Presenting “An Appalachian Christmas” in early December has become a holiday tradition for Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music. This marks the 23rd year that this free concert offers the opportunity for local musicians to give back to the High Country community – celebrating “giving” – the real “reason for the season”. As the late MHM’s beloved founder, Joe Shannon once said, “As MHM prepares to close the door on its current year – 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 all children in Watauga County get a visit from Santa. This 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 13h, at Grace Lutheran Church in Boone beginning at 7:00pm.
Featured performers for this year’s edition of “An Appalachian Christmas” will be many familiar folks who have performed over the years at JSMHM concerts; The Silver String Dulcimer Band, Debra Jean Sheets, Mary Greene, members of the Little Stony Nighthawks, Matthew Weaver, David Johnson and Eric Ellis. Once again this year we welcome back members of the Junior Appalachian Musicians program from the Jones House – plus rumor has it that Santa’s Elf will also be afoot!
“While a couple of Christmas standards will be included and there will be a chance for the audience to sing along on Silent Night, I have asked each group to perform some of the songs and tunes that are more rare – ones that you don’t usually hear on the radio and TV each year,” stated JSMHM director – Rodney Sutton. “We want this years concert to stand out for both its variety of styles; Celtic, old-time, bluegrass 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.”
The Silver String Dulcimer Band offers up the sweet and gentle sounds of the mountain dulcimer, hammered dulcimer and guitar. It features Jewel and Bill Mcgee, 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.
Debra Jean Sheets is a member of the Sheets Family Band – an old time string band from western North Carolina. She is known for her lovely singing voice and always surprises the audience with those little known seasonal songs.
The JAM kids are members of the advanced old-time music classes that meet on Thursdays at the Jones House – JSMHM is excited to include these upcoming young folks who are proving that our mountain musical heritage is in good hands.
Mary Greene has been a part of JSMHM since it’s beginning 26 years ago. A close personal friend of Joe Shannon, Greene plays both lap dulcimer and guitar and she will also accompany the Christmas carols on piano.
Trevor McKenzie, Aaron Ratcliff and Brandon Holder are all members of the Little Stony Nighthawks These three multi-instrumentalist play traditional Appalachian music, covering a variety of styles.
David Johnson has been a mainstay at Mountain Home Music concerts for years. He is a two-time Studio Musician of the Year Award recipient. He was in the first class of musicians, along with Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, David Holt and the Carter Family, to be inducted into the prestigious Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame. Johnson will be joined by his cousin, bluegrass banjo wiz, Eric Ellis.
Sutton added, “We hope folks of all ages here in the High Country will join us as once again we pay tribute to the giving spirit of Joe Shannon by shining 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.”
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 Hwy’s 321 and 421.
More info on JSMHM can be found at mountainhomemusic.org
In closing, Sutton stated, “For those of you who were wondering what happened to our Celtic Christmas Concert this year – you did not miss it. We moved it closer to Christmas Day where it will also celebrate the Winter Solstice on December 21st. It features three incredible Irish musicians, John Doyle, Mick McAuley and Duncan Wickel and will be held at the newly restored Appalachian Theater of the High Country(ATHC). Tickets for the Celtic Christmas concert are sold through the ATHC box office at https://www.apptheatre.org/”