FORUM at Lees-McRae College

2024 Season Coming Soon!

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.

Season Tickets
FORUM Patron = $160 per person (open seating)
FORUM Centurion = $450 per person (reserved seating and reserved parking)

Single Tickets
Adult tickets = $35
Child tickets = $10

Share your thoughts!
Complete a brief year-end evaluation to help the FORUM Music Selection Committee and the Board of Directors continue to plan for future programs. Thank you!

Watch a sneak peek of the 2023 season!

FORUM 2023 Season

Broadway Baritone: William Michals in Concert with Friends

Starring at Lincoln Center as Emile De Becque in the landmark revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, Broadway and concert star William Michals made his Broadway debut as “The Beast” in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and later returned to play Gaston in the same production. His career has continued in such roles as Javert in Les Misérables, Billy Flynn in Chicago, Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, Harold Hill in The Music Man, Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music, the title role in Phantom, and most recently appearing in Bright Star on Broadway. He is returning to FORUM by popular demand after appearing in 2018.  He will be sharing the stage with Kimilee Bryant, a former Miss South Carolina who also performed as Christine in a Broadway production of Phantom

Symphony of the Mountains

Returning for the 4th straight time, Symphony of the Mountains has a strong and proud heritage. The orchestra began when a small group of musicians dreamed of having a civic orchestra in 1946. Through the decades the musical enrichment included classical concerts, entertaining pops and light musical offerings, captivating soloists, and empowering opportunities for young musicians. In the 80’s and 90’s the orchestra grew steadily and increased its outreach. The orchestra has become a fully professional orchestra. Today the orchestra consists of more than 60 professional musicians and is conducted by Cornelia Laemmli Orth.

Forever Simon and Garfunkel

Celebrating the bestselling duo in rock ’n’ roll history with humor, soaring energy, charm, and laser precise harmonies, Forever Simon & Garfunkel leads the audience on a journey from the group’s early success as a folk act to their global dominance as hit-makers through the best of Paul Simon’s solo career. Iconic songs include The Sounds of Silence, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Mrs. Robinson, I Am A Rock, The Boxer, Homeward Bound, Cecilia, Hazy Shade Of Winter, Feeling Groovy, Me & Julio, Kodachrome, Slip Sliding Away, and many more! Award-winning singer-songwriters Sean Altman (Rockapella) and Jack Skuller (Songwriters Hall of Fame’s Buddy Holly Prize) bring this remarkable show to the stage.  

Sail On, The Beach Boys Tribute

Sail On plays the music of “America’s Band", The Beach Boys. Performing all the group's classic hits, plus some treasures from The Beach Boys’ brilliant extended catalog, Sail On faithfully recreates the timeless songs of surfing, cruising, dancing, and dreaming for all ages, and anybody that wants to have Fun, Fun, Fun. 

Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Sail On performs over 100 shows every year enjoying the unique challenge and privilege of bringing one of pop music's greatest legacies to audiences everywhere. 

Chris Ruggiero

Chris Ruggiero takes his audiences on a journey through the golden age of rock ‘n’ roll, breathing new life into the timeless music of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Chris has been described as an “old soul” at only 22 years old, whose approach to his concert appearances is more in line with that of a bygone era than it is the artists of his generation. Chris says, “I try to make every move and sing every song with a touch of class that reminds the audience of a time when entertainers put their heart and soul into their songs and delivering an exceptional concert was paramount.” Chris has appeared in the PBS MyMusic specials in 2018 production Doo Wop Generations and 2022 production of Doo Wop, Pop & Soul Generations.

How Sweet It Is!

Grammy Award-winning songwriter and recording artist Steve Leslie performs the music of James Taylor in HOW SWEET IT IS!, an authentic and spellbinding concert event! Steve’s warm baritone and exceptional guitar technique (not to mention his uncanny resemblance) will have audiences singing along to such classics as “Carolina In My Mind,” “Shower the People,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” “Fire and Rain,” “Up On the Roof,” and many more. Audiences are raving about HOW SWEET IT IS! and the level of genuine craftsmanship Steve Leslie brings to James Taylor’s incredible catalog of songs.

A Band Called Honalee

A Band Called Honalee is a modern-day folk trio inspired by the music and legacy of Peter, Paul & Mary. Musically accomplished, interactive, and energetic, their shows allow audiences to experience this timeless music live onstage once again. Satisfying diehard Peter, Paul & Mary lovers as well as newcomers to this wonderful era of music, the band’s shows feature all of PPM’s beloved hits, including “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” “Blowing in the Wind,” and of course “Puff The Magic Dragon.”

With virtuosic musicianship, stirring vocal harmonies, and polished showmanship, A Band Called Honalee also offers favorites from Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Pete Seeger, Joni Mitchell, The Mamas & The Papas, Joan Baez, The Weavers, Judy Collins, and many others.

Orlando Transit Authority—Honors Chicago

Chicago is a rock-infused, horn-driven musical powerhouse that has inspired generations of professional musicians over the last 40 years. Some of the very best of those musicians found their way to central Florida and came together to form Orlando Transit Authority. OTA is a high-energy Chicago tribute show made up of A-list players who are, first and foremost, Chicago fans. Any time you assemble players of this caliber, a great-sounding band is a given—but that wasn’t enough. OTA went one step further by seeking to emulate every stylistic nuance of the Chicago sound, both vocally and instrumentally. The vocal harmonies are right. The solos are right. The guitar sounds are right. Everything is right! Close your eyes and you just might forget who it is you’re listening to.


OTA takes the Chicago tribute to another level by offering a “tribute within a tribute” to the group that was indirectly responsible for Chicago’s success: Blood, Sweat & Tears. From the soulful vocals to the technical mastery of the horn solos, OTA brings the most popular Blood, Sweat & Tears to life with astonishing accuracy and energy.


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 44th 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 become a FORUM Centurion or Patron, contact Elizabeth Roberts at or 828.898.8748 or complete the season ticket form.


    FORUM Board Members

    Executive Board

    President: Joe Samuel
    Vice President: French Harvey
    Treasurer: Mark Polderman
    Program Selection Committee Chair: French Harvey
    Governance and Nominating Chair: Nancy Hoyt
    Advertising Chair: Allison Roquemore
    Area Representative Chair: Pat Polderman
    Member at Large: Ed Bowles


    Board Members and Committees

    Program Selection Committee: Jacquie Brauser, Julie Harvey, Nancy Hoyt, Barbara and Jim O’Connell, Ira and Ellen Salomon, Rosemary and Bill Scaringe, Mark and Debbie Nixon

    Area Representatives: Ed Bowles (Land Harbor), Jacquie Brauser (Eagles Nest), Mike Fields (Linville Ridge), Mary LePage (Sugar Top and Sugar Mountain), Bill Lumpkin (Banner Elk), Jim and Barbara O’Connell (Beech Mountain), Wayne Roquemore (Elk River)

    Endowments: Harold Kaplan

    Governance and Nominating: Jeanine Ramey, Bill Lumpkin

    Head Usher: Miller Murray

    Hospitality/Outreach: Nancy Vogelsang

    Logistics: Wayman Duffey

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


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