August 24, 2010
Celebrate the Labor Day weekend with the Museum in the Park at Chief Logan State Park at the sixth annual “Aunt Jennie’s Music Festival.” The celebration will include two outdoor concerts on Saturday, Sept. 4, from 4 - 9:30 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 5, from 1 - 6 p.m. The concerts will be held in the park’s Liz Spurlock Amphitheater, located about one-half mile from the museum.
Logan native Roger Bryant, a musician whose roots are in the old-time and folk music traditions, will serve as emcee. Bryant also will perform as part of the weekend’s festivities. He is the grandson of local folk legend Aunt Jennie Wilson, for whom the festival is named. His career has spanned more than 30 years and 30 states, and he has shared the stage with Tom T. Hall, Tammy Wynette, Kathy Mattea and Kris Kristofferson. Bryant achieved national attention in the late 1970s with his song “Stop the Flow of Coal” and has recorded four albums, the most recent of which is “On the Banks of the Old Guyan.”
The festival will include performances by many well-known regional favorites. Saturday’s concert will include Bryant, who will open the show; Glen Simpson, a folk musician from Hardy, Ky.; The Dick Taylor Band, a bluegrass group from Chapmanville; Elaine Purkey, known for her powerful voice and mountain singing and “The Friendly Neighbor Show” band from the weekly radio program on WVOW Radio in Logan; the Daddy Rabbit Band, a local pop band from Logan; and Jeff Ellis, a Huntington native who has released four albums including his latest, The Forgetting Place. Ellis has appeared on Mountain Stage, was a featured artist on National Public Radio, and recently was one of five co-winners in the 2008 Newsong international songwriting contest. He returned to his home in Chapmanville this year following completion of his final tour of duty in the Middle East with his Army Reserve Unit. The Sandy Cyfers Band, a country and rock band from Nashville, Tenn., who perform original and cover songs, will wrap up the Saturday program.
The Sunday afternoon concert will feature another Bryant set; The Earl of Elkview, George Daugherty, a trial lawyer who has traveled the world singing and talking about West Virginia; Retro and Smiling, a group of regional musicians who perform in tribute to Don Reno and Red Smiley, one of the most acclaimed bluegrass duos in the country in the 1950s and 60s; The Samples Brothers, an old-time music and bluegrass band from Duck; The Stewart Family, a gospel group from Clear Fork; Robert Shafer and the Pour House Crew, a country band based in the Charleston area; and The Street Players, a rock band hailing from Logan.
Refreshments and snacks will be available for purchase outside the amphitheater both days. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
Visitors also are welcome to come tour the Museum in the Park to see the current exhibits on display from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., on Saturday, and 1 - 6 p.m., on Sunday, including the newest, Pieces of Hope. This art installation was conceived by Betty Gay, Charleston artist and exhibits coordinator for the Division. The installation was created to memorialize the 29 men who lost their lives at the Upper Big Branch Mine at Montcoal, Raleigh County, on April 5.
The We Are Marshall exhibit displays items produced as props for the movie production and actually used in the film of the same name, including a cheerleader’s megaphone and uniform; license plates from West Virginia and North Carolina and a Boone’s Restaurant menu, among others. DeHue . . . A Special Place examines aspects of coal camp life including business and social life; and Practicing Medicine includes medical furnishings, equipment and supplies from the West Virginia State Museum’s collection. There also are two quilts made by the late Katie Barnette of Logan and a collection of historic photos of Logan and the surrounding area.
The Thorney Lieberman: Honoring America’s Coal Miners exhibit is also on display, featuring lifesize full-length photographs of coal miners by Thorney Lieberman of Charleston. The exhibit consists of 18 full-size portraits. Lieberman took between 30 to 40 photographs of each miner and put them in a grid, lifesize, on eight-inch by 10-inch film covering the entire person. He then made contact prints from the negatives and assembled them to create a full-size person. Most of these portraits were developed in black and white and mounted on 16 gauge hot rolled steel sheets. The final images are almost seven-feet tall.
Virginia Myrtle “Aunt Jennie” Wilson was born in 1900 in the “Doc” Ellis hollow of what is now Chief Logan State Park. She was one of the first women in the region to learn to play the banjo, and her music and storytelling made her internationally known for her preservation of Appalachian culture. Wilson died in 1992.
For more information about the festival, contact Elizabeth Williams, site manager at the Museum in the Park, at (304) 792-7229.
The Museum in the Park is a regional cultural center showcasing the best in West Virginia history and the arts. It features changing exhibits and displays of artwork and historical items from the collections of the West Virginia State Museum and the State Archives. One area of the museum is dedicated to local and regional history. It is operated and maintained by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and is located four miles north of Logan on West Virginia Route 10 at Chief Logan State Park. The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 - 6 p.m.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. Its administrative offices are located at the Culture Center in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, which also houses the state archives and state museum. The Culture Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. The agency also operates a network of museums and historic sites across the state. For more information about the Division’s programs, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.