South Carolina to honor Folk Heritage Award winners

Congratulations to the James Brothers of Lyman, S.C., and to Betty McDaniel, of Pickens, S.C., who have been named the 2015 Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award recipients! The awards will be presented May 13 in Columbia at Southside Baptist Church, 702 Whaley St., during a special concert and ceremony beginning at 6:15 p.m. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

The James BrothersThe James Brothers (Marshall, pictured left, and Leon, pictured right) have been singing traditional music since the 1940s. They call themselves the “Old School Gospel Duo” and since 1995, have been performing in an a capella style. The duo continues an active performance schedule at churches, festivals, family reunions and other community events in the Upstate.

Betty McDanielMcDaniel has been a tireless advocate of Appalachian culture in South Carolina for more than 35 years. She has been the driving force behind the exemplary Young Appalachian Musicians (YAM) and Preserving our Southern Appalachian Music (POSAM) programs in the Upstate and has made it her mission to disseminate traditional Appalachian dance, music, foodways, and stories to audiences of all ages.

Also on May 13, the award recipients will be honored by McKissick Museum during a ticketed luncheon and by the S.C. Arts Foundation during the South Carolina Arts Gala, a fundraiser supporting the programs of the S.C. Arts Commission. For more information about the luncheon, contact Ja-Nae Epps,, (803) 777-2876. The gala begins at 7:15 p.m. in the Grand Hall, 701 Whaley St.; tickets are $75 per person. 

The Folk Heritage Award, jointly managed by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum, is named for the late Jean Laney Harris, an ardent supporter of the state’s cultural heritage. The award was created by the legislature in 1987 to recognize lifetime achievement in the folk arts. The artistic traditions represented by the award are significant because they have endured, often for hundreds of years.

For more information about the Folk Heritage Awards and the ceremony, contact Doug Peach, at (803) 734-8764. Also visit McKissick Museum’s website or the S.C. Arts Commission website.