ELKINS – The Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College (AHC) was honored in August 2020 with a nomination for “Event of the Year” from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA). The nomination is for AHC’s Bluegrass Week 2019, which included classes, concerts, cultural sessions, dances and jam sessions with renowned bluegrass musicians from around the country.
AHC’s Bluegrass Week is an instructional program which has been held at D&E every summer since 1984. In addition to offering classes in all the bluegrass instruments, plus vocals and songwriting, the program is a week of total immersion, including jamming, concerts, dances and camaraderie. Bluegrass Week attracts students of all ages and skill levels from across the United States and several foreign countries. The instructors are chosen for their teaching ability and their stature within the bluegrass world.
Among the week's special presentations in 2019 were a discussion of bluegrass singing led by Dede Wyland, Greg Blake, Steve Gulley and Joe Newberry; and Artist-in-Residence and GRAMMY nominee Kimber Ludiker’s talk about her experiences as a “musical ambassador” performing around the world with her band, Della Mae. Other noteworthy events of the week included a Thursday night staff concert, open to the general public and featuring all the instructors, and a Friday afternoon student showcase.
As in previous years, Bluegrass Week 2019 saw a notable presence of younger pickers, including a large group from Lewis County High School, who attended with support from the Augusta Scholarship program as well as from their school.
This nomination came on the heels of an Augusta summer like no other. The year 2020 has required great flexibility from leaders in every industry and the arts is no exception. AHC shifted its entire summer season to an online format, featuring video lessons from musicians in a wide array of genres, including 30 bluegrass lessons in fiddle, banjo, mandolin, guitar, vocals, Dobro and songwriting. In addition, AHC presented 15 real-time online bluegrass events which allowed students to interact with the instructors.
The IBMA Award winners will be announced at the virtual awards show on October 1 at 8 p.m. EDT. More information can be found at www.ibma.org.