Holden Akers-Toler holds a master’s degree in jazz studies from North Carolina Central University with an undergraduate degree in music education from WV Wesleyan College. Holden resides in Durham, North Carolina where he teaches and writes music education curriculum for Notasium, a musical play space and education center. Holden also enjoys life also as an independent musician and served again recently as the guest percussionist for the WV Dance Festival. Holden has enjoyed the opportunity to study and perform with the likes of Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo while at NCCU. Holden gives his earliest training in music, dance, and theatre to the many artists in his home state of West Virginia.
Dan Bailey has been a professional musician/guitarist for the last 45 years. He attended Berklee School of Music and WVU where he studied guitar and composition. He enjoys a diverse musical career performing country, jazz, rock and blues. He has worked with touring groups playing numerous concert and educational venues. Dan has extensive recording experience both locally and in Nashville. He is also a gifted songwriter having written “Quiet Kind of Crazy,” recorded by Taylor Made, which reached number one on the independent country charts. He currently owns his own studio, Elmridge Productions, in Beckley where he produces and engineers.
Adam Booth’s original stories blend traditional mountain folklore, music, and an awareness of contemporary Appalachia. A nationally touring artist, his professional telling appearances include premiere storytelling events across the United States, such as the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, the International Storytelling Center, the National Storytelling Festival, the Appalachian Studies Association Conference, the National Storytelling Conference, the National Academy of Medicine, and as a Spoken Word Resident at the Banff Centre (Alberta, Canada). He is a member of the Recording Academy and his recordings have received a Parents’ Choice Gold Award, two Parents’ Choice Silver Honors, and four Storytelling World Awards and Honors. He is a four-time champion of the West Virginia Liars’ Contest.
Doris A. Fields, aka Lady D, was born and raised in the coalfields of W.Va. She is a graduate of W.Va. State University with a B.S. in Communications. Residing in Beckley, WV, she makes her living as a singer/songwriter and has a passion for visual arts and poetry. Making music and expressing herself through other art mediums is the driving force in her life.
Richard Grimes has built a career as both a performer and a composer, working with an array of luminaries in the field including George Crumb, Gyorgy Kurtag, and Osvaldo Golijov. He has collaborated with orchestras including the Boston Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony, London Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Dallas Symphony, and Kansas City Symphony. His abilities are built upon educational foundations laid by cimbalomist Viktoria Herencsar (Budapest Opera, Hungary), percussionist Michael Bookspan (Philadelphia Orchestra/Curtis Institute), and Cosmas Magaya (mbira Dza Vadzimu, Zimbabwe). Born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia, Grimes holds a B.M in Percussion and Business from the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, his M.A. in Performance from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in Performance and Composition from New York University.