Allegheny Echoes in Marlinton, WV for the culminating concert by all the master musicians who taught classes during the week of workshops. It's a three-hour drive from home to Marlinton, but worth every minute--and the scenery alone along the way is worth the drive.
What I also discovered was another family. The people who run Echoes and those who attend quickly welcomed me into their fold, and I was hooked. I stayed up til the wee hours every night that week, listening, listening, listening, and writing, writing, writing. The music played sometimes until the sun came up; no one wanted those days to end. It was magic, pure and simple.
I returned two years later for the vocal class, learning, or trying to learn, to sing harmony. It was fun, but I snuck away for one afternoon and joined the writing class for a trip to the resting place of Edden Hammons and his family. The Hammons unknowingly preserved some very old music and language because it was just part of their lives in their remote mountain home. They were recorded,thankfully, and the Smithsonian has archived their work as well as made it available on CD. Dwight Diller is currently producing a DVD about the Hammons. To travel to their gravesides and contemplate what their life was like in the surrounding mountains--a hardscrabble life by all accounts, but one they accepted and enjoyed--was food for several more poems and some good photos.
Last year I was the creative writing master for Kirk's class, joining them for an afternoon at a riverside cabin to write and talk about writing. Again, the creative energy I discovered that afternoon fed me for several months. It also left me hungry to return. Since our finances this year are not really settled down due to my retirement, and since I sorely needed my Echoes "fix," we made the drive Friday to touch base once more with this creative "family," listen to their good music, and catch up on their lives. And I knew I would stay up until the music stopped.
Jake Krack to the banjo of Tim Bing and his brother Mike's mandolin, the guitar of Robert Shafer, Pete Kosky's singing, Kirk Judd's poetry, Bob Shank's "manjo" (big baritone banjo, I think it was), John Blisard's performance of a Pocahontas county tune and an original tune...the list goes on and on. The concert is free (donations are accepted) and many local folks attend so that the Marlinton Opera House was standing room only.
Be it resolved: Next year we will be there for the entire week.