Performing Arts

A Swannanoa Solstice: A Holiday Tradition

Ellie Grace and Phil Jamison. Photo by Camilla Calnan Photography

Ellie Grace and Phil Jamison. Photo by Camilla Calnan Photography

The 17th annual A Swannanoa Solstice returns to Wortham Center for the Performing Arts’ Diana Wortham Theatre on Sunday, December 22, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. The world-class folk performance features renowned recording artists Al Petteway, Amy White, Robin Bullock, Grammy-winner David Holt and special guests Ellie Grace, Doug Orr, Phil Jamison and E.J. Jones. Their selection of Celtic, American roots and world-influenced music reflects the heritage of the Appalachians and spreads a peaceful, uplifting message for the holiday season.

“David, Phil and Ellie are not only wonderful performers, they are historians and scholars who have studied the North Carolina mountain traditions and lived them, which brings a certain authenticity to the show,” says Petteway. “Robin and E.J. bring that same expertise to the Scottish and Irish musical traditions they represent.”

The concert includes both new music and old favorites associated with the winter season and the various holidays surrounding the winter solstice. Petteway and White perform original songs as well as provide a modern take on their favorite traditional English, Celtic and Appalachian melodies. Grace and Jamison perform traditional Appalachian dance and Orr shares stories and poetry as he emcees the event. Petteway and White’s award-winning winter photography provides a backdrop of both still and moving images that take viewers from late autumn to early spring.

“The music is matched to the mood and rhythm of the images as much as possible,” says Petteway. “The cross- faded transitions make for magical moments that surprise even us as we are creating them.”

Wortham Center for the Performing Arts 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.

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