Arts Craft Arts

Burnsville Event Celebrates Luthiers of the Southeast

The Mountain Acoustics Luthier Invitational (MALI), postponed in 2020, returns to Burnsville on Saturday and Sunday, October 16 and 17. This event celebrates the art of musical instrument-making with 30 of the finest luthiers in the southeast gathering to exhibit handcrafted acoustic instruments including guitars, mandolins, ukuleles, violins, fiddles, banjos, dulcimers, harps and variations of these.

Mountain Luthiers

Ken Miller, artist

“Luthiers are exceptional wood workers, scientists of mechanical and acoustical engineering, and inventors who are sensitive to artistic nuance,” says MALI director Steven Miller. “This exceptional skill and vision is rarely appreciated in our society, so the Luthier Invitational is an opportunity for these folks to shine.”

On Friday evening, October 15, the event kicks off with a Luthier Jam at Homeplace Beer Company that is free and open to the public. Taking place Saturday and Sunday is a silent auction of items including luxury hotel stays, golfing at Mountain Air Country Club and a handcrafted violin/fiddle built by David Chandler and valued at $3,500. A handmade guitar will be raffled, with tickets ($5 each) available at Appalachian Java, OOAK Gallery and at the event. On Saturday evening at 8 p.m., GRAMMY-winning musicians Mark and Maggie O’Connor will perform at the First Baptist Church in Burnsville. Tickets are $20–$25.

New to MALI this year, a vintage string instruments exhibit showcases more than 90 instruments, some dating into the 1800s. Admission to the exhibit is $10.

“I have tried to obtain instruments that represent each of the prominent brands and types, and to also represent the major cultural trends that drove musical instrument development,” says Miller, who owns the collection. “I am exhibiting instruments of the past, while our visiting luthiers are exhibiting instruments of the present and pointing toward the future.”

Visit for details and links to all exhibitors and supporters.

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