Music in the Valle

By Jesse Campbell (jesse.campbell@mountaintimes.com)



Article Published: May. 9, 2013 | Modified: May. 9, 2013
Music in the Valle

The Mountain Laurels, from left, featuring guitarist Elaine Gray and violinist Rhonda Lorence, perform at Valle Crucis Community Park. Not pictured is bassist and vocalist Suzi Mills. The trio will return to the park July 19 for this summer's Music in the Valle series.

Photo submitted



Facts

The Lineup

May 24 • Back Porch Bluegrass
May 31 • The Lucky Strikes  
June 7 • The Sheets Family Band
June 14 • Sound Traveler
June 21 • Brother’s Drummonds
June 28 • The Worthless Son-in-Laws
July 5 • CreekSide Grass
July 12 • Midnight Sun
July 19 • The Mountain Laurels
July 26 • The Major Sevens
Aug. 2 • Down River
Aug. 9 • 8 Miles Apart
Aug. 16 • Dashboard Hula Boys
Aug. 23 • Whip Daddies
Aug. 30 • Zephyr Lightning Bolts
Sept. 6 • Folk and Dagger

It’s time to gather that perfect picnic spread and a comfortable lawn chair, because Music in the Valle is back.

The annual concert series returns to the Valle Crucis Community Park this summer with picturesque evenings of family fun and live entertainment each Friday, beginning with a kickoff show May 24.

Now in its 11th year, the concert series will feature 16 concerts of toe-tapping, old- fashioned bluegrass music.

Valle Crucis Community Park executive director Caroline Gandy said the series began as a volunteer-orchestrated jam session on Friday evenings in the park and “just sort of grew from there.”

Admission is free, but a suggested donation of $5 is greatly appreciated, she said.

Gandy said the concerts are a big fundraiser for the park, as a huge chunk of its operational funds comes from the generosity of the music lovers. “We typically make between $5,000 and $6,000 annually from the concerts,” Gandy said.

While the park serves as the host for the concerts, Gandy said there are different sponsors for each show. “The sponsors actually pay the cost of the band each week,” Gandy said.

What makes the concert series special is the atmosphere that goes with an evening of skillfully performed eclectic mountain music.

“I think the setting is the most unique thing about the series,” Gandy said. “The park doesn’t get any more beautiful than it does at sunset.”

Each concert is also family-friendly driven fun. “The parents can watch the live entertainment, while the kids can play in the nearby park,” Gandy said.

Elaine Gray, guitarist for The Mountain Laurels, said her group would be making an appearance for its fourth consecutive year.

The Mountain Laurels specialize in Celtic and folk-enthused music, Gray said.

“All of us (the members) work at Appalachian State,” she said. “We came together through one of our members who plays the violin. She is a music teacher, and we just started playing music with her and put a group together.”

Now in its fifth year, the Mountain Laurels, solely comprised of female members, has experienced many configurations through the year, although the mutual passion for music remains unchanged.
Gray said the Music in the Valle series is as unique as the memories it holds for the group.

“It’s such a beautiful location, and it captures the essential sound of the mountains right there in the valley,” Gray said. “Every time we play there, we are blessed with good weather. Good people come out, and it’s a joyous place to experience music in the mountains. It’s always been a wonderful event.”

Fans of the Mountain Laurels might just be lucky enough to hear the quintet play some selections from its latest studio production, “Highland Bloom.”

The group will appear at Music in the Valle, along with many other prominent groups, on July 19.
“Everything is so perfect,” Gray said of previous experiences at the event. “You have to be there to know what I’m talking about. It’s almost a sacred place because of the feeling of being in the mountains. It’s just very peaceful.”

The series is sponsored by Wren’s Nest Landscaping, The Valle Crucis Cooperative, Stick Boy Bread Company, Valle Crucis Conference Center, Peabody’s Wine & Beer Merchants, Watauga River Partners, The Justus and Nettles Ridge Neighborhood, The 1861 Farmhouse, Rivercross Market, A.P.E., Holy Cross Episcopal Church, Mast General Store, Valle Crucis School PTSA, Boone Brewing Company, Country Home Concierge and Bob and Julie Gates.

Valle Crucis Park is located off Broadstone Road in Valle Crucis. For more information, call (828) 963-9239 or visit http://www.vallecrucispark.com.



Additional Images

The Mountain Laurels, from left, featuring guitarist Elaine Gray and violinist Rhonda Lorence, perform at Valle Crucis Community Park. Not pictured is bassist and vocalist Suzi Mills. The trio will return to the park July 19 for this summer's Music in the Valle series.
Photo submitted

The Dashboard Hula Boys, featuring Tom Whyte, will perform Aug. 16 at this summer's Music in the Valle series.
Photo by Frank Ruggiero

The Major Sevens, featuring Brooks Forsyth, will perform July 26 for the Music in the Valle series.
Photo by Frank Ruggiero

The Lucky Strikes Classic Jazz Band, featuring Jim Fleri, will perform May 31 for this summer's Music in the Valle concert series.
Photo by Frank Ruggiero

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