Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Berea Sound Archives Fellows 2005 - 2016

Information about each of the Sound Archives Fellows and their project.

Jennie Halperin / North Carolina and New York / 2010-2011

Jennie HalperinProject: Jennie Halperin is the curator and archivist of the Bascom Lamar Lunsford collection at Columbia University's Center for Ethnomusicology. Lunsford was a lawyer, folklorist and performer of traditional music from western North Carolina. More than 315 of his songs and tunes are documented in sound recordings he made at Columbia in 1935 

Jennie's Fellowship research will focus on the extensive recorded interviews, manuscript, photographs, and music recordings of Lunsford and his contemporaries found in Berea's Bascom Lunsford Collection.

Her work is in support of a Center for Ethnomusicology project that will create an open source, free, and downloadable teaching website that will make Lunsford's folk music legacy readily available to university and primary school settings. In addition to the Columbia and Berea collections, the project will draw upon materials from the Lunsford family, Mars Hill College, and the Library of Congress.


Mary Hamilton / Frankfort, Kentucky / 2009-2010 / Topic: Folklore

Mary HamiltonProject: Mary Hamilton has been a professional storyteller since 1983. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards including the Jesse Stuart Award presented by the Kentucky School Media Association for her body of work telling stories in Kentucky schools.

Her Fellowship research made use of the sound recordings in Berea's Leonard Roberts Collection of Kentucky folklore, many of which date from the 1950s and 1960s. She compared and contrasted different versions of the same folktale collected from a variety of children and adults in southeastern Kentucky. Hearing how the stories were told provided insight into them that is not possible from reading printed text alone.

The primary outcome of her research was identification of stories for presentations in Kentucky schools, libraries, and  museums. Also accomplished were professional conference presentations, Kentucky Arts Council residencies, and "Kentucky Folktales: Revealing Stories, Truths, and Outright Lies" a book of Kentucky folktales retold.


Brian Harnetty / Columbus, Ohio / 2005-2006 / Topics: Experimental Music; New Compositions

Brian HarnettyProject: Harnetty focused on identifying and analyzing traditional music for incorporation in a large-scale multiple media work entitled american winter. Brian is from Columbus, Ohio, and received his Master of Music in Composition degree from the Royal Academy of Music in London in 2000. Recently he has served as visiting professor of music at Kenyon College and is presently collaborating on an energy related video project with Appalshop. 


Lauren Hayes  / Tucson, Arizona / 2013-2014 / Topics: Oral History; Appalachian Women Factory Workers

Lauren HayesProject: Lauren’s research involves the documentation of personal work histories and spoken narratives of working life among women factory, manufacturing, and service workers in Appalachian Kentucky. These work histories and narratives will include reflections about current and past work opportunities for women in the region, descriptions of current circumstances among Appalachian women workers, and descriptions of daily work activities and responsibilities. The project is an important component of her dissertation research in Berea that explores how Appalachian working women negotiate the challenges of the modern workplace.

Lauren’s research will result in a collection of audio-recordings and documentary material including transcripts and a field log about Appalachian women in the modern workplace for future use in Hutchins Library’s Department of Special Collections and Archives.  She presented her paper  "An Ethnographic Study of Appalachian Women Working in the New Economy" at the 2015 Appalachian Studies Association Conference.

Lauren is a Ph.D. candidate in cultural and linguistic anthropology at the University of Arizona in Tucson and a visiting scholar of Berea College’s Women’s and Gender Studies program.


Emily Hilliard / Washington, D.C. / 2014-2015 / Topic: Appalachian Music

Project: New documentation Emily has provided for Berea’s existing Carpenter collection includes three recorded interviews with family members and donation of home disc recordings which have been digitized and added to Berea’s online traditional music collections. Emily’s article on Nora Carpenter will be published in the spring 2016 issue of Southern Culture.

Emily is the State Folklorist with the West Virginia Humanities Council. Her work has been published in various media platforms and publications including NPR, PBS Food, American Food Roots, and Southern Living.


Katie Hoffman / Jonesborough, Tennessee / 2013-2014 / Topic: McLain Family Band

Katie HoffmanProject: Katie's research will be in support of a writing project that will document the history of the McLain Family Band and their influence on Appalachian and Bluegrass music, especially during the 1970s and 1980s. The band's founder, Raymond K. McLain was the first Berea faculty to have a formal academic background in Appalachian music. The band's extensive touring in the United States and dozens of other countries took Bluegrass and Appalachian music to audiences who might otherwise not have encountered it. Band members have followed in their father's footsteps teaching college level traditional music.

Coinciding with the bands' 50th anniversary, Katie's research in Berea's McLain Family collection will result in a series of articles and eventually a full-length book.

Katie is a musician, songwriter, and singer and taught classes in research writing and Southern literature at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has served as traditional music advisor for public programing venues, documentaries, and public school music heritage programs. As an oral historian she has done field work and research in such Appalachian Studies areas as mountain settlement schools, traditional music, and traditional food-ways. In 2012 Katie founded Appalworks, a consulting business based in East Tennessee, promoting cultural heritage as a tool for both place-based, sustainable economic development and education.


Jason Howard / Berea, Kentucky / 2009-2010 / Topic: Kentucky Roots Music

Jason HowardProject: Jason Howard is an editor and writer living in Berea. His last book, Something's Rising: Appalachians Fighting Mountaintop Removal, co-written with Silas House, has become one of the University Press of Kentucky's bestselling titles. His Fellowship work is related to his book, A Few Honest Words: The Kentucky Roots of Popular Music. It is a multi-genre and multi-regional, representing various forms of contemporary roots music throughout the state. Participants for the book include both established musicians and emerging voices. Among these are Naomi Judd, Dwight Yoakam, Patty Loveless, Ben Sollee, Loretta Lynn, Dale Ann Bradley, and the Reel World String Band. Jason drew upon archival audio, manuscript, and print resources to develop the book's introductory chapter which is an expansive, historical account of roots music in Kentucky. This account links the book's contemporary subjects to their spiritual forebears-Lily May Ledford, Red Foley, the A.L. Phipps Family, anonymous church singers and musicians, and countless others.


Jason Howard / Berea, Kentucky / 2015-2016 / Topic: Women in Appalachian Music

Jason HowardProject: Jason Howard’s Fellowship supported research will draw upon the Alan Lomax Kentucky Recordings and other Special Collections resources to study how Appalachian women have coped with hardship, chronicled local stories and even challenged the status quo through song. Generally he will work to widen his knowledge of the cultural and musical heritage of Appalachia. In particular he will focus on developing a deeper understanding of the gender roles and class dynamics existing in the mountains between 1933 and 1942 and how they affected the music of the region. Jason’s research outcomes will be both creative – writing a series of lyric essays about these women and their music, and scholarly -  providing significant underpinning of lectures and research for “Roots Music of the American South,” a General Studies-Required 210 class currently in the design stage.

Jason is an Appalachian writer and began his work as editor of Berea College’s literary journal Appalachian Heritage in 2013. His music related writing includes A Few Honest Words: The Kentucky Roots of Popular Music, a creative nonfiction work of literary journalism that was published by the University Press of Kentucky in 2012.


Mary Ruth Isaacs / Kentucky / 2010-2011 / Topic: Folklore

Project: Mary Ruth Isaacs is working toward a Doctor of Education (Ed.D) degree at the University of the Cumberlands. Her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Berea and the University of Kentucky are in Child Development and Family Studies. She has taught undergraduate courses at the University of Kentucky and is currently an adjunct instructor at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. This Fellowship will support the development of a college-level course tentatively titled, "Childhood in Appalachia." Isaacs will be using audio recordings and transcriptions from Berea's folklore collections, especially those from the 1940s-1950s. Songs and stories that reflect beliefs, customs, attitudes, and traditions relating to children and families in Appalachia will serve as one means of developing an understanding of the dynamics that existed in a period when television and social media were not the pervasive influence which they have become at the beginning of the 21st Century.


Michael Ismerio / Bloomington, Indiana / 2011-2012 / Topic: Folk Dance

Michael IsmerioProject: Michael Ismerio is a traditional dance caller and musician. His Fellowship research will focus on Berea's audio and video materials that document square dance callers and square dancing traditions in Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. He is interested in identifying some of the more subtle aspects of square dance calling that rarely make it into print. His work will also include creating video documentation of current Kentucky callers for addition to the Berea Archives and conducting one or more campus / community square dance opportunities. The primary outcome of his research will be the development of a free online teaching resource for aspiring square dance callers.


Aisha Ivey / Tallahassee, Florida / 2013-2014 / Topics: Fiddlers and Fiddle Music

Aisha IveyProject: Aisha's research involves documenting the migration of American old time fiddling from the Appalachian region throughout the southeastern United States. She will video record interviews with fiddlers in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia. She will be focusing on documenting stylistic variables, bowing patterns, repertoire, influences, and learning styles in an effort to understand the dynamics of the tradition's migration. 

Aisha's efforts will result in a collection of video recordings and transcriptions to be made accessible for future research use in the Berea College Archives. Additional access will be provided through a public presentation at the 2015 Appalachian Studies Association Conference and a permanent online exhibit. She will also incorporate the fruits of her documentation work into her classroom teaching and graduate studies at Florida State University. 

Aisha played her first fiddle tune at age 10. She continued formal music studies into college and graduate school and has focused on Irish and Scottish fiddle styles as well as American. She teaches the Florida State University Old Time Ensemble, the Tallahassee Youth Orchestra Fiddlers, and is president of the Florida State Fiddlers Association.