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Berea Sound Archives Fellowship Topics

Saro Lynch-Thomason / Ashville, North Carolina / 2012-2013 / Topic: Appalachian Ballads

Saro Lynch-ThomasonProject: Saro's Fellowship research will make use of audio recordings in Berea's Leonard Roberts Collection to study Kentucky ballads which have mostly fallen out of oral tradition. She will build a singing repertoire of between 25- 30 pieces with the object of revitalizing these rare stories and melodies in Southern Appalachian singing communities. Follow Saro’s research progress on her project blog.

Activities toward this end will include a series of knee-to-knee teaching workshops in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina; an on-line teaching resource with recordings; and development of a show exclusively featuring songs from this repertoire, including stories and memories from the source singers.

Saro's previous traditional music research and production work includes Blair Pathways, a musical exploration of the West Virginia Coal Wars (1902-1921) via a 20-track CD and multipage historic narrative. She also sings at numerous regional festivals, teaches in ballad-singing workshops, and leads a weekly community singing group that trades and teaches songs.


Robert Lynn "Bobby" McMillion / Burnsville, North Carolina / 2015-2016 / Topic: Appalachian Ballads

Robert Lynn “Bobby” McMillonProject: Bobby will use Berea folklore and music collections to search out the Kentucky connections to ballads and stories he has collected in North Carolina from persons who had family members living in eastern Kentucky.

Bobby has performed throughout North Carolina as a singer and storyteller, serving in public schools as part of artists-in-the-schools programs.  He is a North Carolina Folk Heritage Award recipient and has performed at events such as the Smithsonian's Festival of American Folklife.