One of the nicest things to do in Banner Elk is to take a stroll. It’s a pretty little town adjoined by a beautiful college campus, and there are plenty of pleasant stopping places along the way. This summer, taking a stroll around Banner Elk will have an added pleasure—fully operational pianos situated here and there throughout town, ready for the player’s touch.
It’s been dubbed “The Piano Project,” and it’s purely for public enjoyment. A sign on each piano says, “go ahead, play me,” and that’s just what organizers want folks to do.
The six pianos, donated from a variety of sources, have been transformed into visual art. Each one is different, hand painted and carved. It’s a public art project with an interactive component—art that can be played!
Banner Elk Chamber president Jo-Ann McMurray had the inspiration. She and husband Tom knew about the “Play Me I’m Yours” street piano installations created by British artist Luke Jerram. While Jerram’s pianos have been sited in Florence, London, New York City and other major cities, the McMurrays figured that Banner Elk was an equally worthy venue. So they purchased three vintage-but-still-usable upright pianos and donated them to get the project rolling. Generous donors provided three others.
Pianos in hand, McMurray turned to creative minds at Lees-McRae College for the all-important visual embellishments. Danielle Curtis, who heads up the Theater Department, realized that painting the pianos would make a great Mountain Day Service project. Mountain Day is a Lees-McRae tradition when students engage in community work. Curtis recruited student artists from the Nerd Club and Alpha Psi Omega, the honorary theater society, and reserved space at the Lauritsen Technical Theater and Design Studio, where sets are constructed for the school’s theatrical productions. Faculty and staff got into the project as well; co-tech director, Scott Koenig, actually cut out sections of one piano and replaced the wood with plexiglass.
The Lees-McRae team collaborated on the creation of four piano works of art. Banner Elk artists took on the other two: Ray and Patty Knowles painted one, and Kent Paulette, Brian Quinlin, and Angelo Accetturo, resident artists at Gallery 140, looked after the other.
Before they spend the summer at various locations around town, the pianos will each receive a tuning thanks to piano tuning software donated by dirksprojects.com.
The Piano Project takes to the streets of Banner Elk with a grand unveiling on Saturday, July 9. Can’t wait that long to get a look at them? The pianos go on view for a sneak-peek exhibition on Saturday June 11, 10:00am-2:00pm, at the Historic Banner Elk School gym.
Seniors and officers from the Avery High Key Club presented their "Year in Review" to members of the Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk. From left to right are Grant Hughes, Brittany Storie, Tess Snider, Mallory Tenge, Allison Gregory, Kelly Magner, Maddi Daniels, Ellie Kitchin, Veronica Clark and Katherine Andrews. The Kiwanis Club which sponsors the youth group meets on Tuesdays over the lunch hour on the campus of Lees-McRae College.
by Jim Swinkola
Close to a record crowd gathered at Highland Union Banks on May 11 for a Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce afterhours social. JoAnn McMurray of the chamber (left) joined forces with Jeannie Burleson of the bank to provide an evening of information, entertainment, food and libation. Highlands Union corporate officers from Abington, VA and Boone, NC, networked with chamber members and local bank staff.
Dr. Gary Childers gave members of the Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk an in-depth look into the High Country United Way on May 10. Numerous Avery County agencies focused on meeting human needs in the areas of education, financial stability and health are financially supported each year. Childers can be reached at 1-828-265-2111. Kiwanis meets on Tuesdays over the lunch hour on the campus of Lees-McRae College.
"Community yard sale"
Saturday, July 30th 2016
Historic Banner Elk School
$20.00 for space, bring your own table
Rain or shine
All money raised over expenses will go towards the HBES debt and the $25,000 matching grant.
Mary Poppins (June 28, 30 and July 1 at 7 pm; June 26, 29 and July 2,3 at 2 pm)
A musical based on the stories of P. L. Travers and the Walt Disney Film
Original Music and Lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman
Book by Julian Fellowes
One of the most popular movies of all time is capturing hearts in a whole new way: as a practically perfect musical! Based on the books by P.L. Travers and the classic Walt Disney film, Disney and Cameron Mackintosh's Mary Poppins delighted Broadway audiences for over 2,500 performances and received nominations for nine Olivier and seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
The jack-of-all trades, Bert, introduces us to England in 1910 and the troubled Banks family. Young Jane and Michael have sent many a nanny packing before Mary Poppins arrives on their doorstep. Using a combination of magic and common sense, she must teach the family how to value each other again. Mary Poppins takes the children on many magical and memorable adventures, but Jane and Michael aren't the only ones she has a profound effect upon.
Always... Patsy Cline (July 14-16 and 19 at 7 pm; July 16-17 and 20 at 2 pm)
Created and originally directed by Ted Swindley – based on a true story
Licensed by the Family and Estate of Patsy Cline, All rights reserved.
Always... Patsy Cline is based on the true story of Patsy Cline's friendship with Houston, Texas housewife Louise Seger. Based on a true event, Patsy pays a surprise visit to Seger and, as they talk, Patsy floats in and out of Seger’s kitchen to reenact her great moments on the stage. And of course, she will sing – Anytime, Walkin’ After Midnight, She’s God you, Sweet Dreams and the forever famous, Crazy. Theatre companies do not take on this work unless they have an outstanding actress to play Patsy. Erica McGee has been performing “Patsy” for years and is in constant demand. With our own Kim Krege Florio as Louise Seger, and a live band onstage, this play is will be a hit.
You will be led through great moments of laughter, warm sentiment and sadness. Who else but Patsy Cline would end up on the doorstep of her biggest fan for a cup of coffee? Always... Patsy Cline allows us to peek in on these sensational historical events, tapping feet to every treasured song.
The Pajama Game (August 2, 4, 5 at 7 pm; August 3-4 and 6-7 at 2 pm)
Book by George Abbott and Richard Bissell
Music and Lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross
A union strike at a pajama factory generates plenty of steam heat in this toe-tapping comedic love story. Conditions at the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory are anything but peaceful, as sparks fly between new superintendent Sid Sorokin and Babe Williams, leader of the union grievance committee. Their stormy relationship comes to a head when the workers strike for a 7½ cent pay increase, setting off not only a conflict between management and labor, but a battle of the sexes as well.
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Banner Elk, NC is a great place to make your vacation destination! The town offers all varieties of lodging to suit every need and budget, great locally owned restaurants, and fun activities year round. Whether you are looking for a fun outdoor adventure with friends, a romantic getaway, or an unforgettable family vacation you will find it in Banner Elk! Our Chamber prides itself in providing information to our visitors and is always available to help you find the information you need. Call 828-898-8395 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org