The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country for a unique fundraising event titled, “Re-Energize Watauga: LIVE from the Appalachian Theatre!” This virtual event will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 20 and involve live performances by prominent regional artists on stage at the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country.
Proceeds benefit the Re-Energize Watauga Fund, which exists to provide a rapid source of financial assistance for our Watauga County based businesses that have been negatively affected by COVID19. The low interest loans can provide our small businesses with capital to meet the most pressing needs and successfully navigate around the pandemic. Applications will be accepted as long as funds are available and businesses will need to be prepared to complete an online application, including submission of provide tax returns, profit and loss statements, and bank statements. The fund is administered through Mountain BizWorks, www.mountainbizworks.org. a United States Treasury certified non-profit community development financial institution, with further information and applications available at: www.mountainbizworks.org.
Artists performing at the event include Darrin and Brook Aldridge, the Harris Brothers, the Jeff Little Trio, and Todd Wright and Friends. Their performances will be live-streamed from the Appalachian Theatre via local access cable, a dedicated YouTube channel, and Facebook Live. Online donations can be made throughout the broadcast and a call center will be set up to receive donations during the benefit performance.
“Re-energize Watauga LIVE will be a great evening of live, local music,” said Laura Kratt, Executive Director of the Appalachian Theatre. “We are grateful to these talented artists, as well as the many folks who are volunteering their time and talents to make this happen.”
Re-Energize Watauga: LIVE from the Appalachian Theatre!” includes John Cooper, Laura Kratt, and Keith Martin from the App Theatre, along with David Jackson and Wysteria White from the Boone Chamber, and Danny Wilcox from Appalachian Mountain Brewery, who will serve as emcee for the event.
Jackson, Executive Director of the Boone Chamber, said, “Partnering with the Appalachian Theatre on this project helps solidify the community feel to the Re-energize Watauga in an even greater way. We have known the Appalachian Theatre to be one of the cherished community gathering points for Watauga County residents for generations, and there was such excitement about the revitalization and community use of this facility then the pandemic impacted our area.
“This project allows us to shine a light on the theatre in a unique way, while using it virtually to help rally our community around the types of businesses that give Boone and the High Country the uniqueness that people crave. We think this is the perfect setting to provide a way for our locals and visitors to see a way to assist businesses of a variety of shapes and influences at such a critical time.”
Cooper, outgoing chair of the theatre’s board, said, “The Boone Chamber’s response to the pandemic has been nothing but stellar. This collaboration is a wonderful way that the Appalachian Theater can be involved in the Chambers efforts to re-energize the business community. The Appalachian Theatre has become the community gathering spot and this event makes us the virtual gathering spot. We hope this is the first of many virtual events that we can host until we can safely welcome audiences back to the theatre.”
“While the theatre is still closed due to the pandemic”, said Kratt, “we are finding creative ways to help our neighbors, and North Carolina’s Phase 2 order allows for theatres to host virtual events. We plan to honor all sanitizing and social distancing requirements and do our part to #KeepBooneHealthy.”
For more information, visit www.apptheatre.org or www.boonechamber.com.
Re-Energize Watauga: LIVE from the Appalachian Theatre!
Biographies of Featured Artists
Darin and Brooke Aldridge
The North Carolina Rounder Records recording duo Darin and Brooke Aldridge has spent a decade amassing a fan base, reaping awards, becoming Grand Ole Opry favorites, and issuing a string of well-received albums. But the release of their latest album, Inner Journey, is a diploma of excellence for the team. The album garnered the duo their highest chart debut to date, entering the Billboard Bluegrass Album chart at #2. Brooke recently took home the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) award for Female Vocalist of the Year for the third consecutive year. In 2017, Darin received the IBMA award for Mentor of the Year.
The Harris Brothers
Reggie and Ryan Harris are a real brother duo born and raised in Western North Carolina where they were exposed to a wide variety of music from an early age. The Harris Brothers started playing string instruments and singing as small children and are part of a musical family that still gets together to play. They have been playing professionally as a duo for more than twenty years, showcasing their unique style. The intuitive nature of their interaction, in regard to both playing and singing, can only be achieved via the relationship between brothers. Reggie sings and plays guitar, banjo, and a kick-drum suitcase for percussion; Ryan sings and plays the bass.
The Jeff Little Trio
Jeff Little is an award winning musician from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. He has not only been recognized as a critically acclaimed musician but also a true innovator in acoustic music. Jeff stays busy traveling the country performing concerts with an energy and dedication to his music that is evident at every show. Performances include The Smithsonian Institution, The National Folk Festival, American Piano Masters, Merlefest, and many festivals, performing arts centers and music venues throughout the U.S. In 2014 Jeff was inducted into the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame.
Todd Wright and Friends
Todd Wright, an Ambassador of Jazz for the Carolinas, joined the Hayes School of Music faculty at Appalachian State University in 1990. As Director of Jazz Studies, he has been responsible for directing instrumental and vocal jazz ensembles and oversees the course of study for the Jazz Certification Program. Wright was selected a winner of the Jazz Fellowship Award given by the North Carolina Arts Council, and in 2014 was nominated to represent Appalachian State University to receive the O. Max Gardner Award. He is an active jazz saxophonist and is president of North Carolinas’ High Country Jazz Society.