The Brown Bag concert at the Randolph County Community Arts Center on Wednesday, Sept. 18, will feature old-time music by Elkins' own Gerry Milnes. Gerry plays fiddle, guitar and banjo, and performs traditional songs and tunes he has learned from musicians and singers from central West Virginia and beyond.
Among his major influences are Braxton County fiddlers Melvin Wine and Ernie Carpenter, Randolph County banjo player Cletus Johnson, and the Hammonds family of Randolph and Pocahontas counties. He has recently retired from 25 years of working as folk arts coordinator for the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College. In that position, he collected and produced films and audio recordings of West Virginia traditional music and traditional life in general.
As a writer of folklore and traditional subject matter, he is published in magazines, by two university presses and other publishing houses. His accomplishments as a folklorist have earned him the Governor's Arts Award in 2008, the Vandalia Award in 2013 and the Film Maker of the Year award in 2007. He has won many fiddle and banjo contests around the state, and received the Robert C. Byrd Heritage Fiddler Award in 2012.
Gerry will be joined in concert by his son, Jesse Milnes.