In celebration of Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music’s 25th Silver Anniversary Concert Season, MHM is happy to present its “An Appalachian Christmas” Concert. This free concert marks the 22nd year of a Mountain Home Music holiday tradition that celebrates the real “reason for the season.” As the late MHM’s be-loved founder, Joe Shannon once said, “As MHM closes the door on its current season, in the process, it opens the door for others.”
No admission is charged for this benefit concert, but a love offering will be collected, and 100 percent of the proceeds are given to two worthwhile community non-profit organizations known for helping those less fortunate. The benefactors once again are the Hospitality House, which is Watauga County’s homeless shelter, and Santa’s Toy Box, which helps to assure that children in Watauga County get a visit from Santa. The performance offers an opportunity for local musicians to donate their talents back to the High Country community as they invite everyone to share in the giving spirit of the holidays. The concert takes place this Friday night, December 14th at Grace Lutheran Church in Boone, beginning at 7:30pm.
The 2018 edition of “An Appalachian Christmas” features a number of performers who have been mainstays at JSMHM concerts since its beginnings in 1994 – Cecil Gurganus, Mary Greene, and David Johnson were all best of friends with Shannon and have been “instrumental” in putting together this holiday show every year. Joining this dependable trio will be Kay and Patrick Crouch of Strictly Clean and Decent, Connie Woolard and Maggie Sparks of the Mountain Laurels, Clay Lunsford and Matthew Weaver, The Silver Strings Dulcimer Band and a special appearance by the Jolly Ol’ Elf!
“Joe always included a couple of Christmas carols in this concert, so we will invite the audience to sing along on such favorites as Silent Night. But, what makes this show fresh and new each year is everyone is asked to include some of the songs and tunes that are more rare – ones that you don’t usually hear on the radio and TV over and over,” stated JSMHM director – Rodney Sutton. He added, “We want this years concert to stand out for both its variety of styles; Celtic, old-time, blue grass and country, and also its inclusion of those hidden gems – the songs and tunes that just don’t get covered as much as they should.”
Cecil Gurganus has been an integral part of the Watauga County’s old-time music and dance scene for over 4 decades as a member of the Laurel Creek String Band and as a duet partner with Greene. Gurganus has been a mainstay as an instructor at the Boone Junior Appalachian Music program since its inception, sharing his knowledge and love of old-time music with hundreds of aspiring young musicians.
The sparkle in Mary Greene’s eye, her thoughtful comments and stories, and a voice full of the richness and warmth of the Appalachians shines forth in her musical presentations. She has presented folklore and music traditions at the Smithsonian Institution’s Festival of American Folk Life and has also taught and performed for more than a decade at the Appalachian State University’s Dulcimer Playing Workshop.
Multi-instrumentalist, David Johnson, is a member of the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame and has been named the National Studio Musician of the Year two times. Johnson is a favorite of JSMHM concerts heading up our Memorial Day and Fourth of July concerts. He will be joined by banjo-player Eric Ellis and other special guest to offer up some special bluegrass and country Christmas classics.
The Silver String Dulcimer Band presents the sweet and gentle sounds of the mountain dulcimer and features Jewel and Bill Magee, Sarah Borders and Tom Pace. All four members of the band serve on the board of JSMHM and they have played at weddings, concerts and benefits in the High Country for many years.
Patrick and Kay Crouch, of Strictly Clean and Decent, have an eclectic repertoire that includes modern folk songs by American, Canadian and Irish songwriters, fiery breakdowns and songs of family and home found in both traditional and contemporary bluegrass settings. They will most certainly surprise us with something unusual for this Christmas show.
Matthew Weaver is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and songwriter and eight-time winner of Pianist-Instrumentalist of the Year for the North Carolina Folk Festival. Weaver will be joined by nationally acclaimed thump-picking guitar specialist, Clay Lunsford.
Connie Woolard plays hammered dulcimer and Maggie Sparks plays the flute as members of the popular Celti-lachian band, The Mountain Laurels.
Sutton added, “We hope folks will join us as once again we pay tribute to the giving spirit of Joe Shannon by shinning a light on one of his favorite concerts. JSMHM gets to give back to the community with a free show and in turn we offer the opportunity for those who attend to give to these two deserving non-profit charities. The Hospitality House has been offering a hand-up to the homeless for 36 years. Santa’s Toy Box, founded in 1985, made sure last year that over 900 families would have a toy under the tree on Christmas morning.”
In closing, Sutton stated, “This is the final show of the 25th Anniversary Season of Mountain Home Music. We have had a very successful year and I look forward to our 26th season. I would like to thank all of our members and sponsors, but especially our hard working board of directors; Ada Webster, Tom Pace, JP Greene, Sara Borders, Wade Wilmoth, Kay Bridges, Bill and Jewel Magee, Jack James, Fred Pfhol, and Bob Goddard. Without all of you, JSMHM would not be able to continue the quest of promoting and preserving the music and heritage of our mountain culture that Joe Shannon envisioned.”
No tickets are needed in advance for this free concert, but do bring your checkbooks.
Grace Lutheran Church is located at 115 E King St, Boone at the intersection of Highways 321 and 421. More info on JSMHM can be found at mountainhomemusic.org.