By Carol Thomas
The hills of Western North Carolina will be alive with the sound of music this summer as St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Burnsville hosts a series of Sunday concerts — two of them at a new outdoor performance area.
Families can bring picnic suppers, chairs and blankets or dine by tailgate while listening to the bold sounds of a brass ensemble and enjoying the lilting voices of a trio raising up old and new mountain music. The third performance will be held inside the church and features jazz, wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres.
The concerts, all starting at 5 p.m. with the first scheduled for the July 4th weekend, are meant to be an expression of love for the community.
“We hope to inspire a deeper sense of community, especially an awareness of our interdependency and our responsibility for assuring that no one suffers from a lack of love or resources,” said the Rev. Beth Turner. To that end, all proceeds from the events will be channeled to Reconciliation House, which assists families in need, and to the Family Violence Coalition.
First up on Sunday, July 6, will be The New River Brass Ensemble, the resident brass quintet of the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University in Boone. Their performance will draw from centuries of classical, jazz and popular music.
Thistle Dew singers Rhodyjane Meadows, Ellie Hjemmet and Laura Laughridge, described as the world’s first Celtalachian band, will perform a collection of Celtic and Appalachian old-time mountain music plus some originals, at the second concert, on Sunday, July 27.
The Bob Early Jazz Quartet, known throughout the region for its original jazz blends, will round out the summer concert series on Sunday, Aug. 17, filling the church sanctuary with music inspired by such notables as Miles Davis, Benny Godson and the Funky Meters.
Pets need to be left at home. Only service animals will be allowed. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, these events will be moved inside the church.
The indoor jazz event is a dress-up affair with seating by reservation only. A call to the church at 682-0037 will help give the organizers a headcount. Because of limited seating, reservations need to be secured with a $35 per person payment, which covers heavy hors d’oeuvres and wine tasting. There will be a silent auction, proceeds of which also will go to the two charities. Reservation checks can be mailed to St. Thomas Episcopal Church, PO Box 591, Burnsville, NC 28714.