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Musical Diversity Makes Its Way to Westminster College

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Posted on Thursday, February 22, 2001

Armor & Sturtevant, a husband and wife due from Erie, will be holding musical court with a balloon, bottle caps, pieces of rake tine, scraps of plastic plumbing pipe, and a 1964 Nash Rambler hubcap Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. in Walton-Mayne Union Building at Westminster College.

The program, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Westminster College Diversity Symposium. The symposium is designed to help students and the community acquire a knowledge and appreciation of differences among people, human cultures, and the natural world.

"People often get really excited when they see that we can make great sounds with everyday junk," said Kelly Armor. "It isn't a new idea. For centuries working class people had to find a way to make music without having a lot of money. All my East African instruments are wonderful examples. They are all simple to make and yet sound great."

Armor lived in East Africa with native families for several years while she collected songs, stories, and instruments. Dave Sturtevant is a direct descendant of an Appalachian fiddler - his father, whom he credits as one of his greatest influences.

"American folk music really is a hodge-podge of musical traditions from all immigrant populations," said Sturtevant. "We hope to communicate that to our audience."

"Folk music is a great way to showcase diversity," said Armor. "I've discovered that we can't present the music I collected in Africa without explaining how African culture differs from ours."

Armor & Sturtevant have been touring since 1991. Both of their CDs on the Tatema Music label have garnered airplay on folk radio programs nationwide. They are listed on the Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour Roster and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Roster for Arts in Education.

For more information, contact Dr. David Twining, associate professor of history at Westminster College, at (724) 946-7249.