ELKINS - The Davis & Elkins College campus will soon be filled with the sounds of fiddles, guitars, melodic voices and the tapping feet of dancers as the Augusta Heritage Center opens its summer session, July 9 through August 12. In each week’s classes, participants learn from master artists in hands-on, face-to-face creative settings.
Evening events – jams, concerts, dances and lectures – during Augusta are open to the public. For a complete schedule, visit www.augustaheritagecenter.org or call the Augusta office at 304-637-1209.
The sessions bring together workshops in music, dance, craft and folklore, plus Folk Arts for Kids, with different themes each week – Cajun/Creole and Classic Country Week, July 9-14; Blues and Swing Week, July 16-21; Bluegrass Week, July 30-August 4; and Old-Time and Vocal Week, August 6-11.
“We are looking forward to a wonderful summer at Augusta, full of opportunities to learn from master artists and to experience a wide range of traditional music and arts,” said Beth King, director of the Augusta Heritage Center. “From full day classes and mini-courses to concerts and nightly jams, we offer a creative and supportive community of instructors and participants from across the U.S. and around the world. The evenings are full of free and affordable events for our local community – visit one of the craft studios, join in a jam, or simply stroll across campus and listen.”
Concerts with performances by master artists instructing at Augusta take place every Tuesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium. Dances in the outdoor Augusta Dance Pavilion follow each concert and are included in the admission price. General admission is $12 and student tickets are available for $6 on the night of the show with a student ID. Season passes are $82 and entitle the ticket holder to eight weekly concerts and the Festival Concert with “Mountain Stage.” Dance tickets are $7 general admission or $5 for students and AmeriCorps.
Every Tuesday, Augusta participants and staff sell instruments, recordings, craft items and more at Show & Sell on the Halliehurst porch from 4-6:30 p.m. The Craft Showcase takes places at 6 p.m. every Thursday featuring the work of Arts, Crafts and Folklore workshop participants and instructors in Myles Center for the Arts. Highlights of some of the many other events scheduled throughout each week are the “Fais Do – Do” gumbo party with Cajun music and dancing on the Halliehurst porch Wednesday, July 12 during Cajun Week; and Blues and Swing Week Student Cabaret on Wednesday, July 19 at 8:30 p.m. in Madden Student Center. The full schedule is available at www.augustaheritagecenter.org and on Facebook.
For those who want to learn a new skill but can’t commit to taking classes during the day, an assortment of affordable evening mini-courses are offered each week starting Monday, July 10. Classes run Mondays through Thursdays from 6-7:15 p.m. A complete listing is available at www.augustaheritagecenter.org.
The summer session caps off at a high point. The Augusta Festival and Craft Fair, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. August 12 in Elkins City Park, features more than 40 of the region’s finest artisans selling their unique creations. In true celebration of Appalachian heritage, visitors will experience live music, dancing, workshops, craft demonstrations and children’s activities. Added to the lineup this year is the West Virginia Open Fiddle and Banjo Contest. A tradition in Randolph County since the 1930s, the contest draws musicians from throughout the region and offers cash prizes. Admission is free.
That evening the music continues with the Augusta Festival Concert featuring “Mountain Stage with Larry Groce” in Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium. Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner and folk icon Tom Paxton and Grammy winning singer-songwriter duo The DonJuans, featuring Don Henry and Jon Vezner, will headline the show. Rounding out the evening will be performances by Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands, Bill Kirchen, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, and The Early Mays. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 general admission and can be purchased online at www.augustaheritagecenter.org, by phone at 304-637-1255 and at the D&E Box Office. Students may purchase tickets for $15 on the night of the show with a student ID.
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.