Opening General Session -- Wednesday, 10-11:30 p.m., October 17, 2007
Multi-Grammy awarded folk musician, story teller, folklorist and North Carolina public television host David Holt will be the opening session general speaker. He will have just returned a European tour with Doc Watson. For more about David Holt, see http://www.davidholt.com/
Every young man dreams of a life of adventure. In 1968, David Holt found his life’s journey in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. With a passion to become an old-time banjo player, David traveled to remote mountain communities like Kingdom Come, Kentucky and Sodom Laurel, North Carolina searching for the best traditional musicians. Holt found hundreds of old-time mountaineers with a wealth of folk music, stories and wisdom. There was banjoist Wade Mainer, ballad singer Dellie Norton, singing coal miner Nimrod Workman, and 122 year-old washboard player Susie Brunson. Holt learned to play not only banjos, but many unusual instruments like the mouth bow, the bottleneck slide guitar and even the paper bag.
For over three decades, David's passion for traditional music and culture has fueled a successful performing and recording career. He has earned four Grammy Awards and performed and recorded with many of his mentors including Doc Watson, Grandpa Jones, Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Roy Acuff and Chet Atkins. Today he tours the country performing solo, with Doc Watson and with his band The Lightning Bolts.
This session will be opened with a poem from North Carolina Poet Laureate Kathryn Stripling Byer. For more on the Poet Laureate, see: http://www.ncarts.org/poet_laureate.cfm
Gov. Michael F. Easley appointed Kathryn Stripling Byer, of Cullowhee,
to be North Carolina's poet laureate on February 24, 2005. As poet laureate,
Ms. Byer serves as an ambassador of North Carolina literature, past and
present. She succeeded Fred Chappell.
"Kathryn's talents have earned her many honors and awards, and I know she will be an outstanding representative of North Carolina's rich literary arts," Governor Easley said at the time of her appointment. "She will be an important connection between our writing community and the public."
Ms. Byer participates in public events, curates features on poetry and other aspects of North Carolina literature for the North Carolina Arts Council's web site, and hopes to organize creative writing workshops for North Carolina schools using the state's distance-learning facilities. She also writes poems commemorating occasions of historic or cultural importance. Ms. Byer is serving a two-year term, renewable at the governor's discretion.