Allegheny Echoes Workshops Showcase West Virginia And Appalachian Culture

Marlinton, WV – For the 15th year, music and writing will take center stage in Marlinton, WV thanks to Allegheny Echoes June 19th through the 24th. Allegheny Echoes celebrates West Virginia and Appalachian culture through music and writing workshops.

Music classes are offered for beginner to advanced on banjo, bass, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, hammered dulcimer and voice. New this year is a class on Bluegrass Dobro. Allegheny Echoes Board President Mike Bing says they’re excited about the new dobro class.

“We have Chris Stockwell, one of the young emerging stars, he is picking with everybody, and if it gets down to a matter of taste, he’s as good as they come” says Bing. “We really feel glad to get him to come up and teach in the Dobro class this year.”

[Heather] “Have you got quite a few signed up for that one?”

“Right now, we have two” says Bing. “When we have a class, if we have two people, we’ll hold the class. And then it’ll snowball from there; it’ll get better each year. Hopefully he won’t get discouraged; but if someone has an interest in taking the Dobro, this would be a good time to do it, it’s personalized instruction.”

The Marlinton Motor Inn will once again host Allegheny Echoes. Bing says participants come from all around the world.

“It’s amazing, you have a lot of people who are rural, and an equal amount of people who are from the inner city or a larger town than say the Marlinton size” he says. “We have all kinds and they come from everywhere. We have students from as far away as New Hampshire and a guy who lives right on the coast of California, we’ve got a guy from Australia coming in; all different backgrounds and all different nationalities.”

In fact, he says this marks 10 years in a row that they’ve had international participants. He says quite often, they’re surprised at what they find.

“They think it’s going to be a real regimented type of instruction where the learning is limited” he says, “and I think they are really truly surprised at all aspects of what we do. They learn how to enjoy all the different parts of the music instead of just their particular instrument. They get a good culture shock, I would call it; we give em the hillbilly way, there’s no pretentions on our part.”

Writing workshops are also part of Allegheny Echoes, lead by creative writing instructor Kirk Judd. Participants in those workshops get to travel a bit.

“They take a couple or three field trips; they’ll go to Bear Town, Cranberry Glades, just different spots and they move around a lot” says Bing. “It’s not like they’re going to meet in a particular place. They go and tour and write about what they’ve seen and what adventure they had that day.”

While most of the activities during Allegheny Echoes are limited to paid participants, there are some that are free and open to the general public starting Tuesday, June 21st.

“On Tuesday at 7:30pm at the Opera House, will be a square dance” says Bing. “And everyone is invited; we’d like to have all the dancers that possibly could be there to match up with our Echoes students, and we always have a great time. Now on Thursday will the student concert, and that’s also at 7:30 at the Opera House. You get to come out and see our students perform, and it’s usually the best night we have.”

“Friday night is the staff concert when all the staff people get to show off their talents. And these are all free and open to the public.”

Registration continues through June 19th. For more information, call 304-799-7121 or visit them on the web at

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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