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The finale of the Appalachian Chamber Music Festival, “Celtic Heritage in the Appalachian Region,” will be held Aug. 28 from 3 to 6 p.m. at Happy Retreat in Charles Town. Courtesy photo

HARPERS FERRY — Katie Tertell founded the 2021 Appalachian Chamber Music Festival because she has a love for music and a love for this area.

“This whole thing is my brainchild,” Tertell said in an interview earlier this week. “For this kind of festival, I had two big things to answer. One asked who it was for, and the other where.”

Inspired by the beauty of Harpers Ferry and the surrounding area, Tertell has once again secured multiple venues to offer a well-rounded performance schedule for the second year of the annual festival.

A cellist, Tertell grew up in Northern Virginia and currently lives abroad most of the year, working as an instructor for cello students. Her love for folk and traditional music helped form the basis of the festival. Drawing inspiration from her friends, who are also musical artists, she came up with the plan for the festival, which she launched last year.

Organizing the event despite the COVID-19 pandemic was a bit of a challenge, Tertell said. However, her efforts have been successful in launching a program that reaches out to all live music fans, regardless of age, taste or background.

Artistic Director Katie Tertell performs on cello with violinist Audry Pride at ACMF’s May 21 fundraising gala at Harewood House in Charles Town. Courtesy photo

“The musicians I invited are passionate about their music,” Tertell said, adding that the festival’s goal is not only to bring the highest quality music in the genre, but also to highlight local talent.

Harpers Ferry serves as the headquarters for the festival, heavily intertwined with other nearby communities, with events in Shepherdstown, Charles Town, Purcellville, Va., Hillsboro, Va. and Middlesburg, Va.

“Our slogan is ‘History, Nature, Culture,'” Tertell said. “We celebrate and elevate all the cultural things that already exist here.”

The festival’s mission is to bring together world-class chamber music performances, collaborations and outreach with the rich and inspiring history, nature and culture of the Shenandoah Valley area. The musicians involved strive to enrich the region by sharing their love of music with their audience.

To help bring the festival to life in 2022, Tertell said her organization has received a grant from the Detlev and Mary Ellen Preissler Foundation of the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation for Arts, Music, Design and Nature.

“The grant will be used to offset the costs of the venues and securing the artists,” Tertell said, noting that the goal is to make the shows affordable for patrons.

In fact, some of the performances will be offered free of charge, allowing more visitors to experience ACMF’s musical offerings. In fact, the first event on the festival list will be free to the public — the Festival Taster Preview at the Catholic Church of St. James at Charles Town on August 17 at 8:15 p.m.

The 2022 festival runs from August 15-22, with eight concerts in Jefferson County and six concerts in Virginia. In addition to the concerts, two educational camps are also offered as part of the festival schedule. A string chamber music camp will be held Aug. 15-19 at the Old Stone School in Hillsboro, Va., for those ages 12-18. A chamber music intensive for adults will be held at Shepherd University’s Frank Center from August 20-24.

This second season of the Appalachian Chamber Music Festival will focus on the influences of folk music in classical music, the roots of Appalachian music, and the influence of Celtic and Scots-Irish traditions.

“Some of the concerts are more traditional and some are more family oriented,” Tertell said. “There is nothing better than live music.”

A complete festival schedule, as well as ticket information, can be found at

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