WV PUBLIC BROADCASTING - Last week, Davis & Elkins College graduated its first class of students that includes members of its touring string band and dance ensemble. The Appalachian Ensemble works a lot like a college sports team- the players, in this case musicians and flatfoot dancers, earn scholarships. One of the graduates is 22-year-old banjo player, Kaia Kater, who was recently featured by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the 10 New Country Artists You Need to Know.
The other graduate is 24-year old Scotty Leach, who plays fiddle and piano. Five years ago, he was living in Centralia, Washington. He played in a local contra dance band, and he loved it. But he didn’t feel content. “I didn’t have a plan to go to school, and I remember thinking one day, I was sitting in the house I was renting, and I felt like I was headed in a downward spiral, like my life had no purpose or meaning or direction or anything.”