D&E students showcasing talents

ELKINS – Davis & Elkins College students will share their talents in two presentations, the Appalachian Ensemble and Fine Arts Showcase, on Thursday. Both events are free and open to the public.

The college’s student music and dance performance group, Appalachian Ensemble, will take the stage at Boiler House Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Prior to the start of the performance, senior fine arts students will showcase their work in Myles Center for the Arts beginning at 6 p.m. Additional works by underclassmen will also be on display.

“Appalachian Ensemble will provide a vibrant show of traditional music and dance that will have your toes tapping and inspire you to pick up an instrument or dance,” says Becky Hill, who directs the group’s dance troupe.

Several new dances have been prepared for Appalachian Ensemble’s spring tour and showcase, including the Shim Sham, a classic piece of tap known throughout the world and choreographed by Leonard Reed and Willie Bryant. In addition, Davis & Elkins Dance Program Coordinator Emily Oleson choreographed Sean-ns, a non-competitive older style of Irish percussive dance that features Kaia Kater-Hurst, a sophomore from Toronto, Ontario, and Conner Berkey, a senior from Brandy Station, Va. Other dances students will perform in the showcase are clogging, waltz clog, body percussion and flatfooting.

In addition to Kater-Hurst and Berkey, members of the dance troupe are Ashley Stitely, a senior from Philippi; Millie Omps, a senior from Paw Paw; and Matthew Olwell, a sophomore from Elkins.

On the music side, the showcase will feature traditional songs and tunes from West Virginia, North Carolina and the wider Appalachian region, as well as two original compositions by Kater-Hurst. The song arrangements highlight the broad range of talents of the students in the string band, with driving fiddling, banjo, guitar, drumming and tight four-part harmony singing.

The band, under the direction of Emily Miller, includes Rebecca Wudarski, a sophomore from Davis, vocals and guitar; Kater-Hurst, vocals and banjo; Scotty Leach, a sophomore from Centralia, Wash., vocals and fiddle; and Olwell, vocals, percussion and flute.

“Appalachian Ensemble recently got back from a short tour starting with the Ramps & Rail Festival in Elkins, the Pocahontas County Opera House and Tamarack, and we are all very excited to present this show to the Elkins community,” Hill says. “We have several seniors graduating this year – Ashley Stitley, Conner Berkey and Millie Omps – and this show will be the last hurray for them.”

Graduating seniors majoring in art will feature their work in a show from 6-10 p.m., allowing visitors to view projects in the Art Department before and after the Appalachian Ensemble performance.

The following week, on May 13 and May 14, the Ceramics Studio in Myles Center for the Arts will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the Spring Pottery Sale. The annual event features affordable, one-of-a-kind, handmade pottery created by students and faculty.

Davis & Elkins College concludes its spring semester with Commencement weekend, May 16 and 17.

For more information, please visit the D&E website at www.dewv.edu or call 304-637-1243.