• Special to The Sun

Rogers to portray Jean Ritchie at historical society


"DAMSEL WITH A DULCIMER," the story of Jean Ritchie, will be presented by Versailles native Rachel Lee Rogers on Thursday, Oct. 26, at the Woodford County Historical Society's library and museum at 121 Rose Hill in Versailles. (Photo submitted)

The Woodford County Historical Society, together with Kentucky Chautauqua, will present "Jean Ritchie: Damsel With A Dulcimer" at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, at the society's library and museum at 121 Rose Hill, Versailles. Traditional musician, songwriter, poet, commercial performer, recording artist, author and composer Jean Ritchie, born in Viper in Perry County in 1922, was the youngest of Balis and Abigail Ritchie's 14 children. She began her recording career in 1952, signing with Elektra Records. Throughout her career she recorded more than 35 albums, which strongly reflected her Kentucky heritage and featured her playing the mountain dulcimer. Known as the "Mother of Folk," Ritchie was a major contributor to the national revival of folk music across American during the mid to second half of the 20th century. Artists including Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, and Dolly Parton have covered her songs. Jean Ritchie was also an outspoken environmental activist. Her song, "Black Waters" is a well-known protest song that Ritchie wrote about strip mining in Kentucky. Kentucky Humanities Council's Kentucky Chautauqua presents Rachel Lee Rogers of Versailles as Jean Ritchie. Rogers trained at Northern Kentucky University, Rutgers and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. She currently serves as arts facilitator at the School for the Creative Performing Arts at Bluegrass, and as a local educator. She has been a part of many international, national, and regional productions including performances with the Bluegrass Opera, Woodford Theatre, Actors Guild of Lexington, Lexington Shakespeare Festival, Studio Players, and the Lexington Public Library. Kentucky Chautauqua is an exclusive presentation of Kentucky Humanities with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and from the Brown-Forman Corporation, the Carson-Myre Charitable Foundation, the Cralle Foundation, Eastern Kentucky University, the Elsa Heisel Sule Foundation, Lindsey Wilson College, Morehead State University, Mountain Telephone, Paducah Bank, PNC, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America, Inc. Kentucky Humanities is a non-profit Kentucky corporation affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information, visit kyhumanities.org or call (859) 257-5932.

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