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“Our People, Our Place, Our Coal” Enhances Mattea’s Visit To Frostburg

As part of Grammy Award-winner Kathy Mattea’s visit to Western Maryland, she and local experts will participate in “Our People, Our Place, Our Coal,” a historical perspective presentation on Monday, Nov. 10. This program will be presented by Frostburg State University Cultural Events Series and is free and open to the public. The presentation will run from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the FSU Performing Arts Center’s Pealer Recital Hall.

The presentation is a companion piece to Mattea’s sold-out concert, in which she will perform songs from her recently released “Coal” album. Mattea, also known for such hits as “Eighteen Wheels and A Dozen Roses” and “Love At The Five and Dime,” will perform on Sunday, Nov. 9, at 7:30 p.m. on The Stage at Mountain Ridge High School.

For the presentation, Mattea will be joined by local historians Albert Feldstein, Dr. Vagel Keller,Jr., and John Carey who will discuss the region’s rich Appalachian multifaceted mining heritage and its cultural, economic and industrial influence. People who have family and relatives who have worked in the coal mining industry over the years will find this discussion directly related to the experiences of their ancestors.

Mattea will begin the program with “Our People” where she will discuss her choice of a song highlighting the history of coal mining for her “Coal” CD. She will perform that song to set the stage for the rest of the presentation. The Grammy Award-winner’s coal-mining heritage is strong: her parents grew up in coal camps, her grandfathers were miners and her mother worked for the local United Mine Workers of America. She has been collecting mining and mountain songs since she was 19 years old, but the Sago mine disaster of 2006 inspired her to start singing them.

Feldstein will follow with “Our Place.” He will reprise his slide show presentation from “Forum on Coal in Western Maryland,” which provides an overview and historical highlights of Western Maryland’s coal heritage, historic sites and personal biographies.

“Our Coal” will be presented by Keller, a visiting assistant professor of history at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa., and Carey, director of the Bureau of Mines, Maryland Department of the Environment.

Keller’s presentation of “Coal Sufficient to Supply the Whole Union for Centuries” will examine the rise and decline of the underground coal mining industry in Western Maryland from the arrival of the B&O Railroad at Cumberland in 1842 through the closing of the last of the old deep mines in the 1970s.

Carey will discuss the environmental protection and regulatory changes that have occurred in Maryland over the past 50 years pertaining to the coal industry. From an initial emphasis of miner’s safety to an emphasis on environmental and citizen protection from the potential effects of coal mining, the Maryland Bureau of Mines, along with the Federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcements, maintains regulatory oversight over all aspects of coal mining and land reclamation activity.

A pictorial exhibit on the local region’s coal mining history will be part of the presentation. Included will be rare photographs of miners, mine sites and former mining towns. There will also be original hand-drawn maps showing Consolidated Coal Company’s property in the Frostburg area, George’s Creek Coal Company, worked-out areas centering on Main Street in Frostburg, Eckhart Mines and the Vale Summit area. A special display of local mine workers from 1926 will also be on view with a list identifying the miners in the photo.

For more information on the performance, the presentation or the Cultural Events Series at FSU, call 301-687-3137 or visit

“Our People, Our Place, Our Coal” is being presented in partnership with the FSU Lewis J. Ort Library and the Maryland Bureau of Mines. The Cultural Events Series and this Arts for Adjudicated Youth project is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business & Economic Development, the MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to non-profit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. MSAC funding is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency which believes that a great nation deserves great art. This tour of Kathy Mattea Moving Mountains is made possible by a grant from Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program.

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 13 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit

FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-4102 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258. -end-

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589