Appalachian Summer announces lineup
It’s a festival three decades in the making.
An Appalachian Summer Festival returns for its 30th anniversary, bringing with it a month’s worth of entertainment.
A performing arts celebration presented by Appalachian State University, this year’s festival features a bevy of performers that span the arts, including Sheryl Crow (July 24), Nickel Creek (July 15), Little Big Town (June 28) and many others.
Megan Stage, marketing and public relations manager with Appalachian’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs, noted that a few events have yet to be announced, but, as of April 9, the lineup is as follows:
• Outdoor Fireworks Concert with Little Big Town – June 28
• Pilobolus – July 3
• Eastern Festival Orchestra with Sir James Galway, flute – July 6
• Hayes School of Music Faculty Showcase Concert – July 9
• Triad Stage: "All’s Well That Ends Well" – July 10
• Summer Exhibition Celebration – July 11
• Matthew Morrison and the Greensboro Symphony – July 12
• Rosen-Schaffel Competition – July 13
• Nickel Creek – July 14
• Dance Theatre of Harlem – July 19
• Sheryl Crow – July 24
• National Youth Orchestra with Gil Shaham, violin – July 26
• 28th Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Walk – July 26
• Broyhill Chamber Ensemble – June 29, July 1, 20 & 22
• Global Cinema Film Series (Film titles TBA) – June 30, July 7, 14 & 21
• Lunch and Learn Lecture Series – July 2, 9, 16 & 23
• Kids Classic Film Night (Film title TBA) — July 25
Tickets go on sale Monday, April 28, at 9 a.m. and will be available at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts box office, located at 733 Rivers St. in Boone, by phone at (800) 841-2787 or online at http://www.appsummer.org.
“Because it’s our 30th anniversary, we’ve really tried to kind of find the balance between celebrating our history and bringing an exciting new lineup, as well," Stage said. “We believe in bringing a diverse mix of acts, but not always the same kind of artist. We’ve tried to find that balance, see what works for us in the past and what audiences really loved.”
One such act was Pilobolus, a nationally lauded modern dance company. “They were here for another of our anniversary years, and they’re such a fun, interesting group, so we knew we wanted to bring them back,” Stage said.
Another festival mainstay is the Broyhill Chamber Orchestra, which helped found the inaugural Appalachian Summer three decades ago. The Eastern Festival Orchestra, another perennial favorite, will also return.
“But we also wanted to get artists that were a little bit different,” Stage said. “We announced Little Big Town, which is a huge concert for us. Sheryl Crow we’ve been trying to get here for many years. She’s kind of doing a crossover from pop to country, but she’ll be singing a lot of hits, as well as her new music. She’s an icon, so successful in her career, so we knew that once we got her, this would be a big year. As soon as we locked her and Little Big Town in, we knew this year would be bigger than we thought.”
Stage is also delighted to see mandolinist Chris Thile return to Boone by way of Nickel Creek, his original band with Sara Watkins and Sean Watkins, all of whom have been performing on a Nickel Creek reunion tour.
“Chris Thile is no stranger to this area … but Nickel Creek is just incredible,” Stage said.
Once again, An Appalachian Summer will feature ties to the hit TV series, “Glee.” Whereas “Glee” guest star Idina Menzel performed in 2013, 2014 will feature a performance by series regular Matthew Morrison, who will perform his Broadway favorites with the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra.
Greensboro’s Triad Stage will make its Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts debut with a production of William Shakespeare’s “All’s Well That Ends Well,” and theater-lovers will have a chance for some pre-festival fun with a May 4, all-inclusive trip to Greensboro to see a matinee performance of Triad Stage’s “Pump Boys and Dinettes,” followed by dinner at the O. Henry Hotel. Tickets for the trip are already on sale by calling the Schaefer Center box office at (828) 262-4046.
While most performing arts events take place during the evening, there’s also plenty of fun to be had on a warm, Appalachian Summer day. The festival will again feature a vast lineup of workshops, lunch-and-learns and family events at the university’s Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, among other venues on campus.
The celebration will also have an international flair. The TCVA will present an exhibition of contemporary art from South Africa, and a global film series will feature a film every Monday, the dates for which have yet to be announced. A kids classic film night will also be held, as will a family event with the Harlem Dance Theatre. The Carnegie Hall Youth Orchestra will close out the season.
However, Stage said audiences can expect another big announcement in the weeks ahead.
“It’s a huge summer so far, and we’re not even done,” she said.
For more information on An Appalachian Summer Festival, visit http://www.appsummer.org.