ELKINS - The Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College began its five-week summer session July 6 with Cajun/Creole and Early Country Music Week. Each themed week offers classes in music, dance, craft and folkways instructed by experts in their field. Concerts featuring guest master artists and other instructors are performed every Tuesday and Thursday evening in Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium. Dances in the open-air pavilion commence afterward.
A variety of musical and dance entertainment is on tap for the next five weeks as the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College begins its summer sessions. Running through Aug. 9, public concerts and dances are scheduled every Tuesday and Thursday beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium.
Concert-goers can purchase tickets for individual performances or the entire Summer Concert Series, which includes the Saturday Augusta Festival Mountain Stage concert. For information and pricing, call 304-637-1209 or visit www.augustaheritagecenter.org.
Jesse Milnes, on guitar, and his wife, Emily Miller, second from right, work with students in their Classic Country Duets class as part of Cajun/Creole and Early Country Music Week at the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College. Miller is lead singer and twin fiddler, and Milnes plays fiddle and guitar for The Sweetback Sisters, a honky-tonk country band that tours the world.
Eric Frey plays upright bass in the Tuesday night concert during Cajun/Creole and Early Country Music Week at the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College. Frey, a resident of Louisiana and member of the band The Revelers, is teaching acoustic and electric bass this week.
Guest Master Artists Johnny Bellar and Roy Harper perform during Tuesday’s concert. Harper has devoted his life to preserving country songs of the past and has recorded 23 albums. Bellar, the 2005 National Resonator Guitar Champion, has performed on several national television shows.
Key Williams, center, of Rock Cave, W.Va., a recipient of an Augusta scholarship, plays fiddle with other Cajun/Creole Music Week scholarship recipients. Scholarships are awarded each year to youth and adults from the United States, Canada and Europe.
Weekly concerts are scheduled for Blues & Swing Week, July 15 and 17; Irish Week, July 22 and 24; Bluegrass Week, July 29 and 31; and Old-Time, Vocal and American Vernacular Dance Week, Aug. 5 and 7. Each concert will feature master musicians and vocalists who are teaching at Augusta each week. A dance in the open-air pavilion will follow every concert. Admission to the dance is free for concert attendees.
"We are looking forward to a wonderful summer of concerts with a true eclectic mix of music, and an amazing line-up of musicians across all the weeks," says Beth King, interim director of the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College. "Whether you love one particular style of music or enjoy it all, there will be something for everyone this summer."
Augusta's musical entertainment ends on a high note with the internationally syndicated radio program "Mountain Stage with Larry Groce" concert featuring bluegrass singer-songwriter Sierra Hull, New Orleans indie rock band Cardinal Sons and other artists yet to be announced. Heard weekly on NPR stations across the country, "Mountain Stage" is produced by West Virginia Public Broadcasting and is celebrating its 31st year on the air.
The five-week summer session caps off with the traditional Augusta Festival in Elkins City Park on August 9 with performances, a juried craft show and sale, and food vendors. Admission is free.
Programs offered by the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College are presented with financial support from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the WV Commission on the Arts.