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Berea Sound Archives Fellows 2005 - 2016

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

Brendan Taaffe / Brattleboro, Vermont / 2015-2016  / Topic: New Music Composition

Brendan TaaffeProject: Brendan Taaffe’s Fellowship supported research involves working with Kentucky poet Maurice Manning. He will take reworked text from Manning’s celebrated book Bucolics and compose a cycle of 12 new traditional songs, each one based on a song or fiddle tune from the Lomax Kentucky collection. Through publication of a book/cd set and public performance, he will strive to bring attention to the continued relevance of these recordings to the traditional music community and to do so in a way that creates connections with contemporary poetry and academia.

Brendan holds an MA in Musical Performance from the University of Limerick, Ireland (specializing in Irish traditional music on fiddle). As a composer, his choral work is based on traditional American hymnody with a special interest in the shape-note tradition.  His original songs have been performed broadly by community choruses in the USA, UK, and New Zealand and have been published in the most recent edition of Northern Harmony as well as in the collection Mansions in the Sky. He plays fiddle, claw hammer banjo, and guitar and plays for contra dances around the country.


Barbara Taylor / Santa Barbara, California and Boone, North Carolina / 2010-2011 / Topic: Banjo Music

Barbara TaylorProject: Barbara Taylor is an old-time fiddle and banjo player, a doctoral student in Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a master's student in Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University. Her classroom experience has included being a teaching assistant at UC, Santa Barbara and adjunct general studies faculty at Appalachian State. She has also served as Assistant Editor of Ethnomusicology, the journal of the Society for Ethnomusicology.

Taylor's Berea Fellowship work will be primarily in support of dissertation research on various aspects of African and African America history of the banjo. A secondary focus will be on the place of women in old-time music and the intersections of race and gender in American vernacular music practices. She will be making use of several of Berea's traditional music related collections that include field recordings, early commercial recordings, radio broadcasts, and related manuscript and print materials.

Anticipated research outcomes include paper presentations at national academic society meetings such as the American Folklore Society and an article in an appropriate peer-reviewed journal such as the Journal of Appalachian Studies or the Black Music Research Journal. Likely topics include repertoire and style transmission between black and white musicians and comparison of meter and rhythmic structure between African American and Euro-American performances of the same pieces.


Deborah Thompson / Berea, Kentucky / 2005-2006  / Topic: Appalachian Music

Deborah ThompsonProject: Thompson focused on the ways race and gender are represented in Appalachian music, especially as this is illustrated over time in events such as Berea's Celebration of Traditional Music and the Mountain Heritage Festival at Carter Caves State Park. Deborah is a Ph.D. candidate in Geography at the University of Kentucky. She has undergraduate and graduate degrees in Appalachian Studies, and has taught courses and administered programs focused on the arts and culture of the region.


David VanderHamm / Chapel Hill, North Carolina / 2012-2013  / Topic: Appalachian Music

David VanderHammProject: David's Fellowship research will focus on the role of instrumental virtuosity in popular and regional musical styles heard on radio variety shows of the '30s and '40s, especially as it relates to guitarists, banjoists, and fiddlers.

He is looking to demonstrate that extraordinary instrumental skill is cultivated in unique ways throughout the musical world in popular as well as classical styles. He will also examine the way in which these programs utilize sonic markers of racial and cultural "Otherness" to imbue music with meaning.

Research outcomes include conference papers for the Society for American Music and the American Musicological Society which will be expanded into journal-length articles for publication.

David is a guitarist and musicologist specializing in the music of the 20th century. He is a Ph.D.graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is an active performer and teacher within classical, jazz, and American folk-music contexts.


Jessica Wilkerson / Oxford, Mississippi / 2011-2012 / Topic:Appalachian Women

Jessica WilkersonProject: Jessica Wilkerson is an Assistant Professor of History and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi. Jessica received her Ph.D. in Women's and Gender History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. During her fellowship she used Berea's oral history collections that document scholar-activist and grassroots participants in the War on Poverty of the 1960s-1970s in support of her dissertation, "Where Movement's Meet: Women's Activism in the Appalachian South 1965-1980."  Research outcomes in addition to the dissertation itself include paper presentations at meetings of the Southern Association of Women Historians and the Southern Historical Association.


Peter Winne / Charlottesville, Virginia / 2009-2010 / Topic: Hymns and Sermons

Peter WinneProject: Peter Winne is a musician and performer living in Charlottesville, Virginia. He began playing old-time bluegrass and country blues during college and spent two years playing with the Vermont-based string band, the Powder Kegs. He performs with various groups in the Charlottesville area has been involved in the business side of traditional music, handling radio promotions for Rebel and County Records.

His Berea Fellowship work is focusing on Appalachian sacred music including old Regular Baptist, amateur gospel groups, and African American shape note singing traditions. He is using the archive's audio recordings primarily for learning repertoire and singing styles, part of which includes transcribing vocal parts from eight to twelve recordings. Research outcomes will be largely in the form of musical performance, initially with students and others in Berea and Charlottesville, and eventually, a full length CD .


Marianne Worthington / Williamsburg, Kentucky / 2008-2009 / Topics: Poetry; Women in Appalachian Music

Marianne WorthingtonProject: Marianne Worthington is an Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Journalism at the University of the Cumberlands, Williamsburg, KY. Her Music Fellowship study will be in furtherance of work on a poetry manuscript in process, currently titled Knoxville Girl. She will use audio and other archival resources to enhance her knowledge of mountain music in general, to study the lives of particular women singers and folklorists in Kentucky, and to analyze specifically the words and music of murder ballads. The manuscript is directed at using poetry to tell these women's stories and to examine the issues and barriers women continue to face as artists and performers.

Marianne's poetry chapbook, Larger Bodies Than Mine, was chosen for the New Women’s Voices Series and received the 2007 Appalachian Book of the Year Award in Poetry. She has published over 40 poems in national, regional and on-line literary publications and over 60 non-fiction pieces (book reviews, essays, critical analyses, and feature-stories) in regional and scholarly journals. She also teaches in the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts (KGSA) as a creative writing instructor