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‘Celebrate Appalachia!’ with music and storytelling at Blount County Public Library

Sparky and Rhonda with photo credit to Pam Zappardino

Sparky and Rhonda Rucker will perform at the Blount County Public Library on Thursday, April 13, as part of Pellissippi State’s Appalachian Heritage Project programming for the community. Photo credit: Pam Zappardino

Pellissippi State Community College Libraries’ Appalachian Heritage Project will host an evening of Appalachian music and storytelling with local legends Sparky and Rhonda Rucker next week. 

The free Celebrate Appalachia! event will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 13, in the Blount County Public Library’s Main Gallery, 508 N. Cusick Street, Maryville.  

“Having the legendary Sparky and Rhonda Rucker as the featured artists for our Celebrate Appalachia! event is such an honor, and we are excited to be partnering with the Blount County Public Library for this event,” said Pellissippi State Assistant Professor Allison McKittrick, Strawberry Plains Campus Librarian. “Making these sorts of relationships with our community in order to highlight our region’s culture and history is part of the Appalachian Heritage Project’s mission, and we anticipate a fabulous performance at Blount County Public Library with Sparky and Rhonda.”  

Sparky and Rhonda Rucker perform throughout the United States as well as overseas, singing songs and telling stories from the American folk tradition. Sparky Rucker has been performing over 50 years and is internationally recognized as a leading folklorist, musician, historian, storyteller and author. He accompanies himself with fingerstyle picking and bottleneck blues guitar, banjo and spoons. Rhonda Rucker is a musician, children’s author, storyteller and songwriter. Her blues-style harmonica, piano, old-time banjo and bones add musical versatility to their performances.   

Pellissippi State’s Appalachian Heritage Project, housed at the college’s Strawberry Plains Campus and funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities, features curated collections of materials about all aspects of the region and quarterly programming focused on the art, literature, customs and history of the area. The Appalachian Heritage Project also provides Pellissippi State with opportunities to expand partnerships in the region and enhance community outreach via exhibits, lectures and workshops. 

For more information about this event or any Appalachian Heritage Project resources or programs, contact McKittrick at