Saturday, July 9, 2011


Well, Kind Hearts, the first performance of the Liars Bench at the Mountain Heritage Center at WCU was an unqualified success. We had a packed house, an enthusiastic audience and a remarkably diverse group of performers. As these photographs illustrate, the talent was varied.
The centerpiece of the show, the Passmore family, performed "mountain top bluegrass" with an emphasis on mountain gospel. In addition to Tony, James, Angelia and Justin the group included Wymer Bryson and R. J. Spelman. The final selection of the evening from the Passmores was a rousing version of "The Orange Blossom Special." Also on hand was Paul Arussi, a Liars Bench favorite, who did "I'll Fly Away." William Ritter, accompanied by Bodine, the Liars Bench mascot, did two numbers, including "The Wild Hog." Dr. Peebles from the university did a shape-note singing class with audience participation that concluded with a hearty version of "Oh, Come, Angel Band," and Mary Fowler, a popular vocalist from the Liberty Church sang "The Goodness of Jesus." Gary Carden and Steve Brady did James Weldon Johnson's
"Go Down Death" and Lloyd Arneach, the Cherokee storyteller told the story of "How the Turtle's Shell Was Cracked." Dave Waldrop provided one of his songs rendered without musical accompaniment.

We are already making some elaborate plans for the August show which will have the theme, "Cherokee in a Changing World." Possible presentations include music, storytelling and discussion with such topics as the Nikwasi Mound, the meaning of "The Booger Dance" and the Legend of the Nunnihi. We are hoping to lure some Cherokee notables including Robert Conley, former Chief Robert Youngdeer and author Barbara McRae who wrote a definitive pamphlet on the Nikwasi Mound. If time permits and folks are forthcoming, we may include a discussion of Margaret Siler's book about the Cherokees who once lived in Macon County....and we are hoping to have a Cherokee quartet. Don't miss this one!

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