FORUM at Lees-McRae College

FORUM was organized in 1979 by a small group of summer residents for the purpose of bringing a stimulating series of cultural programs to the area. With the help of Lees-McRae College, one of the region's most important resources, FORUM has grown significantly and embarks on its thirty-eighth year of providing both cultural enrichment and wholesome entertainment to the community.

The key to FORUM's success is the dedicated involvement and cooperation between seasonal residents, local residents and Lees-McRae College. The FORUM Board of Directors is made up of representatives from each of these groups.

The formula for the selection of programs is unique. Programs are selected as a result of personal contact with area residents and National Talent Agents. Recommendations are made to the Program Selection Committee who finalizes the selections by contacting the artists or their agent for availability during our time frame, while staying within FORUM's limited budget. The Program Selection Committee attempts to balance its choices by providing presentations by vocalists, Big Band/brass, chamber ensembles, pianists, dance and drama. Each year, this committee, led by the FORUM Vice-President, considers more than 50 candidates, reviews performers and reduces the number of candidates to 16 possible programs. These are presented to the Board of Directors who in turn, selects the eight programs for the following year.

Expenses for FORUM programs are underwritten by contributors. In special cases, entire programs are underwritten by members of the community. FORUM plans each year's programs based on the previous year's contributions. The membership year is September 1 through August 31.

To continue our many years of service to the community, you are invited to become a FORUM Patron - $140.00 per person for open seating or a FORUM Centurion - $450 per person for reserved seating and reserved parking.  Centurions and Patrons are provided a ticket to the eight performances each season. Checks should be made payable to FORUM or you may pay with Mastercard, Discover or American Express.

To become a FORUM Centurion or Patron, contact Sandy Ramsey at or 828.898.8748 or complete the online application form


Sandy Ramsey
FORUM Coordinator | 828.898.8748
P.O. Box 649
Banner Elk, NC 28604

Summer 2017 Season

Three Redneck Tenors

June 19, 2017

Enjoy this fresh new take on the Three Tenors’ model.  These fellows sing all styles of music from modern pop to opera, and everything in between. Trained at such prestigious institutions as the Julliard School of Music, and having performed in venerable houses worldwide – The Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, Tokyo Opera House, Theater Neue Flora – these boys are the definition of seasoned performers. Throw in stand-up comedy and improv, and you have the complete entertainment package.

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Double Grandѐ

June 26, 2017

Double Grandѐ is a high energy, Las Vegas style show filled with music, comedy, and impressions. It is a tribute to favorite duets of the decades such as Sonny and Cher, Carole King and James Taylor, the Captain and Tenille, The Carpenters, Lennon and McCartney, Elton John and Billy Joel, Louis Armstrong and Carol Channing, and many more including a duet with the ever popular Kermit and Miss Piggy. Wayland Pickard and Deborah Johnson have delighted audiences ages eight to eighty at concert halls around the world.

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Western Piedmont Symphony Orchestra

July 3, 2017

The Western Piedmont Symphony returns to the Lees-McRae FORUM with an evening of "Music from Stage and Film." The program will include music from the new Star Wars films and some great old time classics as well. Maestro John Gordon Ross always has a few great surprises for the audience, and this concert will uphold that tradition.

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July 10, 2017

Vivace is a modern and thrilling combination of four unique and exceptional pop and classical singers. Based primarily out of Vancouver, these artists started merging their talents in 2010 performing at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. They have gone on to tour extensively through the United States and Canada, captivating audiences. Vivace is the latest addition to the classical crossover/popera genre. With a rich and diverse repertoire ranging from pop to arias, Vivace undoubtedly puts a fresh new take on the classical and modern music of today.

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Scotch, Soul, Rock and Roll

July 17, 2017

Ron Gartner has started to make quite a name for himself throughout the U.S.--at casinos, performing art centers, theaters, nightclubs, country clubs and concert venues from coast to coast. In just a few short years, he has gone from a long-time career in the garment industry to being one of the most sought-after performing artists in the country. There’s only one reason for this kind of success: TALENT. You'll be saying what the crowds are all saying across America: Ron Gartner means great entertainment!

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The Joe Gransden Big Band

July 24, 2017

The Joe Gransden Big Band is quickly becoming one of the busiest groups on the jazz scene. Originally formed in 2009, Joe and the guys have continued to build momentum and are performing numerous shows around the country. His Band recently played two sold out shows at the World Famous Blue Note Jazz Club in NYC! Their new release entitled "It's A Beautiful Thing" has sold incredibly well and is getting radio air play all over the world! "The Big Band truly has its own sound and really swings!" says Gransden.

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Barbra and Frank: The Concert That Never Was

July 31, 2017

Two of the most powerful voices in the world never performed together…until now! You won’t believe your eyes and ears when Sharon Owens and Sebastian Anzaldo step on the stage to become Barbra Streisand and Frank Sinatra.  The most impressive celebrity impersonators in the business, Sharon and Sebastian travel the world performing their uncanny tribute. Together, they allow everyone to experience the magic of two of the world’s most iconic performers.

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The Broadway Boys

August 7, 2017

The Broadway Boys were created in 2005 to play a single night at a club in New York City. They sold out and were brought back the next night for another sold out performance. They are a collection of the hottest male voices currently working on the New York stage. Through their dynamic vocal prowess and redefining arrangements, the Boys add elements of Pop, Funk, Gospel, Jazz, and Folk to show tunes and classic pop songs. Performing in groups of six, the Boys are able to explore harmonies rarely presented by Broadway singers.

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FORUM Board of Directors

Gail Bamman
Henry Best
Rose Cole
Mike Fields
French Harvey
Julie Harvey
Gene Hawley
Cynthia Holley
Nancy Hoyt
Harold Kaplan
Bill Lumpkin
Dee Merser
Murray Miller
Becky Moline
Bruce Moline
Mark Polderman
Pat Polderman
Harris Prevost
Jeanine Ramey
Richard Rhyne - President
Joan Rhyne – Vice President
Joe Samuel
Denny Slawn
Bob Twitty
Sue Twitty
Nancy Vogelsang
Cliff Williams
Marilee Williams