Mack and Thelma Samples at the West Virginia Folk Festival
in Glenville WV Photo courtesy of jimmeads.blogspot.com
Glenville, WV - Glenville State College Alum and former employee Mack Samples will be calling steps at the first annual GSC Appalachia Trading Company Square Dance being held at Glenville State College on Friday, April 13th at 7:00 p.m. in the GSC Mollohan Campus Community Center Ballroom.
Samples, who was born and raised in Corton, West Virginia (Clay County), is a staple in Appalachian culture in Central West Virginia. He received the 2003 West Virginia Vandalia Award for his contributions to the state's folk culture along with his achievements as a musician, singer, dancer, dance caller, festival organizer, and author. He is most famous for calling dances which he learned at the West Virginia State Folk Festival in Glenville, West Virginia (Gilmer County) while attending Glenville State College.
After graduating from GSC in 1965, he taught for three years in West Virginia public schools before earning a Master's Degree from Ohio University. Samples worked for the University of South Carolina for five years as a professor and administrator.
He returned to Glenville in 1973 where he remained for 21 years as Registrar and Director of Admissions. During that time, he became even more involved in the West Virginia State Folk Festival serving as festival president from 1979 to 1994.
"I am honored to have a legend like Mack Samples involved with the Appalachia Trading Company. All are encouraged to come and enjoy this event," said ATC Project Director Tashua Allman.
GSC Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. David O'Dell organized the dance band for the square dance and will also be featured in it. "I basically came to Glenville State College because of my interest in traditional music. I had served on the Board of Directors of the West Virginia State Folk Festival in the past and my time in Glenville encouraged me to apply for a position at GSC. I'm really excited to be playing for the ATC Square Dance, especially since the rest of the band and Mack Samples are long-time members of the central West Virginia music tradition," said O'Dell.
The square dance is one of many events being held during the Appalachia Trading Company, a two-day exposition and exploration of Appalachian culture. Events include a black-iron cook off, pie bake-off, guest speakers, performances, and demonstrations such as quilting. All events are free to the public through a grant awarded to Glenville State College from the West Virginia Humanities Council. A schedule of ATC events can be found at www.glenville.edu/community/atc
For more information, contact Allman at Tashua.Allman@glenville.edu or (304)462-6051.