Cultural Crash Course: “Higdon in Haywood: Cold Mountain” @ Folkmoot Center | Historic Hazelwood School
Sep 18 @ 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Join local experts for Folkmoot’s new series, Cultural Crash Courses, featuring lectures on a variety of current cultural issues, including global politics, race, immigration, gender, climate change, technology and multiculturalism. Content will be presented as a 45-minute community lecture followed by questions, answers and discussion. Crash Courses begin on September 18th and occur on a monthly basis. The full schedule with topics and speakers is available online at

At our first Cultural Crash Course, WCU professor, Dr. Christina Reitz will talk about the compositional history of Jennifer Higdon’s opera Cold Mountain, a musical adaptation of Charles Frazier’s award winning novel of the same name, which is set just outside Asheville during the civil war. The opera received its world premiere at Santa Fe Opera in 2015 and Opera Philadelphia performed it in 2016. North Carolina Opera and Minnesota Opera followed in 2017 and 2018.

Higdon has won both a Pulitzer and a Grammy for previous works.

Reitz’s analysis will focus on the unique challenges of adapting the original work “from page to stage.”

Christina L. Reitz received a BM in Piano Performance from the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University where she was the recipient of the Mary P. Rigo Outstanding Keyboard Major. She earned an MM in Piano Pedagogy and a Ph.D. in historical musicology, with external cognates in women’s studies and piano performance at the University of Florida where she received the John V. D’Albora Scholarship for Excellence in Graduate Research as well as the Outstanding Student Paper Award from the College Music Society, Southern Chapter.

Cultural Crash Courses are sponsored by Western Carolina University and the Town of Waynesville. Tickets for Cultural Crash Courses are $10. Doors open at 5:30pm and the lecture begins at 6:00pm. 

Southern Storyteller Series: David Joy @ Folkmoot Center | Historic Hazelwood School
Sep 26 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Folkmoot, Blue Ridge Books and the Haywood County Public Library present the Southern Storytellers Supper Series, bringing southern culture and regional authors and musicians together for educational evenings of discussion, food and fun. David Joy is the author of the Edgar nominated novel Where All Light Tends To Go (Putnam, 2015), as well as the novels The Weight Of This World (Putnam, 2017) and The Line That Held Us (Putnam, 2018). He is also the author of the memoir Growing Gills: A Fly Fisherman’s Journey (Bright Mountain Books, 2011), which was a finalist for the Reed Environmental Writing Award and the Ragan Old North State Award. He is the recipient of an artist fellowship from the North Carolina Arts Council. His latest short stories and essays have appeared in Time, The New York Times Magazine, Garden & Gun, and The Bitter Southerner. In addition to his writing, David enjoys hunting, fishing, his dog and nature. If you’ve read his fiction, non-fiction and articles this would not surprise you. Come hear more about how these traditional aspects of mountain life have influenced and found their way into his writing.
Darren Nicholson & Friends All-star Bluegrass Review @ Folkmoot Center | Historic Hazelwood School
Oct 13 @ 6:00 pm – 9:30 pm

The Balsam Range’s Darren Nicholson returns to Folkmoot’s Queen Auditorium October 13th for his biggest show yet, a rare, one-time combination high-powered bluegrass stars.

Nicholson, mandolinist for bluegrass supergroup Balsam Range, will be joined onstage by

two-time national banjo champion Charles Wood, by bassist and vocalist Eli Johnston – formerly of Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver – and by stellar guitarist and former Volume Five member Colby Laney.

A Haywood County native, Nicholson is a Grammy Award nominee and recipient of five International Bluegrass Music Association Awards, including Entertainer of the Year (2014), Song of the Year (2011), and Album of the Year (2006). He has appeared on WSM’s Grand Ole Opry, at the Ryman Auditorium, on Country Music Television and on Great American Country. Currently, he records and tours as a full-time, founding member of Balsam Range with all sorts of collaborative efforts each year.

Eli Johnston, who joins the ensemble on bass and vocals, is a former member of Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver and a triple-threat singer, songwriter, and musician.

“Eli is a powerhouse is the bluegrass world,” says Nicholson

Nicholson describes Laney, who was most recently a four-year member of Volume Five, as a “must-see guitarist”.

Wood is two-time champion of Walnut Valley Festival Banjo Championship in Winfield, Kansas – widely considered the national banjo championship – and joined Earl Scruggs and Steve Martin on stage on the David Letterman Show.

“Doing a show like this is so much fun because it’s a rare combination, and it’s as exciting for the musicians as it is for the audience,” says Nicholson. “I’m excluding myself, but these are some of the most talented musicians and singers on the planet. I’m just honored to be a part of this and will just try to ‘hang on’!”

Balsam Range Art of Music Festival Kickoff at Folkmoot @ Folkmoot Center | Historic Hazelwood School
Dec 5 @ 6:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Balsam Range Art of Music Festival Kickoff at Folkmoot @ Folkmoot Center | Historic Hazelwood School

For the second year, Balsam Range opens its December Art of Music Festival with a Waynesville kickoff at the Queen Auditorium/Folkmoot Center, located at the Historic Hazelwood School.

Members of Balsam Range – and perhaps a special guest or two – will launch the weekend festival with a performance in the school’s renovated auditorium on Thursday, December 5.

“We want to help build community around this space, and contribute to the vibrancy of Folkmoot with our music,” said Balsam Range’s Buddy Melton, currently the International Bluegrass Music Association’s reigning top male vocalist. “Y’all come!”

The event beings with a social gathering at 6 p.m. on Thursday, December 5, with barbeque and fresh beer available for purchase.

Tickets are $25 in advance, $28 at the door, and can be purchased in advance at or by calling 828.452.2997. Tickets sales and contributions support Folkmoot programs that sustain cultural arts for youth and families in Western North Carolina.

The Folkmoot Friendship Center is located in the Historic Hazelwood School, 112 Virginia Ave., Waynesville. Parking is available in the back of the Folkmoot building for all special events.

Folkmoot is a nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating many cultures in one community. The Folkmoot Friendship Center is located in the Historic Hazelwood School at 112 Virginia Avenue in Waynesville. Staff can be reached by phone at (828) 452-2997 or by email at