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 people" to bring 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 by leaps and bounds and embarks on its thirty-fifth year of providing both cultural enrichment and wholesome entertainment.

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. Most programs are selected as a result of personal contact with an area resident. Recommendations are made to the Program Selection Committee (PSC) who make selections, and contact the artists to see if they are available and will work within FORUM's limited time frame and budget. The PSC attempts to balance its choices to provide presentations of thought provoking speakers, vocalists, Big Band/brass, chamber ensembles, pianists, dance and drama.

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.

If you have enjoyed FORUM, we invite you to help ensure its continuation by becoming a "Friend" (contributions up to $125.00) or a Patron ($125.00 or more per person). PATRON BENEFITS: As a patron you will enjoy limited reserved parking at Hayes Lot and an invitation to the Annual Patron Social. Checks should be made payable to FORUM and mailed to FORUM, P. O. Box 649, Banner Elk, NC 28604 or all four major credit cards are accepted.

2014 FORUM Season

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

June 23, 2014 | The mesmerizing performances by TERESA WALTERS on today's international concert stages inspire unanimous praise.  Hailed as “The International First Lady of Piano”, she is described by Austrian National Television as "that rare musical phenomenon" and "one of the world's most significant pianists." Her prestigious invitations include performing in Beijing’s Forbidden City Concert Hall. In recent years, she has performed as recitalist and orchestral soloist on six continents and in most of the 50 United States at venues including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York where she was sold out and won a standing ovation from an adoring public. The press wrote: "Teresa Walters's performance was quite literally sovereign. At the last, one was simply blown away."

June 30, 2014 | Don’t miss MR. BROADWAY, MICHAEL WALTERS' one-man journey through the world of Musical Comedy. Hear classic Broadway tunes from Michael's favorite shows, as he re-enacts some of his favorite roles. These classic tunes are intertwined with stories of celebrity encounters, on and offstage mishaps and hilarious tales about his family.  Michael's stage credits include: Tevye in Fiddler On the Roof, Harold Hill in The Music Man, Mr. Snow in Carousel, Zaza/Albin in La Cage aux Folles , Nicely-Nicely Johnson in Guys and Dolls, Tito Merelli in Lend Me A Tenor and many others too numerous to include.

July 7, 2014 | THE WESTERN PIEDMONT SYMPHONY and it's Conductor, John Gordon Ross, returns for its 11th year at THE FORUM. WPS believes that you are neither too young nor too old to listen to and enjoy fine music.  The theme for 2014 will be “Across the Americas” a musical travelogue from Canada to Patagonia with a good bit of the USA in the mix.  The Western Piedmont Symphony strives to provide musical performances of distinction that enrich and enliven the community’s classical music experience and to nourish new audiences through school concerts and family outreach programs.

July 14, 2014 | We are fortunate to present the musical duo of DAVID BURNHAM and CHRISTINA SAFFRAN.  David first gained critical acclaim when he was chosen to replace Donny Osmond as Joseph in the national tour of "Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." David performs with symphonies all over the country and his solo concert has been seen in the United States, Canada, and Europe. David works extensively with kids through vocal and acting workshops. Christina Saffran's Broadway career is extensive having starred as Kathy Seldon in Singin' In The Rain, Maggie in A Chorus Line, Shoo Shoo in Sophisticated Ladies, Rosabud and Edwin Drood in Drood, and Zaneeta in The Music Man.  Audiences around the world have been thrilled by her leading concert performances. She has also provided animated voices for several movies including Aladdin, Mulan and can be heard on Cinderella, Polar Express, and Christmas with the Kranks. |

July 21, 2014 | BRIAN GURL AND THE FABULOUS FIVE present a new breakout production, THE "KILLER Bs"-- the music of Barry Manilow, Billy Joel and The Beatles. Pianist & vocalist Brian Gurl - together with a world class band and fabulous vocalist discovers a magical synergy in the music of these legendary icons while delivering an exciting blend of familiar melodies, driving rhythms, pianistic power, vocal virtuosity and stunningly innovative interpretations of many of their most popular songs. Add Brian’s jazz, classical and theatrical influences and you have a riveting and transformative production.

July 28, 2014 | The RODNEY MACK PHILADELPHIA BIG BRASS is composed of some of America's top brass musicians dedicated to bringing the joyous experience of great music to a wide range of audiences. The group is especially dedicated to reaching out to the world's youth and inspiring them to reach for their dreams. A veritable "dream team" of virtuoso brass players, members of the group have appeared on the world's most prominent stages and performed with such groups as the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra.  Performances range from solo trumpet, to brass quintet, to the full ensemble with percussion. We are fortunate to be presenting the quintet in 2014.

August 4, 2014 | We are proud to have BEN GULLEY, the American operatic tenor who has been hailed "as an outstanding tenor...with a voice as seamless as simple speech." Ben's career is burgeoning with lead and feature roles in opera, solo engagements, concert work, film work, nationwide touring, and prestigious appearances abroad. Ben is the 2009 winner of the Metropolitan Opera's National Council District & Regional Competitions and a National Semi-Finalist. Along with the Jesse Lynch Trio, Ben will treat our audience to a diverse program of music, from Jazz to Easy Listening to Classical.

August 11, 2014 | You've never heard a group of entertainers like THE MARLINS unless you attended the FORUM in 2009 when the audience gave them rave reviews.  These four brothers have been performing together for over 25 years. Their repertoire includes country, rock, big band, pop, classical, jazz and bluegrass-- performing music for any age group.  In 2012, the Marlins' original song "I Believe in America" was included in the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City.  The fact that they are truly a family is just one more reason THE MARLINS are unique in the entertainment world.

To become a FORUM patron, contact Sandy Ramsey at or 828.898.8748.

P.O. Box 649
Banner Elk, NC 28604