Alice Lloyd College provides a thriving and ever-growing small-campus arts community for its students. Various opportunities exist for our students to become involved in the arts, particularly in music, theatre, creative writing, the visual arts, and public speaking. As a liberal arts institution, Alice Lloyd believes that the study and expression of the arts greatly contribute to the education of the whole person. Located only a short distance from the Appalachian Artisan Center in Hindman, Kentucky, the Jenny Wiley Theatre in Prestonsburg, and the mountain arts hub of nearby Whitesburg (home of Appalshop), Alice Lloyd is uniquely positioned to expose its students to a wide variety of artistic disciplines from Appalachia and beyond.
The Voices of Appalachia
The Alice Lloyd College choir, the Voices of Appalachia, tours annually in the spring to various parts of the United States performing the hymns and ballads of the southern Appalachian highlands. The choir sings both a cappella and with accompaniment. Through their vocal performances, the choir members strive to convey the deep feelings mountain people have about their heritage and region.
A number of noteworthy and memorable places have been included in the choir’s travels. They have had the opportunity to perform on shows such as NBC’s Today Show, the Kelly Lang Show from Los Angeles, and a special segment on CBS This Morning with Charles Kuralt entitled the “Pride of Appalachia.” The Voices have had the opportunity to share our rich heritage in diverse venues, including the Ahwahne Hotel at Yosemite National Park, California; the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C.; and Gettysburg National Park. The choir’s spring tour rotates annually from Florida, Dallas, Chicago, New York City and New England, and occasionally, California.
The Voices of Appalachia choir was formed in 1962 when Abner Grender came to Caney Junior College to teach music. During the history of the Voices, six people have served as conductor: Abner Grender, Paul Tse, David Benson, Richard Kennedy, Bryan Bolton, and Richard Bowers. There have been approximately 800 to 900 choir members over the years, all of whom are still considered a part of the Voices family.
The Voices of Appalachia is a great asset to both Alice Lloyd College and the Appalachian region; the first priority is the benefit derived by the individual members from participation in the choral experience. Amazingly enough, the College does not offer any type of music major or minor, therefore, all members of the Voices of Appalachia are performing out of the love they hold for their heritage and the musical traditions that support their background.
Along with the week-long spring tour, which is student-planned, the choir also performs an on-campus Christmas concert and one or two Christmas productions at off-campus sites. In addition, each April the Voices present their spring program to the campus community upon returning from their tour. At times, the choir will be asked to perform at various on-campus and off-campus events. They also record their music for distribution on CD.
The choir sings shape note (in a cappella)/sacred harp, traditional, choral, praise/worship, and Bluegrass Gospel selections.
Find out more about the Voices of Appalachia here.
Voices of Appalachia Acoustic Instrument Ensemble
Richard Bowers, the current director of the Voices of Appalachia, noticed that many of his choir members were interested in playing traditional mountain instruments. To facilitate and encourage that interest, Bowers began the Acoustic Instrument Ensemble. The ensemble, which is a stand-alone group that travels and performs with the choir, grew from featuring only the banjo to now include the acoustic guitar, upbright bass, mandolin, and fiddle.
The group also represents Alice Lloyd College in one or two shows a month, independent of the choir.
ALC Eagle Theatre provides students with exciting opportunities to enrich their communication and public relations skills. Along with classes in Acting and Introduction to Theatre, each spring Eagle Theatre presents a major production for which students may receive class credit. The plays allow students to participate in the collaborative and creative processes of educational theatre. All aspects of theatre are emphasized to provide students with the opportunity to experience the production process firsthand. Areas of emphasis include performance, costume, make-up, sound, set, and lighting design; scenic and properties construction; stage management; marketing and promotion; and educational outreach. Students audition for positions/roles each semester and are selected by the Director/Faculty Advisor. Through production studies, students learn to draw on their unique intellectual, emotional, and physical abilities to fashion performances that communicate to a wide range of audiences.
ALC students elevate creative problem solving to the level of art through the use of unconventional materials and inventive approaches.
Eagle Theatre has ties to various theatre organizations such as: the Kentucky Theatre Association, the Southeastern Theatre Conference, and the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, providing students the opportunity to watch and support other educational and professional theatre programs.
The Alfred and Shirley Wampler Caudill Players
Under the production and direction of Megan Burnett, Alice Lloyd’s assistant professor of Speech and Theatre, the mission of the ALC Caudill Players is to bring an educational theatre experience to area schools. The group also functions as an arm of the ALC Admissions Office. The theatre troupe presents their plays as community outreach from the college to organizations in our area. They offer these plays free as a service from Alice Lloyd College.
The ALC Alfred and Shirley Wampler Caudill Players began in the spring of 2009. Dr. Don Caudill chose to honor his parents through an ongoing and endowed gift to ALC by way of sponsoring the Eagle Theatre program, and specifically, the College’s theatre touring troupe. The plays chosen are meant to highlight Appalachian culture, the rich heritage of William Shakespeare, and to explore significant and well-known playwrights of the United States.
The Caudill Players travel with the Voices of Appalachia on their spring tour, and present Alice Lloyd College: A Light Unto the Mountains, a new play devised and written by the members of the troupe. This new play shares alumni stories and the history of Alice Lloyd College in a reader’s theatre format.
Plays presented since 2009:
- Alice Lloyd College: A Light Unto the Mountains, devised and written by Megan Burnett, MFA and members of The Caudill Players (Reader’s Theatre)
- The Adventures of Molly Whuppie, a play with music by Anne Shelby
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, adapted by Megan Burnett, MFA
- Shakespeare on the Move, adapted by Megan Burnett, MFA
- Trifles by Susan Glaspell
- Twain by the Tale, adapted by Dennis Snee (Reader’s Theatre)
Production and Work Summary:
- The Caudill Players have performed in schools and community organizations in Knott, Floyd, Perry, Breathitt, Letcher, Leslie, Laurel, Clay, Pike and Lawrence counties in Kentucky.
- They have performed in service of other organizations’ fundraising efforts and festivals, including the Appalachian Artisan Center, Jenkins Indian Summer Festival, Jenkins Centennial Celebration, and ALC’s Appalachia Day Homecoming Festival.
- ALC students have developed Teacher/Student Study Guides for each production. These are sent to teachers in advance of our performances. They were developed with Kentucky Department of Education standards in mind.
- Additional training has been gained through work with Ron Short of Roadside Theatre, a division of Appalshop. He invited the company to participate in Race/Peace, a multi-theatre collaboration creating theatre through community meetings and discussions about racial issues.
- Training in Viewpoints and Devising was given by Kathi E. B. Ellis, MFA.
- The troupe spent a weekend with the Network of Ensemble Theatres in Harlan, KY at a national conference.
- Collaborated with Appalshop’s radio station, WMMT 88.FM and ALC’s radio station WWJD 91.7 FM to produce and record radio productions of three one-act plays in the repertoire:
- The Adventures of Molly Whuppie by Anne Shelby,
- Shakespeare on the Move adapted by Megan Burnett, MFA
- Trifles by Susan Glaspell.
- A student worker for ALC’s radio station WWJD was our liaison between the two stations and assisted as an engineer at WMMT.
- On March 25, 2011 we aired The Adventures of Molly Whuppie along with an interview with the cast and director on WMMT.
Pottery and Painting with Local Artisan and Professor Michael Ware
Alice Lloyd art professor Mike Ware has his own studio at the nearby Hindman Settlement School. He received a bachelor’s degree in art education from Millersville University in Millersville, Pennsylvania in 1974 and a master’s degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky in 1987. He has taught art at ALC since 1992. In addition, he is a member of the Kentucky Crafted program and is active in the arts community in and around Hindman.
Ware has been a production potter for over 21 years, and, during this time, has steadily produced a wide variety of utilitarian forms. He currently works in stoneware, which is fired in electric kilns; however, his background in production pottery includes a variety of techniques, including slat-glazed ceramics. Because of his love for Pennsylvania Dutch salt-glazed pottery, he developed a self-glazing clay body that has the appearance of the slat-glazing effects, one that he plans to use in his line of utilitarian pieces. Ware has developed various clay bodies and glazes for his line of pottery and frequently carves and pierces designs into his work, creating a wide array of graphic effects. His work is direct in appearance with rich, textural surfaces that add a quiet sophistication to the overall forms.
Students have the option of taking Ware’s class, ART 115, which serves as an introduction to methods of hand building (slab, coil, pinch, and wheel throwing), glazing, and decorative techniques. Students may also register for Ware’s ART 225: Painting class in which they will be taught the production of paintings in oil or acrylic with emphasis on developing individual techniques. In ART 305: ADVANCED STUDIO, students can further their studies in pottery, painting, sculpture, drawing, art history, or photography.
Ware regularly schedules art galleries of student-produced work, and occasionally, he works with the Appalachian Artisan Center and the Hindman Settlement School to bring traveling art galleries to the Alice Lloyd campus.
Ware often demonstrates his pottery talents off-campus at the Appalachian Artisan Center in Hindman and the Appalachian Artisan Center at Berea. (The above video was produced by the Appalachian Artisan Center at Berea.) His work can also be seen at Alice Lloyd’s Appalachia Day Homecoming festival on the second Saturday of every October.
The Billie and Curtis Owens Literary Society
The Billie and Curtis Owens Literary Society is an organization open to all students with an interest in creative writing and literature. Students may meet to discuss the works of established authors and to share their own writing. Funding is available for participants to travel to poetry and fiction readings as well as to other cultural events. Funding is also available to bring visiting authors to campus for workshops and readings. An eclectic approach to an appreciation of the literary arts will be encouraged. An annual writing competition in fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction is also sponsored by this society. Monetary prizes are awarded at the annual Honors Day celebration.
Public Speaking @ ALC
From the Campus Crusaders, who represented Caney Creek Community Center on their fundraising tours of the United States, to the dozens of students who address convocation audiences today – there is a long and rich tradition of public speaking at Alice Lloyd College.
Students begin their exposure to public speaking through the general education program and continue to present in many classes throughout their college tenure.
Public speaking prospects abound for interested students, including opportunities to introduce speakers, organize and present at student events and convocations, lead school groups and other guests on campus tours, host radio programs, and represent ALC student organizations at state, regional, and national conferences. Students may also participate each spring in the James V. Mongiardo Speech Competition, one of the college’s endowed awards.
* CAC = Campbell Arts Center
This group specializes in the sound, projection, and lighting for various campus events. Along with recording the Voices of Appalachia on CD, these students, under the guidance of choir director Richard Bowers, set up and organize crews responsible for all of the behind-the-scenes, technical work for the Alice Lloyd College spring play, concerts, talent shows, Caney Convocation Series events, special programs for The June Buchanan School, dances, and many other activities in the Estelle Campbell Center for the Arts, the Ralph Edwards Auditorium, Cushing Hall, and elsewhere on-campus. The group also sets up hospitality rooms for campus guests and aids the Arts & Entertainment Club with showing movies during the semester.
The group has the capacity to book its own events, and for a fee, they will travel to nearby off-campus locations to help with the technical aspects of production.
Arts & Entertainment Club
This club seeks to cultivate students’ appreciation for the arts and to conduct activities aimed at bringing good fun and entertainment to campus. Participants show films every other Thursday at 8 PM in the Campbell Arts Center (CAC). Occasionally, club members will travel to see plays and other events of interest.
Questions? Please contact:
Richard Bowers, Director of Voices of Appalachia
Phone: (606) 368-6082
Vicki Crooks, Assistant Professor of Speech and Theatre
Phone: (606) 368-6050
Mike Ware, Assistant Professor of Art/Humanities Division Head
Phone: (606) 368-6083