People will be flat footin,fiddlinand turkey callintheir way through Appalachian culture during West Virginia Universitys Mountaineer Week, which starts today (Nov. 11) and runs through Nov. 21.
Chris Walls, a WVU graduate student in public relations, will show off the skills that have made him the world and grand national turkey caller champion during a presentation at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 14, in the Mountainlair Ballrooms.
Walls can do up to 40 different kinds of animal calls and impersonate more than 100 people, but it is his turkey calling that has won him national acclaim. He has been competing since he was 14 years old, honing the skills he learned from an uncle.
It took me about four to five years to master,he said.
Walls will be the opening act for theMountaineer Idolfinals, which begin at 3 p.m. in theLair Ballrooms. WVU students Joshua Jannotta and Marlana Scott will square off for the chance to take home $1,000 and sing the national anthem at a WVU mens basketball game.
The finals and turkey calling are open to the public. Admission is $5, and half of the proceeds go to the WVU Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Among the other activities during Mountaineer Week will be clogging and fiddling contests, both on Saturday, Nov. 20, in the Gluck Theatre.
The clogging competition will kick off at 3 p.m., with competitors taking to the stage to jig, scurry and dance their way to victory.
The contest will feature several different styles of clogging such as open line and precision, said Dea Simpson, the student chair for the competition. There will also be several different divisions of solo, duet, trios and groups that can then broken down by four different age divisions.
Clogging is a staple in Appalachian heritage and is a blend of folk dances from around the world, Simpson said.
Its very much a part of West Virginia heritage,she added.
The dance style is a fixture in the hearts of many and takes lots of practice to learn, Simpson said. However, many enjoy it not for the competition but for the dancing.
Many people are drawn to clogging simply for the fun of dancing,she said.It takes practice to become very skillful, but a lot of people like it just because they can be social and have a good time.
Dancers must pay an entry of $5 per routine or $7 after the deadline and at the door. The West Virginia Humanities Council has provided funding for the competition.
The Appalachian-style fiddle contest, which begins at 7:30 p.m., will have everyone rosining up their bows and dancing in the aisles.
The event is a great opportunity for people to hear music they dont hear every day, said Chris Haddox, organizer of the event.
The contest lets people listen to the kind of music thats been played in West Virginia for many, many years,Haddox said.It allows the audience members to get in touch with their heritage. Its a great family event.
The fiddle contest will give musicians from across the Mountain State the opportunity to showcase their instrumental skills, Haddox said.
The event will feature fiddlers from ages 8 to 80 in two different categoriesa 60-and-over division and a 59-and-under division.