Feature Articles

June Issue 2002

An Appalachian Summer Festival in Boone, NC, Unveils 2002 Season Line-Up

Appalachian State University's month-long whirlwind of top-notch music, dance, theatre, and visual arts programs - otherwise known as An Appalachian Summer Festival- has put the finishing touches on its 2002 season.

The annual arts celebration, slated for June 28 through July 27 on the Appalachian campus in Boone, NC, once again promises the exciting mix of performing and visual artists that festival audiences across North Carolina and the southeastern US have come to expect. Entering its eighteenth season, An Appalachian Summer Festival has been named for many years as one of the "top twenty events in the Southeast" (by the Southeast Tourism Society) and is now regarded as one of the nation's leading regional arts festivals.

What distinguishes An Appalachian Summer Festival from other summer arts festivals, say many, is the festival's relaxed mountain setting and scenic beauty (in the heart of western North Carolina's High Country, about two hours northwest of Charlotte, NC), combined with the breadth and quality of its artistic programs. Under the artistic direction of Gil Morgenstern, the festival's music, dance, theatre and visual arts programs feature world renowned performers and visual artists, as well as some of the most exciting "up and coming" artists of tomorrow - all in a casual, friendly setting. "As close as North Carolina gets to having its own Spoleto," proclaims the Charlotte Observer.


Two distinguished symphony orchestras will take the festival stage this season. The North Carolina Symphony Pops under the baton of William Henry Curry will return for its traditional concert. Back by popular demand this season is also the celebrated Eastern Philharmonic Orchestra, which received rave reviews from festival audiences last season. The orchestra will feature guest artists Elmar Oliveira, violin - the first and only American ever to win the Tchaikovsky Competition, and Sharon Isbin, widely regarded as one of the world's foremost classical guitarists.

The legendary Glenn Miller Orchestra, the band which ingrained classics such as In The Mood, Chattanooga Choo Choo, Moonlight Serenade and Tuxedo Junction into the memories of countless Americans, is not to be missed.

Popular folksinger Mike Cross is renowned for taking North Carolina tales and music from the front porch to the main stage. "On stage, Cross is a one-man tour de force, a high-energy humorist, folksinger and guitar and fiddling virtuoso," writes The Advocate & Greenwich Time.

Internationally acclaimed singer Jerry Hadley is regarded as one of the leading American tenors of his generation, and remains one of the most sought-after singers of our time. Hadley will perform a vocal recital featuring selections from opera to operetta to art songs - as well as an informal evening of "cabaret" combining glorious standards from the Great American Songbook (Gershwin, Porter, Sondheim, Rodgers and Hart).

The extraordinary Ford Motor Company Chamber Music Series featuring the Broyhill Chamber Ensemble, as well as a recital by pianist (and School of Music faculty member) Bair Shagdaron and a recital by violinist (and Artistic Director) Gil Morgenstern round out the festival's exciting recital and chamber offerings.

One of the premier performance artists in the world, Laurie Anderson has consistently intrigued, entertained, and challenged audiences with her multi-media presentations. Anderson's artistic career has cast her in roles as various as visual artist, composer, poet, photographer, filmmaker, ventriloquist, electronics whiz, vocalist and instrumentalist.

One of the festival's (and the community's) most anticipated events is always the Outdoor Fireworks Concert, and this year the popular band "Diamond Rio" headlines the concert. After ten years, six "Vocal Group of the Year" awards collectively from the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association, and 19 "top ten" country hits Diamond Rio has created one of the most unique sounds in country music history. The band has successfully combined stunning bluegrass harmonies with a driving beat, along with some of the most outstanding solo instrumental work this side of Chet Atkins. Picnicking and fireworks combine with great music to make this event a true highlight of the summer season.


Two of the nation's stellar contemporary dance companies provide the basis for another memorable dance program this season. The proclamation of the San Francisco Chronicle says it all: "The Paul Taylor Dance Company is quite simply, as good as modern dance can get." Paul Taylor turns everyday movement into breathtaking art of heart-wrenching beauty. Although the dancers of Paul Taylor Dance Company have appeared several times at the festival, audiences can't get enough of this extraordinary company and its superior artistry.

Making its festival debut is the critically acclaimed Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, a Denver-based contemporary dance company known for its unique brand of African dance, ballet, Afro-Brazilian, jazz, and modern works. The noted company has been lighting up stages with its high energy, rhythm, and inventive choreography for more than 30 years.


The festival's "Works in Progress Series" forms the basis of its innovative theatre program. Built upon cutting-edge collaborations among some of the country's finest playwrights, musicians, choreographers, composers, and directors who view the festival as a "haven" and an ideal setting for developing new works, these theatre offerings are increasingly drawing national attention for the festival.

With The Art of the Fugitive, Nine Circles Chamber Theatre creates an evening of words and music, incorporating actors, singers, works by Bach, Bartók and Messiaen, and newly-commissioned composers and instrumentalists - all focused on the words and life of the European Jewish writer Paul Celan. Through a remarkable interplay of music and words among the four, a fascinating story is revealed: a story of a poet and composers who witnessed a changed world following the Holocaust, and who created a new language - through art - to share their vision of this new world.

A second theatre reading, Henry and Company is an exciting and touching new musical theatre piece being developed for and in collaboration with the renowned Metropolitan Opera tenor, Jerry Hadley. Henry Smith, portrayed by Jerry Hadley, is a successful novelist who has returned to his hometown of Centerville in the 1980s to deliver a dedication speech for the new university gymnasium. By re-entering the world of his youth, however, Henry is unwittingly forced to confront the demons of the past.

Visual Arts

The visual arts, a prominent, and dynamic part of every festival season, will be represented by the national 16th Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition, offering festival audiences a fascinating journey into the world of contemporary sculpture. The popular Sculpture Walk (led by the juror) is scheduled for the morning of July 27, and at that time, the Rosen Award Winner will be announced.

An exciting exhibition program entitled The Fantastic Four will showcase works by four celebrated visual artists: Warren Dennis, Bill Dunlap, Larry Edwards, and Noyes Capehart Long. An Appalachian Summer Festival proudly reunites these former colleagues from Appalachian's Department of Art, in a show not to be missed. Over the years, each of these accomplished artists has garnered praise for his work, both locally and nationally. Shown together, works by these four artists constitute a powerful and memorable experience for all of those who have followed their distinguished careers, as well as for those just now being introduced to their works.

A series of exciting Visual Arts Workshops (for both adults and children) will also be offered during the course of the festival. Topics include "Book-Making for Kids" (for ages 5-8) with workshop leader Sigrid Hice, and four workshops for adults, including: "What If? An In-Depth Adventure into Creativity" with Vae Hamilton; "Discover Your Self-Portrait" and "Let's Go Landscape!" with Nancy Sokolove; and "Jewelry-Making for Adults" with Margaret Yaukey.

Another aspect of the visual arts program consists of two public lectures offered at no charge. A "Visual Arts Workshop Preview" will be presented by Vae Hamilton, Nancy Sokolove and Margaret Yaukey - three of the artists and workshop leaders for this season's dynamic Visual Arts Workshop Series. Their presentation will cover topics ranging from landscape painting to introducing digital images into collage, to contemporary metals and jewelry work. The presentation corresponds to the festival's workshop series and provides a wonderful "introduction" for anyone interested in joining a visual arts workshop - or simply interested in learning more about art.

A second lecture will provide a fascinating overview of Appalachian State University's new regional visual arts center, the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts. Housed in the former Boone United Methodist Church building on West King Street in Boone, the new facility is slated to open in the spring of 2003. In a dynamic Turchin Center Preview and Slide Presentation, the center's director and curator Hank Foreman will discuss the center's dynamic programming, as well as its exciting inaugural season exhibits by internationally renowned artists, featuring figurative art, Dadaism, Surrealism, collage and performance art.

The Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Lecture, also offered to the public at no charge, will present writer Sharyn McCrumb, whose lecture is entitled "Keepers of the Legend." Sharyn McCrumb is a New York Times best-selling author whose award-winning novels celebrating the history and folklore of Appalachia have received both scholarly and popular acclaim.

Last but certainly not least, the festival's annual "Gala Celebration", scheduled for June 29 at Appalachian House, the Chancellor's new residence, will serve as an important (and fun) benefit fundraiser for An Appalachian Summer Festival. Two additional events, a wine tasting & auction, and a silent auction and champagne reception, provide an equal measure of enjoyment, while raising funds for a good cause.

The festival now offers "Mountain Festival Getaway" packages for overnight visitors to the High Country, consisting of lodging, festival tickets, and discount coupons for area attractions. Packages are available through both Blowing Rock's Chetola Resort and by the Broyhill Inn & Conference Center in Boone.

The festival's 2002 corporate sponsors include Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation, SkyBest Communications (a subsidiary of Skyline Telephone Membership Corporation), Ford Motor Company, DeWoolfson Down Products, Cheap Joe's Art Stuff, Charter Communications, Best Western-Blue Ridge Plaza, Mast General Store and Footsloggers.

For tickets, or to request a season brochure, call the Festival Box Office at 800/841-ARTS or 828/262-4046 in the Boone area. The festival's web address is

For more info check our NC Institutional Gallery listings or call ASU at 828/262-4046.

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