On Thursday at the Clay Center in Charleston, four Romanian high school musicians and three of their teachers met with musicians from Wahama high school in Mason County. The students are participating in a year-long project exploring the connections between Appalachian and Romanian folk music.
Teacher Emanuela Tulpam says there are geographical similarities between Romania and West Virginia too. “We come from Targu Jiu, which is in the Gorj district, southwest Romania, by the mountains. We have a gorge valley, as I hear you have here.”The Romanian students will spend the next 13 days meeting folk musicians in Beckley, Huntington, Charleston and Elkins. The Romanian group will experience a full day of performances and master classes at Davis and Elkins College.
Visiting students Alina Marina Gorun, Elena Cristina Lăcătusu, Ion Cristian Munteanu and Teodor Marian Foanţă will spend significant time with 25 music students at Wahama. Both the students and teachers will interview the participating musicians to help begin working on the next stage of the project – producing digital stories about the two cultures.
The general public will also be able to hear and see these master musicians who are working with the students – two from Romania and local guitarists Robin and Dan Kessinger – as part of the Charleston Area Alliance’s Brown Bag Concert series on Friday, Oct. 10 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Davis Park in downtown Charleston. In case of inclement weather, the performance will be moved to the Center Court area of the Charleston Town Center Mall.
In the spring, four Wahama High School students, Cadence Weaver, Aubrey Lewis, Jacob Petry and Garrett Greene, along with their teachers and Clay Center representatives, will travel to Romania. The students will study the culture and heritage of their counterparts and share West Virginia traditions with other students in the program.