Allegheny Echoes

It’s time to start getting those fingers limber and work on those calluses. Break out the writing tablet and sharpen those pencils. Warm up those vocal cords. Sooner than you realize, the 19th Allegheny Echoes Summer Workshops will begin. Come join the 125-plus musicians, writers and singers for the week of June 21-26, 2015, at the Marlinton Motor Inn in the heart of Edray, WV, just minutes away from the picturesque town of Marlinton, the seat of Pocahontas Country. Good news. Tuition prices remain a very reasonable $400, with a $50 reduction for those registering before June 1. Those lucky enough to be West Virginia residents receive a further break of $25.

In addition to many popular returning instructors, several new folks join us this summer.

T.J. Lundy, of the famous Lundy family from Galax, Va., teaches bluegrass fiddle. He is a direct descendent of Galax fiddler Emmett Lundy (1864 to 1953) and was a member of The Hotmud Family, and has played music with Suzanne Edmundson, bluegrassDave Edmundson, Rick Good, Tom Harley Campbell, Tom McCreesh, Jerry Ray Weinert, Gary Hopkins, and Greg Dearth.

Robert Hale, from Jolo, WV, teaches bluegrass guitar. He is the son of Clayton Hale, a McDowell and Wyoming county businessman, a former delegate to the legislature, and a bluegrass bandleader and music promoter. During his younger years, Robert was exposed to some of the best of the bluegrass world, such as Ralph Stanley, Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, the Osborne Brothers, Ricky Skaggs, and Keith Whitley. Robert was a 9-year-old lad when he began playing the mandolin full time in his dad’s band. Two years later he played on stage at the Grand Ole Opry as a guest of Bill Monroe. His first professional band was with Don Wayne and Dale Reno. He then played with J.D. Crowe and the New South, Livewire, and Eddie and Martha Adcock before forming Wildfire with Curt Chapman in 2000. Robert also recorded with Dolly Parton on two projects, Halos and Horns and For God and Country. He is equally at home on mandolin, guitar, banjo or just about anything with strings, and plays a variety of styles.

Two instructors return this summer after taking a break last year.

Danny Arthur Danny Arthur of Barboursville, WV, comes back to teach intermediate fiddle. After years as the backup and lead guitar player and singer for the “Bing Brothers Band”, Danny developed into an outstanding old time fiddler. He has taught and performed at Appalshop, Augusta Heritage Workshops, the Vandalia Gathering, the Wheatland Music Festival, and in Ireland and Scotland.

Sherrell Wigal, a West Virginia native, returns to lead the creative writing program. An outstanding poet, she focuses primarily on poetry and very short fiction. She has been featured at numerous events throughout West Virginia and the Appalachian region, both as a performer of her original poetry and as a workshop leader. One of the founding members of Allegheny Echoes, Sherrell is dedicated to helping writers throughout the region establish their own voices in writing and to be confident, both in the creation and presentation of their work. Sherrell’s work has appeared in numerous literary journals throughout the United States and Canada.

A new face appears in the master’s program, too. Rob Merritt lives in Bluefield, WV, and is professor of English and dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Bluefield College in Virginia. He received a B.A. and M.A. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a PhD from the University of Kentucky. His most recent book of poems, The Language of Longing, chronicles a search for home across America and the world, including China. He has taught poetry in China and is writing about Appalachian writers who have adapted techniques and perspectives from the shan-shui wilderness poets of China to re-envision geography and isolation. He has published the book Early Music and the Aesthetics of Ezra Pound and his poems have appeared in a number of journals including Asheville Poetry Review and Kestrel, and two anthologies: Wild Sweet Notes II: An Anthology of West Virginia Poets and Coal: A Poetry Anthology. He has presented numerous workshops for such organizations as West Virginia Writers and The National Association for Poetry Therapy.

The vocal program is led once again by Patt Plunkett and Val Mindel. Patt first heard traditional music as played by her grandfather Carl Voorhees, an old-time fiddler from Western Illinois. A professional choral music director with a Masters degree in vocal performance, Patt also calls square dances and plays piano accompaniment for some of the finest fiddlers in the Midwest. Val is a versatile teacher, singer and instrumentalist (fiddle and mandolin). A longtime teacher at Chicago’s Old Town School for Folk Music (vocal harmony, early country repertory and fiddle classes) and a leader of Village Harmony, she leads adult harmony workshops around the country. She also has performed and led workshops in Hong Kong, Canada, Scotland and England. Val is a founding member of the San Francisco Bay Area string band Any Old Time. Pat and Val will provide a program based on traditional secular and gospel old-time songs, small ensemble work, harmony and improvement of singing technique.

Guitar jam

The complete list of the cast of characters, aka, the instructors and all course offerings can be found on this web site by clicking on the appropriate category above. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience a week of pure, rollicking pleasure. Stand, or participate, in a jam with Jake Krack and Eddie Bond as they personify hot fiddling. Listen to Pat Shields tell outlandish tales and hear him describe his “bear paw” method of playing the guitar and mandolin. Stand in line on wild game night and wait your turn to grab a plate of mouth-watering food. If you’re lucky, you may catch Pete Kosky giving one of his uproarious, late-night performances that send the listeners into uncontrollable fits of laughter. Dance the night away on Tuesday at the square dance. Never been on stage before? You’ll get your chance at the Thursday night student concert.

Come join our family.

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