The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

June 22, 2013

Friday in the Park celebrates its 'Mountain Mama'

By Wendy Holdren
Register-Herald Reporter

BECKLEY — West Virginia’s birthday celebration continued Friday with three great performances during Beckley Renaissance’s Friday in the Park.

Mike Browning, regional coordinator for Sen. Joe Manchin, gave a West Virginia birthday greeting to everyone on behalf of the senator, then the Greenbrier  Academy for Girls Drums Group took the stage at Jim Word Memorial Park gazebo.

Beckley Renaissance Director Jill Moorefield said the lineup Friday was very exciting.

She said this was the Greenbrier Academy for Girls’ first time at Friday in the Park and afterward they were headed to the Youth Museum to perform at the Juneteenth celebration.

The eight young ladies, decked out in African garb, delighted the crowd with their traditional drumming skills.

Beverley Castanon, of Coal City, stood right outside the gazebo for a close look at the African drums.

“They’re just wonderful,” she said.

She said it was her first time at Friday in the Park, but it certainly won’t be her last.

The Greenbrier Academy group let some of their young fans come up and take a beat on their drums before they packed up their gear and headed to their next performance.

Theatre West Virginia actors and actresses hit the stage next to sing and dance some excepts from “Honey in the Rock” and “The Hatfields and McCoys.”

These performers hail from all over the country, including Oklahoma, North Carolina, Alabama, New York and even Kansas.

The final performer, Bill Campbell, came early to hear some of the other musical talents.

He said he always enjoys Theatre West Virginia performances, especially “The Wizard of Oz.”

Campbell has been singing for 23 years and he specializes in gospel and oldies.

Next week, Just Us will perform for Friday in the Park starting at 11:30 a.m.

For a full list of performances, visit

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