"Wayfaring Strangers" Co-Author to Speak Feb. 13 at Greensboro College

Fiona Ritchie (left) and Doug Orr, co-authors of the New York Times
best-seller "Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage
from Scotland and Ulster to Applachia."
"GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Doug Orr, co-author (with Fiona Ritchie) of the New York Times best-seller "Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia," will speak at 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13, at Greensboro College.

Orr's appearance, in 109 Proctor Hall West on campus, is part of the college's 2015 Tannenbaum-Sternberger Foundation Colloquia Series. The event is free and open to the public. Copies of the book will be available for sale, and Orr will be signing copies.

"Wayfaring Strangers," which Orr co-wrote with Ritchie, the host of National Public Radio's "The Thistle and Shamrock" show about music with Celtic roots, traces how the music and the people migrated in the 18th and 19th centuries from Scotland to Ulster and then to North America. Many of those musicians settled in the southern Appalachians.

That music merged with English, German, Welch, African American, French and Cherokee music before reverberating back out and around the globe.

The book, which comes with a 20-song CD,  includes interviews with current songwriters whose own family histories have helped shape the music.

Singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash, the eldest daughter of country music legend Johnny Cash, says of it: "My own musical DNA is bound with these songs -- the narrative ballads, the melancholy rhymes, the ancient stories retold in melody again and again. Except for my family, there is nothing I love more than being a part of the 'living tradition' captured in this book."

Doug Orr is president emeritus of Warren Wilson College and interim chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Prior to becoming president at Warren Wilson, Orr served as vice chancellor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he founded National Public Radio affiliate WFAE-FM and was involved in the launching of "The Thistle and Shamrock."

He and his wife, Darcy, an artist who served as the art editor for the book, are longtime traditional musicians themselves, currently performing with another Black Mountain, N.C., couple as the Southern Highlanders.

In 1992, Orr founded the Swannanoa Gathering, a series of folk-music workshops at Warren Wilson that now attract more than 1,500 participants annually. He also founded and hosts the annual Swannanoa Solstice holiday concert in Asheville.

Orr has a B.A. from Davidson College and M.B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Greensboro College's Tannenbaum-Sternberger Foundation Colloquia Series bring presenters from a variety of backgrounds to share knowledge with both the Greensboro College community and the community at large. For more information about the colloquia, contact Paul Leslie, senior vice president and chief academic officer at Greensboro College, at 336-272-7102, ext. 5309, or email lesliep@greensboro.edu

Greensboro College provides a liberal-arts education grounded in the traditions of the United Methodist Church and fosters the intellectual, social, and, spiritual development of all students while supporting their individual needs.

Founded in 1838 and located near downtown Greensboro, the college enrolls about 1,150 students from 26 states, the District of Columbia and 10 nations in its undergraduate liberal-arts program and four master's degree programs. In addition to rigorous academics and a well-supported Honors program, the school features a 17-sport NCAA Division III athletic program and dozens of service and recreational opportunities."

- A Press Release

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