FORUM at Lees-McRae College

We want to hear from you!

Your responses to the short, follow-up questions in the survey linked below will help the FORUM Music Selection Committee continue to plan for future programs.

Take the survey

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 42nd 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 VISA, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express.

To become a FORUM Centurion or Patron, contact Elizabeth Roberts at or 828.898.8748 or complete the online membership form.


Elizabeth Roberts
FORUM Coordinator | 828.898.8748
PO Box 649
Banner Elk, NC 28604

Summer 2021 Season

Showtimes: 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
(Doors will open 30 minutes before each performance)

Welcome to the 42nd season of FORUM! Two performances of each show will occur on Monday evenings at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. throughout the season. The doors will open 30 minutes before each performance and will run approximately 60+ minutes with no intermission.

While inside our facilities, masks will be required for non-vaccinated individuals. Masks are encouraged when in close proximity to others, regardless of vaccination status. If you’re feeling ill, do not come to the performance.

We’re keeping our audiences safe by requiring masks for non-vaccinated individuals, cleaning all areas between performances, reducing our audience sizes, and socially distancing all patrons.  

With questions, contact the FORUM Coordinator at 828.898.8748 or 

*These protocols are current as of June 29, 2021. They are subject to change as mandates and policies are updated.

Mac Frampton: That Mancini Magic!
June 14, 2021

Henry Mancini owned the Sixties, at least when it came to musical romance. One after another, his songs won the Oscars and the hearts of a worldwide audience. Cecil Welch, Mr. Mancini's solo trumpeter for twenty years, and the renowned Mac Frampton bring his great music to the stage in an intimate outpouring of cherished melodies. Supported by The Moon River Orchestra, an ensemble of violins, saxophone, and rhythm, That Mancini Magic! is an enchanting voyage through the inspired melodies that earned Henry Mancini the stature as one of America's greatest composers, an exquisite anthem for lovers, dreamers, and children of all ages.

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December ’63
June 21, 2021

The music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons comes to life in this one-of-a-kind concert experience. December ’63 showcases all your favorite songs from Frankie Valli including the classics that have been thrilling audiences for decades along with the most popular singles from the blockbuster musical, The Jersey Boys. This re-creation of a Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons concert will have you reaching for the high notes as our cast and band take you on a musical journey with stops at every phase of the careers of Frankie and the boys!

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Symphony of the Mountains
June 28, 2021

Led by Music Director Cornelia Laemmli Orth, Symphony of the Mountains returns to FORUM with another high quality concert with a wide array of repertoire ranging from beloved classical masters, to contemporary music, to pops, movie, and musical theatre music. 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. 

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Ted Vigil's Ultimate John Denver Tribute
July 5, 2021

Ted Vigil is a singer, songwriter, and a tribute artist. He began performing at the age of ten in concert, symphonic, and jazz bands developing his talents as a drummer and singer. In 2006 Ted Vigil went on to Laughlin, NV to compete in the Talent Quest 2006 involving 28 states, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada taking first place. Ted now performs nationwide for all kinds of venues and events. Recently, Ted was awarded the Rising Legend Award by the National Traditional Country Music Association. The most heard comments after a show are “I can’t believe how much he looks and sounds like John Denver! It really took us back!”

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Shades of Buble
July 12, 2021

With three voices singing incredible songs like "Come Fly With Me,“ "Fever," "Save the Last Dance for Me" and many more, Shades of Bublé: A Three-Man Tribute to Michael Bublé brings the swinging standards and pop hits in an unforgettable high-energy concert event. Delivering a set list comprised only of songs recorded or performed live by Michael Bublé, this world-class tribute act honors (but doesn't imitate) the sophistication, retro style, and high-energy fun that Bublé himself brings to his concerts while engaging diehard fans with thrilling new three-part vocal arrangements. They give audiences seamless variety by combining big-band standards from the jazz era, classic hits from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, as well as Billboard chart toppers from today in a high-energy show that generates standing ovations from sold-out crowds.  

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Ben Gulley
July 19, 2021

Ben Gulley has been hailed “as an outstanding tenor (Opera News)…startlingly–gifted (San Francisco Classical Voice).” Mr. Gulley’s career is burgeoning with lead and feature roles in opera solo engagements concert work, film work, nationwide touring, and prestigious appearances abroad. “One of the next generation of music superstars!"

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Masters of Soul
July 26, 2021

Masters of Soul is a celebration of the legendary songs and performers that defined Motown and soul music. This event features stylishly costumed, fully choreographed performances of both male and female groups backed by a live band.  Masters of Soul performs: Gladys Knight and The Pips, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Diana Ross and The Supremes, Martha Reeves and The Vandellas, Barry White, Sam and Dave, James Brown, and many more!

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Daniel Rodriguez and the Highland Divas
August 2, 2021

Daniel Rodriguez returns to FORUM with his wife Marla and two other sopranos from Scotland. Daniel and the three ladies have diverse musical backgrounds and a common heritage. Their concert will take you on a musical journey that spans Broadway, the folk music of Ireland, Scotland, and New Zealand, and culminates in the soaring heights of Rock Opera.

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FORUM Executive Board

President: Joan Rhyne
Immediate Past President: Richard Rhyne
Vice President:
French Harvey 
Treasurer: Mark Polderman

Program Selection Committee Chair: French Harvey
Governance and Nominating Chair: Jeanine Ramey
Advertising Chair: Cynthia Holley
Long Range Planning Chair: Harris Prevost
Area Representative Chair: Pat Polderman
Member at Large: Joe Samuel


Program Selection Committee: Ed Bowles, Julie Harvey, Nancy Hoyt, Bobbie Lewis-Solar, Denny Slawn

Area Representatives: Joy Coval (Sugar Mountain), Mike Fields (Linville Ridge), Jake Jacobs (Beech Mountain), Bill Lumpkin (Banner Elk), Dee Merser (Elk River), Joe Samuel (Linville Land Harbor), Barbara Miller Whitten (Hounds Ears)

Long Range Planning and Endowments: Harold Kaplan, Nancy Vogelsang

Head Usher: Miller Murray

Lees-McRae Representatives: Lee King (President), Edward Roberts (Vice President for Institutional Advancement), Elizabeth Roberts (FORUM Coordinator)