A Mountain Home Memorial Day
The opening concert for the summer season of Joe Shannon’s
Mountain Home Music will carry with it a bittersweet overtone, in addition to the eclectic mixture
of patriotic and contemporary songs on tap.
For the first time in its existence, the concert series will be without its founder and namesake, Joe Shannon, who died last week after a prolonged illness.
As in previous years, the kick-off show will pay tribute to the nation’s veterans in accordance with Memorial Day.
The foot-tapping, hand-clapping good time kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 25, at Boone United Methodist Church.
This concert is the first of this season, which will feature 19 concerts of traditional music through the summer and fall, according to a MHM news release.
Adding significance to the occasion is the rare live performance of David Johnson and the Studio Band, which is comprised of five musicians, who have spent more together in a studio than on stage.
“This is the only time we play live,” Johnson said. “We never play as a band except when we are recording.”
Johnson said fans of the show could expect “a few patriotic songs” and other pop favorites.
“We will also be doing some old tunes that I think most of the folks who go to the venue will remember,” Johnson said.
A few Top 40 hits or singles from the 1960s and ‘70s aren’t out of the realm of possibility either, he added. Fans of old-time and bluegrass music will have a bone or two thrown their way, as well, Johnson said.
Johnson was a close friend of Shannon’s and commented on how strange it will be to approach another concert season without their founder at the helm.
“It’s bittersweet to the extreme,” Johnson said. “I’m really happy the concert series is continuing, because that was his fondest wish. Being on stage without him, though, will be sad beyond belief.”
Rodney Sutton, who succeeds Shannon as executive director of the series, said the transition to new leadership was eased with a knowledgeable board, as well as the encouragement of those who knew Shannon best.
“The reason I’m as comfortable as I am with the first concert is because it is featuring Dave Johnson and his Studio Band,” Sutton said. “Dave has been a part of MHM for the whole 20 years. I finally got the chance to meet him, and when I was on the way to his house, I heard that Joe had passed. I thought that maybe today wasn’t the best days to meet because they were best friends, but it turned out to be a wonderful time. We sat on Dave’s porch, and he was able to reminisce of the earliest concerts and playing music with Joe.”
Hearing about past concerts under Shannon’s leadership gave Sutton fresh insight.
“I got to hear wonderful stories of how quirky Joe could be and the comments of how he flew by the seat of his pants,” Sutton said. “Just having and being surround by the people who’ve been involved so long is what will make this year’s concert series a success.”
The Memorial Day concert will be looking to the future, while remembering the series’ rich history.
“Dave and his studio musicians will do some of his favorites from past years and paying tribute to different branches of the armed services,” Sutton said. “They will also present different branch anthems and songs related to the service. Plus, there will be some surprises, and it will be a wonderful evening of music that’s not only paying tribute to our servicemen and women who’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice, but also a tribute to Joe.”
Tickets cost $20 in advance and $22 at the door. Student tickets are $11, and children 12 and younger are admitted free.
Tickets may be purchased at Mast General Store (Boone and Valle Crucis), Fred’s Mercantile on Beech Mountai, and at Pandora’s Mailbox and the Dulcimer Shop, both in the Martin House on Main Street in downtown Blowing Rock.
Tickets may also be purchased online though the Mountain Home Music website: http://www.mountainhomemusic.com. For more information, visit the website, or call (828) 964-3392.
Boone United Methodist Church is located at 471 New Market Blvd. in Boone.