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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Norfolk Folk Legend Hosting Folklife Institute at Old Dominion University

For more than five decades, Bob Zentz has been at the heart of the traditional music scene in Hampton Roads. To ensure that "folk" remains at the heart of "Norfolk," Zentz is establishing the Ramblin' Conrad's Folklife Institute, which will be in the Diehn Composers Room in Old Dominion University Libraries.

The Institute will bring folk legends from around the world to ODU for master classes. These visiting musicians will also perform free evening concerts.

In addition to establishing the Institute, Zentz will donate his archive to Old Dominion University Libraries.

Zentz has a long history with Old Dominion, dating to his own college days, where he spent two years at the University. In the 1970s and 80s, Zentz was a regular figure around ODU, where he taught Rainbow Program community courses and ran the Old Dominion Folk Festival, which was held on campus every Columbus Day weekend.

"For the local area and the city of Norfolk, I really, truly believe having a resource for people interested in these songs, having something in the neighborhood, is an important thing," said Zentz.

Zentz's folklife collection will be donated in several stages, beginning with print and manuscript pieces. Later phases are expected to include concerts recorded at Ramblin' Conrad's Guitar Shop & Folklore Center, the hub for all things folk in Hampton Roads from 1972 to 1995; pictures; artwork; artifacts, and thousands of albums and other audio media chronicling the last half-century of folk music from around the world.

"Bob Zentz and Ramblin' Conrad's are great examples of the quality and diversity of the art scene in Hampton Roads. I am excited and honored that Bob is donating his archives to ODU," said Old Dominion University Librarian George Fowler.

Zentz's collection will augment Old Dominion University Libraries' growing archives pertaining to the arts in Hampton Roads. That includes collections of the Virginia Symphony, Virginia Stage Company, John Duffy and Peter Mark.

For more information about the Bob Zentz Folklife Institute, please contact Jessica Ritchie, head of special collections and university archives, at jhritchi@odu.edu.

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