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Shenanigans!

 

 

 

Shenanigans! is five West Virginia musicians who perform traditional Celtic music, the roots of much of Appalachia's rich musical heritage. Fluter Wendell Dobbs, vocalist/accordianist Linda Dobbs, banjo/guitarist Odie Parkins, vocalist/whistle Andrea Parkins, and percussionist Mike Newman offer their listeners a cartload of traditional Irish and Scottish dance music (jigs, reels, hornpipes, polkas, slip jigs, slides, and more) and great songs, some humorous, others haunting, many in Gaelic. Shenanigans! plays music for the whole family. Hand-clapping, toe tapping, an occasional tear; all are common reactions to their music.

Shenanigans! has appeared in a variety of settings, from the concert stage with the Huntington Symphony Orchestra's POPs and Holiday Celebration Concerts to the Wheeling Celtic Fesitval. Their regular haunt is the Calamity Café in downtown Huntington. They have also spent considerable time in Ireland researching the music the perform. Their arrangements show great imagination but preserve the spirit of this rich musical heritage.

Wendell Dobbs'life as a flutist has been diverse and far-ranging. A Memphis, TN, native, he graduated magna cum laude from Memphis State University, where he studied flute with Paul Eaheart. He joined the US Army Band (Pershing's Own) in Washington, DC, at age 19 and completed masters and doctoral degrees at Catholic University durng those years, studying with Bernard Goldberg. After the Army Band, Dobbs was awarded a scholarship by the French government to study two years with Michel Debrost and Alain Marion in Paris. Returning to Washington, he became an active recitalist and received complimentary notice in The Washington Post, "Such a performer­equal parts technical competence, musical integrity and artistic enthusiasm was well worth seeing and hearing."

His performances as a recitalist have been aired on numerous occasions over National Public Radio and Public Television. Dobbs was featured on the Da paem CD on the KOCH International Classics label. He authored and published a Study Guide to Rubank Selected Studies for Flute, which includes instructional text and DC demo recording for West Virginia¹s student flutists. In October 1995 her performed the world premiere of Katherine Hoover¹s Dances and Variations for flute and harp on the Terrace Theater Series at the Kennedy Center and subsequently was featured with Hoover and harpist Lawrence Odom in the public television documentary NEW MUSIC (winner of three national awards), which chronicles the creation and premiere of Hoover's work.

In March 1996 he premiered James Kessler's Applachian Folksong Suite for flute and orchestra, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Huntington Chamber Orchestra. In 1997 he appeared on Public Television performing Kessler¹s Gaelic Rondo for flute and Irish pennywhistle with the Toledo Symphony's Concerts Under the Stars and later with the Toledo Symphony. In spring, 1999 he premiered Paul W. Whear's Celtic Concerto with the Huntington Symphony Orchestra. He spins Irish traditional jigs and reels as a member of Shenanigans! on the recently released CD Calamity Nights. Wendell chairs the music faculty at Marshall University.

Linda Dobbs is Associate Professor of Music at Marshall University where she is Coordinator of Vocal Studies and Director of Opera Theatre. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education, and the Master of Music Degree in Vocal Performance from Bowling Green State University, Ohio, with additional study at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She has performed in opera, oratorio and musical theater, appearing as guest soloist with the Toledo Symphony Music Under the Stars and Huntington Symphony POPS. As director of Opera Theatre at Marshall University, her productions include Floyd's Susannah, Puccini's Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, and Copland's The Tenderland.

She is the founder of the Marshall University Opera for Youth program which provides quality music experiences for children and pre-professional training for university singers. OFY brings opera to schools each spring, involves area school children in main stage productions, and presents frequently at conferences throughout the state. She is the co-author and producer of a new opera for children, The Fiddler's Ghost which received enthusiastic reviews from educators and traditional musicians alike for its portrayal of Appalachian music traditions.

Wendell and Linda studied Irish traditional music in fall, 1999 while on sabbatical in Ireland and have returned to share those experiences throughout the region, giving lectures, teaching and performing.

Odie Parkins, from South Carolina, started his career on bluegrass banjo, but has won numerous honors as a classical as well as flat-pick guitarist. His classical guitar awards include: Marshall University Turley Award, Marshall University Belle and Lynum and Jackson Award, West Virginia MEA Collegiate Guitar Award, MTNA State Round Winner for Collegiate Guitar, Runner up in the Eastern Regionals MTNA.

A practicing musician who is versatile in many styles. Odie's love of the fiddle finds ever greater voice in Shenanigans! while his renditions of standards like "Blackberry Blossom" have set new West Virginia speed records. Parkins has performed in masterclasses given by Adam Holzman, Andrew York, Mark Delprioro, Julian Gray, Rod Stuckey, and Douglas James. Parkins began to play the banjo at the age of ten, taught by his father. Later, he taught himself to play the mandolin, and the guitar. He studied classical guitar at Marshall University with Dr. Leo Welch, and has since gained approval as both a soloist and an ensemble member.

Parkins finds his roots in bluegrass, gospel, country, and rock. This diversity has also gained the preference of many directors of musical theatre. Parkins has performed in productions of Li'l Abner, The Boyfriend, Annie Get Your Gun, Stages of Man, Anything Goes, and Godspell. Parkins also enjoys transcribing works for the guitar from the Baroque and Renaissance period and folk music of his native Appalachia. He is a private teacher and is a charter member of Shenanigans! performing on guitar, fiddle and bones.

His wife, Andrea Parkins, is a native of West Virginia, hailing from a rich tradition of singers and musicians. The ease with which she handles songs of haunting tenderness, as well as passion and turmoil, enchants her listeners. In 1997 Andrea received her BFA in vocal performance from Marshall University. While at Marshall, she performed yearly in Opera Workshop, Opera for Youth, Chamber Choir and Musical Theater Productions. Andrea also received scholarship awards for academics, opera performance and choral performance.In the community, Andrea is well-known for her participation in civic and church-related productions. Aside from being an active member of Shenanigans!, she teaches privately and has taught classes on traditional singing at the Museum in the Community.

Percussionist and Ohio native Michael Newman was raised in the small Ohio River town of Proctorville. He became involved in school and community musical groups at an early age. As a senior in high school, Michael joined the American Federation of Musicians and began performing for area professional groups. He has remained active as a union musician and entertainer since 1972. Michael holds a bachelor¹s degree in Music Education from Marshall University and has done graduate study at Morehead State University in Kentucky, VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, and The University of Wisconsin. He is currently enrolled at the University of Rio Grande in Ohio, where he is studying Howard Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligence. Michael has been a professional music educator since 1977.

He began his career as band director at the Laboratory School of Morehead State University in Kentucky. He has also held music director positions in Ohio and West Virginia. For the past 15 years Mike has been vocal and instrumental music instructor for the Washington Nile Local School District in Portsmouth, Ohio. His ensembles have received various superior ratings at District and State level competitions. Mr. Newman's ensembles have been active in National level competition as well. His band was named Eastern Region Class Champion at the 1990 Bands of America competition. Michael Newman has nearly 30 years of performance experience. He has performed in a wide variety of musical situations including Pop, Rock, Country, and Jazz bands as well as Symphony Orchestras and World Music Ensembles.

Check for updates and further information on this concert and Hampshire County Arts Council's activities at www.hampshirearts.org.

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