An Appalachian Summer Festival’s 40th Anniversary Season Kicks Off June 29 with a Classic(al) Fusion of Music Genres

Last Updated on June 24, 2024 9:58 am

BOONE, NC — Appalachian State University’s annual summer arts celebration, An Appalachian Summer Festival, kicks off its 40th anniversary season this week. The festival runs June 29-July 27 and features a uniquely diverse and world-class mix of music, dance, visual arts, and film programming. Performances take place at multiple venues on the campus of App State. From alt-rock, bluegrass and blues, to soul, Broadway, classical and more, the festival offers something for everyone. Purchase tickets online at AppSummer.org, by calling 828-262-4046, or in person at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts box office, 733 Rivers St.

Full Schedule

Saturday, June 29

Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, 8pm

Tickets: $25-$75

An Evening with Natalie Merchant: Keep Your Courage Tour, featuring Western Piedmont Symphony  SOLD OUT

In celebration of her ninth studio album, Keep Your Courage, ’90s alternative-rock superstar Natalie Merchant opens the festival, accompanied by Hickory, NC’s Western Piedmont Symphony. Rising to fame as the lead vocalist and primary lyricist of the folk-rock band 10,000 Maniacs (In My Tribe, Blind Man’s Zoo), Merchant’s success grew even more as a solo artist, cementing her place in the pantheon of literate, socially conscious songs (Tigerlily, Ophelia). Keep Your Courage is her first album of songs in nearly a decade. Over the years, Merchant has collaborated with a range of artists including Billy Bragg, David Byrne, The Chieftains, Cowboy Junkies, Philip Glass, Kronos Quartet, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Mavis Staples, REM, and Wilco.

Sunday, June 30

Schaefer Center, 7pm

Tickets: $30-$50 / $10 children 12 and younger

Eastern Music Festival Orchestra with special guest Béla Fleck, banjo (“Rhapsody in Blue”)

Experience a night of groundbreaking musical fusion as the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra, under the baton of Gerard Schwarz, collaborates with 16-time Grammy-winning banjo master Béla Fleck, who will showcase his unique interpretation of Gershwin’s seminal “Rhapsody in Blue” (which celebrates a 100th birthday this year). The evening also includes familiar works by Zwilich, Debussy, and Tchaikovsky.

Tuesdays in July

Artist Showcase Series

Turchin Center for the Visual Arts Lecture Hall, 2pm


As we celebrate App Summer’s 40th anniversary, this series offers behind-the-scenes discussions with artists from the music, dance, and visual arts worlds that center around a common theme of legacy and longevity.

July 2 –TCVA Exhibition Overview

July 9 – On Legacy, with Canadian Brass members Chuck Daellenbach and Joe Burgstaller 

July 16 – TCVA Faculty Biennial Exhibition

July 23 – On Longevity, with Paul Taylor Dance Company’s Artistic Director, Michael Novak

Tuesdays in July

Helene and Stephen Weicholz Global Film Series

Schaefer Center, 7pm

Tickets: $10

This year’s series will focus on three award-winning international films that explore the many paths to happiness, whether through love, the pleasure of the senses, or the simplicity of daily tasks.

July 2 – Fallen LeavesSet in modern-day Helsinki, this charming, bittersweet film tells the story of two lonely souls whose chance meeting at a local karaoke bar is beset by numerous hurdles. In Finnish with English subtitles

July 9 – The Taste of ThingsSet in France in 1889, the film follows the life of a chef living with his personal cook and lover. In French with English subtitles

July 16 – Perfect DaysSet in contemporary Tokyo, a toilet cleaner reflects on finding beauty in the world through unexpected encounters with music, books and photography. In Japanese with English subtitles

Wednesday, July 3

Rosen Concert Hall, 7pm

Tickets: $35-$40 / $10 children 12 and younger

Chanticleer: Sing JoyfullySOLD OUT

The multiple Grammy Award-winning all-male vocal ensemble, named after the clear-singing rooster in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, performs a jubilant program that includes Renaissance motets by William Byrd and Heinrich Isaac, classic arrangements of familiar folk songs like “Shenandoah” and “Calling my children home,” settings of jazz standards such as “Blue Skies” and “Lost in the Stars,” and contemporary arrangements of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” and Queen’s “Somebody to Love.”

Friday, July 5

Summer Exhibition Celebration

Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, 5-9pm


Engage with visiting artists and fellow arts advocates, enjoy live music and refreshments, and discover the exciting exhibitions showcased across six galleries by local, regional, national and international artists.

Saturday, July 6

Rosen Concert Hall, 2-5pm

Free, Livestream option also available at AppSummer.org

13th Annual Rosen-Schaffel Competition for Young and Emerging Artists

Undergraduate and graduate collegiate musicians from across the Southeast, selected via a blind adjudication process, compete in the final live round of the competition. A panel of distinguished conductors — Jose-Luis Novo, Cornelia Laemmli-Orth, and Christopher James Lees — will choose a First, Second, and Third Place winner for cash prizes. The competition’s audience will also select an Audience Choice winner. Last year’s competition winner, Carter Doolittle (alto saxophone), will perform with Eastern Music Festival Orchestra on June 30.


Jayon Felizarta, violin, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Joshua Forbes, viola, University of North Carolina School of the Arts

Annette Gregorie, viola, Appalachian State University

Tomas Zibetti Haushahn, guitar, Radford University

Christine Holley, flute, East Tennessee State University

Samuel Soliz, alto saxophone, University of Central Florida

Wednesday, July 10

Canadian Brass: All You Need Is Love

Schaefer Center, 7pm

Tickets: $20-$40 / $10 children 12 and younger

Internationally crowd-pleasing Canadian Brass has earned the distinction of the world’s most famous and popular brass group. Each of their concerts exhibit a full range of musical styles, from trademark Baroque and Dixieland tunes, to Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Joplin, Gershwin and Ellington, as well as arrangements created specifically for them. The exuberant All You Need Is Love program includes a collection of music from Mozart, Vivaldi, the Beatles songbook, Rimsky-Korsakov, Coldplay and more.

Friday, July 12

Schaefer Center, 8pm

Tickets: $25-$70

Buddy Guy: Damn Right Farewell

The Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award-winning Buddy Guy will perform hits from throughout his career, in addition to his 2022 album, The Blues Don’t Lie. At age 87, Buddy Guy is a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, a major influence on rock titans like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, a pioneer of Chicago’s fabled West Side sound, and a living link to the city’s halcyon days of electric blues. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Guy #23 in its “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”

Saturday, July 13

Schaefer Center, 10am


38th Annual Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Walk & Competition

Join competition juror and sculptor Christopher Meyer on a fascinating outdoor tour of the 10 contemporary American sculptures selected as finalists for this year’s annual competition. With a rich background in iron work, Meyer’s work ranges from non-objective to representational sculptural objects, sculptural installations, and cast-iron performance work, often focusing on the interaction between the viewer and the work. The walking tour will culminate at the Schaefer Center with an awards reception and complimentary boxed lunch.

Sunday, July 14

Schaefer Center, 7pm

Tickets: $25-$55

Norm Lewis

In his one-man show, stage and screen star Norm Lewis, backed by a trio, will present a revue of songs hand-picked from his impressive resumé of who’s-who among Broadway’s leading men — Javert in Les Misérables, Porgy in Porgy and Bess, the title characters in The Phantom of the Opera and Sweeney Todd, plus Miss Saigon, Chicago, and more. Lewis, who is a prolific presence on the small screen as well, appearing in such shows as Scandal, The Blacklist, and Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert!, alongside John Legend, Sara Bareilles, and Alice Cooper, will also lend his golden, goosebump-inducing baritone to other song selections that range from jazz and blues, to soul and pop, to classic American favorites.

Thursday, July 18

Schaefer Center, 7pm

Tickets: $35-$55 / $10 children 12 and younger

Bell-Denk-Isserlis Trio

Hailed as a “dream team of performers” (Strings Magazine), world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell, cellist Steven Isserlis and pianist Jeremy Denk will offer an unparalleled evening of chamber music by Debussy, Fauré, and Mendelssohn. This summer marks the trio’s first U.S. appearances since their debut tour in 2019, where they received widespread praise for their “fresh and cohesive sensitivity and superb technical polish” (Boston Classical Review). These three longtime musical collaborators and friends are masters at the top of their crafts, not to be missed.

Saturday, July 20

Schaefer Center, 8pm

Tickets: $25-$50

St. Paul & The Broken Bones

Founded in Birmingham, Alabama in 2011, the eight-piece soul ensemble burst onto the scene with their 2014 debut Half the City, establishing a swampy Southern-fried sound with tight horn lines that quickly became a calling card and landing the band a slew of major festivals, including Lollapalooza, Coachella and Glastonbury. Known for their electric, soul-rattling performances and showmanship, the band has been hailed as “one of the most authentic soul-revival sextets around.” Critics have called frontman Paul “St. Paul” Janeway’s voice “an amazing thing. Part James Brown, part Al Green, part lunatic hellfire preacher. …It’s a controlled falsetto shriek and a silky, woozy croon. It’s the sort of voice that leaves a room emotionally wrung out but willing to listen to its very last gasp. It’s simply remarkable.” 

Sunday, July 21

Rosen Concert Hall, 2pm

Tickets: $35-$40 / $10 children 12 and younger

Simone Dinnerstein and Awadagin Pratt: Two Piano

Acclaimed pianists Simone Dinnerstein and Awadagin Pratt, each celebrated for remarkable artistry, come together to present a program showcasing a selection of timeless works for two pianos. From the introspective depths of Pēteris Vasks’ Castillo Interior and the shimmering harmonies of Philip Glass’ Etude No. 6, to the elegant melodies of Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos and the natural serenity of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 “Pastorale,” arranged by Selmar Bagge for piano four hands, audiences will experience a diverse range of emotions and styles in this captivating program.

Wednesday, July 24

Schaefer Center, 7pm

Tickets: $25-$45 / $10 children 12 and younger

Paul Taylor Dance Company: Airs, Syzygy, Esplanade

Paul Taylor Dance Company, one of the world’s most famous contemporary dance ensembles, has been innovating and transforming modern dance since 1954. Founder Paul Taylor (1930-2018) created 147 dances that cover a broad range of topics, themes, and moods. This summer, PTDC, now under the artistic leadership of Michael Novak, performs a program of Taylor’s energetic “Syzygy,” his awe-inspiring “Airs,” and the iconic choreographer’s masterpiece, “Esplanade,” which was inspired by the sight of a girl running to catch a bus.

Saturday, July 27

Kidd Brewer Stadium, 7pm

Tickets: $30-$125

Brad Paisley: Son of the Mountains World Tour, with special guest Tigirlily Gold

For more than 20 years, Paisley has been one of country music’s most talented and decorated male singer-songwriters, winning numerous awards, including three Grammys, two American Music Awards, 15 Academy of Country Music Awards, and 14 Country Music Association Awards, including an Entertainer of the Year honor. A member of the Grand Ole Opry since 2001, the Glen Dale, West Virginia native has written 21 of his 25 No. 1 hits, his past works amassing nearly five billion streams. The international tour — which has included stops in Iceland, Switzerland, Norway, Ireland, and Scotland — was launched in promotion of his latest album, Son of the Mountains, which includes “Same Here” (featuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky), “So Many Summers,” the title track, and “The Medicine Will.” Country music sister duo Tigirlily Gold will open the show.

Tickets for An Appalachian Summer Festival

With ticket prices ranging from $10-$125, as well as several free events and discounts for both children, students, and App State faculty/staff, the festival offers unique opportunities for residents and visitors alike to create arts experiences suited to their individual artistic tastes and budgets.Purchase in person at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts box office (733 Rivers St), online at AppSummer.org, or by phone at 828-262-4046.

About An Appalachian Summer Festival

An Appalachian Summer Festival, a monthlong whirlwind of music, dance, theatre, visual arts, and film programming, is one of the region’s leading arts festivals, bringing more than 27,000 visitors to the High Country each summer. Presented by Appalachian State University’s Office of Arts & Cultural Programs, this annual celebration of the performing and visual arts is held every July in venues across the university campus, and features an eclectic, diverse mix of music, dance, theatre, visual arts and film programming. An Appalachian Summer Festival began in 1984 as a chamber music series, and retains strong roots in classical music, combined with a variety of other programming geared to almost every artistic taste and preference. The festival has been named one of the “Top Twenty Events in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society. For more information, call the Schaefer Center Box Office at 828-262-4046, visit in person at 733 Rivers Street, or explore AppSummer.org.

Corporate Sponsors

Bonnie and Jamie Schaefer, App State Campus Store, Broyhill Family Foundation, Appalachian Home Care LLC, Explore Boone, Goodnight Brothers, HighStreet Insurance Partners/Chuck & Anna Eyler, Mast General Store, SkyBest Communications, Creekside Electronics, Grandview Catering & Events, Peabody’s Wine & Beer Merchants, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Courtyard by Marriott, Graystone Lodge, Hampton Inn & Suites, and Holiday Inn Express-Boone

Media Sponsors

WBTV, WCYB, PBS North Carolina, Our State Magazine, The Mountain Times, Watauga Democrat, WNC Magazine, Creative Loafing Charlotte, Yes! Weekly, Winston-Salem Journal, Greensboro News & Record, Triad City Beat, WZJS 100.7 and WATA 96.5, WHKY 1290AM and 102.3FM, WDAV 89.9FM, WFDD 88.5FM, WASU 90.5FM, and WKSK The Farm

Restaurant Sponsors

Coyote Kitchen, The Local, Lost Province, Pepper’s, and Timberlake’s Restaurant

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