May 15, 2009
FORUM at Lees-McRae College celebrates 30 years

FORUM at Lees-McRae College celebrates 30 years this season with exceptional performances by groups including The Marlins, The Four Freshmen and the Western Piedmont Symphony.

Don't miss out on this wonderful season that kicks off with an opening social with special entertainment on June 9. The performances begin June 16, with one each Tuesday evening through the summer.

"In response to our 30th anniversary, we've arranged to have several of our FORUM patrons' favorites back to perform this year. The programs are going to be wonderful this season!" said Cliff Williams, president of FORUM. "You don't want to miss out on this special year."

FORUM began in 1979 as an organization formed by a group of "summer people" with the purpose of bringing cultural programs to Banner Elk. Affiliated with Lees-McRae College, FORUM has grown to be a large organization made up of local residents, "summer people" and Lees-McRae College staff that provides programs of both cultural enrichment and wholesome entertainment to the community.

The 2009 season opens with The Marlins on June 16. The Marlins offer everything from Big Band to Classical melodies, foot-tapping Ragtime to down home bluegrass. On June 23, the Marco Vega Quintet is sure to please the audience with a huge repertoire of familiar favorites including "A Time for Us", "Somewhere My Love", and "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina", plus native songs and costumes of Paraguay.

FORUM favorite Emile Pandolfi provides a combination of charm, laughter and the exquisite styling of a master pianist on June 30. On July 7, John Gordon Ross returns for his 16th season as music director and conductor of the Western Piedmont Symphony for a patriotic pops concert.

Mac Frampton, with trumpeter Cecil Welch, returns for his fifth FORUM performance on July 14. His "Pop Go the Classics" production features Frampton on the piano and six other world class musicians. On July 21, Nathan Granner will serenade the FORUM audience with his tenor voice that has been described as vibrant, flexible, full of fire and comparable to Mario Lonzo. His program consists of Americana to Broadway.

On July 18, The Four Freshmen, in their 61st year of performance, will bring their unique brand of vocal harmony to audiences worldwide. As their website states, "The names and faces have changed a few times along the road, but the legendary sound continues"�"

To round out the FORUM season, Footworks will perform on Aug. 4. From the clogging of Southern Appalachia to the step dances of Ireland, the six dancers and four musicians of Footworks celebrate the world of percussive dance.

For more information about FORUM, visit To become a FORUM patron, contact Sandy Ramsey at or (828) 898-8748.

Media Contact:

Blaine Hansen  |  Vice President of Strategic Planning and Effectiveness
Tel: 828.898.8838  |  Email: