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Sparky and Rhonda set to take the stage

By Staff | Feb 18, 2011

Shepherdstown Music and Dance and the Performing Arts Series at Shepherd University celebrate the month with an educational and emotional journey through music and stories with Sparky and Rhonda Rucker, a Grammy-nominated folk duo Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. in Shepherd’s Reynolds Hall.

This couple’s concerts take audiences on a journey that spans three centuries of African-American and American history, including slavery, the Underground Railroad, the Civil War, the Westward migration, the birth of blues music, the Civil Rights Movement and some of their own compositions. They intersperse each era with stories and popular songs from the time period.

Sparky and Rhonda have numerous recordings and they also contributed to the syndicated television miniseries The Wild West directed by Keith Merrill. Sparky’s unique renditions of “John Henry” and “Jesse James” were used in the National Geographic Society’s 1994 video entitled Storytelling in North America, and he has also appeared on numerous radio programs, including National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, Prairie Home Companion and Mountain Stage.

The Ruckers perform around the world singing songs and telling stories from the American folk tradition. Sparky has been performing over 40 years and is internationally recognized as a leading folklorist, musician, historian, storyteller and author. Rhonda is an accomplished harmonica, piano, banjo and bones player, and also adds vocal harmonies to their songs.

Admission is $15 adults, $12 seniors, $10 SMD members, $8 students, and free to Shepherd Students with Rambler ID. For more information call Joanie Blanton at 304-263-2531, email updf@earthlink.net or visit www.smad.us.

– From staff reports