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Augusta offers new concert series

Submitted photo The Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College opens its Summer Concert Series on July 24. Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. each Tuesday in Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium and each Thursday outdoors on Claude King Davis Memorial Plaza.

ELKINS — Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College is launching a new concert series – with some performances in an outdoor venue — in celebration of its 45th summer season. Evening concerts will be presented each Tuesday and Thursday, July 24 through Aug. 9, and will conclude with Mountain Stage Aug. 11.

Thursday concerts will be performed outside on Claude King Davis Memorial Plaza with festival-style seating. Concert goers should bring a lawn chair for the plaza or a blanket for the hill. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium will serve as a rain location.

“For 45 years the Augusta Heritage Center has created magical moments on the campus of Davis & Elkins College,” said D&E Vice President for Student Affairs Scott Goddard. “For some it might be the energy and atmosphere in The Icehouse for the annual Cajun Jam, for others it might be dancing with a new friend in the Augusta Dance Pavilion, or it might be that main stage performance from an instructor who takes everyone’s breath away. The sincere hope is to create magical moments on the Plaza this year with the Thursday night concerts.

“Summer in Elkins is beautiful, in the evening the heat of the day subsides, the stars and the moon light up the night sky. Add to that the best musicians in their respective genres and the stage is set – literally — for a wonderful evening. The natural amphitheater that is created with the hill below Moyer Hall is a great vantage point. I hope to see you on the hill,” Goddard said.

The weekly craft showcase will also take place each Thursday from 6-7:15 p.m. in Myles Center for the Arts featuring exhibits and demonstrations by the craft classes and Folk Arts for Kids classes.

The Tuesday night concerts in Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium will be recorded for the Augusta Archive and presented as a live recording session documenting the talented workshop leaders, musicians and master artists from each week. The recordings will be archived in the Augusta Collection of Folk Culture housed in The Stirrup Gallery on the D&E campus.

“We hope this change will both document the legacy of the Augusta program and provide a fun, family friendly event outside for both locals and participants,” said Becky Hill, event coordinator for Augusta Heritage Center.

Concerts will feature the talents of master artists from around the country who specialize in traditional American music and dance. All begin at 7:30 p.m. and doors/gate open at 7 p.m. Optimal parking is available in The McDonnell Center parking lot.

“We have truly amazing musicians who coordinate each week. They have gathered an outstanding lineup of musicians to teach at Augusta this summer – and this means two great concerts each week,” said Augusta Heritage Center Director Beth King. “From Cajun, classic country and bluegrass to blues & swing and old-time — each concert gives a rare opportunity to see world-renowned musicians together on one stage, right here in our own community.”

Each evening, The Stirrup Gallery will be open until the concert begins, and the silent auction benefiting the Augusta Heritage Center scholarship program will run through intermission. Both are located inside Myles Center for the Arts.

Concert themes are: Blues & Swing and Old-Time Week — Tuesday, July 24 and Thursday, July 26; Cajun & Creole and Classic Country Week — Tuesday, July 31 and Thursday, Aug. 2; and Bluegrass and Vocal Week — Tuesday, Aug. 7 and Thursday, Aug. 9.

Augusta’s 45th summer season will wrap up with a Mountain Stage Concert at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 11 in Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium. The live performance features special guest host Bil Lepp, country music legend Kathy Mattea, award winning bluegrass group Darin & Brooke Aldridge, West Virginia-based honky tonk group Blue Yonder, old-time multi-instrumentalist Joe Newberry and other special guests. Heard weekly on NPR stations across the country, Mountain Stage is produced by West Virginia Public Broadcasting and is celebrating its 35th year on the air. The concert will be recorded live and broadcast at a later date on the internationally syndicated radio program.

All tickets may be purchased by calling 304-637-1209, online at www.augustaheritagecenter.org or at the D&E Box Office in the Myles Center for the Arts on the night of the show. Dances will take place after several of the concerts in the open-air pavilion. Admission is included with the purchase of a concert ticket or can be purchased separately.

To learn more about the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College summer sessions and public events, visit augustaheritagecenter.org or call 304-637-1209.

Programs offered by the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College are presented with financial support from the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture, and History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts, and the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Local support is provided by the Randolph County Commission.

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