Int’l Bluegrass Music Assn. Hall of Honor Inductee Everett Lilly Is Grand Groundhog Watcher for 30th Annual Groundhog Celebration at CU

For Immediate Release: 
Jan 21 2008

CONTACT: Kati Whittaker, Director of Alumni Affairs
1-304-384-6056, 1-800-344-6679, extension 6056, or


Int’l Bluegrass Music Assn. Hall of Honor Inductee Everett Lilly Is Grand Groundhog Watcher for 30th Annual Groundhog Celebration at CU

Athens, W.Va. - The 2008 Grand Groundhog Watcher will be Everett Lilly, West Virginia bluegrass artist and inductee into the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Hall of Honor.

Masters of bluegrass music, the Lilly Brothers, Everett and Bea, and Don Stover were pioneers in bringing professionally-performed southern Appalachian music to the upper northeastern region of the United States. Originating from Clear Creek, a community near Beckley, West Virginia, Everett and Bea began their careers by singing in churches and at area shows. Everett toured with Flatt & Scruggs in the early 1950s, participating in 14 influential recordings that included classic duets with Lester Flatt. The Lilly Brothers had become the first bluegrass act to take their music north when they relocated to the Boston area, performing at the popular Hillbilly Ranch playing an amazing 16-year gig, seven nights a week, 50 weeks a year! The Lilly Brothers were also the first bluegrass band to do a professional tour of Japan and, on their next tour, invited Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys to come along. On October 17, 2002, The Lilly Brothers and Don Stover proudly became the 20th inductees into the International Bluegrass Music Association's Hall of Honor, the highest honor that Bluegrass can bestow. Everett Lilly has passed his love for music on to his sons, who carry on this family tradition by performing in the band now known as the Lilly Mountaineers. With the addition of the hot young West Virginia current banjo champion, Rad Lewis, Everett Lilly and the Lilly Mountaineers tour throughout the States, as well as internationally. The band specializes in bluegrass, country, southern rock and gospel, and performs in churches, schools, theaters and at private parties, weddings, festivals, family reunions and other special events.

The “Concord Charlie” tradition was begun in 1978 by Professor R.T. “Tom” Hill, a resident of Athens, West Virginia. (He passed away in 2003.) As chairman of both the geography department and the Appalachian Studies program, he thought the breakfast would be a means to celebrate a piece of Appalachian heritage—and draw attention to the fact that Concord had such a program.

Former groundhog watchers have included politicians, retired Concord employees, entertainers, military heroes, pastors, writers and others. A. James Manchin (now deceased), former secretary of state and state treasurer of West Virginia was the first Grand Groundhog Watcher.

The prognostication is now part of the Concord University president’s job description. Concord University President, Dr. Jerry Beasley, will abandon the ivory towers of academia and ignore presidential protocol to share the secrets of Concord’s very special friend, Concord Charlie. Will Concord Charlie see his shadow this Groundhog Day to add six more weeks of winter weather? Only Concord Charlie knows, and Jerry Beasley will share the weather details.

The public is invited to attend the “ham and eggs” breakfast. The cost is $6.50, payable at the door or in advance. The breakfast will be held in the Student Center Ballroom, Saturday, February 2 at 8 a.m.

Reservations are recommended. For more information or to make reservations, call 1-304-384-6056, 1-800-344-6679, extension 6056, or e-mail


CONCORD UNIVERSITY NOTES: Persons with disabilities should contact Nancy Ellison, 1-304-384-6086 or 1-800-344-6679, extension 6086 if special assistance or help is required for access to an event scheduled by the University on campus.


1978, A. James Manchin (deceased)

Former Secretary of State and State Treasurer of West Virginia

1979, Jim Comstock (deceased)

Editor of The West Virginia Hillbilly

1980, Shirley Donnelly (deceased)

Historian and columnist for Beckley Newspapers Inc.

1981, Dr. E. Meade McNeill (deceased)

Professor of Biology at Concord

1982, Don West (deceased)

Director of the Appalachian South Folk Life Center, Pipestem, W.Va.

1983, James Dent (deceased)

Humor columnist and cartoonist for The Charleston Gazette

1984, Dr. Charles Kenneth Sullivan

Executive Director of the West Virginia Humanities Council

1985, George A. Daugherty

“The Earl of Elkview,” a prominent Charleston attorney

1986, Ken Hechler

Former W.Va. Secretary of State and former Congressman

1987, Edward J. Cabbell

Appalachian scholar, founder of the John Henry Foundation

1988, R. T. Hill (deceased)

Father of the Concord Groundhog Day Breakfast and former Professor of Geography at Concord

1989, Reverend Harry Christie

Former pastor of Princeton Presbyterian Church

1990, Dr. James Bailey (deceased)

Co-founder of Veterinary Associates of Princeton and a Mercer County civic leader

1991, Nelrose Richards Price

Retired Registrar of Concord, 41 years of service

1992, Jean Battlo

Published poet and playwright from McDowell County

1993, Katharine Tierney (deceased)

Mrs. Tierney was a Bluefield civic leader and longtime friend of Concord

1994, Denise Giardina

McDowell County native, successful novelist focusing on the vibrant culture of the coalfields

1995, Thomas Conlin

Former West Virginia Symphony Artistic Director and Conductor

1996, Frankie Ferrante (deceased)

Owned Mercer County restaurant, Frankie’s La Salute, and was an active civic and community leader

1997, Dr. J. Elliott Blaydes, Jr.

Retired Bluefield eye specialist and philanthropist

1998, Recent Concord Retirees

Harold Bailey, John Seago, Paul Morgan (deceased), Bill Ryan, Bill Wells, Beryle Santon, Violet Martin (deceased), Kevin O’Sullivan, Ed Lowe, Dale Geiger, Carl Chapman, Shelva Rarick, Bernard Keirnan, Karl Fezer, Kenneth Baker

1999, Jerry Jarrell

Retired Director of the National Hurricane Center, a Concord alumnus and Raleigh County native

2000, Andrew Paterno

President and Chief Executive Officer of Acordia Mid-Atlantic, a Concord alumnus and Kanawha County native

2001, Andy Ridenour, Larry Groce

Ridenour is originally from Washington, D.C., Groce is originally from Texas, both are with West Virginia Public Radio

2002, Dr. J. Douglas Machesney

Concord’s Vice President for Development from 1986 through 2002

2003, Dr. Jay Banks

Retired physician and author, lives in Union, W.Va., with his wife, “Marty”

2004, Dr. Ancella Bickley

West Virginian and African American educator, historian and author

2005, Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams

Congressional Medal of Honor recipient

2006, Kate Long

Writer, bluegrass musician

2007, Barbara Hawkins

Political correspondent, columnist, investigative reporter