Shannon resigns from Mountain Home Music

By Derek Halsey (

Article Published: Jan. 30 | Modified: Jan. 30
Shannon resigns from Mountain Home Music

Joe Shannon, founder and host of Mountain Home Music, performs in an opening act for Garrison Keillor at Appalachian State University in April 2013.

Photo by Frank Ruggiero

The Mountain Home Music board of directors has known for a while that the organization’s founder, Joe Shannon, was battling cancer.

For more than two decades, Shannon has hosted many concerts under the MHM banner, highlighting the High Country’s rich musical heritage.

Last week, Shannon told the board of directors that he had to step down due to his condition. The questions at hand for the group were: Would Shannon want the organization to continue after his upcoming move to Florida, and would the board of directors be willing to move forward into the future?

“Joe has led Mountain Home Music for 20 years,” said Ada Webster, board chair of MHM. “We met last week, and he indicated to the board that he would like to see Mountain Home Music continue. So, we are working toward that goal this year. It was several months ago that the board actually knew (about his condition), but most of the crowds that came to the Mountain Home Music shows for all of last season didn’t know about it until the December concert.”

At that December Christmas show, Shannon came forth and told the audience about his battle with the disease by telling an anecdote about some items that he had onstage with him.

“He told the crowd about what was going on with him by telling a beautiful story,” Webster said. “Last year, at every show, he had quilts on the stage, and he told the story about the three quilts. One of them was given to him by one of our board members, Karen James. She had made it for him, and it was a very attractive quilt. It had musical instruments in little squares all over it. Another quilt was his great-grandmother’s, I believe, and it was kind of worn and torn, and you could tell it was an old quilt. The other one was given to him by a nurse he knew while getting his chemo treatments.”

When the audience heard Shannon tell the story about the third quilt, that is when those in attendance realized that he was, indeed, in the fight of his life.

Webster said that Shannon has been preparing the MHM board for the future, bit by bit.

“He has written out all the things he had to do to get a show together … and he says that he has even more suggestions and ideas for the next meeting,” Webster said. “Now, it is going take the whole board, every member, for us to get together and do all of the things that Joe did, and we just hope that we can do it as well as he has. We all decided that if this is what Joe wants, that is what we want for Joe, and we’re going to work real hard to try and make it happen.”

Webster became emotional when thinking about Shannon’s upcoming move to stay with family in Florida, but said he can expect a proper High Country send-off.

“We all consider Joe to be ‘Mr. Mountain Home Music,’” Webster said. “He’s been good to work with, and he will go out of his way to do what needs to be done. It’s been thrilling to be a part of this. I would like to have something special done before he goes to Florida, some kind of appreciation get-together. We’ll have to do it rather quickly, because he will be leaving soon. It would be terrific for the community to come out and support that.”

For more information on Mountain Home Music, visit

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