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Award-Winning American Folk Musician Stephen Wade to Visit Feb. 16–17
02.10.16 |
Stephen Wade, an award-winning American folk musician and scholar, will complete a two-day residency and host a concert at Lebanon Valley College February 16–17. The public is invited to his sessions and the concert on Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Zimmerman Recital Hall of the Suzanne H. Arnold Gallery. The Music and English departments collaborated on a President's Innovation Fund proposal to bring the Grammy-nominated artist to campus to discuss the use of American traditional music in interpreting society and cross-cultural communication.

During his concert on Wednesday evening, "The Beautiful Music All Around Us," the 2013 Grammy nominee explores through live music-making, projected images, and spoken narrative the stories behind The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience. Wade's award-winning book features 13 iconic folksong performances captured on Library of Congress field recordings between 1934 and 1942. In this compellingly narrated, multimedia, musical performance, Wade threads the music with its largely unknown yet surprisingly influential creators.

Participation for all events is open to all students, classes, faculty, and the public. While in residency, Wade will interact with students in the Music Department and other select departments, using American traditional music to help students understand the nature of American cultural diversity. Wade hopes they can use this understanding to interpret their current society and successfully foster relationships across cultural divisions. All attendees will also be able to hear Wade's experiences from more than 40 years in the music industry.

Growing up in Chicago in the 1950s and 1960s, Wade was exposed to a number of vernacular musicians who had moved north to the city from the Mississippi Delta and the Southern Appalachians. By the late 1970s, he developed "Banjo Dancing," a theatrical performance combining storytelling, traditional music, and percussive dance. The show opened in Chicago in May 1979 and ran for thirteen months, including an invited performance at the White House. In January 1981, Wade brought "Banjo Dancing" to Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage for a three-week engagement that stretched to ten years, making it one of the longest-running off-Broadway shows in American theater history. Wade’s second critically acclaimed theatre show, "On the Way Home," was honored with the Joseph Jefferson award, which recognizes outstanding theatre artists in the Chicago area. In 2003, Wade received the Helen Hayes/Charles MacArthur award (for excellence in Washington, D.C.-area professional theatre) for his work as composer, adapter, and musical director for the world premiere of Zora Neale Hurston's Polk County.

Stephen Wade’s book, The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience, was published in September 2012 by the University of Illinois Press. This 504-page study showcases nearly two decades of research during which Wade tracked down the communities, families, and performers connected with early Library of Congress field recordings all across the American South. These recordings, which Wade brought together in "A Treasury of Library of Congress Field Recordings" (Rounder Records, 1997), also gave rise to his folksong commentaries that have aired on National Public Radio’s "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered."

In fall 2013, the book received the ASCAP Deems Taylor award and the Association of Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) award for Best History. His essays, reviews, and articles have appeared in such publications as American Music, ARSC Journal, Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Studies in Popular Culture, Encyclopedia of Chicago, Musical Quarterly, American Archivist, Southern Quarterly, Journal of Country Music, New Letters, Beloit Magazine, Folklife Center News, Chicago Tribune, and the Washington Post’s Book World.

In September 2012, Wade released "Banjo Diary: Lessons from Tradition on Smithsonian Folkways." This Grammy-nominated album explores musical knowledge passed across the generations. He has recorded and/or produced more than a dozen albums. He served as 2013-2014 artist/scholar in residence at George Washington University (Department of Music) and 2013 George A. Miller Visiting Scholar, Center for Advanced Study, University of Illinois. He currently directs the American Roots Music Program at Rocky Ridge Music Center, Estes Park, Colorado.

Please visit www.lvc.edu/music/events.aspx for additional information about Wade’s concert and residency.


Banner Photo Credit: Mary E Yeomans, copyright 2012, courtesy Smithsonian Folkways Recordings



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