Getting to the root of music

January 15, 2009|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Berkeley Springs is celebrating its cultural roots with a yearlong event including music, dance and arts.

The Back to the Roots event officially kicks off at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 18, at the Ice House with a traditional dance party, according to Morgan Arts Council Executive Director Mary Hott.

But those who want to learn how to dance before Sunday can learn traditional dances at 8 p.m. Friday at the Ice House. John Devine and Leslie Milbourne are teaching the free course.

Hott says the yearlong event centers around "New Harmonies: A Celebration of American Roots Music," which is a traveling Smithsonian Institution exhibit that will open in Berkeley Springs on Saturday, April 11.


The Back to Our Roots celebration includes lectures, concerts, music jam nights and films. The arts council and Morgan County FAST (Forum for Arts, Science and Technology) are holding a songwriting class and competition with a theme of social injustice. Hott says additionally there is a music census to document musical experiences in Morgan County. The information will be part of a documentation effort led by Joe Herrmann of Paw Paw, W.Va.

"I hope this brings more awareness of our local history and all of the art forms we have: music, dance, fiber arts, visual arts," Hott says.

Hott says she also hopes the event spotlights American music. "We have the richest source of music in the world," she says.

If you go ...

WHAT: "Back to Our Roots" yearlong celebration

WHEN: Now through December 2009

WHERE: Various locations in Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

MORE: A traditional dance workshop will begin at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 16, at the Ice House. The Back to Our Roots kickoff celebration begins with a party featuring traditional dances at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 18, at the Ice House. For a complete schedule, visit

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