MECC Foundation to Host Larry Sparks and the Lonesome Ramblers in Clintwood

Clintwood, VA — The Mountain Empire Community College Foundation is pleased to host Larry Sparks and the Lonesome Ramblers on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. at Clintwood’s Jettie Baker Center.

Tickets are $20 per person and can be purchased at the Clintwood Town Hall or the Ralph Stanley Museum in Clintwood (cash or check purchases) as well as online at  All proceeds will benefit the Mountain Empire Community College Foundation’s Dickenson County Endowed Scholarship.

The Dickenson County Endowed Scholarship Committee is currently seeking sponsorships to support event costs. Sponsorships range from $250 to $1000 and include tickets, branding, and special recognition. For more information on becoming an event sponsor, visit

Larry Sparks

Larry Spark

Larry Sparks is a dedicated leader for bluegrass music and is among the most widely known and respected touring musicians in bluegrass and gospel music today. Larry began his career in the mid-1960s as a guitarist with the Stanley Brothers and later became lead vocalist for Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys. Larry went on to form his own band in 1969, The Lonesome Ramblers. He has recorded and toured with his band for nearly 50 years, releasing over 60 albums and delighting countless fans with his soulful vocals and unparalleled musicianship.

Larry’s hits include John Deere Tractor, A Face in the Crowd, Tennessee 1949, Blue Virginia Blues, I Just Want to Thank You Lord. Love of the Mountains, Goodbye Little Darlin, You Could Have Called, Tribute to Hank Williams, Green Pastures in the Sky and more. He has performed on such world famous venues as the Grand Ole Opry, Austin City Limits television show on PBS. Song of the Mountains on PBS. He has toured the United States, Canada, and Japan.

Larry has been recognized as the International Bluegrass Music Associations Male Vocalist of the Year. He was awarded Album of the Year and Recorded Event of the Year with his album Larry Sparks 40 featuring several artists such as Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, Ralph Stanley, Ricky Skaggs, Tom T. Hall and many more.

Larry has been inducted into The International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame, the Bill Monroe Bluegrass Hall of Fame, and the George D. Hays Hall of Fame, Founder of The Grand Ole Opry.

For more information on the MECC Foundation and the Dickenson County Scholarship, visit


-MECC Foundation-

MECC Announces New Vice President, Executive Director of Mountain Empire Community College Foundation

Amy Greear

Amy Greear, Executive Director

Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College is pleased to announce that Amy Greear has been appointed as Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the Mountain Empire Community College Foundation.

Ms. Greear has served as MECC’s Coordinator of Community Relations since 2012 and as the college’s Interim Director of the Foundation since January of 2018. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Communications from Clinch Valley College (UVA-Wise), a Master’s degree in Educational Communications and Technology from East Tennessee State University, and is a doctoral candidate in the Leadership and Learning program at the University of Tennessee – Chattanooga.

Ms. Greear has served as an adjunct communication instructor at MECC for the last four years. She is a member of the college’s student success committee, SACS committee, and formerly served as the college liaison for the Virginia Community College System’s Professional Development Committee. She has directed the college’s international travel program, leading students to Costa Rica and Japan, with plans to lead a trip to Italy/Greece in 2019. She has served as a volunteer for multiple organizations and events on campus and in the community.

“Amy has a history of strong performance and service at MECC, serving students in multiple roles,” said MECC President Kristen Westover. “As a native of Southwest Virginia, Amy not only understands the unique strengths and challenges of our region, but she also constructs and implements creative strategies to move the Foundation, the College, and the region forward.  We are excited to be working with Amy in her new role.”

Prior to joining Mountain Empire Community College, Ms. Greear served as the Director of Community Impact for the United Way of Greater Kingsport and as the Director of Communications for Kingsport City Schools. She is a former journalist, having worked for the Kingsport-Times News, Bristol Herald Courier and the Coalfield Progress/Dickenson Star. A native of Appalachia, Ms. Greear and her husband Burke, reside in Kingsport with their daughter Maggie.

The MECC Foundation, Inc., is a non-profit organization that supports the mission of Mountain Empire Community College in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. Foundation projects include scholarships, faculty and staff development and recognition programs, cultural programs and events, campus improvements, educational programs, and other projects.

The MECC Foundation holds the largest endowment of any community college in Virginia at $26.6M, distributing more than $300,000 in scholarships in 2018 as well as supporting the college’s career navigator, tutoring, and emergency assistance programs. For more information on the MECC Foundation, visit

-MECC Foundation-