• Photo of the Beaver Marsh by Jeffrey Gibson.

    Cuyahoga Valley

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Musical Park Rangers from New Orleans Deliver Two Evenings of Entertainment to Cuyahoga Valley National Park

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Date: March 8, 2012
Contact: Mary Pat Doorley, CVNP, 440-546-5995
Contact: Janice Matteucci, Conservancy, 330-657-2909 ext. 108

Ranger Bruce Sunpie Barnes
Park Ranger Bruce "Sunpie" Barnes

Brecksville, Ohio - Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) and the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park are pleased to welcome New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park Rangers Bruce "Sunpie" Barnes and Matt Hampsey to Happy Days Lodge for two spectacular performances.

On Friday, March 9, "Sunpie" and Matt present Songs and Stories of the Underground Railroad, as part of the Lyceum Lecture Series. This event begins at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. General seating. Admission is $6 adults and $3 children ages 3 - 12. Advanced sales are available by calling 330-657-2909. On lecture days, call the Cultural Arts Hotline at 330-650-4636 ext. 228 after 2 p.m. for up-to-date ticket availability and severe weather cancellations.

On Saturday, March 10, "Sunpie" and Matt join members of the local group Mo' Mojo for an evening of great music. From jazz, zydeco, Afro-Carribean, and blues, 'Sunpie' (accordion, harmonica, and vocals) and Matt (guitar) combine history and musical talent to present the gumbo of musical styles that is New Orleans. The event begins at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. The concert is a part of the Cuyahoga Valley Heritage Series, celebrating the cultural legacy of the Cuyahoga Valley. The series is sponsored by Courtyard Marriott-Akron/Stow, 89.7 WKSU, Lloyd L. & Louise K. Smith Foundation, and Cable 9. Admission is $17 adults, $12 Conservancy members, and $5 children ages 3 - 12. General seating. Advance sales are available until 3 p.m. on Friday for that weekend's show by calling 330-657-2909.

In musical New Orleans, Bruce "Sunpie" Barnes stands out as a great harmonicist. His innovative and energetic style draws equally from late greats like Sonny Boy Williamson and modernists Lee Oskar and Carey Bell. "Sunpie" has further distinguished himself as a zydeco accordionist and powerful singer. Beginning with his background in marine biology, he has been working for the National Park Service for twenty-five years.

Guitarist Matt Hampsey, originally from Pennsylvania, has lived in New Orleans for twenty years. He graduated from the jazz studies program at University of New Orleans and has been a park ranger with the National Park Service at New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park since 2000. While displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Matt was temporarily stationed at CVNP.

Both Rangers were part of a team of researchers and musicians to collaborate on the production of two new music compilations, Songs of the Lower Mississippi Delta and Freedom is Coming. Produced by New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park, both projects reveal how every song has a tale to tell; from historic monologues and poetry set to music, to work songs, ring shouts, blues and coded spirituals.

Happy Days Lodge, located at 500 West Streetsboro Road (State Route 303) in Peninsula 44264, 1 mile west of State Route 8, is a restored Civilian Conservation Corps structure that provides a rustic ambiance for folk and traditional concerts, theater, lectures, and special event rentals. For more information on rentals, call the Conservancy at 330-657-2909 ext. 119.

The Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a nonprofit organization created to engage public support for the park and provide services to enhance public use and enjoyment of the park. For more information about the Conservancy and its membership program, visit www.conservancyforcvnp.org or call 330-657-2909.

CVNP encompasses 33,000 acres along the Cuyahoga River between Cleveland and Akron, Ohio. Managed by the National Park Service, CVNP combines cultural, historical, recreational, and natural activities in one setting. For more information visit www.nps.gov/cuva or www.dayinthevalley.com or call 330-657-2752 or 800-257-9477.


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Did You Know?

Historic photo of canal boats along the Ohio & Erie Canal.

The Ohio & Erie Canal, which runs through Cuyahoga Valley National Park, was a 308-mile waterway connecting Lake Erie to the Ohio River. This transportation route, which influenced local and national prosperity, was dug entirely by hand by mostly German and Irish immigrants.