Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sixth annual Appalachian Heritage Day to be held Oct. 6, 2008.

A campus cultural celebration will be the focus of the sixth annual Appalachian Heritage Day on Monday (Oct. 6) at West Virginia University at Parkersburg.

Open to the public, the all-day free salute to the region's unique heritage begins at 10 a.m. Events will be held on the campus lawns and inside at various locations. Area elementary school students will visit the campus during the day as guests of the college's Education Division.
Appalachian Heritage Day will feature opportunities to learn, experience and appreciate the region's heritage with demonstrations ranging from pottery throwing and apple butter making to blacksmithing and guitar making.

"The event is composed of groups who will be demonstrating traditional Appalachian arts, culture, and practices along with featuring social service organizations who are dedicated to provided services to enrich the lives of the Appalachian people," noted Gregg Busch, assistant professor of sociology, who coordinates the event with students in Sociology 323: Sociology of Rural Life.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., a variety of presenters and demonstrations will be available in the college's multipurpose room, including Veterans Memorial Museum; U.S. Department of Agriculture; Little Kanawha Conservation District; dulcimer/music and wood carving by Mike Mollohan; Campus Martius Museum; Trans Allegheny Bookstore; acoustic music by Chase Brady; Wood County Historical Society; Appalachian Tourism; "When Miners March," Bill Blizzard and Wess Harris; pottery demonstration; beekeeping and honey; fur trader; Belpre Historical Society; West Virginia Department of Forestry; alternative/traditional Appalachian remedies, Mother Earth Foods; guitar maker; Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition; Coal River Mountain Watch; quilting; Appalachian Regional Commission; environmental awareness, Psi Beta/Psychology Club; Try Again Homes; Volunteer Action Center; West Virginia Children's Home; Mid Ohio Valley Health Department; Wood County 4-H; Wood County Drug Task Force; Women's Care Center; Choices Childcare Referral; Westbrook Health Services, and Pressley Ridge.

Traditional Appalachian games will begin every 20 minutes on the campus front lawn. Coordinated by WVU Parkersburg sociology students, the games will include sack races, horse shoe and skillet tosses, corn hole, egg race, hoops and three-legged races.

On-going demonstrations on the campus front lawn will include apple butter stir, Bob and Alice Stanley; fly fishing demonstration; blacksmith demonstration, Jeff McCrady; oil and gas demonstration, Johnny Boston.

Keynote speaker for the sixth annual observance will be Dave Cooper who will discuss "Preserving Our Appalachian Hills" in a free presentation at 11 a.m. in the college theatre. A resident of Lexington, KY, Cooper worked 20 years as a mechanical engineer in various industries, and then decided to devote his full attention to environmental issues after seeing a mountaintop removal mine on Kayford Mountain, WV. He is currently on a national speaking tour to educate communities across America about mountaintop removal.

His presentation will be followed by a panel discussion with the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and the Coal River Mountain Watch. Participating in the panel will be Larry Gibson of Kayford Mountain, WV who has been involved in saving Kayford Mountain and his family cemetery from mountaintop removal. He has spoken at countless college campuses about mountaintop removal mining in West Virginia. He is president of the Stanley Heirs Foundation and works as a volunteer for the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition in Huntington.
Also to be featured will be the homespun, award-winning Appalachian humor of world champion storyteller Susanna Holstein from 11 a.m. to noon in the cafeteria. "Granny Sue" will entertain the young and old alike with traditional storytelling and tall tales.

Also scheduled are revolving presentations and discussions which will be 15 minutes in length and will include:
  • Ghost stories of West Virginia by Reader's Theatre, Jeff Byrd, theatre instructor, Room 1317;
  • clogging demonstration, Class Act and West Virginia Pride Cloggers, Caperton Center auditorium from noon to 1 p.m.;
  • Appalachian Children's Liteature, Suzy McGinley, Room 1318;
  • pottery demonstration, outside College Activities Center;
  • West Virginia Sports History, Rob Anderson, assistant professor of history, Room 1322;
  • historical portrayal by Ellen Pope, Room 1535;
  • Underground Railroad Quilt presentation, Room 1330.
The day will conclude with a 7 p.m. presentation by Jeff Biggers, author of "The United States of Appalachia," in the Caperton Center auditorium. A book signing will follow in the Caperton atrium. Biggers' appearance is jointly sponsored by the WVU at Parkersburg Social Justice Committee, Social Sciences Division, and Humanities Lecture Series.

WVU Parkersburg to host free Oct. 6th presentation by Jeff Biggers, author of "The United States of Appalachia."

The award-winning author of "The United States of Appalachia" will discuss his book in a free presentation at 7 p.m., Oct. 6, at West Virginia University at Parkersburg.

Jeff Biggers' topic will be "The United States of Appalachia: Debunking Stereotypes and Long-Held Misperceptions about Appalachia."

The program is free and open to the public. It will be held on the WVU Parkersburg campus in the Caperton Center for Applied Technology auditorium (Room C102).

Biggers will chronicle how Appalachians have been in the forefront of change and progress in American history, from the earliest struggles of the American Revolution, the abolitionist, labor, civil rights and environmental movements, and in national literary and musical endeavors.
He has worked as a writer, educator, radio correspondent, and community organizer across the United States, Europe, India and Mexico. His award-winning stories have appeared on NPR, PRI, and in scores of travel, literary and music magazines, and national and foreign newspapers. He has been a commentator on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition and for Pacific News Service national syndication. He is also the author of "In the Sierra Madre."

Biggers' work has received numerous honors, including an American Book Award, a Lowell Thomas Award for Travel Journalism, a Field Foundation Fellowship and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship. He serves as a contributing editor to The Bloomsbury Review, and is a member of the PEN American Center. In the 1990s, as part of his work to develop literacy and literary programs in rural, reservation and neglected communities in the American Southwest, he founded the Northern Arizona Book Festival. In the 1980s, Biggers served as an assistant to former Senator George McGovern in Washington, DC, and as a personal aide to Rev. William Sloane Coffin at the Riverside Church in New York City.

Biggers' appearance is jointly sponsored by the WVU at Parkersburg Social Justice Committee, Social Sciences Division, and Humanities Lecture Series.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

WVU Parkersburg performing arts series opens with bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley and The Clinch Mountain Boys.

CONTACT: Dr. H.G. Young III, professor of music and DP Series coordinator, 304-424-8248.

Bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys opens the 2008-2009 Distinguished Performance Series on Thursday, Sept. 18, at West Virginia University at Parkersburg.

Showtime is 7 p.m. in the College Activities Center. Tickets are available in the college Business Office at $10, adults, and $5, students. WVU Parkersburg students may purchase special advance tickets for themselves and one guest at $2 each. Ticket information is available at 304-424-8223.

Stanley kicks off a season which will feature country star Kathy Mattea in a free, non-singing presentation on Nov. 6; an evening with American Indian composer Brent Michael Davids on Nov. 14; jazz bassist Christian McBride and his band on Feb. 27, 2009, and the cappella ensemble The Swingle Singers on April 21, 2009. All programs will be held in the College Activities Center.

One of the last living founders of traditional American bluegrass music, Stanley has been performing since 1946. With more than 170 albums to his credit, the Grammy-award winning mountain music patriarch has written and performed songs which are bluegrass standards. Stanley is featured on the multi-platinum album "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" and was the first artist of the new millennium to be inducted into the historic Grand Ole Opry.

WV native Mattea visits WVU Parkersburg on the eve of her Nov. 7th concert performance at the Smoot Theatre. She will talk about her new album "Coal" at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 6. The 2006 Sago mine disaster moved Mattea to create a tribute to "my place and my people," drawing from the music of Jean Ritchie, Bill Ed Wheeler, Hazel Dickins and others. This program is free and open to the public. It is not a musical performance.

An Evening with Brent Michael Davids will feature composer Davids, an enrolled citizen of the Mohican Nation, at 7:30 p.m., Nov 14. A respected film composer and master performer of American Indian instruments, he has been commissioned to write music for the Kronos Quartet, Jeoffrey Ballet and National Symphony Orchestra. In 2006 he was named as one of the National Endowment for the Arts American Masterpieces' choral composers. The concert will feature several of his choral compositions, including a world premiere.

McBride is one of the most acclaimed acoustic and electric bassist in the jazz world today. He will appear in concert with his band at 8 p.m., Feb. 27, 2009. The Grammy ward-winning virtuoso has played with the great jazz musician of his generation, including Herbie Hancock, Paty Metheny, Chick Corea, Joshua Redman, Wynton Marsalis and Quincy Jones.

Founded in Paris in the 1960s, the Swingle Singers ensemble has won Grammy awards for its a cappella recordings of the music of J.S. Bach. Now based in England, the Singers continue to explore and create exciting projects, including a set of six Bach-inspired commissions and a partnership with the MOMIX modern dance company. The concert will be held at 7 p.m., April 21, 2009.

Funding assistance for the series is provided by NEA's American Masterpieces, the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Masterpieces initiative, the West Virginia Commission on the Arts, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Artsbridge and WVU Parkersburg's Social Justice Committee.

WVU Parkersburg hosting free Sept. 17th lecture on "Appreciating the Hispanic Experience in the United States"; part of Hispanic Heritage Month

CONTACT: Debbie Richards, special assistant to the president for policy and social justice, 304-424-8201.

"Appreciating the Hispanic Experience in the United States" will be the topic of a free lecture to be held at 11 a.m., Sept. 17, at West Virginia University at Parkersburg.

Richard Fleisher, founder and president of The Regalos Elizabeth Fund, will present the lecture as part of the college's observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Free and open to the public, the presentation will be held in Room 1305 and is co-sponsored by the college's Social Justice Committee and the Center for Global Initiatives.

Fleisher is a member of the faculty at West Virginia University and serves as an extension specialist and associate professor for global education and social justice at West Virginia University.

He is co-chair of WVU Extension's Global Education, and co-principal investigator for the West Virginia Children, Youth, and Families at-Risk (CYFAR) Afterschool Project. He teaches graduate classes for teachers on increasing capacity to work with Hispanic and low income students and families. Also, he teaches and coordinates classes, workshops, and simulations on understanding poverty.

Fleisher is founder and president of The Regalos Elizabeth Fund, a nonprofit foundation that provides emergency grant assistance to low-income Hispanics in West Virginia. He has traveled and led projects throughout the Spanish-speaking world.
National Hispanic Heritage Month is Sept. 15 through Oct. 15.