KANAWHA METRO - Friends of Old-Time Music and Dance’s “Rising Stars” concert is proof that the Appalachian music scene continues to survive and evolve in the Mountain State, driven by the talent, energy and creativity of college students.
Student musicians from Davis & Elkins College’s Appalachian Ensemble and West Virginia University’s Bluegrass Band will perform a mixture of traditional ballads, old-time tunes and bluegrass, starting at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6, at the West Virginia Culture Center, state Capitol Complex, Charleston.
Scotty Leach of Centralia, Washington, is a senior at Davis & Elkins College, where he plays the fiddle in the Appalachian Ensemble while he completes a joint degree in religion/philosophy and computer science.
Leach said his mother and father are old-time music performers who started teaching him how to play the fiddle at the age of 5, but he admits he avoided their cherished music when he started his own band and served as its pianist.
“I said, ‘Yuck! It’s my parents’ music.’ So, I thought it was boring and not cool,” he recalled.
In 2012, D&E recruited Leach and offered him a full scholarship if he would reclaim his fiddle and join the Appalachian Ensemble. This led to a gradual change of heart when Leach performed old-time music on stage with members of the college’s string band and dance group.