Top of page

Archive: January 2024 (5 Posts)

Woman stands on stage of auditorium speaking to crowd with a hand held microphone.

Staff Spotlight: Melanie Zeck On Collaborating with National Philharmonic

Posted by: John Fenn

This guest post is by Melanie Zeck, one of our Reference Specialists at the American Folklife Center. As the stage door opened, blindingly bright lights struck my eyes.  I strode over to the piano, sensing that the audience was following my every move.  At that moment, I   realized that no one—not even the orchestra members …

The Burgess Hall String Band on the Wheeling Jamboree: A Family Connection

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Filed away in the archives of the American Folklife Center is a little piece of radio history in the form of an oral history interview and eleven black and white photographs. The subject of the interview is Burgess Hall, who began playing music with his siblings around the age of eight. In the 1930s, Burgess and several of his friends began performing music at shows in West Virginia and Kentucky. During their three-year stint as the Burgess Hall String Band, they were invited to play several shows in Wheeling, West Virginia, including radio shows "Wheeling Jamboree" and "It's Wheeling Steel." In this guest blog post, AFC folklife specialist Meg Nicholas describes the collection, shows us some of the photos, and reveals a touching connection to her own family.

Bob Patrick, wearing a suit and tie, stands with a group of visiting high school students in a visitor's center. Patrick is on the left, while a retired soldier is on the right, with the student group in between. The room is decorated with photos and other items from VHP collections on the walls.

A Raised Hand

Posted by: Megan Harris

The following is a guest post by Bob Patrick, former director of the Veterans History Project.  As the Director of the Veterans History Project, I had many, many occasions to make presentations about VHP. I spoke at national conferences, on radio and TV, community events and ceremonies, educational institutions, Veterans’ gatherings and at numerous Library …

Homegrown Plus: From China to Appalachia with Cathy Fink, Marcy Marxer, and Chao Tian

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Welcome back to Homegrown Plus! We're continuing the series with a concert and interview featuring Grammy Award winning American Roots artists Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer together with accomplished Chinese classical hammered dulcimer player Chao Tian. The trio's repertoire includes traditional Chinese and Appalachian music as well as contemporary and traditional music from around the world. They use instruments that include yangqin (Chinese hammered dulcimer), gourd banjo, five-string banjo, ukulele, guitars, dumbek, cello-banjo and mandolin, employing them in unusual combinations to create exciting new arrangements of old music. Cathy and Marcy join Chao in singing Chinese songs, and Chao easily adds her love of American Old-Time music to fiddle tunes and songs. As usual with Homegrown Plus blogs, you'll find the concert video, an interview video, and a wealth of links to related collections and concerts, all right here in this blog post.