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Shape Note Singing, Story Telling & More

Saturday, September 17
FSU Main Campus, Upper Quad

CHAPEL HAPPENINGS (Cook Chapel –lower level of Frost Hall)

11:30 AM – 1:00 PM Shape Note Singing Workshop Sacred Harp is a uniquely American tradition that brings communities together to sing four-part hymns and anthems. It is a proudly inclusive and democratic part of our shared cultural heritage. Participants are not concerned with re-creating or re-enacting historical events. Our tradition is a living, breathing, ongoing practice passed directly to us by generations of singers, many gone on before and many still living.

Technically, our style of singing is ?shape note singing? because the musical notation uses note heads in 4 distinct shapes to aid in sight-reading, but it is often called ?Sacred Harp? singing because the books that most singers use today are called ?The Sacred Harp,? with the most prominent of these being the 1991 Denson edition. The term ?sacred harp? refers to the human voice — that is, the musical instrument you were given at birth. –Sacred Harp Musical Heritage Association


1 PM – 3 PM

Adam Booth Story TellingAdam Booth

Adam tells original Appalachian tall-tales, heartwarming personal stories, and fantastically modified histories. He is a two-time champion of the West Virginia Liar's Contest and winner of the Liar's Contests at the Northeast Storytelling Festival and the Autumn Glory Tall Tale Festival.

Adam also incorporates his love for music in his stories through occasional singing and with instruments, including piano, dulcimer, and mandolin. In addition, Adam is now appearing with Pennsylvania storyteller Miriam Nicholson in a special program entitled "Undercover Emma." This tandem program tells the story of Emma Edmonds, a Canadian who served in disguise as a man for the Union in the Civil War and later acted as a spy under various disguises.

With his array of stories, Adam has entertained audiences of all ages throughout West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina. He has also served as a storytelling educator and emcee. Contact Adam at, 304-886-9481. And visit his website

Jo Ann Dadisman & June RiffleJo Ann Dadisman and June Riffle

Share an energetic, interactive storytelling session with Mountain Echoes. West Virginia storytellers and educators, Jo Ann Dadisman and June Riffle, will entertain young and young-at-heart as they weave stories and lore from their beloved Appalachian hills.They have traveled throughout West Virginia and the surrounding states for over 15 years, sharing stories and conducting workshops at state parks, schools, universities, festivals, libraries and art centers. Come in and ?sit a spell? as you join Mountain Echoes in the lighthearted, imaginative, magical world of stories.

As trained teachers with experience in grades K-12, Dadisman and Riffle bring together their love of story as readers and storytellers to provide audiences with the gift of story. They have teaching degrees in English and minors in speech, social studies and folklore and advanced degrees in reading and English education. They are responsible for two chapbooks, a CD of stories and several articles, including publications in Storytelling (the national storytelling magazine), Traditions (Fairmont State‘s folklore journal) and Artworks.

Ilene EvansIlene Evans

Ilene Evans currently resides in Thomas, West Virginia. She has collected stories from around the world that encompass many cultures. The West Virginia mountains have proven the greatest crossroads of stories, times, and tales for Ilene. Her performance company, Voices from the Earth, provides the venues for her to reproduce the tales of real people, their struggles, and their triumphs.

Some of her performances include General Moses: Stories from the Life of Harriet Tubman, folk tales, slave tales, and Brer tales. Her performances are energetic and lively, including dancing, singing, dramatic vocal talent, and leave the audience with a feeling of having been a part of the story. Her stories not only tell the tale, but they seek to teach a lesson or at least to inspire the audience to think more about themselves and the world. Contact, 304-463-4561.

Katie & Otto RossKatie and Otto Ross

In 1993, Katie Ross and her husband Otto formed a storytelling duo that they call Stories by the Score. Katie tells the stories and Otto plays music. Katie and Otto won first place at the Autumn Glory Tall Tales Contest in Oakland, Md., in 1997 and 1999. Later, Katie went on to be the first runner-up in the 2004 National Storyteller of the Year Contest sponsored by the Creative Arts Institute in Blacklick, Ohio. Katie and Otto have performed for the last two years in Frostburg‘s Appalachian Festival. The two have a love of Appalachian culture with its stories and its music. Currently, Katie and Otto are teaching part-time at Allegany College of Maryland. They also perform whenever and wherever they can. The couple lives in Ridgeley, W.Va.

In this year‘s festival, Katie will tell a couple of tales with Appalachian themes and Otto will strum his banjo from time to time. Audience members will be invited to keep time with down-home instruments such as the washboard and the spoons. A good time will be had by all!


Folklore3:15 PM Signs, Cures & Witchery, German Appalachian Folklore

Come see selections from this DVD produced by the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis and Elkins College. The DVD provides a fascinating glimpse of some little-known Appalachian beliefs and practices among descendants of early German pioneers…revealing the courage and resourcefulness of people whose survival depended on their ability to ?read signs,‘ cure their own ills, and find explanations for life‘s mysteries. Gerald Milnes, Folk Arts Coordinator of the Augusta Heritage Center will be available for a discussion following the screening.