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 41st 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 2020 Season

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

Mac Frampton: That Mancini Magic!
June 15, 2020

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 22, 2020

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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GENTRI: The Gentlemen's Trio
June 29, 2020

GENTRI features three of the finest tenors and their signature sound called “Cinematic Pop.” They perform a combination of Broadway, contemporary and pop medleys, plus original songs that have debuted alongside John Williams’ Force Awakens OST, Andrea Bocelli, Pentatonix, and more atop the Billboard charts.

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Symphony of the Mountains
July 6, 2020

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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Shades of Buble
July 13, 2020

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 of Michael Bublé to the stage 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 20, 2020

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 27, 2020

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 & The Pips, Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, Barry White, Sam and Dave, James Brown, and many more!

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Daniel Rodriguez and the Highland Divas
August 3, 2020

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 & New Zealand & culminates in the soaring heights of Rock Opera.

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FORUM Board of Directors

Ed Bowles
Henry Best
Mike Fields
French Harvey (Vice President)
Julie Harvey
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