Music is the glue that holds a community together. On March 28th, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park presents its fifth annual Music of the Mountains celebration and it promises to be quite an event. Live music all day at the Sugarlands Visitor Center, culminating in the “Jimbo Whaley and Friends Reunion Show” at the W.L. Mills Conference Center. This celebration focuses on and is a celebration of the music traditions of the southern Appalachian Mountains. This is one of several special events that the Park has developed to tell the story of the hearty people that called these mountains home.
Music of the Mountains kicks off Saturday, March 28th at 10 am and runs until 5pm at the Sugarlands Visitor Center. The performances will be held in the Sugarlands Visitor Center Theater which seats 160 people. Seating is on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis. Here is the list of the amazing acts that you will see at Sugarlands this year:
10-11 a.m. – Lost Mill String Band (perennial mountain favorites)
11 a.m.-noon – Tony Thomas (Old time fiddle and banjo tunes)
12-1 p.m. – Dr. Ted Olson (presentation on the origins of Appalachian mountain music)
1-2 p.m. – Boogertown Gap (perennial mountain favorites)
2-4 p.m. – Matt Morelock and Brian Volmer (claw hammer banjo and old-time fiddle)
4-5 p.m. – Roger Howell and Friends (string ensemble from Mars Hill, NC)
Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson had this to say about the event: “We’re pleased to again partner with the City of Gatlinburg and Great Smoky Mountains Association to offer the public a variety of musical styles for this year’s ‘Music of the Mountains’ festival. Our staff has lined up a wide spectrum of old-time, traditional, and bluegrass music performers. With the change to an all day festival we hope to allow more of our visitors to experience the rich traditions of mountain music.”
At 7pm, in the W.L. Mills Conference Center in Gatlinburg, the Jimbo Whaley and Friends Reunion Show keeps Music of the Mountains rolling. Whaley is a popular bluegrass and gospel musician from Sevier County. He traces his roots back to the residents of what became the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and has played events around the nation and with groups such as Greenbrier. The concert will feature founding members of bluegrass sensation, Pine Mountain Railroad (Jimbo Whaley, Kipper Stitt and Mike Gwinn) plus other current and previous PMR members. Tickets for for Jimbo Whaley and Friends Reunion Show can be purchased online.(http://www.jimbowhaley.com/products.htm)
So come out, listen to and learn about the music of the mountains. You are sure to go away with a song in your heart, whistling a tune.