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.

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