Singing on the Mountain has been welcoming one and all for the past 95 years, and this year is no different. On Sunday, June 23, all are welcome to join in a free gospel music festival set in MacRae Meadows at the base of Grandfather Mountain.

The 95th annual Singing on the Mountain will return to Linville, with a full lineup of gospel music sensations, including The Collective, The Cockman Family, Michael Combs, Patricia Smith, New Covenant and Adam Beard.

Singing on the Mountain is not only about the music, but the gospel message, as well. This year’s message will be delivered by David Chadwick, host of the radio program, “The David Chadwick Show,” and accomplished author, who is passionate about sharing the gospel.

The celebration will begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 2 p.m., with a break at 1 p.m. for Chadwick’s sermon. The day will conclude with a special performance of “Just As I Am” by all of the performers.

The spirit of the Singing is not so different than the first held in 1924, when founder Joe Hartley Sr. coordinated a Sunday school picnic on the same grounds. The festival’s popularity exploded in the 1960s and ’70s, drawing such names as Johnny Cash, Roy Acuff and Bob Hope.

Today, the singing is recognized by the N.C. Arts Council and Blue Ridge National Heritage Area as part of the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina, and is the oldest ongoing old-time gospel convention remaining in the Southern Appalachians.

“The Hartley family still comes, and they still bring their picnic like they did more than 90 years ago,” said Harris Prevost, vice president of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit organization that oversees and operates the Linville nature park. “Little has changed, except for the size of our audience and the technology we use.”

The sermon will be delivered by David Chadwick. He grew Forest Hill Church from one campus to six campuses over his 40 years there. Now, Chadwick has a successful radio program in Charlotte, and also leads a new church called Moments of Hope Church in Charlotte.

He and his wife Marilynn also have a devotional ministry called Moments of Hope. Chadwick played basketball for Dean Smith while attending the University of North Carolina and has written a book about his leadership.

One of the most popular performers in the history of the Singing is performer Michael Combs, who looks forward to sharing his personal message of redemption — through music.

“After squandering many years living in the world and nearly destroying my life with drugs and alcohol, something wonderful happened in my life,” Combs said. “Or, better yet, someone wonderful happened to give me life — his name is Jesus.”

Almost immediately, Combs said, he found himself in a ministry of music.

“I never thought I would be doing what I’ve been doing for the last 25 years, but now I can’t imagine myself doing anything else,” he said.

To learn more about Michael Combs, visit www.michaelcombs.com.

The Singing will also host performances by: The Cockman Family (http://www.cockmanfamily.com), New Covenant (www.newcovenantgospelmusic.com), The Collective (https://thecollective1.com), Patricia Smith (abundanceofblessingsmusic.com) and Adam Beard (https://adambeardsinging.com/).

Free, handicapped-accessible parking is available at MacRae Meadows, located on U.S. 221 North, two miles north of Linville and one mile south of the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 305.

Attendees are encouraged to dress casually and bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnics. Concessionaires will also be on site. A goodwill offering will be collected to support the musicians who volunteer their time to perform.

The Singing on the Mountain remains free, according to the longstanding motto: "Whosoever will may come.

For more information, please visit our website at: http://singingonthemountain.org.

Singing on the Mountain Foundation Inc. is now a non-profit organization recognized by the U.S. Treasury. The foundation is now accepting donations to help fund the yearly event. To contribute, please mail checks to the address below.

Singing on the Mountain Foundation

531 Brentwood Drive; Box 209

Denver, NC 2803

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