For many years, Mountain Empire Community College (MECC) has trained and educated the local workforce of Southwest Virginia. Equally important, MECC has been the area’s cultural center for Appalachian crafts and music. For the past 40 years, Home Craft Days has been the premier festival celebration of Appalachian culture and music in the region, for students and adults interested in learning “claw-hammer” banjo styles and guitar. More recently, the College has broadened the program offering classes in string band, shape-note singing, beginning and intermediate fiddle and traditional ballads.
Mountain Music School brings together students of all ages for a week of learning, music, and fun. The school is dedicated to the preservation and continuation of Appalachian music and culture, offering “ear training” classes in beginning “old-time” fiddle, claw-hammer banjo, folk guitar, mandolin, dulcimer, autoharp, and string band.
The faculty from MECC’s traditional music program includes well-known local musicians Todd Meade, Ron Short, Chris Rose, Cory Brown, and more. Students are treated to class visits and afternoon concerts by master musicians. All afternoon concerts are free and open to the general public. Mountain Music School wraps up on Friday afternoon with a celebration and student/instructor concert open to family and friends of students and faculty. All students will receive a Mountain Music School t-shirt.