Berea College Welcomes Public to Kentucky Musicians: Musical Traditions

Berea College will always hold a special place in my life as I graduated from there.  As a student, I worked in the Appalachian Center and assisted in organizing the Celebration of Tradition Music.  Here is some news on one of the convocations and the special sound archives project.

Berea College welcomes the public and campus community to “Kentucky Musicians: Musical Traditions.” This event on Thursday, October 15, 2015, at 3:00 p.m. in Phelps-Stokes Chapel is free and open to the public. It is co-sponsored with the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center.

The convocation will feature Jamie and Jesse Wells, Carla Gover, George Gibson, Ron and Sarah Howard, the Mount Sinai Spirituals, and Brett Ratliff. These musicians will share their stories and music about their communities, and evolving traditions. This program celebrates the recent addition of John and Alan Lomax’s Kentucky sound recordings to Berea College’s online Sound Archives. The live performances will offer a variety of musical genres of eastern Kentucky as documented in the Lomax recordings. 

Lomax believed that a chief result of his and his father’s efforts for the Library of Congress was that “for the first time America could hear itself.” For this benefit to endure he cautioned that “…folksongs should not be buried in libraries as they are in Washington and in universities over the country.”

The recordings by Lomax are now digitized and readily accessible to listeners. This online effort seeks to realize Lomax’s vision of meaning and accessibility for the present day. It is made possible through the partnering of Berea College with the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress, the Association for Cultural Equity, and the University of Kentucky. The official launch event for the Lomax Kentucky Recordings online collection will precede the convocation from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Hutchins Library.

This “Kentucky Musicians: Musical Traditions” convocation is co-sponsored with the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center’s Celebration of Traditional Music and is in conjunction with the Annual Celebration of Traditional Music.

For more information about the convocation performers, please visit:

For more information about the Celebration of Traditional Music, visit:

To access to Hutchins Library’s Sound Archives, visit:

The convocation events, which are provided to both the campus and public communities, are a significant part of a student’s educational experience at Berea College. For the schedule of all convocations this academic year, see: All convocations are free and open to the public.