Participation Type

Performance

Presentation #1 Title

Oh Happy Day: Brian Yerman's Story

Presentation #1 Abstract or Summary

This documentary film highlights the processes of race, religion, and community in southern Appalachia. The Black Mennonite Brethren Church, a small African American church located in the Junaluska community of downtown Boone, North Carolina, adopted Brian Yerman, a white old-time musician searching for a congregation he could belong in. This film showcases an example of diversity in southern Appalachia by presenting Brian’s story of how a Caucasian man came to play acoustic guitar at a predominantly black gospel church. The church and the Junaluska community welcomed him in as one of their own over twenty years ago. He has been a loyal member of that church ever since, seldom missing a Sunday service. Brian also displays diversity within the history of his music. Originally from upstate New York, he was classically trained in school to read music, and played trombone. After serving in the Navy, he moved to the mountains of Virginia, where he fell in love with Appalachian old-time music. Later, he would move to western North Carolina to further explore his musical passions. After a painful divorce, he found himself in an all new low. His depression would be lifted when he eventually discovered solace at the Boone Mennonite Brethren Church. He has recorded albums with various other artists, including his church’s choir, and bands such as The Lazy Birds. Oh Happy Day: Brian Yerman’s Story tells of hope for how people from different cultures and ethnicities can emanate together, and overcome difficult barriers in today’s society.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #1

Adam Sheffield is a Graduate student at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, and co-directed this film with Laiken Boyd. Adam focuses his research on watershed sustainability within Appalachia, while exploring documentary form.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #2

Laiken Boyd is a Graduate student at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, where she concentrates her research on music in Appalachia. She co-directed this documentary film with fellow student Adam Sheffield.

 

Oh Happy Day: Brian Yerman's Story

This documentary film highlights the processes of race, religion, and community in southern Appalachia. The Black Mennonite Brethren Church, a small African American church located in the Junaluska community of downtown Boone, North Carolina, adopted Brian Yerman, a white old-time musician searching for a congregation he could belong in. This film showcases an example of diversity in southern Appalachia by presenting Brian’s story of how a Caucasian man came to play acoustic guitar at a predominantly black gospel church. The church and the Junaluska community welcomed him in as one of their own over twenty years ago. He has been a loyal member of that church ever since, seldom missing a Sunday service. Brian also displays diversity within the history of his music. Originally from upstate New York, he was classically trained in school to read music, and played trombone. After serving in the Navy, he moved to the mountains of Virginia, where he fell in love with Appalachian old-time music. Later, he would move to western North Carolina to further explore his musical passions. After a painful divorce, he found himself in an all new low. His depression would be lifted when he eventually discovered solace at the Boone Mennonite Brethren Church. He has recorded albums with various other artists, including his church’s choir, and bands such as The Lazy Birds. Oh Happy Day: Brian Yerman’s Story tells of hope for how people from different cultures and ethnicities can emanate together, and overcome difficult barriers in today’s society.