Big Stone Gap — Mountain Empire Community College, in partnership with VFP of Duffield and the Town of Big Stone Gap, will host a free 50th Anniversary Community Concert featuring Grammy©-nominated, multi-instrumentalist and Singer-Songwriter Darrell Scott and the Darrell Scott Electrifying Trio, with local favorites If Birds Could Fly on Saturday, May 14 on the college’s campus.
This special free community event will celebrate MECC’s 50th year of serving the region. Students, alumni, faculty, staff, retirees, and the public are invited to attend. Food and beverage vendors will be on site, along with a beer garden provided by the Town of Big Stone Gap. VFP of Duffield, a communications shelter manufacturer in the Southwest Virginia region, is the major sponsor for this event. The event will begin under the tent on MECC’s campus at 6 p.m., with If Birds Could Fly scheduled to perform at 7 p.m., followed by Darrell Scott at 8 p.m.
For almost half a century, Mountain Empire Community College has served as the primary career training center for residents of Wise, Lee, Scott, and Dickenson County and the City of Norton. Thousands of students have furthered their education and skillsets to provide a better life for their family and community by earning credentials at MECC.
From humble beginnings, MECC first opened in 1972. Today, more than 1,300 students are enrolled full-time, and more than 3,000 students are enrolled part-time at MECC. The Big Stone Gap campus has expanded to include five buildings accommodating more than 100 academic programs of study in traditional classroom formats, as well as online and hybrid offerings. In 2019, MECC opened the Center for Workforce and Innovation of Appalachia (CWIA) in Appalachia to house its power lineman, commercial driving license, smart farming, advanced manufacturing, and dental assisting programs.
MECC is celebrating its 50th anniversary October 2021 – December 2022. Activities and events are planned throughout the year. Additional scheduled events include the 50th Anniversary Gala October 22, 2022, featuring John McCutcheon. The MECC Foundation, which exists to support the mission of the college, has set a goal to raise $2M to support scholarships, infrastructure improvements, and other needs to commemorate this special anniversary. In lieu of ticket sales for the concert event, the MECC Foundation encourages donations to its 50th Anniversary Fund to support scholarships, infrastructure development, and unrestricted needs at www.meccfoundation.org/give.
Founded in 1965 VFP Inc. develops customized enclosure solutions for protecting critical communication components that can withstand a wide range of environmental and physical extremes. The company’s products include concrete and metal shelters. VFP is an employee-owned company with over 200 employee owners.
Award winning and successful touring Nashville songwriter, the multi-talented Scott brings a brand-new trio. Darrell’s best-known songs include “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive”, “It’s A Great Day To Be Alive” and “Long Time Gone” – all hits familiar to music fans. Besides touring solo and with his bands for more than 25 years, Scott has opened and been a member of Zac Brown Band and Robert Plant’s Band Of Joy. It’s not unusual for Darrell to plug in, but he’s never had a band devoted to playing his music in this way. This newly formed trio consists of Bryn Davies on bass and Jeff Sipe on drums. Bryn is a talented bassist and long time collaborator with Darrell. She has also toured with Peter Rowan, Tony Rice, and Guy Clark. Jeff Sipe brings a new and exciting interpretation to Darrell’s music. Sipe, who lives in Brevard North Carolina is known to many as a founding member of Aquarium Rescue Unit and has toured with Jimmy Herring, Warren Haynes and Trey Anastasio.
If Birds Could Fly is a band for people that like real country music. They are not a product of the over produced contemporary country scene. Instead, they represent the kind of soul-driven authentic country music that drives a genre. The lead vocals, provided by Brittany Carter, are in a class all of their own. Their music presents a mixture of classic country sounds and top-of-the-class female lead vocals.
Approximately 600 covered seats will be available for this event. Attendees may also bring lawn chairs if preferred. Attendees are restricted from bringing food and drink to the venue. No firearms are allowed on campus.
For more information on MECC’s 50th anniversary, please visit www.mecc.edu/mecc50.