‘Music Of The Coalfields’ Kicks Off Coal Heritage Lecture Series At Concord University’s Beckley Campus

For Immediate Release: 
Jan 23 2015

CONTACT:  Sarah Dalton

Concord University

Office of Advancement

PO Box 1000, Athens, WV 24712

(304) 384-6312, news@concord.edu






ATHENS, W.Va. – Music has always been an important part of the history of the coalfields, capturing the plaintive echoes of the struggle of the workers.  This year, the first installment of the Coal Heritage Lecture Series at Concord University’s Beckley campus will feature “The Music of the Coalfields” performed by Julie Adams, Colleen Anderson and Josh Barrett on Tuesday, Feb. 3, (snow day Feb. 7).

Taking place on the first Tuesday of February, March, April and May, the lecture series explores historic and contemporary issues facing the people of southern West Virginia. Sponsored by Concord University and the National Coal Heritage Area Authority, the lectures begin at 7 p.m. in Room E 10 at the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center on Airport Road in Beaver, W.Va. and are free and open to the public. If lectures are cancelled due to snow, the snow day will be the following Tuesday.

The singers who will present this concert of coal music are well known to West Virginia audiences.  Julie Adams is the featured vocalist on West Virginia Public Radio’s Mountain Stage.  As a singer/songwriter, Adams is nationally known for her distinctive voice and has traveled extensively with her performances.  She was a founding member of Stark Raven and currently performs with Blues Du Jour.

Colleen Anderson is not only a singer/songwriter, but a poet and writer as well. She is currently featured on West Virginia Public Radio’s “Inside Appalachia” program with a regular report on state history.  Julie and Colleen will be accompanied by Julie’s husband, Josh Barrett, on the guitar.  Josh also plays in Blues Du Jour.  The trio will perform traditional music of the coalfields including “Coal Tattoo” and “The L and N Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore.” They will also include music that celebrates West Virginia with songs such as Colleen Anderson’s “West Virginia Chose Me.”

“We always try to have at least one artistic component in the Coal Heritage Lecture Series,” stated Karen Vuranch, coordinator of the event and instructor at Concord University.  “Music is a big part of the history of coal and the songs that will be sung really capture the experience of coal. And, it is exciting to have Julie Adams, Colleen Anderson and Josh Barrett bring this concert to Beckley. These three are fabulous performers.”  

Vuranch went on to say that the public lecture series takes place each spring as a part of an academic class at the Beckley campus of Concord University. The class, “Coal Culture in West Virginia,” is taught in the spring semester by Vuranch.

“The course covers the history and technology of coal mining in West Virginia,” Vuranch said, “but more importantly it explores the cultural impact on the people of our state.”

Students taking the course for credit hear lectures, watch films and participate in field trips that help them better understand the rich history of coal in West Virginia.  Community members are also welcome to audit the course, where they attend all sessions without having to complete assignments for a grade.

“We are going to try something a little different this year for the March and April lectures,” Vuranch said.  “On March 3, we will present several environmentalists speaking against mountaintop removal and fracking and on April 7, we will have Bill Raney from the Friends of Coal speaking in favor of mountaintop mining.”  Vuranch said that the Lecture Series wanted to encourage information not confrontation.  “We certainly want to hear both sides of the issue, but we do not want to offend anyone, so we will present the arguments on two different evenings,” she added. The final lecture on May 5 will feature guests from the WV AFL-CIO.

For more information contact Karen Vuranch at (304) 575-3636 or kvuranch@concord.edu or Concord University’s Beckley campus at (304) 256-0270.


Persons with disabilities should contact Nancy Ellison, 1-304-384-6086 or 1-800-344-6679 extension 6086

if special assistance is required for access to an event scheduled by the University on campus.