The West Virginia Division of Culture and History will continue its new Collegiate Series featuring the West Virginia University (WVU) Chamber Winds Ensemble in concert on Nov. 5, and a lecture on the historian James Morton Callahan with WVU Professor Jack Hammersmith on Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. The programs will be held in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater at the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. The series consists of performances and lectures by students and faculty from West Virginia University and Marshall University. First Lady Gayle Manchin is the host of the program. The Collegiate Series is free and open to the public.
The Monday, Nov. 5, performance features The WVU Chamber Winds Ensemble, under the direction of John Weigand. The concert will consist of Three Slavonic Dances by the Czechoslovakian violinist and composer Antonin Dvorak and Symphony for Winds in E-flat Major by the German composer and conductor Richard Strauss.
The WVU Chamber Winds Ensemble was founded in 1998 to give the most accomplished students on brass and woodwind instruments the opportunity to perform the finest of music for a small group. The ensemble’s repertoire spans a wide latitude from works by Mozart to the contemporary music of the present decade. Ranging in size from eight to 22 musicians, depending on the instrumentation required, the ensemble presents four concerts a year on campus and has traveled to Maryland and Pennsylvania as well as various venues in West Virginia.
Weigand is professor of music at WVU where he teaches clarinet and directs the WVU Chamber Winds Ensemble. He also performs part-time with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, is the principal clarinetist of the Seneca Chamber Orchestra in Charleston, plays in the West Virginia Symphony and is a member of the Laureate quintet in residence at WVU. Weigand also collaborates with James Miltenberger, pianist, to perform in recital throughout the Eastern United States and has played with the Cleveland Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony and Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra among others.
The Tuesday, Nov. 6, program will feature Dr. Jack L. Hammersmith speaking about the historian James Morton Callahan. The talk will focus on how Callahan became a distinguished and pioneering diplomatic historian in West Virginia after the Civil War.
Callahan, who was born during the Civil War, earned his doctorate from John Hopkins in 1897, where one of his professors was Woodrow Wilson. He joined the faculty at WVU in 1902 and was chairman of the history department from 1902-1929 and dean of the college of arts and sciences from 1916-1929 before retiring in 1940. He was published widely in American diplomacy and earned a reputation for meticulous research in the archives of the U.S. State Department.
Callahan worked tirelessly to promote a collection of materials which would provide an accurate picture of West Virginia history for students, teachers, and historians. Serving as historian of the West Virginia Semi-Centennial Commission in 1913, he wrote the first comprehensive history of the state. He later wrote at great length on various aspects of his state, city and university.
Hammersmith is a professor of history at WVU, where he is serving his 40th year on the faculty. He has specialized in American diplomatic history, especially as it has involved Japan. Hammersmith has published numerous articles in scholarly journals including his 1998 study of American diplomats in Japan, “Flowery Fairyland”: The Development of the U.S. Legation in Japan, 1859-1906. He also serves as the director of West Virginia’s Faculty and Course Development in International Studies, a statewide consortium dedicated to improved teaching of all subjects involving global concerns. In addition, Hammersmith currently is writing a biography of Callahan.
For more information about the WVU Chamber Winds Ensemble concert, the lecture on historian James Morton Callahan, or the new Collegiate Series, contact Jacqueline Proctor, deputy commissioner for the Division, at (304) 558-0220.
The Collegiate Series will continue on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2008, when Dr. John A. Cuthbert, curator and director of the West Virginia and Regional History Collection and Special Collections at the WVU Libraries will discuss early West Virginia art history.
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.
MEDIA NOTE: Dr. Hammersmith can be reached at (304) 293-2421, ext. 5235