By Natasha Anderson
Al Petteway, Amy White and Robin Bullock will return to Diana Wortham Theatre for the 15th Annual A Swannanoa Solstice seasonal celebration on Sunday, December 17, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. The renowned recording artists will share music from Celtic, American and world-influenced customs with guitars, mandolins, fiddle, Appalachian dulcimer, piano, Celtic harp and world percussion. Their music will be accompanied by dance, storytelling, poetry and a multi-image presentation.
“Suggestions from our audiences and our love of the region’s music and dance styles were the inspiration for this year’s show,” says Petteway. “It will be similar enough to past performances to make our longtime fans happy, but different enough to be fresh and exciting.”
Petteway and White have an award-winning signature sound that has been used in soundtracks for independent films including Ken Burns’ documentary series The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, which features a Petteway tune as its main theme. Petteway and White have won 50 WAMMIE Awards from the Washington Area Music Association in the Folk, Celtic and New Age categories. Their photography is represented in The National Geographic Society’s Image Collection and their photos of the Southern Appalachians in winter serve as backdrops onstage.
“At each concert there are new winter photographs as part of the multi-image presentation,” says Petteway, “and we are expecting them to look better than ever this year.”
Bullock is an Indie, WAMMIE and National Public Radio honored Celtic/American strings player. He is a prolific composer and multi-instrumentalist who blends Appalachian and ancient Celtic melodies on guitar, cittern and mandolin.
Petteway, White and Bullock will be joined by four-time Grammy Award winning musician, storyteller, artist, historian and radio and television host David Holt, nationally acclaimed dancers Phil Jamison and Ellie Grace, and Highland bagpiper E.J. Jones and his band. The concert will be emceed by Doug Orr, president emeritus of Warren Wilson College and founder of the Swannanoa Gathering summer music program.
“This will be our third year with this particular set of performers and they have been the most popular we’ve ever had,” says Petteway. “We are really looking forward to sharing this special time with the audience because we love performing together and rarely get the chance.”
Concert attendees are invited to help fight homelessness this holiday season by bringing supplies for people in transitional housing served through Homeward Bound.
Diana Wortham Theatre is located at 18 Biltmore Avenue in Asheville. Tickets are $45, $40 for students and $20 for children 12 and under. Student rush day-of-show tickets are $10. For more information, visit dwtheatre.com. Tickets can be purchased at dwtheatre.com or by calling 828.257.4530.