Fairmont State University’s Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center will host a Spring Celebration on Thursday, April 28 at 7 p.m. The event will begin with a short concert by the Kennedy Barn String Band, followed by an awards ceremony and concluding with a brief introduction to the Trunk of Traditional Tunes Museum Exhibit.
The Kennedy Barn String Band is a homegrown, old-time music group, established to promote folk music traditions. The group was originated by founding members Dr. Michael, Joanie Schroering and Tom Manuel, with George Yost, Steve Smigocki, George Reynolds and Susie Jones to join soon after.
The group of musicians began rehearsing at the Folklife Center upon its opening. The band’s namesake was derived from the Folklife Center’s history, housed in a renovated barn originally built by the Kennedy family in the early 1900s. Current band members include Tom Manuel, Brian Conaway, Susie Jones, Steve Smigocki, George Reynolds, Robert Lackey, Jamie Greene and Jimmy Robbins.
During the award ceremony portion of the event, community members will be honored with the 2022 Traditions Solute and Folklife Center Achievement for Preservation Awards.
D.D. Meighen will be awarded the Traditions Salute Award, acknowledging his lifelong efforts to document life in north central West Virginia through his work with TV-19, a local cable access channel. Meighen has donated his collections of interviews, local programs and documentary videos to the Folklife Center.
Porter Stiles will be awarded the Folklife Center Achievement Award for Preservation to acknowledge his efforts to preserve local history through material culture. Stiles is an educator, collector and Civil War enthusiast. His Civil War collection has been displayed in the Folklife Center for two years.
To conclude the celebration, Dr. Marian Hollinger, adjunct professor of museum studies, will introduce the Trunk of Traditional Tunes Museum Exhibit displayed in the Ruth Ann Musick Folk Gallery. Students in the museum studies program created the display, featuring photos and music of many West Virginia traditional musicians. These efforts were supported by the West Virginia Humanities Council through a CARES Act Relief Grant and the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins.
“This region has a rich cultural and historical heritage, and it’s vital that this heritage be preserved for future generations,” said Fairmont State University President, Mirta M. Martin. “I’m so thrilled we can honor the community members that have chronicled West Virginia’s musical, historical and cultural traditions. And the evening will be made even sweeter with music and an overview of the Trunk of Traditional Tunes Museum Exhibit, created by students in our museum studies program. I urge everyone in our community to attend, and support this region’s proud traditions.”
The Spring Celebration event is free and open for public attendance, with refreshments to be served to those attending. For more information or to RSVP, contact 304-367-4403.
The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center is located in a restored historic barn on the campus of Fairmont State University, housing academic programs in museum and folklife studies. The Center is the home of the Ruth Ann Musick Folklore Archive and the Patty Looman Traditional Music Archive. Its gallery exhibits and events are open to the public, and its archives are available to students, faculty and researchers. The Center’s mission is to preserve and perpetuate West Virginia’s rich cultural heritage.