Native West Virginians are a proud people whose love of their state runs as deep as the New River Gorge. West Virginians have a lot to be proud of the state's awesome God-given beauty, its roots buried in the black richness of coal and controversy and the mysterious legends of the mountain man.
Mick Souter, West Virginia's "Bard of Education," performs his one-man show that celebrates the culture, history and people of West Virginia.
"There is an important mission with 'Celebrate West Virginia,'" says Souter. "This is a West Virginia pride program designed to focus on the many things we have to be proud of as West Virginians. I make sure everyone gets involved in what I call 'Singing' Mountain Pride' and that when they leave, everyone will know the words to the state song, the 'West Virginia Hills' and feel proud of our beautiful state."
Souter uses his talents as a multi-instrumentalist and storyteller to entertain and educate students and audiences of all ages throughout the state.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History funds all of Souter's programs.
"At the heart of all my shows are music and storytelling," I invite and cajole the audience to join in and sing along."
While singing and clapping, Souter accompanies the crowd on banjo, guitar, harmonica, auto harp, dulcimer, fiddle, recorder and piano. Some of the songs Souter will be performing are "John Henry," "Riding the New RiverTrain" and John Denver's beloved "Country Roads." Souter will also be performing two of his original compositions "Celebrate West Virginia" and "Singing' Mountain Pride." He says, "They're very upbeat songs."
"This program is really about the many things we have to be proud of as West Virginians and I make the kids mindful of the different aspects that went intothe state.
Souter travels the state educating students in classrooms, attending festivals and cultural events fostering a knowledge and love of West Virginia. "This is one positive way of responding to negative stereotypes and a way to foil negative stereotyping," he says.