THE INTER-MOUNTAIN - Lively music can be heard each Wednesday evening in Elkins City Park, as a weekly gathering called Pickin’ in the Park attracts musicians of all levels.
The weekly acoustic bluegrass and old-time jam sessions are sponsored by the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College. They take place most Wednesday evenings from 6 to 10 p.m., and participants are welcome.
Philmore Kelley, of Elkins, said he’s been playing music and volunteering to teach others for about 30 years.
“Tonight’s one of the best nights we’ve had here,” Kelley said Wednesday evening, while playing a mandolin during an old-time jam session. “We usually see eight or 10 (musicians) who stay all night long.”
During warmer months, usually from May through September, Pickin’ gatherings take place in the Sycamore Pavilion and small pavilion at Elkins City Park. In October, following the Mountain State Forest Festival, the gatherings move to the Myles Center for the Arts at D&E College.
The old-time jam session Wednesday included folks of all ages playing guitar, mandolin, harmonica and dulcimer, as well as a group of listeners. Kelley said this time of year, when Augusta’s classes are taking place, more people generally come out to play and listen.
His friend Thomas Phillips, 91, of Elkins, also was playing mandolin Wednesday evening.
“I come in and make noise,” Phillips said. “I’ve been trying it all my life.”
Phillips said everyone is welcome, no matter how well they play an instrument, or even if they just want to watch and listen.
More information about jam sessions, classes and many other activities that are part of the Augusta Heritage Center can be found online at augustaheritagecenter.org or by calling 304-637-1209.