On Friday, January 27th, the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center hosted the Singer-Songwriter Night hosted by the Berea College Folk Roots Ensemble, directed by Liza Disavino. This is an annual event open to students, faculty, and community members at the beginning of each spring semester, offering an opportunity for all musicians, singers, and songwriters to come together and share musical talents with one another.
Guests began funneling in early, coming together for instrumental tuning, warming up vocal chords, and good conversation over coffee and refreshments. Approximately 25 attendees showed up (primarily music majors), creating an inviting, warm atmosphere in the gallery. To begin the night, Liza Disavino sang her first original song “The Wayfarer.” She remarked jokingly that, like every other teenager at the time, she thought she “was the only one leaving home.” The next to offer up an original song was Julie Nelms, a senior Appalachian Studies major, who sang “Roots”, a piece she wrote for her GSTR 410 course, based around global energy and politics last term. The main storyline of her piece compared differences between coal production and safety regulations in Appalachia and Wales.
Covers of popular pieces were sung as well as original songs throughout the evening. Emily Lovell, a visiting instructor in the Computer Science department, played one, and Julie Nelm who belted a lovely rendition of The Local Honey’s ‘Hares on the Mountain’. Often when a cover was played others joined in with harmonies and backup instrumentals, giving the event a feeling of community and comradery. The environment was welcoming and accepting of everyone regardless of their musical background, beginners and experts alike. There were many stumbles, fumbles, wrong chords, and out-of-tune instruments, but the mistakes served to make attendees feel at ease and comfortable during the event. There was a surplus of different genres, styles, and moods in the music the attendees selected. Original piano pieces were played, poetry was read, there was no wrong or right way to express oneself. It was a wonderful opportunity for students, faculty, and community members to come together and share their talents with each other in a fun and safe environment.
Article Written by Ciara Felty