Six-day arts program to end with festival, concert this weekend Students, teachers to take to stage at Westminster

July 10, 1998|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

Common Ground on the Hill, a six-day celebration of music and the arts at Western Maryland College, will culminate this weekend with a concert featuring blues, bluegrass, jazz and gospel.

The American Music & Arts Festival will feature storytellers and dancers moving to the beat of African drums. Entertainers from across the nation will perform tomorrow and Sunday at the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster.

The event is expected to draw nearly 500 people.

After a week of classes in subjects as varied as the autoharp and artifacts of Seminole culture, students and teachers will show what they have learned from each other. About 200 participants will perform on four stages.

"I've really enjoyed the wonderful teachers and the camaraderie of everybody," said David Scheim of Blacksburg, Va. "We have the chance here to have unique political and cultural exchanges."

For many, the weeklong celebration was a family affair.

Blues guitarist Scott Ainslie brought his two sons, Gabriel, 12, and Jesse, 15, from Durham, N.C., to learn about Native American philosophy and study with Sankofa, an African dance and drum troupe from Baltimore.

"This is a great place for them to learn about different cultures, to experience things they might not otherwise have a chance to do," said Ainslie, a blues guitar teacher for nearly 15 years.

Other participants studied storytelling or delved into Native American history with a Creek tribal king. Many picked up a musical instrument for the first time.

Common Ground was founded by Walt Michael, a 1960s civil rights activist and musician, at Western Maryland College in 1994. This is the first year that the weeklong celebration ends with a two-day festival at the Farm Museum.

The Celtic harp, hammered dulcimer and Native American flute will create the harmony of this year's concert. Arts and crafts people will showcase their creations, from Celtic prints to Native American shell carvings. Watercolors, handmade jewelry and photography will be on display.

"We decided to hold this concert because we felt that what we're doing here on campus deserves to be out in the community," Michael said.

The American Music & Arts Festival begins at 10 a.m. tomorrow. The main-stage evening concert from 6 p.m. to 8: 30 p.m. will be followed by a country dance at the adjacent Carroll County Agricultural Center. On Sunday, activities run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Information and tickets: 410-857-2771.

Pub Date: 7/10/98

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