Bluefield University in the News


by | Apr 3, 2018

Bluefield College will host its annual Celebration of Appalachia, April 12-15, featuring the traditional daylong Appalachian Festival, Saturday, April 14. 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 take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 14 in BC’s campus quad.

The musical entertainment for the Appalachian Festival will run all day and will include champion multi-instrumentalist and award-winning fiddler Ron Mullenex, the Butcher Family Band, and the Bland County Junior Appalachian Musicians.

Mullennex, a West Virginia native, will perform a variety of old time music on 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.

The Butcher Family Band will bring gospel and old time music to the festival. The band 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.

The Bland County Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) will feature kids in grades 4-8 on fiddle, clawhammer banjo, and guitar. The JAM Band will play old time, bluegrass and Irish music. Other musicians scheduled throughout the day include Paul Catron, Lanny Lindamood, Steve Kruger, Rory Mullennex, and bagpiper Gavin Scott of the Virginia State Police Honor Guard. While enjoying the music of the Appalachian Festival, participants will also be invited to take part in square dancing sessions, led by caller Lou Mairui.

Dozens of vendors are expected to join the variety of musicians and performers at the Appalachian Festival selling baked goods, jellies, doughnuts, kettle corn, greeting cards, art, candles, soaps, lotions, jewelry, bags, scarves, wreaths, quilts, origami, crochet, crafts, woodwork and other homemade and handmade goods. Local authors from Appalachia or who’ve written books about Appalachia will also be on hand.

Winners of the Fourth Annual Nora Lockett Memorial Appalachian Writing Contest will also be announced during the Appalachian Festival. Winners will also be invited to read their works on stage during the festival. The writing contest is tribute to the late Nora Lockett, a McDowell County native, coal and Appalachia historian, Bluefield College alumna, and longtime BC director of library services.

In addition to the daylong Appalachian Festival on April 14, BC’s Celebration of Appalachia, extending from April 12-15 and officially titled Celebrating Appalachian Heritage and Coal Culture, will also include a concert and a theatrical production. The concert will be Thursday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m. and will feature The Shuffle, an Americana Band made up of local musicians who perform blends of gospel, folk, country and rock. The concert will take place in BC’s Student Activities Center in Shott Hall and is open and free to the public.

The final piece of Bluefield College’s Celebration of Appalachian Heritage and Coal Culture will be a presentation of The Wizard of Oz by BC Theatre and Bluefield Youth Theatre at Bluefield College. Local youth will join BC theatre students on stage for the beloved family classic, Thursday through Saturday, April 12-14, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 15 at 3 p.m. in BC’s Harman Chapel Auditorium. Admission for each performance will be $10 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens. Members of the BC family will be admitted for free.

Established in the fall of 2011, Bluefield College’s annual Celebration of Appalachia began as a series of 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 celebrate the history, culture, people and traditions of Appalachia with music, art, crafts, cuisine, literature and discourse. Acknowledging the importance of coal to the region, the event became A Celebration of Appalachian Heritage and Coal Culture in the spring of 2017. All events are open to the community and are free unless otherwise noted.

For more information, visit, email [email protected], or call 276-326-4212. Vendors who haven’t, but would still like to register to be a part of the Appalachian Festival may do so online by visiting the BC web site at Prospective vendors may also email the college for a registration form at [email protected].




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