News & Events
Elaine Purkey Concert to Highlight Blue Ridge Old Time Music Week
Activist and traditional singer/songwriter Elaine Purkey will provide a free concert on Thursday evening June 9, at 8 pm in Broyhill Chapel on the campus of Mars Hill College. The concert is free to the public, but includes the opportunity to donate to coal miners in Lincoln County, WV, where Purkey lives.
Elaine Purkey has been involved with the activities of the United Mine Workers Association since the beginning of the Pittston Coal Strike in 1989. Many of her songs speak to that event, as well as the struggles, fears and frustrations of a coal miner’s life.
In 1993, she was documented by the Augusta Heritage Center in West Virginia as an Old Master of mountain vocals and dance.
The concert is one of the highlights of the 20th anniversary year of Blue Ridge Old-Time Music Week at Mars Hill College, to be held June 5 – 11. For 20 years, BROTMW has brought participants from all over the world for a week of workshops, classes, concerts, group singing and “jam sessions” with one goal: to celebrate the traditional music of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
In addition to the performance by Elaine Purkey, there will be free public performances by instructors and workshop participants each evening, June 6 – 10, at 8 pm in Belk Auditorium.
Blue Ridge Old Time Music Week embarks on its 20th anniversary year with a winning lineup of talented instructors from all over the United States, including Greg and Jere Canote from Washington State, Hilarie Burhans of Ohio, Curly Miller and Carole Anne Rose of Arkansas, and many more. A variety of learning venues, methods and contexts meet the needs of musical learners at all levels and interests.
It is fitting that the event takes place at Mars Hill College, according to Conferences and Events Coordinator Loretta Shelton, because the college is located in the “hub” of the region from which much of the music originated. In addition, one of the missions of the college is to help preserve the history and culture of the Blue Ridge area in which it is located.
Shelton said many people come year after year to Old-Time Music Week, so that the annual event takes on the feel of a family at homecoming. Yet, despite a core of dedicated enthusiasts, new musicians are always welcomed. “There are classes for all ages, and all ability levels, for people who have truly never picked up an instrument, and for people who are very advanced,” she said.
Many classes have already filled with dedicated return participants, but there is still time to register for many of the classes. Contact MHC Conferences and Events at 689-1167, or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on BROTMW, or Thursday’s Purkey Concert.