John S. Battle GATE Students Learn About Appalachian Culture

Students make a bridge with their hands while other students walk under.Recently, Ms. Anndrena Belcher, Appalachian storyteller, singer, and songwriter, taught, inspired and entertained junior and senior GATE students as part of their study of Appalachian literature and culture.  Ms. Belcher told of her own experience growing up in both the mountains of Kentucky and the city of Chicago.

Through story and song, she related the ways in which mountain culture connects with other cultures throughout the world.  She sang ballads such as “Pretty Polly” and discussed how this centuries old form continues to relate to young people today.  She also taught students a traditional folk dancing that was used in courting rituals or “play parties.”  Students learned and actively participated in all of the steps and lyrics of a tradition passed down through the 18th and 19th centuries.

Contact Person: 
Jennifer Daniel