St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at Lake James will host its eighth annual "Chickin' 'n' Pickin'" outreach fundraiser and free community bluegrass concert from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept, 21.
The Whitewater Bluegrass Company from Asheville will provide the music. The band, a regional favorite, has traveled the southeast for more than 37 years, celebrating their heritage of music, song and dance. With their blend of bluegrass, old-time, swing, country and rockabilly, they have performed, regularly at the Biltmore Estate, Folkmoot, Grove Park Inn and the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia. They previously performed at MerleFest.
Bill Byerly, an Asheville musician who learned music from local musicians and the bluegrass stars of his youth, is the lead singer as well as the guitarist. Bill’s brother Bob, a member of St. Paul’s, said he is grateful the band visits St. Paul’s.
“They play almost 130 shows per year, so we are blessed that they are willing to come to Burke County to entertain us and assist us in our fundraising efforts,” Bob said.
Bass player, Ted White, a long time North Carolina mountain resident, also tells stories, does Opry-style country comedy routines and calls square dances. The band is delighted to announce the addition of mandolin wizard David Wiseman, an Avery County native. David has been entertaining mountain and piedmont fans for years with his highly developed voice and instrumental skills. Fiddle player Molly Barrett, a Burke County native, brings her extensive training as a violinist and Suzuki music instructor to the band, along with her beautiful and soulful vocals. Molly also performs with the Western Piedmont Symphony. Banjo virtuoso Seth Rhinehart, a Buncombe County native, enthralls audiences with his mastery of the instrument.
While the community concert is free, meal tickets are $10 for adults or $5 for children. The meal includes Countryside BBQ ½ chickens, as well as tea, rolls, homemade baked beans, coleslaw and apple crisp provided by the church. Tickets are being sold on a pre-order basis by contacting 828-403-1017 or 828-443-3653, or they can be bought at the door. Take-out orders will be available.
In addition to the concert and meal, there will be a silent auction for a homemade quilt and a raffle of many different themed baskets and collectibles. The event will be held rain or shine at the church, located at 1865 N. Powerhouse Road in Morganton. Seating is limited, so people who attend are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.
Proceeds from the event will go to the Episcopal Church Women’s Group,which is active in supporting various outreach ministries, including South Mountain Children and Family Services, Burke Hospice and Palliative Care, Blue Ridge Healthcare for Mammograms, Salvation Army Boys and Girls clubs, Good Samaritan Clinic, Thompson Family Services, Options, Habitat for Humanity, New Hope of McDowell County, Burke Senior Services for Meals on Wheels, the Glen Alpine Food Pantry and local elementary schools.
St. Paul’s is a member of the Episcopal Diocese of WNC and is led by The Rev. Margaret Ashby.