Lake Junaluska Singers Christmas concert packs house

By Shelby Harrell | Dec 13, 2013
Photo by: Shelby Harrell The Lake Junaluska Singers performed its annual Christmas concert Friday night in front of a packed house at Stuart Auditorium

Stuart Auditorium was packed wall to wall Friday night while hundreds of people poured in to see the 2013 Christmas concert performed by the Lake Junaluska Singers.


The concert, which is a part of the annual Appalachian Christmas weekend, drew more attendants this year than in previous years.


"It's such a joy to see Stuart Auditorium this full again," said Art O'Niell. "It brings back lots of childhood memories."


Jack Ewing, executive director of Lake Junaluska Assembly Inc., said the singers gave a stellar performance, just like every year.


"As always, I was moved by their musicality and their soul — the way in which they communicate so clearly the message through the history of Lake Junaluska," Ewing said. "The singers have been the most consistent form of excellence through our 100 years. What a gift they are."


While the Lake Junaluska Singers concerts are known to attract many local residents, it drew some attendants from out of state this year.


Betty Bell and her husband made the four-hour drive from Athens, Georgia to specifically see the Lake Junaluska Singers for the first time.


"I made the trip just for this," Bell said during an intermission. "I was really impressed with the group. I think they are so wonderful, especially for the amount of practicing they had. You have to be very talented to do that."


Melodie Galloway, director of the Lake Junaluska Singers, was beaming from a wonderful performance following Friday night's show.


"I thought the show went amazingly well for the amount of time we had to put it together," Galloway said. The Lake Junaluska Singers perform their Christmas concert each year after having minimal time to rehearse together as a choir. "It's pretty unbelievable — they are such a top level of craft as musicians. It's a unique vocal ensemble and a unique experience."


Galloway said she was excited to see a flourishing audience.


"All it takes is for the audience to see us once," she said with a laugh. "I'm also excited about celebrating the stronger connection we're currently making in the Waynesville and Haywood County area."


The Appalachian Christmas celebration will continue on Saturday, when the Christmas Craft Fair will be on display, followed by a special Christmas performance by The Cockman Family. Saturday evening, the festivities will conclude with a performance of Handel’s Messiah.


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