Fairmont State’s Folklife Center to host ballad-singing demo

FAIRMONT — Ginny Hawker will demonstrate and discuss traditional ballad singing at the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center at Fairmont State University on Sunday, October 17 at 2 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, sponsored by the West Virginia Humanities through a CARES Act grant.

“Fairmont State is thrilled to host Ginny Hawker,” said Fairmont State University President, Mirta M. Martin. “As a center of culture for our region and the state, we strive to create programming that is entertaining and deeply rooted in the region’s cultural heritage. I urge everyone to attend this event and experience a storytelling tradition that sings to us from decades past.”

A ballad is a song in verse that often tells a story, in which many popular Appalachian ballads were brought to the United States from the British Isles. Typically, ballads are sung without accompaniment and handed down orally from generation to generation.

Hawker has been teaching southern, rural American singing at music camps and colleges for 30 years across the US, Canada, Ireland and Scotland. Along the way she has demonstrated the music of her large, musical family from southern Virginia, often introducing students and staff to the ballads and harmony style of the American southeast that has spread across geographic and cultural differences.

Students find her teaching style warm and welcoming. The lecture demonstration will be informative and challenging, without being overwhelming. Hawker will be joined by her student and friend, Mary Linscheid, from Morgantown. Linscheid is a singer and fiddler who studies at West Virginia University.

Hawker’s presentation will be recorded and added to the “Trunk of Traditional Tunes,” an online curriculum intended to teach students and the community about traditional West Virginia and Appalachian music. To RSVP for the lecture demonstration, contact 304-367-4403.

The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center is in a historic barn on the campus of Fairmont State University. The Center’s mission is to preserve and perpetuate West Virginia’s rich cultural heritage.

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