The Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech ushers in its 2014-15 performance season with singer, songwriter, and West Virginia native Kathy Mattea, who will pay homage to her Appalachian heritage in her concert performance “Calling Me Home,” on Friday, Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m.

The event will be held in the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Moss Arts Center’s Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall. 

Appalachian can describe a beautiful mountain land, a genre of distinctly American music, and a special home for many families, but it is also an essential piece of music and heritage for Mattea. “Calling Me Home” is a collection of songs that celebrates Appalachian culture and expands the vocabulary of acoustic roots music that has always served as Mattea’s artistic center.

She has gathered songs and stories of bravery, pride, and grief that further define and describe the life and times of her home. Mattea will present her new material alongside her long-standing radio hits. Her 17 albums are woven with bluegrass, gospel, and Celtic influences, and have garnered multiple Country Music Association, Academy of Country Music, and Grammy Awards.

The night prior to her performance, on Thursday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m., Mattea will present “My Coal Journey” in the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre. The free one-hour program incorporates stories from her family history and her current advocacy for the environment, combined with a slideshow and sample songs from Mattea’s album, “Coal.” 

The evening traces Mattea’s motivation for beginning the recording project, her research into the musical genre’s history and elemental style, and her family’s ties to coal mining culture in Appalachia, and will include a discussion of environmental and social justice issues surrounding today’s coal mining methods.

The Center for the Arts is offering other events in conjunction with Mattea’s visit. Prior to Mattea’s talk on Sept. 11, the center will host “Appalachian Cultures and Conservation” in the Moss Arts Center Grand Lobby beginning at 6 p.m. Local and regional organizations representing the strong community of residents, activists, environmentalists, artists, journalists, and scholars committed to sustaining the cultural and environmental resources of Applachia will offer information and exhibitions.

Organizations participating include Virginia Tech’s Appalachian Studies Program and the Appalachian Regional & Rural Studies Center at Radford University, along with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Also featured will be the crowdsourced image archive project, “Looking at Appalachia.” The project is designed and directed by Appalachian photographer Roger May who will be visiting the area in conjunction with the event.  

The center is also collaborating with the Appalachian Studies program to bring live local music to the Moss Arts Center Patio. Just a Bunch of Guys String Band will perform (weather permitting) prior to Mattea’s performance on Friday, Sept. 12, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Audience members are also invited to meet Mattea during a special CD signing event in the Grand Lobby following her performance.

Tickets

Tickets are $40-$75 for general public and $10 for students and youth 18 years old and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center's box office, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300.

Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Limited street parking is also available. Parking on Alumni Mall is free on weekdays after 5 p.m. and on weekends.