Mountain Home Music kicks off its 2018 25th Anniversary Concert Season with a Saint Patrick’s Day weekend celebration featuring the Celti-lachian music of The Mountain Laurels. The concert will be held on Friday, March 16th at the Harvest House Performing Arts Venue in Boone, beginning at 7:30pm.
Mountain Home Music(MHM) has been a fixture in concert production in The High Country since 1994, when it’s founder, Joe Shannon, began holding shows in Our Daily Bread on King Street in downtown Boone with a Coffee House type atmosphere. For 20 years, Shannon was at the helm of MHM, steering it towards sustainability and turning it into a 501-c3 non-profit educational corporation. Shannon died in the spring of 2014 from cancer, but he left a legacy of staging quality concerts that featured many local and regional traditional performers in indoor venues where appreciative, paying audiences could focus on listening to and watching the shows without distractions. After Shannon’s passing, the MHM board of directors voted to officially change the name to Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music(JSMHM).
JSMHM’s director, Rodney Sutton stated, “It was an honor to be selected to take over from Joe Shannon at MHM when he got sick with cancer in 2014. These past 4 years have flown by and due to the hard work and dedication of our board of directors, JSMHM has reached our 25th Anniversary season. We look forward to a year filled with exciting concerts and special projects, all in celebration of Joe Shannon and his vision for presenting the best of Appalachian music, dance and storytelling.”
The Mountain Laurels are a Celti-lachian band from the High Country of North Carolina. They perform a blend of Americana, Celtic and folk music typical to the roots culture of Western North Carolina. The band members include Connie Woolard on hammered dulcimer and percussion, Rhonda Lorence on violin and viola, Elaine Gray on guitar and Maggie Sparks on flute and whistle.
Woolard is a founding member of The Mountain Laurels. She brings the complex, emotive sounds of the hammered dulcimer to the band. Connie has performed on dulcimer for over 25 years at innumerable community concerts, events, weddings, workshops and worship programs. She played guitar for many years before finding her love for the dulcimer. She enjoys exploring her musical versatility on the violin, the psaltery and whistle as well as occasionally acting in local theatre productions. Connie’s talent for summoning up the delicate, fluid, percussive, resonance of the hammered dulcimer provides The Mountain Laurels with their signature sound. Lorence is a classical violist/violinist who’s finding fiddlin’ more fun. She is a founding member of The Mountain Laurels, who graduated Cum Laude with a B.F.A in Music Performance from the University of South Florida. Highlights of her 20 + year performance career include tours in Japan and Korea with the Mantovanni Orchestra, working as the principal violist for the Naples, FL Philharmonic, and performances with Russian Ballet Orchestra, Tampa Bay Opera, and a variety of show orchestras including Johnnie Mathis, Dionne Warwick, Tony Bennet, Henry Mancini, and Burt Bacharach. Lorence composes and produces neo-classical music on viola. Winter Moon, 2005 and Movements in the Moment, 2010 have received international airplay since 2006. Her compositions “Changing Tides” and “Winter Moon” received satellite radio and NPR radio airplay and several of her works have been featured in films and ballets.
Gray began her guitar performances in 1980. She was the co-creator of the all female pop-rock band The Mix (1980-1989) with singer/Songwriter Angela Sterling Forest in Central Florida. She assisted with the studio recording and production of the group’s original music. Gray recorded and composed original pieces (Orbothea, Radiant Spiral,Rocketman) for theater, film, and performance art events from 1990 – 1995 and since then she has performed on guitar with several splinter groups from the Mix (The Creamettes, Angie B & the Thrill Things) in the 1990’s before taking a break from music to return to academia and get her Ph.D. in Integral Studies. Sparks has been playing flute since 1966, and has performed in a wide variety of large bands and orchestras, as well as small ensembles and chamber groups, with periodic time off for medical school, residency training, and children. After moving her Dermatology practice to the High Country in 2000, she studied flute and music theory for a year at Appalachian State University. More recently, she has been studying Irish traditional music, including the Irish whistle. She is the newest member of The Mountain Laurels. Sutton added, “For this special St. Paddy’s concert, we are using the same format that has been so successful for our matinee series. This show will be a non-ticketed, “Pay as You Exit” concert with a $10 suggested donation. The idea is that you pay nothing up front, but if you enjoy the show, JSMHM hopes you will be willing to make a contribution to our continued success. Come and enjoy some wonderful Celtic music from The Mountain Laurels on Friday, March 16th – the day before the official St. Patrick’s Day – it will give you an extra excuse for ‘The Wearing of the Green’ two days in a row!” The Harvest House Performing Arts Venue is located at 247 Boone Heights Drive, Boone, NC.
For more information go to the JSMHM website – mountainhomemusic.org