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Common Ground on the Hill 2009

July 28, 2009

Common Ground on the Hill celebrated its 15th year in residence at McDaniel College with near record attendance – 500 folks – during its annual Traditions Weeks workshops and concerts this summer. Participants from Carroll County and far beyond gathered to learn traditional music and arts from a diverse international faculty and to search for common ground, discussing issues of nonviolence, immigration, mountaintop removal and more, and exploring how that discussion can be informed by music and art.

“For 15 years we have gathered as a multicultural community of musicians, artists, writers, lecturers, actors, and dancers, sharing skills with students of all ages and with one another,” says Walt Michael, Common Ground founder and executive director. “In this way, we believe that we can improve ourselves, our communities and our world as we meet, share and celebrate our arts and cultures on ‘common ground.’”

Impromptu gatherings at the gazebo, the rock garden and on the chapel steps provided students and instructors alike the opportunity to jam, share and learn well after formal classes ended each day. Music legend Ralph Stanley was honored with the Robert H. Chambers Award for Excellence in the Traditional Arts at Common Ground’s Roots Music and Arts Festival held at the Carroll County Farm Museum during the Traditions Weeks weekend July 11-12. Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys headlined the Festival on Saturday and bluegrass master Tim O’Brien was featured on Sunday.

Photos and story by Pam Zappardino ’71, Director, Zepp Center for Nonviolence and Peace Education, Common Ground on the Hill, and Adjunct Lecturer, Graduate and Professional Studies.