As part of the 2011-2012 Blue Mountain Performing Arts Series and Bluefield College’s yearlong symposium, “A Celebration of Appalachia,” the McKnight and Beyond Borders concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. in BC’s Harman Chapel.
In a show titled “Beyond Appalachian, Beyond Blues, Beyond Folk,” McKnight will offer his masterfully crafted songs and stories that touch on history, the environment, and life in rural Virginia. Drawing inspiration from legendary musicians like The Carter Family, Robert Johnson and Woody Guthrie, McKnight’s music will feature haunting blues, feisty anthems, rustic folk, and a bit of swing.
Since permanently leaving his corporate environmental engineering career in 1996, McKnight has become an award-winning folk and Americana artist. His between song banter is as much of his show as the music, with humorous anecdotes and a theatrical flair for storytelling. And, with songs and stories rooted in Appalachian history and culture, he is an ideal performer for Bluefield College’s “Celebration of Appalachia.”
Accompanying McKnight will be Beyond Borders, fronted by founding Nitty Gritty Dirt Band member Les Thompson. Comprised of an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar, an upright bass, drums, a banjo, and percussion, Beyond Borders brings energy, passion and personality to the stage to create a vast expanse of song and sound.
The band’s unique blend of contemporary themes with traditional sounds, as well as occasional eclectic combinations of banjo with electric guitar, is a wonderful one-of-a-kind experience. With genuine warmth with each other and their audiences, they are a true delight on and off stage.
In addition to the Saturday evening concert, McKnight and Beyond Borders will offer a music workshop, Saturday, November 19 at 1 p.m. in 103 Harman Chapel. Open and free to the public, the workshop will be a nurturing and inspiring environment for individual creativity and learning, as well as a hands-on opportunity to apply knowledge and skills.
Titled “From Seeds to Songs,” the Saturday afternoon workshop will specifically feature an interactive group writing session, led by the talented songwriters who make up McKnight and Beyond Borders. Participants of all ages will take part in demonstration and interactive exercises designed to develop a lyrical or musical idea into a finished musical structure.
As part of the Blue Mountain Performing Arts Series, Blue Mountain members will be admitted for free to the McKnight and Beyond Borders concert with a valid membership ID. General public tickets for the concert are $15 for adults and $10 for students. The workshop is open and free to all.
The McKnight and Beyond Borders visit to Bluefield College is also a part of the school’s “Celebration of Appalachia.” Designed to celebrate the history, culture, people and traditions of Appalachia, events in the yearlong symposium — including lectures, concerts, exhibits, discussions, movies, theatre, field trips, and other educational and entertaining activities — are open to the campus community and community at-large.
In addition to the McKnight concert and workshop, other symposium events include:
— “Opera Theatre: Scenes from Appalachia,” Friday, November 18, 7:30 p.m., Harman Chapel
— “An Appalachian Christmas,” presented by BC’s Masterworks Chorale, Thursday, December 1, 7:30 p.m., Harman Chapel
— “Appalachian News,” an art show presented by the Bluefield Daily Telegraph’s Bill Archer, December 9-February 16, BC Art Gallery, Lansdell Hall
— “African American Influences on Music of the Appalachian Region,” a concert by Bill Archer and Karl Miller, Thursday, January 26 at 7 p.m. in BC’s Quick Shott Café Coffeehouse, Shott Hall
For more information on the McKnight and Beyond Borders concert or workshop, please call the Bluefield College Department of Music at 276-326-4248. For additional details regarding events that are part of “A Celebration of Appalachia,” visit the symposium web page.