FAIRMONT — Looking for something different to do this weekend?
Come listen to some blues. Listen to some stories.
The West Virginia Blues Society is holding a “Blues Night Out” Saturday at Christopher’s Banquet & Conference Center, 104 Van Kirk Drive, Fairmont.
“They have something here twice a year,” said Butch Tennant, owner of Christopher’s.
“Last year we had a tribute to Muddy Waters.”
Buffet begins at 6 pm. followed by featured artist Johnny Rawls at 9 p.m.
The Mississippi native began playing professionally while still in high school with such stars as ZZ Hill, Little Johnny Taylor, Joe Tex and the Sweet Inspirations. In the mid-70’s, he went to work for OV Wright as Wright’s band director. After Wright’s death in 1980, Rawls led Little Johnny Taylor’s band until 1985, when he began touring as a solo artist and made his first solo recording under the Rainbow label.
Rawls is accomplished in producing, songwriting, horn arranging, rhythm, lead and bass guitar, keyboard, vocals and background vocals. He started his own record company, Deep South Soul, in 2002. His 2006 CD, “Heart and Soul,” was nominated for “Best Soul Blues Album of the Year (2007)” by the Blues Foundation.
He’s been nominated four times for the W.C. Handy Award. His most recent award came from the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame for RB Male Vocalist of the Year 2006.
Rawls has performed at the Chicago Blues Festival twice, The Russian River Blues Festival, The King Biscuit Blues Festival, The Portland Waterfront Blues Festival, Poconos, as well as festivals in Sweden and Poland. He tours constantly, playing well over 200 dates a year.
Still want more?
Go on over to Fairmont State Friday and Saturday for some fine storytelling.
FSU, FSU’s Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center and the West Virginia Storytelling Guild present the Mountain State Storytelling Institute Friday and Saturday at the Falcon Center. “Creating the Tapestry of Culture: Weaving Stories for a Lifetime” is this year’s theme.
The Institute is a two-day conference featuring scholars and storytelling professionals. The intent is to provide academic, professional and personal development of those interested in storytelling as scholarship, art, a teaching tool and a profession. Workshops will feature members of the West Virginia Storytelling Guild, Fairmont State University and West Virginia University faculty, and FSU students.
Potential session topics include the following: oral history collection, incorporation of sound effects into story, “The Story Box Project,” the use of technology in storytelling and story collection, preserving family stories, the use of folk literature in storytelling, storytelling in the classroom, the creation of historical storytelling, storytelling techniques, storytelling in writing and multicultural stories.
A storytelling presentation will take place Friday from 7-7:30 p.m. at the Wallman Hall Theatre. It is free and open to the public, said Francene Kirk, FSU associate professor of speech.
The storytelling begins at 7:30 p.m. with keynote scholar Kevin Cordi, storyteller in residence at Ohio State University. His story work has been commissioned by the National Youth Storytelling Hall of Fame, Newsweek and The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. As a story teacher, he is considered one of the nation’s primary advocates for youth storytelling
Keynote speaker will be Connie Regan-Blake, “the premier female storyteller in the United States,” Kirk said. She has been featured on five audio and two videos produced by PBS and has performed at the nation’s top folk music and storytelling festivals, including the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C.
“She tells folk tales, children’s tales, personal tales. She’s a performer,” Kirk said.
“A lot of people use storytelling in their work. Teachers and ministers very often tell stories to make a point without beating their audience over the head. Storytelling is the passing down of culture from one generation to the next. Dad talking about his parents. It’s a transition of culture.”
Workshops on using current technology to preserve history, culture and storytelling will also be presented, she said.
At 1 p.m. Saturday, the Mountain State Storytelling Institute will feature “Potluck,” a theatrical “feast of stories, poems and songs about food and the community.”
Admission is $5 for the general public. Tickets will be available at the door. The Potluck performance is sponsored by the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.
Potluck creators and performers Karen Vuranch, Julie Adams and Colleen Anderson are well-known throughout the state. Vuranch has toured the state telling stories and performing her one-woman shows, “Coal Camp Memories” and “Homefront.” She also portrays Pearl S. Buck and Mother Jones.
Singer-songwriter Julie Adams is the featured vocalist on “Mountain Stage” and has performed with Kathy Mattea, Sarah McLachlan and others. Colleen Anderson is a noted writer who work has been published in Redbook and Arts and Letters. Her essays are featured on West Virginia Public Radio.
For those attending the Mountain State Storytelling Institute, the performance cost is included in the registration fee. Vuranch, Anderson and Adams will also present workshops for the Storytelling Institute.
“Our culture takes storytelling for tranted,” Kirk said, “It’s a natural part of Appalachian life. As technology takes on so much a part of our lives, we fail to recognize the importance of oral transmission of information.
“Storytelling provides lessons and entertainment ... and cultural elements. Our identity is based on stories. From our grandparents and parents, we learn what’s important. Where did we come from?”
Eileen Evans will talk about creating historial characters and will do a presentation as Coralei Franklin Cook, a suffragette who had taught at Storer College in Harpers Ferry.
A workshop will also be given on collecting oral history and “really listening to people. That’s a gift you can give. People don’t feel listened to anymore.
“These are solo performers,” she said of the presenters. “Each brings his or her own specific talents. If you like theatre or reading or stand-up comedy, you will like storytelling.
“Sometimes people think of storytelling as a children’s activity, but if you go to the national storytelling festival, you will recognize this is an entertainment and educational opportunity for adults.”
This project is being presented with financial assistance from The West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Registration for the entire institute is $50 for the public and $35 for students. Participation is limited to 100. For more information or to register, contact Susan Bailey at (304) 347-4203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
E-mail Debra Minor Wilson at email@example.com.
FAIRMONT — Looking for something different to do this weekend?
Tea with a Twist and More Saturday
On Saturday, the GFWC Woman’s Club of Fairmont will be hosting a Tea with a Twist and More during which guests will have an opportunity to tour the Thomas and Annie Fleming Mansion as well as view various exhibits and pieces of artwork.
Christmas in Our Town holiday tradition
On Saturday, Barrackville residents will celebrate the 11th annual Christmas in Our Town event.
DeEtta Hayes, chairman of the Christmas in Our Town committee, said that several people within the community have worked hard to organize the event, which has become a tradition for many.
Oldies Dance, ‘Taste’ to benefit United Way
Hit the dance floor for an evening of music and giving at the United Way of Marion County fifth annual Oldies Dance and Taste of Marion County on Friday, Dec. 6, at Fairmont Elks Lodge No. 294.
Holiday Historic Homes Tour on Nov. 30 features nine sites
Structures that tell the story of Fairmont’s rich history will be on display from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30 during the annual Holiday Historic Homes Tour.
This is the 20th year for the tour, which was named the 2012 Event of the Year by the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Marion County.
‘Rocket Boys the Musical’ set at FSU
The Fairmont State University School of Fine Arts is bringing the story of West Virginia native Homer Hickam to life through its musical performance of “Rocket Boys.”
Director Troy Snyder said this is the first time “Rocket Boys the Musical” will be performed by a college or university.
‘Freedom Tower’ premiere tonight
The curtains will open at 8 p.m. today at the Monongalia Arts Center in Morgantown for the world premiere of Sam Graber’s “Freedom Tower,” a play that focuses on the effects that the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks continue to have on our country more than 12 years later.
Debut concert Sunday at folklife center
The Monongahela Chamber Winds ensemble will have its debut concert at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center on the campus of Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College.
Harvest festival, antique fair this weekend at Pricketts Fort
It’s the time of year for the Pricketts Fort Memorial Foundation to host the annual harvest festival and antique fair.
‘Simpsons’ creator finds funny in cancer fight
Since word got out about Sam Simon’s cancer, this co-creator of “The Simpsons” and fervent philanthropist has heard from many people online asking to help rid him of his sizable wealth.
DreamMore Resort coming to Dollywood
To see the future of Dollywood, you need to borrow the vision of its chief imaginer, Dolly Parton.
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