A Mountain of a Man
Joe Shannon has a lot of friends.
The founder of Mountain Home Music was honored this week by friends, family and his local government.
On Sunday, Shannon was officially presented the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award, the highest civilian honor in the state of North Carolina, during Mountain Home Music’s St. Patrick’s Day concert.
On Tuesday, the Boone Town Council adopted the Joe Shannon Appreciation Resolution.
“This is a great day for all of us,” said Wade Wilmoth, former mayor of Boone and previous recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, at Sunday’s concert. “This Long Leaf Pine award goes to Joe for all his contributions to help save the special music and storytelling traditions of our area.”
The concert featured performances from the Mountain Home Bluegrass Boys, members of the Forget-Me-Nots and Strictly Clean and Decent, but also served as a fundraiser to help cover the medical expenses of Shannon, who was diagnosed with cancer last year.
More than 200 people attended to show their support, and more than $5,000 was raised.
“We have been spoiled for more than 20 years by having someone take care of us,” said concert performer and emcee Patrick Crouch. “As musicians, all we’ve had to do is show up and play. Joe has taken care of all of the behind-the-scenes work for two decades, and we are incredibly grateful for it.”
On Tuesday, the Boone Town Council admitted that it felt the same way. The council adopted a resolution, signed by Mayor Andy Ball, reading:
“Whereas, Joe Shannon founded Music in the Mountains on Feb. 4, 1994, to showcase and honor musicians, storytellers, dancers and poets of the Appalachian region; and, whereas, Joe Shannon organized and directed the concert series, which became Mountain Home Music in 1997, in Boone and the High Country; and, whereas, Joe Shannon helped establish Mountain Home Music as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization on June 5, 2003; and, whereas, on Nov. 30, 2013, Joe Shannon was recognized with the Appalachian Cultural Enrichment Award for 20 years of service; and, whereas, Joe Shannon enriches our community by preserving and promoting the artistic heritage of the Appalachian Mountains; and, whereas, Joe Shannon helped establish Boone and the High Country as a destination for cultural tourism; and, whereas, Joe Shannon supports local and regional old-time, bluegrass, and folk musicians by showcasing them in his concert series and paying them a fair performing wage.
“Now, therefore, I, Mayor Andy Ball of the Town of Boone, in honor of Joe Shannon, a teacher, musician, storyteller, concert host, founder and director of Mountain Home Music, do hereby proclaim recognition and appreciation for more than two decades of community service championing our cultural heritage.”
Shannon attended the meeting and was joined by family and Mountain Home Music board members, as Ball read the resolution. It was met with a standing ovation.
“Thirty-five years ago, I moved to Boone. I didn’t know one person; I didn’t know a soul,” Shannon said. “It was the best move I ever made. Thank you all so much.”
Frank Ruggiero, Jeff Eason and Anna Oakes contributed to this report.