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WCU Stories

‘Bells in the Valley’ video updated to reflect another decade of WCU

 By Geoff Cantrell


A documentary originally created in 1989 to highlight Western Carolina University’s centennial and revised in 2012, has been brought up to date with photography, new music and more contemporary scenes.

“Bells in the Valley” will be used not only for historical perspectives and new staff and faculty orientation but will give “the outside world” a reflection of the beautiful campus setting, according to Arledge Armenaki, a cinematographer and retired WCU associate professor of film and TV who is producer and director of the video.

The video, then and now, is based on the book “A Mountain Heritage: The Illustrated History of Western Carolina University,” authored by the late Curtis Wood and Tyler Blethen, which provides a comprehensive overview of the evolution of the university’s first 100 years.

“The documentary needed a complete overhaul of all aspects of the video production,” Armenaki said. “New writing, narration, music, photographs, historical images, editing. Plus, in the past 10 years, times have changed. We needed to create a new mood… we were in a different world than 2012.

“For the past two years, I have been coordinating with the writers, the composer, the editors, WCU Special Collections, the Mountain Heritage Center, photographers and the narrator,” he said. “Faculty, staff and students worked hand-in-hand contributing to the video, which also has been a multi-generational endeavor. From the beginning, (WCU director of photography and videography) Sam Wallace has been a point person, a guide and a source of encouragement.”

Arledge pointed out additional key contributors: Gurney Chambers, professor emeritus and former dean of the College of Education and Allied Professions who did the narration; Peter Koch with the Mountain Heritage Center who conducted extensive research and obtained archival photos; and Bruce Frazier, professor of music, who composed the music.

“Without Bruce by my side I would not have been able to create such an artistic endeavor,” Arledge said.

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