the D&E community. October Old-Time Week staff will provide live music with round robin calling led by Lou Maiuri. A cakewalk fundraiser will benefit the Augusta scholarship program.
The main event of the Fiddlers’ Reunion will take place on Saturday, October 21 in Myles Center for the Arts. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the public is invited to free performances featuring master West Virginia musicians. Visitors can also browse exhibits and instrument vendors, participate in jam sessions, shop in the Augusta store and visit The Stirrup Gallery. The day will conclude with a flatfoot dance contest.
For more information and a complete schedule for October Old-Time Week or the Fiddlers’ Reunion, go to www.augustaheritagecenter.org or call 304-637-1209.
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.
Davis & Elkins College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, ancestry, national original, age, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, gender identification, or genetic information or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Amy Kittle, Title IX Coordinator/Section 504 Coordinator Compliance & Ethics Officer, Halliehurst, 2nd Floor, 304-637-1277, firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information on D&E’s notice of non-discrimination, please see www.dewv.edu/consumer-information.
Photo Caption: Kim Johnson, left, and Margo Blevin Denton share old-time tunes in a jam session on Halliehurst Porch during October Old-Time Week in 2016.