The Cowee Heritage Center will begin its fall series of concerts beginning Saturday, Oct. 19, when Buncombe Turnpike is set to perform. Tickets will be $12 and the show will begin at 7 p.m.
Buncombe Turnpike performs in traditional and contemporary bluegrass and gospel and is based out of Asheville. They will be the first of two musical acts that will play this fall. Mountain Faith will perform on Nov. 16.
“Both shows will take place in our auditorium and tickets can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce, online, or at the door. These concerts are self-supporting. The ticket sales pays for the other acts,” said Stacey Guffey.
Guffey is looking forward to showcasing the old school's new sound system. In May it was announced that the Heritage Center was awarded a grant of $10,697 from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership. Funded by federal dollars, the grants provided by the partnership help to support diverse initiatives across the North Carolina mountains and foothills, focusing on crafts, music, natural heritage, Cherokee traditions and agriculture. The money going to the heritage center was specifically meant to enhance the sound and lighting to be used for traditional music events.
“There's been a lot of tickets sold around the community. I think there will be a good turnout for the show,” said Guffey. “Starting at 6 p.m., there will be food and drinks available for purchase. The proceeds from these sales will also go back into the center and future musical acts.”
Since the heritage center is in its infancy, this musical season will be short with two concerts, but the spring series will have more acts coming through the old school.
Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the early 1940s, the center served as an elementary school from its construction until May 2012 when it closed its doors. With a steering committee in place, many members of the community decided that the old building should still be used. On Aug. 17, the doors of the old school were opened once again. Now it serves as the heritage center where people can go to take classes specializing in pottery, quilting, arts, crafts, and cultural practices that are staples in mountain life.
The old Cowee School is located just of Highway 28 in the Cowee West Mill District of Macon County. More information about upcoming events or classes offered at the facility can be found at www.coweeschool.org.