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LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. – An “Appalachian Christmas” will take over Lake Junaluska Dec. 6-9 for special events including multiple concerts, storytelling and a craft show.

The Lake Junaluska Singers, under the direction of Mary Huff and associate director Kathy Geyer McNeil, will perform Handel’s “Messiah” and a Christmas concert. “Messiah” is a baroque-era music composition by George Frideric Handel, composed in 1741-42. The Lake Junaluska Singers will perform the piece alongside a regional chorus and area musicians on Dec. 7.

The Appalachian Christmas Craft Show will include more than 40 artisans exhibiting all hand-crafted items. The show is run by the Junaluska Woman’s Club and the profits go toward scholarships the Woman’s Club puts together for Lake Junaluska staff members every summer. The craft show is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 8 in the Harrell Center.

Storyteller Sheila Kay Adams

Sheila Kay Adams, a local storyteller and ballad singer, will perform at 2 p.m. Dec. 8 in Stuart Auditorium. In 2013, Adams won the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship Award, which recognizes folk and traditional artists for their artistic excellence and efforts to conserve America’s culture for future generations.

“Sheila Kay Adams represents the seventh generation in her family to master an art form brought to Appalachia by those Scots-Irish and English pioneers in the 1700s,” said Mitzi Johnson, director of programming at Lake Junaluska. “As she spins her tales of love, longing and celebration, she takes us back to that Appalachian tradition of gathering around a blazing fire with family and friends, knowing in our hearts there’s no other place in the world we’d rather be.”

Appalachian Christmas festivities continue with a Christmas concert by the Lake Junaluska Singers on Dec. 8. Members of the 16-voice ensemble will return from across the country to perform. Carols with audience participation, Appalachian Christmas songs, and poignant readings will round out the evening.

Lake Junaluska Singers

“In addition to annual favorites including ‘Carol of the Bells,’ ‘The Little Drummer Boy,’ and ‘O Holy Night,’” Huff said, “this year we will feature women’s voices in excerpts from Benjamin Britten’s exceptional ‘Ceremony of Carols’ and men’s voices in ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ and the ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies.’”

Cookies & Carols, a kick-off event for those who purchase an Appalachian Christmas lodging package, will take place at 7 p.m. Dec. 6 in Lambuth Inn. Visitors will gather around the piano with John Cockman Jr. and friends, who will sing traditional Christmas carols with an Appalachian flair. Song sheets, hot tea, cider, cocoa and cookies will be provided.

Appalachian Christmas wraps up with a stirring morning worship service in historic Memorial Chapel at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 9, with the Rev. Mitzi Johnson preaching.

The Appalachian Christmas vacation package includes lodging, meals, tickets to all performances and the Cookies & Carols event. Guests can add tickets to Biltmore Estate to the package for a discounted rate. Individual concert tickets are available for $23 reserved, $18 general admission. Call 800-222-4930 to book or go to for additional information. A special deal is available at the Bethea Welcome Center – you can bundle tickets for all three concerts for just $40.


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