Ginny Hawker, left, is presented the 2024 Vandalia Award during the opening night of the annual Vandalia Gathering at the Culture Center, Charleston, on May 24, 2024. (L to R) Ginny Hawker, Goldenseal Magazine Editor Laiken Blankenship, and West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History Cabinet Secretary Randall Reid-Smith. (Photograph by Stephen Brightwell, WVDACH.)

Ginny Hawker of Elkins presented with 2024 Vandalia Award 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Ginny Hawker, of Elkins, received the 2024 Vandalia Award at the Vandalia Gathering Friday evening concert on May 24, 2024. West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History Cabinet Secretary Randall Reid-Smith presented the award.

The Vandalia Award, West Virginia’s highest folklife honor, is presented each year during the annual Vandalia Gathering. The individuals who receive this award embody the spirit of our state’s folk heritage and are recognized for their lifetime contribution to West Virginia and its traditional culture.

Ginny has been a resident of West Virginia for over 30 years, residing in Gilmer County for many years, before making the move to Randolph County where she and her husband now reside. She is a talented vocalist that was brought up in the Primitive Baptist Church, mastering their unique unaccompanied vocal styling. She came to West Virginia searching out what remained of the Traditional music culture and has been here ever since. She has taught workshops and singing classes both in her home and around the state, nation, and globe, ensuring the tradition continues. The Vandalia Gathering is proud to call her one of its own, and even prouder to be able to present her with the state’s highest folklife honor.

The Vandalia Award proclamations presented to Ginny are below:

Whereas Ginny Hawker has carried on the traditions of Primitive Baptist singing learned from her father Ben Hawker and other family members, expressing in her singing the heartfelt and emotional vocal stylings of Appalachia; and

Whereas she has taught at music camps in the US, Canada, and the British Isles for over 25 years, as well as singing workshops in her home; and

Whereas she has been the coordinator of Classic Country Week for the Augusta Heritage Center since the program began in 2009, helping to teach and connect those with a similar love for country music, fostering a love for the dynamic and impactful music of Appalachia; and

Whereas she has traveled the world, performing traditional folk, bluegrass, and old-time music, sharing and passing on the music of our region; and

Whereas she served as President of the West Virginia State Folk Festival from 1995-2005 and continues to serve on the Board of Directors, helping to promote and preserve the remnants of pioneer life and culture of West Virginia in music, entertainment, education, and social and economic activities through the mission of the Festival;

Therefore I, by the authority vested in me to foster the preservation of West Virginia’s traditional culture, do present to

GINNY HAWKER, the Vandalia Award for the year 2024.

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