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Museum's Friends to Host Music Fundraiser March 7th

OLD FORT, NC – Have you missed the music in Old Fort? If so, you’re in for a late-winter treat.

On Saturday, March 7, Friends of the Mountain Gateway Museum (FOTMGM) will host a benefit music program featuring performances by local bluegrass, gospel, and country musicians. Emcees for the event will be Pat Vess and Cynthia Moore, the popular stars of many “Maude & Ethel” shows at Old Fort Elementary School.

The program, titled “The Music & Talents of Old Fort,” will begin at 6 p.m. inside the Town of Old Fort’s recently remodeled Rockett Motors building at 55 East Main Street.

All proceeds will be used to fund educational programs at Mountain Gateway Museum in Old Fort.

Among the musicians scheduled to perform is Rick Scott, a multi-platinum and award-winning songwriter and one of the four original members of the country super group Alabama. Other performers are Brothers-N-Christ, a popular local gospel group, and Common Ground, a well-known local bluegrass band.

Each group will perform for 45 minutes with a 15-minute break between groups. “Maude & Ethel” will provide entertainment during each break. At this time, the bands’ lineup has not been determined.

All tickets for the program are $5 per person. Advance tickets will be available at the museum, 24 Water Street in Old Fort, or from Friends’ board members. Tickets also will be available—on a first-come, first   serve basis—at the front door on the evening of the event.

However, only a total of 200 tickets will be sold, as that is the maximum seating capacity of the Rockett building. No seats will be reserved. The door will open at 5:15 p.m.

Hot coffee, canned soft drinks, and bottled water, as well as prepackaged snack foods, will be sold inside the Rockett Building during the program.

Free parking will be available along Main Street and in the lots of Bradley Park at the corner of Main Street and Catawba Avenue, the Old Fort Depot on West Main Street, the Old Fort Town Hall on Catawba Avenue, and at businesses on Main Street.

For many years, traditional mountain music was a mainstay in Old Fort on Friday nights. Performed for free by mostly McDowell County talent, the sounds of bluegrass, blues, old ballads, and sacred music would waft out the doors of the former Rockett Motors dealership and drift down Main Street, broken only by the occasional foot-stomping rhythms of cloggers dancing to the music.

But around 2010, the music inside the Rockett Building stopped. The building gradually deteriorated, and Old Fort’s Friday nights were sadly silent. Woody’s Original Mountain Music, supported by local fiddler and well-known chair maker Max Woody, began operating in 2010 in a building across from his shop on U.S. 70 in Marion. But that music also ceased last December, when the building’s owner decided to sell it.

By then, the Town of Old Fort had secured grant funds to refurbish the Rockett Building. Restrooms were remodeled, the roof was replaced, ceiling fans were installed, walls were painted, and a new catering kitchen was added, making it fit once again for music.

If this benefit music program attracts a good audience, perhaps music will once again fill Old Fort. Do your part in making that happen by marking your calendar for March 7th and buying a ticket for this event.

To learn more about and/or purchase tickets to “The Music & Talents of Old Fort” program, please contact Harold Harless, president of the FOTMGM, at 828-699-0416 or hmhgolfer@yahoo.com or RoAnn Bishop at Mountain Gateway Museum at 828-668-9259 or roann.bishop@ncdcr.gov 

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