Location: Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts
CHESTERTOWN, MD—Folk musician and recording artist Stephen Wade brings an evening of banjo, clog dancing and musicology to Chestertown Thursday evening, September 19. The multi-media performance, The Beautiful Music All Around Us, will begin at 6 p.m. in Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts, on the Washington College campus.
Sponsored by the College’s Premiere Concert Series and C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, the event is free and open to the public. A book signing and dessert reception hosted by the 1782 Society will follow.
Stephen Wade is well known for his long-running stage performances of Banjo Dancing and On the Way Home. His show at the College will mix music from his Grammy Award nominated CD “Banjo Diary” with stories and songs from the nearly two decades of field research he conducted for his 2012 book and CD, The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience.
As the publisher summarizes, Wade’s book “presents the extraordinarily rich backstories of thirteen performances captured on Library of Congress field recordings between 1934 and 1942 in locations reaching from Southern Appalachia to the Mississippi Delta and the Great Plains.” The performances of the songs — which included the children’s play song “Shortenin’ Bread,” the fiddle tune “Bonaparte’s Retreat,” the blues song “Another Man Done Gone,” and the spiritual “Ain’t No Grave Can Hold My Body Down” — were recorded “in kitchens and churches, on porches and in prisons, in hotel rooms and school auditoriums.” The Wall Street Journal praised The Beautiful Music All Around Us as “a masterpiece of humane scholarship.”
A dynamic and deeply informed presenter, Wade will share his insights about the evolution of traditional tunes as they pass through the creative hands and instruments of mostly unsung performers. For more information, visit www.washcoll.edu/centers/starr.
The C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College fosters the art of written history and explores our nation’s past—particularly the legacy of its Founding era—in innovative ways, through educational programs, scholarship and public outreach. Its guiding principle is that now more than ever, a wider understanding of our shared past is fundamental to the continuing success of America’s democratic experiment.