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Lights, Camera, Music! Symphony by the Lake to Feature ASU Chancellor as Guest Conductor

By Jessica Isaacs

Lights, Camera, Music! Get your tickets now to the High Country’s annual can’t-miss event of the summer — Symphony by the Lake at Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock on July 24, which will feature music from iconic movies performed by Symphony of the Mountains.

Guests enjoy Symphony by the Lake last summer at Chetola Resort. Photo by Ken Ketchie.

Now in its 28th year, Symphony by the Lake remains one of the region’s most coveted summer destinations, said Blowing Rock Chamber Events Director Billie Rogers.

“It’s an absolutely perfect evening. You’re sitting on the grass with the lake in front of you, there’s swans swimming on the lake and you’ve got beautiful music,” she said. “You can bring your own picnic and you’ve got wine if you want to have it. At the end of the night we have a fantastic fireworks show and you’re back home by 10:30 or 11 p.m. And you’re in the mountains, so it’s cool.”

Also, symphony attendants are in for a special treat this year as Appalachian State University’s Chancellor Sheri Everts will appear as the guest conductor.

Last year’s event brought in close to 3,400 people, and Rogers expects for an even greater number this year. Due to the popularity of the program, guests are encouraged to call the chamber and purchase their tickets in advance.

Chetola offers a variety of dining options for the evening, too.

This year’s event features the brand new Audiophile Section — if you love the music but don’t want to deal with the crowd, these seats are for you. You’ll definitely enjoy this quiet seating section located just right in front of the symphony. These tickets include dinner, drinks and a great seat for the performance, and they can include a parking pass at a slightly higher rate.

Groups of 13 guests or more renting tents along the grounds will deck out their spots to reflect their favorite movie featured in the program for this year’s tent decorating contest.

Fireworks at Symphony by the Lake 2014 at Chetola Resort. Photo by Ken Ketchie.

As you enjoy dinner, Rockitman Radio will provide music from popular movies until the opening band takes the stage.


An opening performance by the Maureen Renihan Quintet, a local jazz powerhouse, will precede the symphony.

Formed in 1946, Symphony of the Mountains now boasts 65 professional members and serves the entire Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia region, as well as North Carolina’s High Country. Cornelia Laemmli Orth, a native of Switzerland, is in her seventh season as its conductor.

The symphony will perform well-known tunes from classic and iconic movies, including Gone with the Wind, Mission Impossible, Jurassic Park, Fiddler on the Roof, ET, Star Wars, Wizard of Oz and more.

Click here for the full program.


Tickets are sold out for the resort’s annual Prix Fixe Dinner on the Patio, but the following dining options are still available:

  • Bring Your Own: Pack your own picnic or order one from the Blowing Rock Market or the Cheeseburger Grill.
  • Picnic on the Lawn: 5:30 p.m. to dusk, $14 per person, includes tea or lemonade, reservations not required. Hickory-smoked pulled pork barbecue, mesquite grilled chicken breasts with caramelized onion and peach sauce, cole slaw, potato salad, baked beans, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes and gravy, cornbread and banana pudding.
  • Pre-Symphony Dinner inside Timberlake’s Restaurant: Seating at 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., $65 per person (includes parking), four course meal, reservations required. Appetizer, salad, entree, dessert.
  • Celebration at the Arbor: Bar opens at 5 p.m., dining at 6 p.m., $90 per person, includes heavy hors d’oeuvres, private cash bar, best fireworks view and onsite parking. Reservations required (limited to 44 people). Shrimp cocktail, artisanal cheese and fruit tray, vegetable crudite with housemade dipping sauces, lightly seared ahi tuna with kale slaw and tomato horseradish aioli, sausage-stuffed button mushrooms, bruschetta bar with assorted tapenades and pimento cheese, shortcake bar with fresh fruit and assorted toppings.


A limited number of parking passes are available for just $10 that will allow you to park right at the resort.

Shuttles will run to the resort from the American Legion and the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum parking decks.

Shuttles will also run from Tweetsie Railroad to the Shoppes on the Parkway lot, which leads to a very short walk to the back entrance of the resort.

Handicap parking will be available at the Food Lion in Blowing Rock, from which shuttles will deliver you directly to the lawn.


General admission tickets are $35 for adults in advance or $40 at the gate and $15 for children under the age of 12. To get your tickets, call the chamber at 828-295-7851 and pay with a credit card number to avoid service fees online or long lines at the event.


Hendrick Northlake Luxury Auto Mall is the presenting sponsor. Other sponsors include Rockitman Radio, the Kennedy Herterich Fund, Monkee’s of Blowing Rock, 100 W. Union Menswear, WNC Magazine, Chetola Resort, Carolina West Wireless, VPC Builders, Party Reflections and the Blowing Rock Chamber Foundation.

For more information, call the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce at 828-295-7851 or visit www.symphonybythelake.com.


Photos from Symphony by the Lake 2014 by Ken Ketchie.

Symphony atChetola

Symphony Fireworks