NOTE TO EDITORS: THE MEDIA ARE INVITED TO ATTEND THE BREAKFAST AT NO CHARGE, PLEASE CALL EITHER 1-304-384-5348 / 6056, OR THE UNIVERSITY’S PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICE, 1-304-384-5211, FOR RESERVATIONS.
Int’l Bluegrass Music Assn. Hall of Honor Inductee Everett Lilly Is Grand Groundhog Watcher for 30th Annual Groundhog Celebration at CU
Athens, W.Va. - The 2008 Grand Groundhog Watcher will be Everett Lilly, West Virginia bluegrass artist and inductee into the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Hall of Honor.
Masters of bluegrass music, the Lilly Brothers, Everett and Bea, and Don Stover were pioneers in bringing professionally-performed southern Appalachian music to the upper northeastern region of the United States. Originating from Clear Creek, a community near Beckley, West Virginia, Everett and Bea began their careers by singing in churches and at area shows. Everett toured with Flatt & Scruggs in the early 1950s, participating in 14 influential recordings that included classic duets with Lester Flatt. The Lilly Brothers had become the first bluegrass act to take their music north when they relocated to the Boston area, performing at the popular Hillbilly Ranch playing an amazing 16-year gig, seven nights a week, 50 weeks a year! The Lilly Brothers were also the first bluegrass band to do a professional tour of Japan and, on their next tour, invited Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys to come along. On October 17, 2002, The Lilly Brothers and Don Stover proudly became the 20th inductees into the International Bluegrass Music Association's Hall of Honor, the highest honor that Bluegrass can bestow. Everett Lilly has passed his love for music on to his sons, who carry on this family tradition by performing in the band now known as the Lilly Mountaineers. With the addition of the hot young West Virginia current banjo champion, Rad Lewis, Everett Lilly and the Lilly Mountaineers tour throughout the States, as well as internationally. The band specializes in bluegrass, country, southern rock and gospel, and performs in churches, schools, theaters and at private parties, weddings, festivals, family reunions and other special events.
The “Concord Charlie” tradition was begun in 1978 by Professor R.T. “Tom” Hill, a resident of Athens, West Virginia. (He passed away in 2003.) As chairman of both the geography department and the Appalachian Studies program, he thought the breakfast would be a means to celebrate a piece of Appalachian heritage—and draw attention to the fact that Concord had such a program.
Former groundhog watchers have included politicians, retired Concord employees, entertainers, military heroes, pastors, writers and others. A. James Manchin (now deceased), former secretary of state and state treasurer of West Virginia was the first Grand Groundhog Watcher.
The prognostication is now part of the Concord University president’s job description. Concord University President, Dr. Jerry Beasley, will abandon the ivory towers of academia and ignore presidential protocol to share the secrets of Concord’s very special friend, Concord Charlie. Will Concord Charlie see his shadow this Groundhog Day to add six more weeks of winter weather? Only Concord Charlie knows, and Jerry Beasley will share the weather details.
The public is invited to attend the “ham and eggs” breakfast. The cost is $6.50, payable at the door or in advance. The breakfast will be held in the Student Center Ballroom, Saturday, February 2 at 8 a.m.
Reservations are recommended. For more information or to make reservations, call 1-304-384-6056, 1-800-344-6679, extension 6056, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
CONCORD UNIVERSITY NOTES: Persons with disabilities should contact Nancy Ellison, 1-304-384-6086 or 1-800-344-6679, extension 6086 if special assistance or help is required for access to an event scheduled by the University on campus.
CONCORD UNIVERSITY’S “GRAND GROUNDHOG WATCHERS”
1978, A. James Manchin (deceased)
Former Secretary of State and State Treasurer of West Virginia
1979, Jim Comstock (deceased)
Editor of The West Virginia Hillbilly
1980, Shirley Donnelly (deceased)
Historian and columnist for Beckley Newspapers Inc.
1981, Dr. E. Meade McNeill (deceased)
Professor of Biology at Concord
1982, Don West (deceased)
Director of the Appalachian South Folk Life Center, Pipestem, W.Va.
1983, James Dent (deceased)
Humor columnist and cartoonist for The Charleston Gazette
1984, Dr. Charles Kenneth Sullivan
Executive Director of the West Virginia Humanities Council
1985, George A. Daugherty
“The Earl of Elkview,” a prominent Charleston attorney
1986, Ken Hechler
Former W.Va. Secretary of State and former Congressman
1987, Edward J. Cabbell
Appalachian scholar, founder of the John Henry Foundation
1988, R. T. Hill (deceased)
Father of the Concord Groundhog Day Breakfast and former Professor of Geography at Concord
1989, Reverend Harry Christie
Former pastor of Princeton Presbyterian Church
1990, Dr. James Bailey (deceased)
Co-founder of Veterinary Associates of Princeton and a Mercer County civic leader
1991, Nelrose Richards Price
Retired Registrar of Concord, 41 years of service
1992, Jean Battlo
Published poet and playwright from McDowell County
1993, Katharine Tierney (deceased)
Mrs. Tierney was a Bluefield civic leader and longtime friend of Concord
1994, Denise Giardina
McDowell County native, successful novelist focusing on the vibrant culture of the coalfields
1995, Thomas Conlin
Former West Virginia Symphony Artistic Director and Conductor
1996, Frankie Ferrante (deceased)
Owned Mercer County restaurant, Frankie’s La Salute, and was an active civic and community leader
1997, Dr. J. Elliott Blaydes, Jr.
Retired Bluefield eye specialist and philanthropist
1998, Recent Concord Retirees
Harold Bailey, John Seago, Paul Morgan (deceased), Bill Ryan, Bill Wells, Beryle Santon, Violet Martin (deceased), Kevin O’Sullivan, Ed Lowe, Dale Geiger, Carl Chapman, Shelva Rarick, Bernard Keirnan, Karl Fezer, Kenneth Baker
1999, Jerry Jarrell
Retired Director of the National Hurricane Center, a Concord alumnus and Raleigh County native
2000, Andrew Paterno
President and Chief Executive Officer of Acordia Mid-Atlantic, a Concord alumnus and Kanawha County native
2001, Andy Ridenour, Larry Groce
Ridenour is originally from Washington, D.C., Groce is originally from Texas, both are with West Virginia Public Radio
2002, Dr. J. Douglas Machesney
Concord’s Vice President for Development from 1986 through 2002
2003, Dr. Jay Banks
Retired physician and author, lives in Union, W.Va., with his wife, “Marty”
2004, Dr. Ancella Bickley
West Virginian and African American educator, historian and author
2005, Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams
Congressional Medal of Honor recipient
2006, Kate Long
Writer, bluegrass musician
2007, Barbara Hawkins
Political correspondent, columnist, investigative reporter