Heritage Award Winner Sheila Kay Adams to Perform at the Jones House on Saturday

Published Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 3:02 pm

Sheila Kay Adams,  recipient of the North Carolina Heritage Award 2015, will perform at the Jones House Cultural and Community Center in downtown Boone on Saturday, wrapping up the fall 2015 indoor concert series.

Few people embody such a depth of family and regional tradition, or represent it to the rest of the world with so much authority and affection, as Madison County’s Sheila Kay Adams.  Adams is a seventh-generation bearer of her family’s 200-year-old ballad-singing tradition, and is the mother and teacher of the eight generation. Sheila Kay Adams

Adams was one of nine artists from North Carolina to be awarded the North Carolina Heritage Award, the state’s top honor for folk and traditional artists.  Adams was also awarded the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship in 2013, a similar top honor on the national scale.

“Sheila Kay is a North Carolina and national treasure,” says concerts organizer, Mark Freed.  “Not only does she carry on and pass on the traditional music from the western North Carolina mountains, but she does it in a way that makes new generations of audience members fall in love with the centuries-old songs and melodies.”

Adams also plays fine clawhammer-style banjo, which she learned from members of the traditional music community in Madison County.

In addition to playing banjo and singing, Adams is a published author, writing both short stories and a novel, “My Own True Love,” published in 2004.  She appeared in the movies “Last of the Mohicans” and “Songcatcher,” nwhich she served as technical advisor and singing coach to the Hollywood actors.

Adams is a retired school teacher, who spent seventeen years in North Carolina public schools.  She has since dedicated herself full-time to music and storytelling.  As a storyteller, Adams presents her family’s heritage in stories that are full of history and humor.  A reviewer in the Washington Post wrote, “Her stories may be localized or carry you back to the thirteenth century, but their lessons, poignancy, and humor have no boundary, real or artificial.”

“The Jones House gallery is an excellent opportunity to hear Sheila Kay Adams perform unamplified, sitting nearly knee-to-knee with her, the way she sat with elders to learn the songs,” Freed adds.

The concert begins at 7:30 on December 5, 2015, with the doors opening at 7:00 p.m.  Concerts take place in the Mazie Jones Gallery in the Jones House, and there is a limit of 40 seats for the performance.  Advanced reservations are encouraged, though any open seats will be available for purchase at the door, which opens at 7:00 p.m.  Seats are $20 per person and will include an opportunity to meet Adams.

The Sheila Kay Adams performance is supported by the North Carolina Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information about the performance, including reservations and a complete Fall Concerts schedule, please visit www.joneshouse.org or contact the Town of Boone Cultural Resources Department at 828-268-6280.

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