FORUM at Lees-McRae CollegeFORUM at Lees-McRae College

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-seventh 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 - $135.00 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 all four major credit cards are accepted.

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

P.O. Box 649
Banner Elk, NC 28604

2016 FORUM Season

All performances will be held at 7 p.m. in the Broyhill Theatre of Hayes Auditorium

Photos courtesy of performer websites.

June 20, 2016 | Bria Skonberg Quintet

Hailing from Canada, and now living in New York City, award winning trumpeter/vocalist/composer BRIA SKONBERG is "poised to be one of the most versatile and imposing musicians of her generation." She has earned a 2013 Jazz Journalists’ Association nomination for “Up and Coming Jazz Artist of The Year”. Bria focuses on innovating while honoring tradition. She currently tours the world, headlining major clubs and festivals as well as programming music education workshops for all ages.

June 27, 2016 | Four Freshmen 

The Four Freshmen -- Four parts harmony, a twist of elegance, with a splash of swing, and a whole lot of fun! A vocal harmony like no other. Now in their 62nd year of performance, they continue to bring their unique brand of vocal harmony to audiences worldwide. A show with The Freshmen is sure to entertain. As the Wall Street Journal exclaims, “Long live The Four Freshmen - may they never graduate!”

July 4, 2016 | Western Piedmont Symphony

The FORUM Board is proud to present The Western Piedmont Symphony on Monday night, July 4th! Rousing patriotic music will fill the auditorium as we bring an end to a red, white and blue day of celebration. Then, depart just in time to view spectacular High Country fireworks.

July 11, 2016 | Daniel Rodriguez

Daniel Rodríguez who appeared at THE FORUM in 2011, is an operatic tenor who became known as "The Singing Policeman" in his former work with the New York City Police Department, due to his role as one of the department's designated National Anthem singers. In the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, he received widespread attention with his rendition of "God Bless America", which he sang at many events.  This led to an offer of formal training from Plácido Domingo. Rodriguez has recorded numerous albums, and appeared as lead tenor in several operas. He regularly appears in support of his chosen charities, as well as performing a full domestic and international concert schedule. His wife, Maria Kavanaugh, an Australian opera star will be appearing with him.

July 18, 2016 | Presidio Brass

Presidio Brass is a brass quintet from California. Founded in 2006 primarily as a vehicle for promoting music education, the ensemble has become equally known for their work on the concert stage. The group's repertoire is made up of classical and commercial with selections from composers like Aaron Copland and George Gershwin to popular songs from Dave Brubeck, the rock band Queen and the Broadway smash hits.

July 25, 2016 | Atlantic City Boys

The Atlantic City Boys: Music and Memories of Franki Valli & The Four Seasons will bring the audience back to a time when street corner crooners were the coolest cats in the house.  Come ready to enjoy some great harmony.

August 1, 2016 | Dunlap and Pennington

Returning to our stage are two classically trained concert artists who have performed singularly for audiences in the thousands, one on a custom 9' grand piano, the other on a 21st century, custom-designed instrument called a Wersi, and you have the fabulous artistry of Dunlap and Pennington. The concert is a show featuring the "high class keys" of Dunlap and Pennington playing music from Brahms to Broadway, from Gershwin to GaGa!  Mix in their fabulous personalities and showmanship, and you have an evening's entertainment unrivaled! This show is for a sophisticated audience, but is bringing in a whole new generation of young people who love the Classics and understand 21st century technology. 

August 8, 2016 | Live From Nashville

LIVE FROM NASHVILLE is a great show featuring a troupe of singers, dancers, a bona fide band of Nashville musicians, dazzling staging and rhinestone-bedecked costumes, all designed to celebrate a century of celebrities and treasured songs. This incredible theatrical production brings phenomenal fiddling, fancy footwork and top-flight vocals to the theater in a trip through some of country’s greatest music brought to life. 

FORUM Board of Directors

Gail Bamman
Henry Best
Rose Cole
Mike Fields
Rick Hammell
Mary Stuart Hartmann
French Harvey
Julie Harvey
Gene Hawley
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
Denny Slawn
Bob Twitty
Sue Twitty
Cliff Williams
Marilee Williams