The morning started with our crew members welcoming certain aspirations into the meeting room. Our crew mentioned things such as “Happiness, Eagerness and Excitement.” The format today is a little bit different from past crew member council meetings. Today, we’ll be touring the heritage museum and exploring the innovation that has brought us to where we are technologically. We’re also diving into the history of Appalachian music and more specifically, how it was written!
We had the great pleasure of meeting Audy M. Perry Jr., the executive director of the Heritage Farm Foundation. As a part of his introduction, Audy asked our crew members 10 questions to be answered on a 1-10 scale. Audy explained that the exercise was about noticing a pattern in your answers. On average, the group rated the later questions higher. As the questions progressed, they included things that have more influence on our lives.
Audy then took us on a tour of the beautiful Heritage Farm and Museum! It was like stepping into a time machine and traveling back to the late 1800s. We enjoyed a detailed description of life a few centuries ago compared to now and what strides mankind has made to progress our civilization forward. This was a very special part of our day as we traveled through the museums and realized that we, as laborers, share special skills that have contributed to the growth our country has seen in the last few hundred years. It has been by the hard work and innovation of individuals before us who have passed those trades down that keeps our history moving forward.
After lunch, we had the pleasure of meeting West Virginia University Professor Chris Haddox. Professor Haddox presented a workshop on the history of Appalachian songwriting! Professor Haddox is the director of Habitat for Humanity in Morgantown, WV. He gave a lot of insight into his history with music and what has inspired him over the years. He passed out note pads to every person in the group and asked us to write down five things we love about the place we call home. Some of the things we shared were family, fishing, muscle cars, knowing everyone – all the things you can imagine that makes a small town lovable and inviting. We discussed the importance of personal experience compared to the old Appalachian settlers and how they recalled their times through songs. That method made for some very passionate and heartfelt songwriting that remains a very popular approach among singer/songwriters today!
This council was yet another success. We never take for granted getting this time to share our thoughts and ideas in a setting that is so helpful in letting us do so. This is one we won’t forget!