‘Mountain Traditions’ concert to benefit Shindig on the Green

One of the region’s most beloved and authentic cultural traditions, Shindig on the Green, will present “A Celebration of Mountain Traditions” annual fundraiser with headliner Balsam Range plus Laura Boosinger and Bobby Hicks and the Cole Mountain Cloggers at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 20 at the historic Colonial Theatre in downtown Canton for an evening of traditional old-time music and dance.

The March 20th “Celebration of Mountain Traditions” fundraiser is a key element in securing necessary funding for the free and beloved Shindig on the Green summer Saturday evenings in Asheville. After a four-year relocation to make way for the new park construction, Shindig returns to its original location this summer in the heart of downtown Asheville at Pack Square Park’s Roger McGuire Green, on the new Bascom Lamar Lunsford Stage. Dedicated to the celebration and preservation of the region’s rich cultural heritage, Shindig on the Green’s 44th summer season is scheduled for July 3, 10, 17, 31; August 14, 21, 28; and September 4.

The concert has a $6,000 monetary goal, with all of those funds needed to help cover the “free” Shindig’s very real operating costs, which average $6,000 an evening. The Folk Heritage Committee’s produces Shindig on the Green and the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival in order to support the preservation and continuation of the traditional music, dance and storytelling heritage of the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

Based in Haywood County, Balsam Range’s members grew up in the rich musical heritage of the Appalachian South, surrounded by culture and heritage steeped in traditions of The Grand Ole Opry, bluegrass, gospel and country music. Featuring Grammy award winner Marc Pruett on banjo, Darren Nicholson on vocals and mandolin, Buddy Melton on fiddle and vocals, Caleb Smith on guitar and vocals, and Tim Surrett on bass and vocals, Balsam Range is celebrating the success of its single, “Last Train To Kitty Hawk,” the title cut from the band’s second album, hitting No. 1 on the national Bluegrass Unlimited Chart in September 2009; the album itself reached No. 5 that same month. The band also recently took the stage for a live television taping of the popular PBS program “Song of the Mountains,” playing alongside Rhonda Vincent and the Rage before a sold-out audience.

Two of Western North Carolina’s more well-known and beloved musicians are pairing up to perform together. Laura Boosinger’s concert performance and recordings have earned her a well-deserved reputation as one of North Carolina’s most talented singers and interpreters of the music of the Southern Appalachians. Conventions, festivals, workshops and family concerts each provide a unique opportunity to showcase her talents as she features a variety of traditional stringed instruments, including old-time banjo, guitar, Appalachian dulcimer and fingerstyle Autoharp. Boosinger is also the Executive Director of the Madison County Arts Council.

Living legend Bobby Hicks is a self-taught fiddler who has played since he was nine years old. Originally hired by Bluegrass legend Bill Monroe in 1954 to play bass, Hicks switched to fiddle when fiddler Gordon Terry was drafted into the military. He joined up with the Ricky Skaggs Band in 1981, and throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s won multiple awards with the Ricky Skaggs Band and with Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder. Today, whether teaching young fiddlers, making guest appearances all over Western North Carolina, or playing a hot fiddle streak on stage, Bobby Hicks continues to contribute to the enjoyment of fans everywhere.

The Cole Mountain Cloggers, dancers from Buncombe, Madison and Mitchell counties, has won multiple awards, including the Ruth Jewell Trophy for Best Dance Team performance, claiming championship of the 2009 NC State Fair.

Tickets are $20 for adults, and children 12 and younger are $10; group rates (10 or more adults) are $15 per person. For tickets call the Colonial Theatre at 828.235.2760 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday; or to reserve tickets, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information, visit www.folkheritage.org or call the Folk Heritage Info Line: 828.258.6101, x345.

Canton’s historic Colonial Theatre opens once again

By Michael Beadle

Phil Smathers still vividly recalls those Saturdays as a kid when 25 cents bought a hot dog, sucker and a movie at the Colonial Theatre. He’d be there all day with his friends watching the latest Buck Rogers adventures, old cowboy Westerns, and exotic stories about Sinbad.

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