The West Virginia Division of Culture and History will debut its new Collegiate Series featuring the West Virginia University Steel Drum Ensemble on Monday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m., in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater at the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. The series will consist of performances and lectures by students and faculty from West Virginia University and Marshall University. First Lady Gayle Manchin will host the program. The Collegiate Series is free and open to the public.
The West Virginia University Steel Drum Ensemble has flourished into one of the most respected performing groups at the school. Performing on steel pans crafted by Ellie Mannette, West Virginia’s own steel drum builder and tuner, the ensemble performs a diverse repertory of musical styles from authentic calypso rhythms to classical. The group performs throughout West Virginia and the surrounding region. Notable appearances include performances at three Percussive Arts Society’s International Conferences, at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium State in Washington, D.C. and at the Panorama Caribbean Music Fest at Virginia Beach, Va.
Mannette, internationally known as the “Father of the Modern Steel Drum Instrument,” moved to Morgantown in 1992 as an artist-in-residence at WVU’s Creative Arts Center. He made his first instrument from a 55-gallon oil container in 1946. Mannette was recognized with a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Award in 1999, inducted into the Percussive Arts Society’s Hall of Fame in 2004 and received numerous citations from the National Association for Music Education, the Contemporary Art Gallery and the Smithsonian Institution.
For more information about the West Virginia University Steel Drum Ensemble concert or the new Collegiate Series, contact Jacqueline Proctor, deputy commissioner for the Division, at (304) 558-0220.
The Collegiate Series will continue on Monday, Nov. 5, featuring the West Virginia University Chamber Winds Ensemble and on Tuesday, Nov. 6, when WVU Professor Jack Hammersmith with speak on historian James Morton Callahan.
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 Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, which also houses the state archives and state museum. The Cultural 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.
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