Mountain City’s Heritage Hall to Celebrate 10 Years with Jeff Little Trio On Sept. 26

Published Monday, September 21, 2015 at 3:55 pm

By Troy Brooks

After a decade of bringing live music to the High Country as a nonprofit organization, Mountain City’s Heritage Hall Theatre now invites you to join its 10th anniversary celebration — a free performance by the Jeff Little Trio on Sept. 26.

The Heritage Hall is a nonprofit community venue that strives in holding a diverse group of entertainment concerts throughout the year from music groups to plays and pageants.

Former drama teacher Evelyn Cook led the project that converted the auditorium of the old Johnson County High School into what it is today – the community’s first performance stage and live entertainment venue.

“In seven years, a small group of volunteers raised the money, organized labor and oversaw a top-to-bottom renovation which breathed life into a 1923 era, almost abandoned high school auditorium,” the theatre’s website explains. “In Sept. 2005, the facility reopened as Heritage Hall Theatre, an intimate, warm, community-based theater suitable for a wide range of performances and events.”

Since then, the theatre has operated as nonprofit aimed at bringing quality entertainment to the area at an affordable price.

Located just 25 minutes away from Boone, Heritage Hall seats 388 and hosts 15 concerts each year. It is also reserved by community theatre organizations and school groups.

“It’s huge for a live performance theatre to last for 10 years especially in today’s down-trending economy,” said Wanda Payne, who handles marketing for the theatre. “Other theatres are closing and operating in the red and we’re still going thanks to community support and volunteers.”

The future seems bright for the Heritage Hall as they aim to have more performances down the road.

“We hope to  keep on building for bigger and better performances in the future,” said Payne. “We’re looking forward to scheduling more high end groups in the future. We hope to have the Kruger Brothers perform next year and Robin and Lenda Williams later in November, who are wonderful performers and singer/song writers who have been featured in the Prairie Home Companion countless times.

“Nationally known talent is what we’re shooting for. We want to broaden the cultural horizons for our neighboring counties and families and give them access to great shows in a facility we are proud of.”

The hardworking folks behind the organization hope you will join them for the celebration of this milestone and a free concert with the Jeff Little Trio. The concert will begin at 7 p.m. and you may choose to pay $5 for reserved seating.

The concert is free to the public but you can choose to pay $5 to make sure you get reserved seats.

“We decided to offer a free concert but also felt that it would be good if people had access to good seats through admission,” said Wanda Payne. “We still have a few tickets left but not many.”

The Jeff Little Trio is a local group featuring piano, guitar and bass. The trio is known for playing a wide range of styles including jazz, southern Louisiana and bluegrass. The band members include Jeff Little, Steve Lewis and Josh Scott.

Little is a native of Boone. His father owned a  music store on King Street and he grew up playing music. Over time he grew up to become an amazing pianist known for his quick and articulate style. He now teaches music at Northeast State Community College in Tennessee.

Lewis is from the Todd community and is a respected acoustic guitar musician. He is known for his flat- picking style which involves playing the guitar without a pick and his virtuoso playing style. He is also a master of the five-string banjo. He has won many championships for his guitar and banjo playing at festivals including Merlefest, Renofest and the Wayne Henderson Guitar Competition.

Scott is a native of Fleetwood and is a talented upright bass player. He has been featured on stage and in the studio with many critically acclaimed musicians and artists of Americana and acoustic music.

“Their style of music is a major heritage of our area,” said Payne. “They are well-known for playing that kind of old time acoustic style that has such a huge influence on our area. There are a whole lot of talented musicians in this area who can play a song by ear without seeing any music. Live music is a big deal in this area and they’re an impressive group.”

Heritage Hall is located at 211 N. Church St. in Mountain City, Tennessee. For more information, call 423-727-7444 or visit www.heritagehalltheatre.org.

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