Around town: The latest in music, magic, quilts and history

VIRTUAL CONCERT: Dom Flemons, co-founder of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, will perform a unique blend of traditional music as part of a virtual benefit concert for The Center for Cultural Preservation. The Thursday, March 25, event will include an audience Q&A. Photo by Timothy Duffy

On Thursday, March 25, The Center for Cultural Preservation is hosting A Special Evening with Dom Flemons, a virtual performance by the Grammy Award-winning musician and co-founder of the Carolina Chocolate Drops. The event is a fundraiser for the center’s forthcoming film, Moonshine in the Mountains.

“Dom has been mining the lost chapters of the African American influence on traditional music for years now,” says David Weintraub, the center’s executive director.

Weintraub adds that in spotlighting the untold stories of American music traditions, Flemons “helps connect us to the blended musical legacies that are both inspiring and transformative.”

In a press release, Flemons echoes Weintraub’s point, noting that the power behind traditional American music is its inclusivity. “Alongside the great tunes from Ireland and Scotland were the African American and Native American traditions,” he says. “What makes American music American is all that stuff coming together.”

Tickets are donation-based with a $20 recommendation per person or $35 per household. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. To learn more, visit

National Quilting Day

In honor of National Quilting Day, the Folk Art Center, Milepost 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, is hosting a series of events led by quilt maker and quilt historian Connie Brown, Thursday-Saturday, March 18-20.

Throughout the three-day celebration, Brown will offer demonstrations. Quilt fanatics are also invited to bring their favorite comforter to the center 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; Brown will analyze individual heirlooms and answer questions about quilt storage, repair and appraisal services.

“Quilts are a tangible piece of history,” says Brown. “The fabrics and materials used in making them reflect the history, fashion and trends of the era and the community in which they are made. I hope visitors learn something they didn’t know before about an antique quilt. That family quilt that has been passed down through the generations may give them clues as to the life their ancestors lived.”

To find out more, visit

A Singing Army

Local author Kim Ruehl celebrates the release of her debut book, A Singing Army: Zilphia Horton and the Highlander Folk School, available Tuesday, March 23. Horton — a musician, civil rights activist and folklorist — was a friend to and influence on Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Lee Hays; she also worked with Eleanor Roosevelt and Rosa Parks. Malaprop’s Bookstore and Café will host a virtual release party on Monday, March 22, at 6 p.m. Ruehl will also be a part of Denise Kiernan’s CRAFT: Authors in Conversations series on Wednesday, March 31, at 7 p.m.  To learn more about both events, visit

Do you believe in magic?

In the mood for the inconceivable? On Saturday, March 20, at 7 p.m., the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts will host “Virtually Impossible,” a livestreamed production by magician and mentalist Joshua Lozoff. The all-age, interactive show takes place on Zoom; tickets are $25 per household. To purchase a ticket, visit

Appalachian Barn Alliance hosts virtual tour

The Appalachian Barn Alliance, an organization that seeks to preserve the rural heritage of Madison County and surrounding areas through the documentation of historical barn-building traditions, will host its first virtual tour of a barn property on Sunday, March 21. Researcher Taylor Barnhill will guide online participants through the Oscar Anderson farmstead, including a virtual visit into the Oscar Anderson Sr. Barn; built in 1951, it represents the conventional post-World War II burley tobacco barn, constructed exclusively for air curing burley tobacco. Pricing and time to be determined. For the latest, visit

Virtual theater classes

Registration is now open for Flat Rock Playhouse Studio 52’s four-week virtual theater classes, ages 5 and older. The series begins Monday, April 12, and concludes Thursday, May 6. Classes will focus on a wide range of topics, including acting, Broadway dance, spoken-word poetry, acting for the camera, theater design and directing. Tuition ranges from $60-$75. Students and families that register for more than one class are offered a $15 discount for each additional course. To sign up, visit


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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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