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35th Season of An Appalachian Summer Festival Opens June 29 with Ben Folds and the Winston-Salem Symphony

An Appalachian Summer Festival celebrates its milestone 35th anniversary season with a buzzworthy lineup of live performances and special events. The 2019 Schaefer Popular Series includes a diverse array of artists and musical talents, guaranteed to delight audiences of all backgrounds. The 2019 performances include: Ben Folds with the Winston-Salem Symphony, Patti LaBelle, Chris Botti, Lily Tomlin, Punch Brothers and The Temptations

The closest upcoming performance is Ben Folds with the Winston-Salem Symphony on June 29. The performance will be at 8 p.m. in the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts.

 Pianist, singer-songwriter and North Carolina native Ben Folds opens the 35th anniversary season of An Appalachian Summer Festival with an unforgettable evening of genre-bending music featuring the Winston-Salem Symphony under the baton of charismatic conductor Jacomo Bairos. According to the Vibes Music Blog, “on stage, he is just a wonder to watch, as a pianist, as a lyricist, as a composer, a conductor and as a man.”

Ben Folds is widely regarded as one of the major music influencers of our generation. He’s created an enormous body of genre-bending music that includes pop albums with Ben Folds Five, multiple solo albums, and numerous collaborative records. His last album was a blend of pop songs and his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra that soared to #1 on both the Billboard classical and classical crossover charts. For over a decade he’s performed with some of the world’s greatest symphony orchestras, and in 2017 was named as the first ever Artistic Advisor to the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center.

An outspoken champion for arts education and music therapy funding in our nation’s public schools, in 2016 Ben held the distinction as the only artist to appear at both national political conventions advocating for arts education, and has served for over five years as an active member of the distinguished Artist Committee of Americans For the Arts. He also serves on the board of its Arts Action Fund, and is chairman of its ArtsVote2020 campaign initiative.

Winston-Salem Symphony

The Winston-Salem Symphony has been bringing music to life in the Triad region for 72 years, offering not only the best in classical repertoire but also choral music, opera, ballet, popular music and more, and collaborating with such distinguished guests as Yo-Yo Ma, Renée Fleming, Joshua Bell, and Chris Botti. In 2020, the Symphony will name its fifth Music Director and will continue to chart a future focused on innovation, exploration, music education and world-class performance. 

Jacomo Rafael Bairos

Portuguese-American conductor Jacomo Bairos continues to redefine what a conductor can be and do in the 21st Century, challenging the preconceptions of orchestral repertoire, blurring the lines of genre, and integrating the orchestra into the broader community in holistic and organic new ways. Bairos is the 17th music director for the Amarillo Symphony, co-founder and artistic director for Miami’s Nu Deco Ensemble, and performs regularly as a guest conductor with some of the world’s finest orchestras.

Bairos’s performances have been described as “thrilling” (Providence Journal), “inspirational and highly communicative” (Singapore Straits Times) and having a “splendid sense of musicality” (Knoxville Mercury). The New York Times hailed Nu Deco Ensemble as “chamber orchestra for the 21st century,” while Billboard called them “a sonically spellbinding experience.”


With ticket prices ranging from $5-$60, as well as several free events, An Appalachian Summer Festival offers unique opportunities for residents and visitors to create arts experiences suited to their individual artistic tastes and budgets. Purchase any five adult tickets, in any combination and receive 10% off. This “Pick 5” ticket discount is only applied to purchases at the box office or by phone. The discount cannot be applied to online orders, films or student/child tickets. The festival is offering a free child’s ticket (17 and under) with the purchase of an adult ticket for theatre (with the exception of Plenty of Time), dance and classical music. To purchase tickets, call or visit the Schaefer Center box office at 800-841-2787 or 828-262-4046. Tickets can also be purchased online at appsummer.org.

About An Appalachian Summer Festival:

Presented by Appalachian State University’s Office of Arts & Cultural Programs, this annual celebration of the performing and visual arts is held every July in venues across the university campus, and features an eclectic, diverse mix of music, dance, theatre, visual arts and film programming. An Appalachian Summer Festival began in 1984 as a chamber music series, and retains strong roots in classical music, combined with a variety of other programming geared to almost every artistic taste and preference. With an audience of 27,000, the festival has been named one of the “Top Twenty Events in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society in recent years.

Festival Corporate Sponsors:

Westglow Resort and Spa, McDonald’s of Boone, Mast General Store, Goodnight Brothers, Boone Area Visitors Bureau, Sky Best Communications, Wells Fargo, Appalachian Home Care, PNC Bank, Peak Insurance, Scholars Bookshop at the University Bookstore, Holiday Inn Express-Boone, Courtyard by Marriott, Peabody’s Wine & Beer Merchants, Chetola Resort, and Creekside Electronics

Festival Media Sponsors:

WBTV, WCYB, UNC TV, Spectrum Reach, Our State Magazine, Creative Loafing Charlotte, Yes! Weekly, Winston-Salem Journal, Greensboro News & Record, WNC Magazine, Mountain Times, Watauga Democrat, High Country Radio, WHKY 1290AM & 102.3FM, WDAV 89.9FM, WFDD 88.5FM and WASU 90.5FM.

For more information, visit http://appsummer.org/schedule/schaefer-popular-series