Performing Arts

16th Annual A Swannanoa Solstice at DWT

Photo by Amy White

By Natasha Anderson

The seasonal celebration A Swannanoa Solstice returns to Diana Wortham Theatre for its 16th year on Sunday, December 16, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. The beloved holiday tradition features renowned recording artists Al Petteway, Amy White, Robin Bullock and David Holt performing creative Celtic, American Roots and world-influenced music.

“We will be doing new material and new dances, but the roster is the same as last year and the year before,” says Petteway. “This is my favorite lineup and it also seems to be an audience favorite.”

Petteway and White have a signature sound that has been used in soundtracks and independent films, including several Ken Burns documentaries. They are experts on the acoustic guitar, mandolin, Celtic harp and piano, as well as world percussion and vocals. Between them, the pair have won dozens of awards, including a Grammy and an Indie award for Petteway and 50 WAMMIE Awards from the Washington Area Music Association. Both are expert photographers as well, with works represented in the National Geographic Creative collection. Their stunning winter photography is shown onstage during a segment of their performance.

Bullock is an Indie, WAMMIE and NPR-honored musician, as well as a prolific composer and multi- instrumentalist whose virtuosity on guitar, cittern and mandolin blends the ancient melodies of the Celtic lands with the music of their Appalachian descendants. Holt is a four-time Grammy Award–winning musician, storyteller, artist, historian and radio and television host. The group is also joined by Highland bagpiper E.J. Jones, old-time musician and flatfoot dancer Phil Jamison, percussive dancer, singer and instrumentalist Ellie Grace and host and founder of The Swannanoa Gathering at Warren Wilson College, Doug Orr.

Donations for Homeward Bound of WNC will be accepted in the lobby for both performances of A Swannanoa Solstice. “Our partnership with Homeward Bound was created a couple of years ago, shortly after a homeless man was found sleeping under the cardboard in our recycling bin during frigid winter weather,” says DWT’s managing director Rae Geoffrey. “Diana Wortham Theatre hopes to be part of a solution to help alleviate the growing problem of homelessness, which is particularly relevant in our downtown location.”

Diana Wortham Theatre is located at 18 Biltmore Avenue in Asheville. Tickets are $20–$48. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call 828.257.4530. A list of acceptable donations for Homeward Bound is also available at

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