BC Plans Events to Celebrate Appalachia

By Chris Shoemaker | March 25, 2015 | RSS

BC Plans Events to Celebrate Appalachia
For the fifth consecutive year, Bluefield College will host its month-long Celebration of Appalachia. Set for April 2015 and designed to increase the understanding and appreciation of the rich history, culture, people and traditions of the region in which we live, the celebration will feature music, theatre, storytelling, artisan exhibits, craft sales, book signings, country cooking and other family fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full Schedule

Open to the community at-large, the Celebration of Appalachia will include two art shows, a writing contest, three book readings, a theatrical production, a daylong festival with bluegrass music and vendors, the debut of the school’s Bluestone Review, and a concert on the campus lawn.

 

“From the people, the work ethic, the loyalties and the challenges, to the natural beauty, the traditions, the music and the food, Appalachia is a fascinating and beautiful culture,” said Bluefield College president Dr. David Olive. “Author Jeff Biggers once said, ‘you can't understand America until you understand Appalachia.’ Our desire through this month-long celebration is to increase the understanding and appreciation for the region in which we live. We hope everyone will join us in this educational and entertaining venture, in this Celebration of Appalachia.”

 

An art exhibit by visual artist Sandra Bowden, titled “With Word and Song,” will kick off BC’s Celebration of Appalachia, April 1-11, inside the school’s Art Gallery on the first floor of Lansdell Hall. Bowden, who interprets Scripture through mixed media, is considered to be one of the most unique, impressive and inspiring Christian artists in America. Her exhibit will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. For weekend hours, please contact the BC Art Department at 276-326-4558 or .

 

Three separate book readings and discussions are scheduled for the celebration, including 1) a reading with Dr. Rob Merritt, author and BC professor of English, Tuesday, April 7 at 7 p.m. in Easley Library; 2) a reading and discussion with Linda Hudson Hoagland, a Tazewell County author who will also have her books available for purchase, Wednesday, April 8 at 11 a.m. in Easley Library; and 3) a reading of works from Kim Headlee, an author from Wytheville, Virginia, Friday, April 10 at 10 a.m. in Easley Library.

 

The Celebration of Appalachia will also include a lecture series, April 7-10, including: 1) "Appalachian Poetry" by Dr. Rob Merritt, professor of English at Bluefield College, Tuesday, April 7 at 3 p.m. in the Gerald E. Clay Curriculum Lab, lower level of Easley Library; 2) “Soft Drink Bottlers of Four Seasons Country” by Dr. Terry Mullins, professor of education at Concord University, Wednesday, April 8 at 2 p.m. in Lansdell 111; 3) “The Music of Appalachia" by Dr. Charles Priest, professor of music at Bluefield College, Thursday, April 9 at 4 p.m. in the Gerald E. Clay Curriculum Lab, lower level of Easley Library; 4) “Schoolin’ in the Hollers and Hills: How Appalachian Stereotypes Impact Learning" by Dr. Donna Watson, professor of education at Bluefield College, Friday, April 10 at 10 a.m. in Lansdell 111;

 

Bluefield College Theatre will bring drama to the celebration with a production of Cotton Patch Gospel, Thursday through Saturday, April 9-11 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 12 at 2 p.m. in Harman Chapel. Cotton Patch Gospel, a joyful and inspiring re-examination of the Good News, provides an interpretation of what the coming of Jesus might have looked like had it happened in the 1960s in the backwoods of Appalachia.

 

 

 

 

The marquee event of the Celebration of Appalachia, the traditional Appalachian Festival, will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 11 in BC’s campus quad. Open to the community at-large, the festival will feature bluegrass music from Clinton Collins (10:15 a.m.), the Bland County High School Old-Time Music Band (11:45 a.m.), Bob Boozer (12:15 p.m.), William Workman (12:30 p.m.), and the Misty Mountain String Band (1:30 p.m.).

 

Dozens of local vendors also will be on hand all day for the Appalachian Festival, selling art, crafts, jewelry, candles, soaps, cosmetics, bags, baskets, crochet, quilts, woodwork, dolls, flowers, books, musical instruments/supplies, kettle corn, baked goods, Italian dishes, Amish bread, and other handmade and homemade wares. Among the vendors will be Appalachian Festival sponsor Clinch Valley Medical Center, who will offer a variety of free health screenings to the public during festival hours. Vendors who haven’t, but would still like to register to be a part of the Appalachian Festival may do so by visiting the BC web site at www.bluefield.edu/appalachia, where they can download, print, complete and mail a vendor registration form.

 

The festival will also include storytelling sessions with retired southern West Virginia coal miner and schoolteacher Fred Powers, an established storyteller of coal mining narratives and an emerging author of stories of life in the coal camps and work underground. Joining Powers will be local historians and writers, providing four lectures for the day: 1) “Writing Appalachia” by Dr. Rob Merritt, professor of English at Bluefield College, at 12:30 p.m., 2) “A History of Norfolk Southern Railway Development in the Southern Appalachian Coalfields” by Richard “Bud” Clapp of Pocahontas Land Corporation at 2 p.m., 3) “The Untold Story of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency” by author John Velke, a descendent of William Gibbony Baldwin, who founded the Baldwin-Felts Detectives Agency, at 2:30 p.m. and concluding with a tour of the former Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency in Bluefield, West Virginia, and 4) “The Bagpipe in Southern Appalachia” by Virginia State Trooper and Honor Guard member Gavin Scott at 3 p.m. and featuring a bagpipe performance.

 

The month-long Celebration of Appalachia will continue April 13-30 with a Spring Student Art Show, featuring works from Bluefield College students created during the spring semester. The student exhibit will be on display in BC's Art Gallery on the first floor of Lansdell Hall from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. For weekend hours, please contact the BC Art Department at 276-326-4558 or .

 

On Thursday, April 16, the college will unveil the 20th edition of its Bluestone Review, a literary magazine created by BC students. Slated for 7 p.m. in the Student Activities Center, the event will include debut public readings of works from students, faculty, staff and local contributors.

 

BC’s Celebration of Appalachia will conclude with a Blue Jeans and Bands concert, Friday, April 24. Set for 7:30 p.m. outside on the campus lawn with blankets and lawn chairs under the evening stars, the casual concert will feature Bluefield College’s Concert Band and Jazz Band.

 

Other activities in the month-long Celebration of Appalachia include a writing contest for BC students. Titled the Nora Lockett Memorial Appalachian Writing Contest, the event is designed to pay tribute to the late Nora Lockett, a longtime BC librarian. BC students are encouraged to write stories of 1,000 words or less with an Appalachian theme and submit them to librarian Paula Beasley by email at no later than April 1. Winning stories will be announced at Easley Library at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7 and read aloud during the Appalachian Festival, April 11.

 

For more information about all of the events that make up Bluefield College’s Celebration of Appalachia, visit the BC web site at www.bluefield.edu/appalachia, call 276-326-4212, or email .

 

Celebration of Appalachia Schedule

 

 

 

Now - April 11

With Word and Song: An art exhibit by visual artist Sandra Bowden that interprets Scripture through mixed media, now through April 11, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays in BC's Art Gallery, first floor of Lansdell Hall.

 

March 26

Ceramic Art Workshop: Featuring artist Chris Lively, who will create and teach participants how to make wheel-thrown functional ceramics with porcelain, Thursday, March 26 from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Cox Visual Arts Center. 

 

April 1

Nora Lockett Memorial Appalachian Writing Contest: A writing contest for Bluefield College students and designed to pay tribute to the late Nora Lockett, a longtime BC librarian. Stories of 1,000 words or less with an Appalachian theme must be submitted to no later than Wednesday, April 1. Winning stories will be announced at Easley Library at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7 and read aloud during BC's Appalachian Festival, Saturday, April 11.

 

April 7, 8 and 10

Book Readings and Discussions: 1) Tuesday, April 7 at 7 p.m. in Easley Library, featuring readings from the works of Dr. Rob Merritt, author and BC professor of English; 2) Wednesday, April 8 at 11 a.m. in Easley Library, featuring the works of Linda Hudson Hoagland, a Tazewell County author who will also have her books available for purchase; and 3) Friday, April 10 at 10 a.m. in Easley Library, featuring the works of Kim Headlee, an author from Wytheville, Virginia.

 

April 7-11

Lecture Series: 1) "Appalachian Poetry" by Dr. Rob Merritt, professor of English at Bluefield College, Tuesday, April 7 at 3 p.m. in the Gerald E. Clay Curriculum Lab, lower level of Easley Library; 2) “Soft Drink Bottlers of Four Seasons Country” by Dr. Terry Mullins, professor of education at Concord University, Wednesday, April 8 at 2 p.m. in Lansdell 111; 3) “The Music of Appalachia" by Dr. Charles Priest, professor of music at Bluefield College, Thursday, April 9 at 4 p.m. in the Gerald E. Clay Curriculum Lab, lower level of Easley Library; 4) “Schoolin’ in the Hollers and Hills: How Appalachian Stereotypes Impact Learning" by Dr. Donna Watson, professor of education at Bluefield College, Friday, April 10 at 10 a.m. in Lansdell 111; 5) “Writing Appalachia Workshop” by Dr. Rob Merritt, professor of English at Bluefield College, Saturday, April 11 at 12:30 p.m., Easley Library; 6) “A History of Norfolk Southern Railway Development in the Southern Appalachian Coalfields” by Richard “Bud” Clapp of Pocahontas Land Corporation, Saturday, April 11 at 2 p.m., Science Center 100; 7) “The Untold Story of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency” by author John Velke, a descendent of William Gibbony Baldwin, who founded the Baldwin-Felts Detectives Agency, Saturday, April 11 at 2:30 p.m. in Science Center 100 and concluding with a tour of the former Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency in Bluefield, West Virginia, and 8) “The Bagpipe in Southern Appalachia” by Virginia State Trooper and Honor Guard member Gavin Scott at 3 p.m. in Science Center 100 and featuring a bagpipe performance.

 

April 9-12

Cotton Patch Gospel: Presented by Bluefield College Theatre, Thursday through Saturday, April 9-11 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 12 at 2 p.m. in Harman Chapel.

 

April 11

Appalachian Festival: Open to the community at-large and featuring local artists, crafters, musicians, cooks, authors, storytellers, outdoorsmen, and other vendors and talents, the Appalachian Festival will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the BC Quad on Saturday, April 11.

 

April 13-30

Spring Student Art Show: Featuring the works of Bluefield College students created during the spring semester and on display in BC's Art Gallery, first floor Lansdell Hall.

 

April 16

The Bluestone Review: The unveiling and debut reading of BC's 20th edition of The Bluestone Review, a literary magazine created by BC students and featuring the works of students, faculty, staff and local contributors, Thursday, April 16 at 7 p.m. in the Student Activities Center.

 

April 24

Blue Jeans and Bands: A casual concert featuring Bluefield College's Concert Band and Jazz Band, outside on the campus lawn with blankets and lawn chairs under the evening stars, 7:30 p.m.

 

For More Information

The following contacts are available for more details about the 2015 Celebration of Appalachia.

Celebration of Appalachia Coordinator Charles Priest: or 276.326.4234

Appalachian Festival Coordinator Debbie Price:  or 276.326.4203

Office of Public Relations Office: or 276.326.4212

Other:

 

 

 

 

 

Media Contact

Chris Shoemaker, Assistant Professor, Communication

276.326.4279