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Date

5-6-2020

Description

The region of West Virginia known as the Southern Coalfields experienced a huge population boom in the late 19th century into the mid 20th century due to the discovery and exploitation of coal seams in the area. Modern discourse on the region often highlights the areas predominantly white population, however, this region of the state was built in large part by waves of immigrants who often faced horrific conditions, which resulted in the death or injury of thousands. This project uses folk music as a cultural artifact to examine the lives of immigrant coal miners living in the region. Though there were many ethnic groups which were recruited to work in the mines and related industries, this project focuses in large part on the significant Magyar (Hungarian) population which lived in McDowell and other surrounding counties. The project culminates in a lecture which presents a general overview of the topic, as well as a look into the specific town of Pocahontas, Virginia as a case study in an effort to present the narrative of the Magyar people living in Southern West Virginia, and a discussion of the narrative of an West Virginia's immigration history in comparison to the state's portrayal in media and society. Additionally, a new composition was created as a form of creative output which draws on the shared characteristics of Magyar and Appalachian folk music, and was composed by the lead researcher, Steven Schumann. This piece can be presented in a live performance or in recorded format.

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May 6th, 12:00 AM

Multicultural Musical Landscapes: Investigating Musical Influences in Southern West Virginia Company Towns

The region of West Virginia known as the Southern Coalfields experienced a huge population boom in the late 19th century into the mid 20th century due to the discovery and exploitation of coal seams in the area. Modern discourse on the region often highlights the areas predominantly white population, however, this region of the state was built in large part by waves of immigrants who often faced horrific conditions, which resulted in the death or injury of thousands. This project uses folk music as a cultural artifact to examine the lives of immigrant coal miners living in the region. Though there were many ethnic groups which were recruited to work in the mines and related industries, this project focuses in large part on the significant Magyar (Hungarian) population which lived in McDowell and other surrounding counties. The project culminates in a lecture which presents a general overview of the topic, as well as a look into the specific town of Pocahontas, Virginia as a case study in an effort to present the narrative of the Magyar people living in Southern West Virginia, and a discussion of the narrative of an West Virginia's immigration history in comparison to the state's portrayal in media and society. Additionally, a new composition was created as a form of creative output which draws on the shared characteristics of Magyar and Appalachian folk music, and was composed by the lead researcher, Steven Schumann. This piece can be presented in a live performance or in recorded format.