Bluefield University in the News

APPALACHIAN FESTIVAL MOVED TO DOME

by | Apr 5, 2016

Bluefield College will host its traditional daylong Appalachian Festival, Saturday, April 9, but with the forecast for cold and possibly snowy weather, the event has been moved from outside on the campus quad to inside the Dome Gymnasium.
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FIDDLER RON MULLENNEX WILL BE AMONG THE FEATURED MUSICIANS AT BC’S APPALACHIAN FESTIVAL, APRIL 9.

 

THE BLAND COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL OLD-TIME STRING BAND WILL PERFORM DURING BC’S APPALACHIAN FESTIVAL.

 

 
 
 
 
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Open and free to the community at-large and featuring local musicians, artists, crafters, cooks, authors, storytellers, and other vendors and talents, the Appalachian Festival will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 9 in BC’s Dome Gymnasium. Dozens of vendors are expected to join a variety of musicians and performers as the featured attractions for this year’s family day of fun.

 

The musical entertainment will run all day and will feature Ron Mullennex, the Bland County High School Old-time String Band, The Butcher Family Band, Will Workman, and Bob Boozer.

 

Mullennex, a West Virginia native, will perform a variety of old time music on banjo. A champion multi-instrumentalist and award-winning fiddler, Mullennex plays banjo, mandolin, fiddle and guitar. He began playing traditional music at age 14 and has performed at concerts and festivals throughout the Appalachian region and eastern United States. He has also instructed classes and taught workshops in traditional “clawhammer” style banjo.

 

The Bland County High School Old-time String Band is comprised of students studying string music at Bland High, but according to the band members, they’re learning more than music in their classes; they’re learning about the history, traditions and culture of Appalachia. Their show for the BC Appalachian Festival will include old time, bluegrass and Irish music.

 

The Butcher Family Band will bring gospel and old time music to the festival. The band, which released its first CD in October 2015, features father Charlie “Rocky” Butcher, Jr., who sings and plays guitar and other instruments; eldest son Matthew, who plays the bass fiddle and sings bass; daughter Anna, who sings soprano; son David, who sings tenor and plays fiddle; and daughter Emily, who sings alto and plays fiddle and mandolin.

 

“We are about as unoriginal as you can get,” said Emily Butcher. “We are just a little family band that has kind of evolved through the years. We are not professionals, nor do we claim to be. We just have a lot of fun playing music and enjoy making people happy with it. We love God and hope that someone receives a blessing from our music.”

 

Workman, a singer and songwriter appearing for the third straight year at BC’s Appalachian Festival, writes and performs songs “to tell a story.” A former Bluefield College student, Workman said his songwriting “isn’t about getting a particular sound; it’s about pouring (his) heart out and seeing what happens.” Boozer, a professor of psychology at Bluefield College, who also plays the guitar and sings, will perform a variety of bluegrass, country, folk, and even classic rock for the Appalachian Festival.

 

Added entertainment for the Appalachian Festival will be writer and musician Kirk Judd, a native West Virginian, who will offer a performance combining creative writing and old time music. Internationally known for his artistic combination performance work, Judd has presented poetry in Ireland and across West Virginia at fairs, concerts and festivals for the past 35 years.

 

A native West Virginian who has lived, worked, trout fished and wandered around West Virginia all his life, Judd is a founding member and creative writing instructor for Allegheny Echoes, which is dedicated to the support and preservation of West Virginia’s cultural heritage arts. He is also editor of the acclaimed anthology “Wild, Sweet Notes” and the author of three collections of poetry, “Field of Vision,” “Tao-Billy,” and “My People Was Music.” In addition, he is a past member of the Appalachian Literary League and a founding member and former president of West Virginia Writers.

 

Dozens of local vendors and artisans will also be on hand all day for the Appalachian Festival, including (as of March 31) Harley and Peggy Bailey with woodwork and jewelry; Blue Mountain Apothecary with soaps, lotions and handcrafted items; Breanna Buterakos with handmade greeting cards; the Bluefield College Art Club with ceramics, paintings and drawings; Charming Creations with handmade candles, soaps and hair accessories; Creations by Misty with handmade necklaces; Dan and Maria Dronsick with soaps, lotions and jellies; Friends by the Way with handcrafted jewelry and reclaimed treasures; Heartbeat of Virginia with handmade Native American jewelry and dolls; Carolyn Monk with handmade greeting cards and handbags; Origami Owl with charms, necklaces, lockets, earrings and bracelets; Patchwork Quilters with quilts and crafts; Patti’s Beads with handmade jewelry; Quilts by Sally; Short Mountain Woodworks with woodwork and accessories; Thirty Three Acre Farms with jams, jellies, salsa, soaps and candles; Unique Floral Shop and Perfectly Posh with primitive crafts, floral arrangements, soaps and lotions; and Woodcarver’s Cabin.

 

Food vendors expected include Alan’s Alligators with its famous pepperoni rolls, Appalachy Kettle Corn, Country Craft Guild with baked goods, Funnel Cakes and More, Gotta Bee Gluten Free with gluten free baked goods, Silver Saints from the First Church of God in Princeton with baked goods, and Unique Treats with baked goods.

 

Local authors who will offer book sales include Adda Leah Davis from Golden Harvest Creations, Belinda Dickerson with her books on faith, Kim Headlee from Pendragon Cove Press, and Sam Varney with books on mountain history. Among the other vendors registered for the event: the Bluefield College Fine Arts Community School, the Bland County Mountain Home History Center, Project Graduation for Bluefield High School, and Sons of Italy.

 

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. Prospective vendors may also email the college for a registration form at [email protected].

 

Sponsored this year by the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Kiss FM and Willie FM, the festival will also include lectures and discussions led by local historians and writers, including Samantha Perry, editor of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, who will present “A Child of Appalachia;” Dr. Terry Mullins, professor of education at Concord University and Appalachian studies historian and author, who will discuss “The Tazewell Trolley;” Bill Archer, retired journalist, author and local historian; and John Velke, a descendent of William Gibbony Baldwin, who founded the notorious Baldwin-Felts Detectives Agency, which played a key role in the mining labor disputes in the Pocahontas Coal Field region in the early 1900s. Archer and Velke will present “Horrible Crimes of Appalachia,” which will conclude with a tour of the former Baldwin-Felts Detectives Agency home in Bluefield, West Virginia.

 

Bluefield College launched its annual Celebration of Appalachia in the fall of 2011, featuring lectures, concerts, exhibits, discussions, movies, theatre, tours, festivals, and other educational and entertaining activities designed to honor the Appalachian heritage. The marquee event, the Appalachian Festival, began in the spring of 2012 to further honor the history, culture, people and traditions of Appalachia with music, art, crafts, cuisine, literature and discourse. For more information about the April Celebration of Appalachia or the Appalachian Festival, visit www.bluefield.edu/appalachia, email [email protected], or call 276-326-4212.

FULL SCHEDULE: DOME GYMNASIUM

10:00 to 4:00…………………………………………. Vendor Sales and Exhibits

10:00…………………………………………………………. President’s Welcome

10:00……………….. The Tazewell Trolley, presentation by Dr. Terry Mullins

10:15………………………… Bland County High School Old-time String Band

10:45………………………………………………………….. Ron Mullenex, banjo

11:30…………………………………………………………. Justin Clay, dulcimer

12:15…………………………………………………….. Bob Boozer, guitar/vocal

12:30………………………………………………….. Will Workman, guitar/vocal

1:00…………………. A Child of Appalachia, presentation by Samantha Perry

1:30………………………. Kirk Judd, creative writing and music performance

1:45……………………………………………………… The Butcher Family Band

2:00…….. Crimes of Appalachia, presentation by John Velke and Bill Archer

2:30……………………………………….. Appalachian Writing Contest Winners

2:45………………………………………………………. The Butcher Family Band

3:00…………………………… Tour of former Baldwin-Felts Detectives Agency

3:30……………………….. Kirk Judd, creative writing and music performance

4:00…………………………………………………………………………….. Closing

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