The line-up of artists has been announced for the popular Summer Concert Series at historic St. John’s Church in Valle Crucis with monthly events planned from July 3 through Labor Day weekend. A summer mission of Holy Cross Episcopal Church, the picturesque chapel, consecrated in 1862, is located in the Watauga County countryside provides marvelous acoustics for music with its wooden walls and floors forming a natural sounding board for live performances.
The concerts showcase some of the High Country’s finest musicians along with regional artists of national prominence. Attendees linger until sunset to mingle with the artists after their performance. All concerts begin promptly at 5 p.m., are approximately 60 minutes in duration, and followed by a potluck supper. Suggested admission is $10 per person to offset artists fees, with children 12 and under admitted free of charge.
Fresh off their highly-acclaimed performance at BOONERANG, the Junaluska Gospel Choir from Boone Mennonite Brethren Church will present an evening of spirituals and gospel favorites on Sunday, July 3, 2022. Nestled within the Junaluska neighborhood, one of the oldest predominantly African American communities in western North Carolina, the “little white church on the hill” has been home to some of the region’s most talent-rich gospel ensembles and over the years, the Junaluska Gospel Choir’s unique and eclectic sound has evolved into a passionate blend of gospel styles.
Having performed at MerleFest and famous throughout the North Carolina High Country for their passionate and uplifting performances in the Black Church and Old-Time Gospel music traditions, the choir features singers who come from multiple generations of choral artists. They will be joined by some of the region’s best rhythm and blues musicians, and audience members will find that it’s nearly impossible to sit still during a choir performance.
When asked to comment about the Junaluska Gospel Choir, the Rev. R. Allan McCaslin, Rector of Holy Cross, quoted St. Augustine when saying, “He who sings, prays twice.” Scholars say that Augustine, the holy Bishop of Hippo, meant that singing adds to our praise and worship of God, that our voices are gifts, with which we can make music to the Lord. Sung prayer expresses the joy of the heart, the happiness resulting from one who has encountered Jesus Christ and experienced his love. Sung prayer reminds us of the choirs of heaven, with whom we are called to praise God eternally in heaven.
“There is no better venue than St. John’s to lift up voices in song and praise.” said McCaslin.
On Sunday, August 7, 2022, the eight member Raleigh Flute Choir graces the chancel at St. John’s for a farewell concert immediately prior to their departure for Chicago where they will be performing at the National Flute Association’s Annual Convention. Founded in 1986, the RFC is a chamber ensemble of professional flutists from central North Carolina. They have distinguished themselves as one of the nation’s leading flute choirs. Utilizing all members of the flute family, they perform an exciting repertoire spanning the centuries from the Renaissance to the present, including transcriptions and original compositions.
“After their scheduled performances in both 2020 and 2021 were postponed due to the pandemic,” said McCaslin, “we are delighted to welcome this outstanding group home to St. John’s, and believe me when I say they are well worth the wait!”
Back by popular demand, Four Leaf Peat, a premier Irish band from Knoxville, closes out the 2022 season on Sunday, September 4, 2022 by performing traditional Celtic music, along with jigs, reels, songs, and hornpipes. Four Leaf Peat’s performances are always marked by a keen sense of the tradition, mixed with just the right amount of influence from the rich musical history of East Tennessee. They have built their own brand of Irish music which celebrates the musical bridge that spans the Atlantic from Appalachia to Ireland.
Attendees traditionally bring a dish to share during the potluck supper on the lawn that follows every summer concert, with dozens of folks arriving early to begin the social aspect of the evening’s festivities. Many audience members prefer to set up lawn chairs near the open windows of the chapel and listen to the music as it resonates throughout the valley. All are welcome as local residents mingle with newcomers and visitors to the melting pot that is historic St. John’s.St. John’s Chapel is located at 645 Herb Thomas Road, off of Mast Gap Road in the Sugar Grove community near Valle Crucis, NC. Signs are posted throughout the valley directing audience members to the concert location. For more information, please visit the concert website at www.holycrossvallecrucis.net or call 828.963.4609.