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 fortieth 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 at $150 per person for open seating or a FORUM Centurion at $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 2019 Season

 Doors open at 6 p.m. Shows begin at 7 p.m.

June 17, 2019

Having played to sold-out crowds across the U.S. and abroad, ABBAFAB is a stunning tribute to the music of ABBA.  This multimedia production is a tribute to some of the greatest music produced in the 70s and 80s including monster hits such as Waterloo, Fernando, Honey Honey, Dancing Queen, and countless others. From ABBA’s earliest hits to Mamma Mia, ABBAFAB will take you on a Technicolor journey that is unmatched. The artists have toured the world as solo artists and band members and have come together to create the most entertaining ABBA tribute on the market today!

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Around the World in 88 Keys
June 24, 2019

Starring Brian Gurl and Katherine Alexandra and supported by bass and drums, this turbocharged two-piano and vocal act features an enticing repertoire of internationally-flavored, well-known musical pieces performed with artistry, humor, and delightful interaction. Both remarkable piano virtuosos as well as accomplished vocalists, Brian and Katherine perform a wide range of genres that are staggeringly powerful yet deliciously different—covering a range from Ragtime to Rachmaninoff… and Billy Joel to Bach. Epitomizing the “art of versatility,” this “American Piano Man meets Russian Phenom” perform such exciting pieces as Libertango, Malaguena, Phantom Of The Opera, Piano Man, Those Were The Days, and many others—plus a hint of Victor Borge.

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Married to Broadway
July 1, 2019

Ron Sharpe and Barbra Russell met when they were playing the young romantic leads of Marius and Cosette in Les Miserables. The story they often tell is that after being married on stage hundreds of times, they decided to do it for real.  Ron and Barbra, together with some of their fabulous and equally talented Broadway leading actors and actresses, share their love affair with the music of the Great White Way, performing the big show-stopping numbers that are audience favorites around the world, from Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Evita and West Side Story, to Carousel, Fiddler on the Roof and of course, Les Miz

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Symphony of the Mountains
July 8, 2019

Symphony of the Mountains has a strong and proud heritage. What began as a community orchestra in 1946 has grown to a fully-professional, regional orchestra serving Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and Western North Carolina. The three pillars on which they stand are Entertaining, Educating, and Enriching. Led by Music Director Cornelia Laemmli Orth, Symphony of the Mountains offers a high quality concert with a wide array of repertoire ranging from beloved classical masters, to contemporary music, to pops, movie, and musical theatre music.  

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Farewell Angelina
July 15, 2019

Named after a haunting Bob Dylan song, Farewell Angelina is an all-female country group with four powerhouse vocalists, dynamic songwriters and incredible multi-instrumentalists. Their stellar blend of heart-stopping harmonies over blazing double violins and guitars has earned soaring praise across the board.

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The Joe Gransden Big Band
July 22, 2019

Sounds of the Big Band Era is a great show and lots of fun. The 1930s and 40s were historic times for American popular music! Folks around the world were dancing to the new sound of swing! Come take a trip down memory lane as Joe and the guys recreate the stylings of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, and many more! The band performed at FORUM in 2017 with great reviews from our patrons.

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Tony Pace
July 29, 2019

Tony Pace is a preferred headliner in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. His three octave plus vocal range combined with 30 years of stage time is the reason that he continues to inspire amazement. The press promoted that if you take Andea Boccelli, Sammy Davis Jr., and Billy Crystal and put them together you get Tony Pace. The moment Tony steps on stage you can feel that he is different. He has mastered comedic skills within the fields of music, performance, production, comedy, and others that have created what Vegas has hailed as “The Ultimate Performer”. 

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The Diamonds
August 5, 2019

Classic Rock and Roll with today's attitude, The Diamonds have wowed audiences since their first major hit record, Little Darlin’, sold millions of copies, catapulting them to fame. Today they take you through their 1950s-60s classic hits like Silhouettes, Why Do Fools Fall in Love?, Little Darlin’, and more. In their show, ROCK AND ROLL HEAVEN, they pay tribute to the classic four-part harmony vocal groups and great solo artists of the time: Chuck Berry, The Beach Boys, The Letterman, Ritchie Valens, The Four Seasons, The Righteous Brothers, Bobby Darin, and many more great performers. 

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FORUM Board of Directors

Gail Bamman
Henry Best
Mike Fields
French Harvey (Vice President)
Julie Harvey
Gene Hawley
Cynthia Holley
Nancy Hoyt
Jake Jacobs
Harold Kaplan
Bobbie Lewis-Solar
Bill Lumpkin
Dee Merser
Murray Miller
Mark Polderman
Pat Polderman
Harris Prevost
Jeanine Ramey
Richard Rhyne 
Joan Rhyne (President)
Joe Samuel
Denny Slawn
Nancy Vogelsang
Barbara Miller Whitton