West Virginia Folklife Center continues a Trunk of Traditional Tunes series

Fairmont State University’s Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center will continue the Trunk of Traditional Tunes series highlighting traditional music and musicians.

Musician and folklorist, Jerry Milnes, will address West Virginia fiddlers, fiddle tunes and fiddle traditions on Sunday, January 23, at 2 p.m. at the Folklife Center. Milnes is the former folk-art coordinator of the Augusta Heritage Center at Davis and Elkins College and a recipient of the Vandalia Award, West Virginia’s highest folklife honor.

David Bing will present traditions from West Virginia musicians and family bands on Sunday, February 6, at 2 p.m. Bing, a fiddler and fiddle maker, is the recipient of the Folklife Center’s Traditions Award for his lifelong efforts to preserve and perpetuate West Virginia’s rich cultural heritage. 

David O’Dell will discuss the history of the West Virginia State Folk Festival and the many talented folk musicians who have added their sounds to the festival culture on Sunday, February 20, at 2 p.m. O’Dell is a professor of chemistry at Glenville State College.

On Sunday, March 6, at 2 p.m., National Endowment for the Humanities Heritage Fellow, John Morris, will discuss Clay County music and musicians. Morris plays the fiddle and banjo.

Children’s author, Sarah Sullivan, will discuss her book, Passing the Music Down, onSunday, March 13, at 2 p.m. Her story is about a young boy and his fiddle teacher, based on the story of Braxton County fiddler, Melvin Wine.

Folklorist, Emily Hilliard, will speak about folklore collection and traditional music on Wednesday, March 16, at 7 p.m. Hilliard is the program officer for folk and traditional arts at Mid Atlantic Arts. She is the former West Virginia state folklorist and the founding director of the West Virginia Folklife Program at the West Virginia Humanities Council.

The Trunk of Traditional Tunes series is supported by the West Virginia Humanities Council through the American Rescue Plan. Each presentation throughout the series will be recorded to be used as part of an online curriculum that will be available to schools and community organizations.

The events are open for free in-person public attendance at the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center. Audiences are limited and participants are required to follow the University’s health and safety protocols at all times, including the wearing of a mask. Each event will also be livestreamed on the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center’s Facebook page.

“West Virginia has a deep and rich cultural heritage,” said Fairmont State University President, Mirta M. Martin. “These musical traditions have been shaped by the unique experiences of this region’s people – good times and bad, love and loss, pain and joy. Fairmont State’s mission includes providing access to education to anyone who seeks it. Through The Trunk of Traditional Tunes online project, we can uphold that mission and help keep those amazing cultural traditions alive for generations to come.”

The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center is in a restored historic barn on the campus of Fairmont State University. The Center’s mission is to preserve and perpetuate West Virginia’s cultural heritage. For additional information, contact 304-367-4403.

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