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Boone 150 Celebration Continues with Sacred Sounds

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Last Updated on September 26, 2022 9:58 am

The Town of Boone’s sesquicentennial celebration, Boone 150, continues on Saturday,
October 1, at Three Forks Baptist Church, with Sacred Sounds, featuring performances by local
church groups and choirs, starting at 2:00 p.m. The concert will feature a number of local
musicians and a special choir with members from several Baptist and Methodist churches in the
area.

“When the Boone 150 group first came together last fall, we learned about a sacred
music celebration that took place 50 years ago for the centennial, and we wanted to replicate it
in some way,” says Cultural Resources Director, Mark Freed. “With Three Forks Baptist also
celebrating an important milestone this year, it has been great to work with them to present
the Sacred Sounds concert.”

Historic Three Forks Baptist Church dates to the late 1700s, when pioneers began
migrating to isolated wilderness settlements in and beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains. In 1790,
a small group of settlers met to organize the first church in what is now Watauga County – then
a simple log cabin where local families met for worship. Three Forks soon became a pillar in the
community, with attendees coming from all over western North Carolina, and even as far away
as eastern Tennessee and western Virginia. The church membership rolls and minute books
from 1790 to 1974 are still in existence, providing a glimpse into the development and role of
the church in this early community. The wooden cross on the righthand side of the church
sanctuary was formed from timbers of the original building, the site of which is marked by a
granite monument on the South Fork of the New River. In 1922, the church moved from its
location on the river to its present address on US Highway 421. The history of the church is presented in the fellowship hall with an exhibit capturing highlights from the past 232 years.

One of the members of the Three Forks choir, Stephanie Greer, has been integral in
helping organize the event. She has been working with musician and Methodist choir member,
Pat Lanno, to organize a choir of singers from a number of Baptist and Methodist churches in
the Boone area. Under the direction of Tressie York Marcum, the choir will present a variety of
hymns in the shared Baptist and Methodist tradition. The program will consist of 18th and 19th
century hymns that would have been sung by the early settlers in the Boone area, many of
which are still sung today. There will be an opportunity for everyone to participate in an oldfashioned
hymn sing at the end of the concert. The group will be accompanied by Greer on
piano.

Mary Greene, a retired music teacher and long-time staple in the local traditional music
scene, will be performing a few pieces with the mountain dulcimer. Greene has been involved
with music in local churches all of her life, and she directed and produced a documentary film
on local shape note singing traditions. She will also be accompanying Pat Lanno, who will
perform a couple songs on flute at the Sacred Sounds event.

The Sacred Sounds concert begins at 2:00 p.m. at Three Forks Baptist Church, located at
1922 US Highway 421, in Boone. There is no admission for the performance, which is expected
to last about two hours. For more information, please contact Mark Freed, Director of Cultural
Resources, at mark.freed@townofboone.net.

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