The choral and handbell ensembles will perform both individually and together as a combined group. The choir directors are Nina Allbert from Banner Elk Presbyterian Church and Elaine Kallestad from Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Valle Crucis. Organist David Soyars from the Banner Elk church will accompany the vocal artists.The Holy Smokes trio consists of singer/musicians John Goodrich, Andrea McDonough, and Dan Shepherd.
The Holy Cross Handbell Choir then takes the stage with “Old Testament Sketches” by Douglas E. Wagner. The “Sketches” exist in two parts: Blessing and Rejoicing. Both are arranged for handbells with narration provided by Valle Crucis Conference Center director Margaret Lumpkin Love. Additional handbell anthems include “Zimbelstern” by Susan T. Nelson and “Tallis’ Canon” by Margaret R. Tucker.This concert is the first in a line-up of artists that has been announced for the popular Summer Concert Series at historic St. John’s Church in Valle Crucis with monthly events planned through August 6. A summer mission of Holy Cross Episcopal Church, the picturesque chapel, consecrated in 1862, is located in the Watauga County countryside and provides marvelous acoustics for music with its wooden walls and floors forming a natural sounding board for live performances.
Scott Kallestad, Professor of Saxophone at the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University will provide a bit of Broadway and Americana with the sentimental, “Till There Was You,” famously sung by Shirley Jones in the Meredith Willson’s The Music Man. Duke Ellington’s “Satin Doll” brings a jazz standard and a twist of ambience to finish the set.
The evening opens with a venerable Gospel standard, “In the Sweet By and By,” sung together by all. Then the concert portion begins with the Holy Cross Choir singing a three-piece set: Richard De Castre’s “Prayer to Jesus” (circa 1430); “Deep River” (African-American spiritual); and “Sing with Songs of Joy” (Handel). Of interest, is the Middle English text and pronunciation in the medieval “Prayer to Jesus.” The spiritual, “Deep River,” includes rarely-sung additional verses; and Handel’s “Sing with Songs of Joy” offers stylistic nods to choruses in his famous oratorio, “Messiah.”VALLE CRUCIS, NC – The annual Singing in the Valle music program opens the 2023 Summer Concert Series in Valle Crucis at 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 4 with the vocal and handbell choirs of Holy Cross Episcopal Church joined by singers from Banner Elk Presbyterian Church and the popular vocal trio The Holy Smokes. Finally, the two vocal choirs join to present the incomparably beautiful “Sing Me to Heaven,” by Daniel Gawthrop. The final combined choir piece is Pepper Choplin’s “Hold Onto the Rock,” featuring baritone soloist Jarrett Koski from the Banner Elk church. 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.
Remaining concerts on the 2023 series include the Junaluska Gospel Choir from Boone Mennonite Brethren Church, who will present an evening of spirituals and gospel favorites on Sunday, July 2, 2023. They will be followed by Wild Blue Yonder, An Appalachian Celtic Band on Sunday, August 6, 2023 performing songs of Appalachia and the British Isles with spirit and fire, using fiddles, whistles, bagpipe, mandolin, bodhran, banjo, bouzouki, and Celtic drums blend to serve up a high-energy helping of Celtic tunes.
Celebrating its 12th Anniversary season in 2023, 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. Admission is free, but a suggested contribution of $5 will help the parish offset artists fees, with children 12 and under admitted free of charge.The Banner Elk Presbyterian Choir is next on the program, with two choral contemporary Christian anthems. The first is “What Wondrous Love is This” by Wes Ramsay and Tim Sharp. While the text is a familiar one, the tune is a new setting which explores tight vocal harmonies in tandem with a striking piano part. Their second piece is a fun arrangement by Larry Shackley of the traditional spiritual, “Wade in the Water.” Adapted to a Gospel-swing style, the choir promises that, “this music will have your toes a’tapping!”
The Holy Smokes will offer the next set. “Fill My Way with Love,” an old-time Gospel favorite by Iris Dement brings us back to Appalachian roots, while James Taylor’s “Shower the People” brings heartfelt soul.
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Performing in Valle Crucis for the first time, James Harrell, guitarist and male vocalist for Letters to Abigail, describes their music as harmony-driven, but honest and easily relatable.“I really love seeing the community, students and visitors come together and enjoy each other’s company, great music and the beautiful summer weather,” senior nursing major Elizabeth Dellinger said.
“My favorite part of performing is probably afterwards, it gives me a sense of accomplishment,” Harrell said. “Songwriting is an art form. It’s just fulfilling to be able to put the work into a song, create it…and share it with people and get a response — that’s certainly part of it too.”
“It’s a good summertime evening event,” said Sarah Bohn, 2015 Appalachian State University alumna and regular attendee. “It’s more laid-back than most concert events, so people feel free to bring animals and small children, which enhances the overall community aspect.”
Executive Director of Valle Crucis Community Park, Caroline Gandy said that Music in the Valle brings the community together by attracting a diverse crowd of people including families, retirees, college students and vacationers.We recognize you are attempting to access this website from a country belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA) including the EU which enforces the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and therefore access cannot be granted at this time. For any issues, contact [email protected] or call 828-264-6397.
With Lou Hodges on upright bass, Marlene Crosby on accordion and guitar, Tricia Eaves on mandolin and guitar, Farrell Shepherd on mandolin and guitar and Christy Rash on banjo, The Boone Trail Band predominantly plays bluegrass and classic country music.
Valle Country Fair will be held on Saturday, October 15 in a large hayfield located beside NC Highway 194 between Valle Crucis and Banner Elk. Admission to the Fair is FREE and parking is available in the adjoining field for $10 per car, $25 for a small bus or van, and $50 for a motor coach. NO PETS ALLOWED.Singer-songwriter Brooks Forsyth of Boone grew up in the church that organizes the Valle Country Fair. Now a Nashville recording artist whose musical style encompasses a variety of genres within Americana, Brook spends much of the year traveling the country, but each year he returns to the Valle Country Fair and the community that raised him.
Comprised of four high school students (Eli Church, Ethan Church, Colton Boone and Jaxton Boone), one resent graduate balancing college courses with a part time job (Walker Boone) plus one tag-along Dad (Lynn Church), the Boone & Church Band inspires audiences with bluegrass gospel standards like “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” and amazes the crowds with lightning-fast breakdowns and fiddle tunes.Describing Boone & Church’s instrumentals as lightning-fast fast is not hyperbole. Valle Fairgoers who catch their performance this year are sure to give the band the same rapt attention and appreciative response that left such an impression on the band last year. “The Fair sponsors truly appreciate these musicians donating their time and their talent to our cause,” said Floyd Townsend, Chairman of the Valle Fair Music Committee. “The performers do it to give back to the community, but they also get a lot of enjoyment in return for playing in front of this generous and enthusiast audience.” The 44th annual Valle Country Fair rolls out on Saturday, October 15 when the community gathers to raise money for neighbors in need with a harvest season crafts festival in the large hayfield across NC 194 from the Valle Crucis Conference Center. Like the folks that volunteer to serve BBQ and Brunswick Stew, bake cakes and stir apple butter, more than half a dozen bluegrass, country, gospel and folk groups donate their time and talent to supply the background music for this popular fall fundraiser.Getting to the Valle Country Fair should be a breeze this October as a second entrance to the Fairgrounds was added last . “Having two entrances to the Valle Fair worked seamlessly in 2021,” said VCF Co-chair Tracey Heiss. “It gets people into the Fair quickly with no backup of traffic on Broadstone or NC 194.”
The mission of the Valle Country Fair is to raise funds for charitable organizations and church outreach in Avery and Watauga Counties. In its first 40 years, the Valle Fair raised over $1 Million to help people in need.
With a sound centered in bluegrass, old-time music, ballads, jigs and reels, the Guilty Pleasures band travels up the mountain from the Orange and Chatham County areas of North Carolina. Band members John McNeal (guitar), Nat Smith (bass), Meredith Nye (fiddle) and Tim Stambaugh (banjo, dobro) have played everything from country to funk to punk to jazz before returning to their musical roots.”The Valle Country Fair is very welcoming,” said Lynn Church of the Boone and Church Band. “Last year was a great experience for us. It was where we had probably our best crowd response ever.”