By Sherrie Norris
For nearly a century, the pastoral MacRae Meadows in Linville, resting in the shadows of Grandfather Mountain, have welcomed thousands of visitors to the daylong event known as Singing on the Mountain.
Now in its 95th year of bringing people together from all ages and stages of life, the annual event is set to take place again on Sunday, June 23.
Always held on the fourth Sunday in June, with rare exceptions, The Singing on the Mountain, will again offer a great line-up of gospel musicians and singers that delight the large audiences every year, scheduled along with a midday message of inspiration.
This year’s featured speaker will be North Carolina native David Chadwick, a well-known Charlotte pastor since 1980 and current senior pastor of Moments of Hope Church. He also hosts a local weekly faith and values radio program, “The David Chadwick Show,” on WBT AM/FM in Charlotte, as well as the nationally syndicated “Moments of Hope with David Chadwick” a daily Christian teaching show airing nationwide.
Chadwick has also authored several books including, “My Father My Friend,” “It’s How You Play the Game: The 12 Leadership Principles of Dean Smith,” “Three Word Prayers” and “From Superficial to Significant. “ Additionally, he has written two daily devotionals,
“Moments of Hope” and “Hearing the Voice of God.”
Chadwick graduated from UNC Chapel Hill where he played basketball and was a member of a NCAA Final Four Basketball Team. In addition to his undergraduate degree in communications, Chadwick has a graduate degree in counseling from the University of Florida, plus a master of divinity and a doctor of ministry degree from Columbia Theological Seminary.
Chadwick and his wife, Marilynn, have three children and five grandchildren.
Kicking off this year’s Singing on The Mountain will be Avery County’s own music group, The Dave Calvert Collective, who will take the stage around 8:45.
Hartley family spokesperson, Bob Hartley, who is helping his siblings and cousins carry on the long-held family tradition started by their grandfather, will officially open the gathering with words of welcome and share a bit of family history.
Other performers for the day will include crowd favorites for many years, The Cockman Family, Michael Combs and Patricia Smith, joined by New Covenant and Adam Beard.
The event will conclude around 2:30 p.m.
Keeping with tradition, there is no admission charge and the invitation remains the same — “Whoseover Will, May Come.”
Hartley Family Honors Founder and Family Patriarch
Honoring the memory of their family patriarch, 2018 served as the first year for the descendants of event founder, Joe Larkin Hartley, to serve as hosts of Singing on the Mountain. Their role is one they serve with pride and honor.
According to Bob Hartley, a committee comprised of several family members works hard throughout the year, beginning in late fall, to plan for the coming summer event.
While it might appear to be a relatively small gathering compared to some, Hartley said, it does require extensive work behind the scenes to coordinate the singers, the speaker, the grounds crew, the electricians, sound technicians, as well as traffic control — “and with Grandfather Mountain employees who remain involved and serve as excellent resources.”The family’s current efforts reflect its love for the past, indeed.
“It seems that the Joe Hartley family house in Linville can be seen as symbolic of the unity we have regarding the Singing on the Mountain,” said Hartley. “Many of us have wonderful memories of times spent at that house, playing and just hanging around our aunts, uncles, cousins and our grandfather/great grandfather whose Sunday school class began holding the Singing in 1924.”
Hartley has fond memories of those early days — walking up Moore’s Mountain into the orchard, helping pick strawberries, gathering eggs, catching crawdads in West Fork Creek and just generally having great times.
“We have memories of the wood-burning oven, the ‘warm morning’ stove, the smell of a farmhouse, the fresh whole milk, the endless stories told of days gone by,” he recalled. “For those too young to have these experiences, the stories remain and abound.”
Woven throughout these experiences, Hartley shared, are times spent at the “Singing” and the awareness that the fourth Sunday in June was special — “Because that has just always been the day dedicated to the Singing.”
Aside from the “logistics,” and preserving the family heritage, Hartley said, most importantly, he believes the Singing would never have lasted these 95 years without the Lord’s blessing.
“My stepmother, Clara Braswell Hartley, once shared with me the reason she enjoys going to church — to praise and worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Her words of wisdom have stuck with me all these years and they certainly apply to the Singing. There is no place more beautiful or more appropriate than the McRae Meadows on Grandfather Mountain to sing and praise and worship.”
Singing on the Mountain has long been considered one of the south’s longest-running outdoor events of its kind and draws thousands to the mountain each year.
Be watching for more information on this beloved event and special features on The Cockman Family and Michael Combs, longtime local participants at Singing on the Mountain.
Things to remember
- The event is held rain or shine.
- Casual dress is encouraged, as are lawn chairs and blankets.
Concessions and merchandise will be available, including this year, commemorative T-shirts.
- There is no admission, but a goodwill offering will be collected to support the musicians who volunteer their time to perform.
- The singing begins around 9 a.m. and the music continues through the afternoon with a mid-day break for the keynote message.
- Parking (including handicapped) is available at McRae Meadows, located on U.S. 221 in Linville
The Singing grounds are located on US Highway 221, two miles north of Linville and one mile from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The Singing on the Mountain Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. If you would like to donate to the ongoing success of this historic fellowship event, you can either mail a tax deductible donation to Singing on the Mountain Foundation, Inc., c/o Ken Hartley, 531 Brentwood Road #209, Denver, NC 28037 or email [email protected] All donations are greatly appreciated.
For more information, visit www.singingonthemountain.org.