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Special Guests


Composer in Residence

The music of Steven Snowden has been described as “A visceral evocation of raw communal memories” (GoldenPlec, Dublin), “Beguiling… combining force with clarity” (San Francisco Classical Voice), “Wonderfully dynamic” (Interlude Hong Kong),  “Marvelously evocative”, (Cleveland Plain Dealer), and “The most wildly intriguing sight and sound I have experienced at a concert” (The Boston Musical Intelligencer). Writing music for dance, theater, multi-media installations, and the concert stage, his work often focuses on underground American history and how past events relate to modern society. While his musical influences are deeply rooted in bluegrass, folk, and rock, he utilizes non-traditional techniques and processes to compose works that don’t squarely align with any single genre or style.
A native of the Ozarks countryside, he began studies in music composition in 2002 and received degrees from Missouri State University (BM), University of Colorado at Boulder (MM), and University of Texas at Austin (DMA). In 2012-2013 he was a Fulbright Scholar in Portugal, researching the implementation of motion tracking technology as a means to facilitate collaboration between music and dance. In 2013-2014, he was a visiting professor and composer in residence at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and is the co-founder/director of the Fast Forward Austin Music Festival.  He currently works as a freelance composer in Boston and when he’s not writing music, you can find him deep in the woods foraging for mushrooms with his wife, violist Lauren Nelson.


Photo by Elisa Ferrari



Guest Speaker

Festival Finale, Sunday 8/28 at Happy Retreat

A Ph.D. graduate from the University of Georgia in Linguistics and Nineteenth-Century British Literature, Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt is today Director of the Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities at Shepherd University and Coordinator for Appalachian Graduate Studies at Shepherd. She has been a member of Appalachian Studies Association for twenty years, serving in 2015 as ASA President and 2016 National Conference Chair. She is managing editor of the 15-volume Anthology of Appalachian Writers (ISSN 1946-3103), an annual anthology of Appalachian, poets, fiction writers, essayists, and photographic artists. She was Director of four National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Teacher Institutes, Voices from the Misty Mountains and the Power of One’s Story (2013, 2016, 2017, 2018), the West Virginia Governor’s BRIDGE Institute (2020), and the West Virginia Humanities Council Misty Mountains Teacher Institute (July 2022).  Shurbutt was a member of the West Virginia Advisory Council of Faculty, serving as its state President for four years and successfully representing WV faculty on a number of issues before the WV Legislature, including securing tuition waivers for faculty dependents and securing WV incremental pay for faculty. Her writing has appeared in The Journal of Appalachian Studies, The Journal of Kentucky Studies, North Carolina Review, Women's Studies, Women and Language, Essays in Literature, The Southern Literary Journal, Encyclopedia of American Literature, and Scribner's American Writers and World Writers series, among others.  She has chapters in Feminism in Literature (Gale); Untying the Gender Knot (Greenwood Press); “A Walk Along the Wicklow Way” in Destinations and Discoveries (2014), and is author of books about travel, writing, and literature, including Reading Writing Relationships (Kendall Hunt).  Her most recent book Silas House: Exploring an Appalachian Writer’s Work (University of Kentucky Press 2021) has been nominated for the South Atlantic Modern Language Association’s 2022 Book Award. Shurbutt was the 2006 West Virginia Professor of the Year and received the Stephen Fisher Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2020. 


Guest Speaker

Lost in Plain Sight, Sunday 8/21

at Shipley Recital Hall, Shepherd University

H. Rosi Song specializes in the literature, intellectual history, and culture of contemporary Spain. She is the author of Lost in Transition: Constructing Memory in Contemporary Spain (Liverpool UP, 2016), and the co-editor ofTraces of Contamination: Unearthing the Francoist Legacy in Contemporary Spanish Discourse (Bucknell UP, 2004) and of Towards a Cultural Archive of la Movida (Farleigh Dickinson UP, 2013). Her articles have appeared in Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, MLN, Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, Romance Notes, Hispamérica, Revista Iberoamericana, Hispania, among others. She teaches courses on modern and contemporary Spanish narrative and culture, detective fiction, and film.


Engagement sponsored In conjunction with an IMPACT grant awarded by Durham University (England)

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Guest Performer and Strings Coach

Alán Saúl Saucedo Estrada holds cello performance degrees from the Escuela Superior de Musica y Danza de Monterrey, Scola Municipal de Musica “Victoria dels Angels” in Barcelona, and Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA. He has been a prize winner in several music competitions, including the Second Yokohama International Music Competition in Japan. He has appeared in recitals in Paraguay, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, and the USA and given presentations at the Smithsonian museum, the Kennedy Center, and the White House. Dr. Saucedo recently published a book entitled “The Influence of Carlos Prieto on Contemporary Cello Music” based on his investigation of Latin American classical cello music . This book is currently for sale in all major bookstores around the world. Dr. Saucedo’s commitment to education has brought him to different countries, including Mexico, Spain, Paraguay, and the U.S. Dr. Saucedo currently co-direct the strings program at the Highland School and teaches at the Shenandoah Conservatory Arts Academy and the Music School of the Piedmont. He is artistic director of the Middleburg Concert Series, plays in the Roanoke Symphony, and often collaborates with ensembles and orchestras in the D.C. area. A strong advocate of Latin American music, Dr. Saucedo often premieres and includes music by new Latin American composers in his lectures and presentations. He is also a member of the Mexican Vitali string quartet, a group dedicated to the performance and promotion of Latin American classical music.

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Guest Performer

Violist/Violinist Kyung LeBlanc, a native of Korea, is a founding member of Sage String Quartet. She maintains an active career as a chamber and orchestra musician in Washington, DC area. Ms. LeBlanc is also a founding member of the Sage Chamber Players with whom she performs at various recitals and concert series. As an orchestra musician, she plays with Wolf Trap Opera Orchestra and with Washington National Opera Orchestra as a guest musician. Her freelance work has included performances with Smokey Robinson, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, The Irish Tenors, Johnny Mathis, Anne Murray, among others. She has played in numerous musicals including, Les Miserables, The King and I, Fiddler On the Roof. Ms.LeBlanc received a Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Michigan and pursued further studies at Aspen Music Festival and School and at the Cincinnati College- Conservatory of Music.


Guest Folk Band

Festival Finale, Sunday 8/28 at Happy Retreat

Furnace Mountain consists of Aimee Curl on bass and vocals, Dave Van Deventer on fiddle and vocals, and Morgan Morrison on guitar, bouzouki, and vocals, and Danny Knicely on mandolin and fiddle.  The band creates music that is at times lively and raucous, with spirited fiddle melodies weaving in and around the powerful rhythms of the bass and bouzouki, and other times poignant and poetic, with sublime vocal harmonies beautifully interpreting some of the oldest songs ever written.

Furnace Mountain Band has performed throughout the world, from the Yangtze River in China to the banks of the Shenandoah River, where they are the host band of Watermelon Pickers’ Festival. Furnace Mountain Band plays music from the American Appalachian traditions, as well as original compositions, and songs penned by their favorite song writing friends.

For more about Furnace Mountain Band and their upcoming engagements, visit 

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