Preserving Appalachia's Heritage, Saving an Old Theater, Looking For A Special Bird and More


Two West Virginians by choice work to preserve Appalachian culture and foster dialogue.

An historic Virginia theater gets ready for a new season.

While an old West Virginia theater might get a new lease on life.

And we hear from an old farmer in Monroe County, West Virginia.

Passing Traditions Along. Appalachia has a rich culture and history with music and stories passed down from generation to generation. But sometimes it’s nonnatives who are working to document that history so it can be passed on to future generations. This has been the life calling of two folklorists who now make their home in Elkins, Michael and Carrie Kline. West Virginia Public Radio’s Cecelia Mason spoke with the Kline’s about their work.

An Appalachia-Focused Theater Festival. The Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia, is one of the nation’s longest-running professional theaters, and is one of the last year-round professional resident repertory theatres remaining in America. In 1946, the Barter was designated the “State Theatre of Virginia.” The Barter Theatre has always maintained a focus on Appalachia, and this summer will once again host the Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights. Wayne Winkler from WETS has this report.

Saving a Grand Old Theater. For about a decade now the doors to another Appalachian theater, the Rose Garden which was once known as the Robinson Grand, in downtown Clarksburg, West Virginia, have been closed. The lights darkened on the marquee, the windows boarded, but the story has taken a turn for this historic theater adored by so many in North Central West Virginia and the spotlights may once again have a reason to shine. West Virginia Public Radio’s Ashton Marra has the story.

Playing Lady Gaga Music On Handbells? Handbells aren’t just for Christmas, Easter and holy hallelujahs.  In Pittsburgh the Three Rivers Ringers community handbell group is ringing in spring. The ensemble’s performing classical waltzes, jazz, tunes by pop star Lady Gaga and even wedding dance songs. Jennifer Szweda Jordan has more.

An Old Time Farmer Reminisces. Farmers young and old across the region have also begun their spring planting. 89-year-old Warren Ellison has been farming in Monroe County, West Virginia, since he returned home from World War II. Over lunch at the Ellison farm, Traveling 219’s Roxy Todd recorded Warren talking about his life’s passion for farming and about meeting his wife Judy. Jeffrey Kanode, a Methodist pastor who once preached in Warren’s community, was with them during the interview, and he helped tell this story.

Serving Healthy Local Food in Schools. Thanks to First Lady Michelle Obama, there’s been more focus on healthy school lunches. As a result school food service directors, district officials and farmers have worked to get more locally grown produce into cafeterias. Schools around the country are now required to offer fruits and vegetables.  But as The Allegheny Front’s Julie Grant reports, it can be a challenge to get kids to actually eat the healthier items.