Cedar Mountain Community Event: Celebrate Cedar Mountain 150 Years!

September 17, 2011 - 10:00am - 5:00pm
Cedar Mountain Community Center - Family Life Center Building



      The Cedar Mountain community invites the public to a Transylvania County 150th event on Saturday, September 17.  “Celebrate Cedar Mountain” takes place from 10 am to 5 pm at two separate locations in Cedar Mountain.  Both the Cedar Mountain Community Center and the Family Life Center next to Rocky Hill Baptist Church will be sites for the many events and activities planned for the community celebration.  These buildings are only 3/10 mile apart so visitors can travel back and forth to enjoy the many fabulous events planned! 

     The day will begin at the Community Center and local residents will discuss the rich history of the area.  Ben Geer Keys will be available to discuss the history of the Geer Highway.  Then Carolyn Mills will present information about Sherwood Forest and Charles Burden will have material about the historic Piedmont Camp.  John Snyder will have his (new)Cedar Mountain book Hill of Beans for show and for sale with the proceeds going to the Cedar Mountain Community Center.   During the morning visitors will be treated to the Shape Note Singers from Warren Wilson College.  They will perform and invite the audience to participate.  Please see the agenda, following, for times of each event.

     Anita Goldschmidt, community resident, photographer and one of the organizers says, “so many in the community have worked to make this a special day for residents and visitors.  There’s a great mix of history, music, speakers and displays for all to enjoy.  We invite the public to join as we celebrate this 150th community event.”

     Summer residents will be represented with displays of photographs and artifacts from many of the families.  They will also demonstrate a working cider press and provide vinegar cookies.  Cedar Mountain Community Club scrapbooks, dated from the 1950’s, will be on display along with images and history of Stone Lake. McGaha Chapel representatives will have handout material and the chapel will be open from 1:00-4:00 pm for visitors to view and enjoy.  The McGaha Chapel is located near the "3 Cabelleros" Mexican Restaurant, across from the entrance to Sherwood Forest.

     Though open at 10:))Am, the first active "event" at the Family Life Center will begin at 12 pm with the Transylvania Youth String Jammers, under the direction of Ellen Lee.  They will present historic music that has been in the Appalachian region for years, for example “Boil ‘Em Cabbage Down”.   A Cedar Mountain “Time Line” will be on display at the Famile Life Center all day as well.  The timeline includes historic photos, artifacts and photos of Cedar Mountain and its Native American finds, schools, stores, churches, families, veterans, and hotels.  The histories of both the DuPont manufacturing business in Cedar Mountain and the DuPont State Recreational Forest will be displayed.  In the afternoon, the Bishop Brothers perform songs that were heard in the churches and homes of the area.  Later, Yvonne Dickson will speak about Cherokee life in the Cedar Mountain area.

     The day will include much history at both locations.  Reprints of an in-depth 1877 journal entry A Trip to Cloudland, written by George Taylor describing a round-trip horse-and-buggy adventure from Greer, SC to these mountains, will be available for purchase. The trip encompasses the Jones Gap Rd., Caesar’s Head Hotel, Buck Forest Hotel, Little River Turnpike, the Patton House in Brevard, Rosman and surrounds, Johnston Turnpike, and Cedar Mountain. 

     Admission to the event is free with a nominal charge for lunch.  The community is preparing a lunch of hot dogs, pinto beans, onions, cornbread, and desserts which will be served at the Family Life Center beginning at noon. 

     The Cedar Mountain Community Center is located on Rte. 276-S (Greenville Highway) just north of Cascade Lake Rd. (Parking in front of the building as well as on open grassland on the opposite side of Rte. 276)  The Family Life Center at Rocky Hill Baptist Church  is also located on Rte. 276  about ¼ mile south of Cascade Lake Rd. (parking in front of the center as well as the lot at Rocky Hill Baptist Church)  Collectible brochures will be available and topographical 1896 maps of Cedar Mountain will be displayed with reprints available for sale.

      The Transylvania County 150th Sesquicentennial is a year-long county celebration. For more information on the Transylvania County Sesquicentennial schedule of events visit www.TC150.com.



     Here is the lastest agenda of Cedar Mountain's 150TH celebration to be held this Saturday, September 17Th.  I hope to see YOU there!


 Cedar Mountain Community Center

 10AM to 5PM:    Working cider press and vinegar cookies

 10 to 10:45AM:   Ben Geer Keys on the history of the Geer Highway.

                         Carolyn Mills presents information about Sherwood Forest.

                         Charles Burden on the historic Piedmont Camp.

 10:45 to 11:45AM: Shape Note Singers from Warren Wilson College.

 1:00 to 4:00PM:    McGaha Chapel will be open.

 Family Life Center

 10:00AM:  Doors open

 10:00AM to 5:00PM:  Time Line an old photos on display all day!

 12 NOON until:  Lunch.

 12:00 to 12:45PM: TheTransylvania Youth String Jammers under the direction of Ellen Lee.

 After Lunch: The Bishop Brothers sing.

 1:30 to 2:15PM:   Yvonne Dickson will speak about Cherokee life in this area.                                                     



(by Charles Burden)

     One of the highlights of the Cedar Mountain Sesquicentennial on September 17th will be the 10:45 am Shape-Note Singing at the Cedar Mountain Community Center.  This one-hour session will be a rare, historically accurate Shape-Note Singing led by Dr. Kevin Kehrberg and his colleagues of Warren Wilson College in the Swannanoa Valley near Ashville.   Anyone who has had the privilege of hearing (or participating in) one of these sessions comes away with a renewed appreciation of the role of music in our ancestors' lives.  Cedar Mountain schools taught Shape-Note Singing in the 19th century, and into the early 20th century.

     The Smithsonian Institution calls Shape-Note Singing a southern tradition of "antique harmonies" that had origins in 18th century New England (and probably before that time, in slightly different form, in Britain).  According to the Smithsonian, Shape-Note Singing soon faded in New England, and by 1815 Virginia became the largest base of the Singing.  Since that time, "there has been an unbroken tradition in a few isolated pockets of the southern U.S." of the exercising of this art.

     What is Shape-Note Singing?  With apologies to those who know music (this writer does not, but as is frequently said, he knows Shape-Note Singing when he hears it), most of the following information is taken from "Smithsonian Education: A Shape-Note Singing Lesson."  The musical notes in the Singing were written for persons who essentially could not read music in the 18th century, a condition that has not changed very much for us in the 21st century.  Shape-Note Singing uses only 4 syllables for the 7 notes of the music scale.  (For the 7 scale notes, think of the film The Sound of Music with Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti and back to Do.)  Each of the 4 Shape-Note Singing notes has a particular shape, with a triangle for Fa, an oval for Sol, a rectangle for La, and a diamond for Mi.  The end result of singing these four shaped notes is the Smithsonian's "antique harmonies."

     While Shape-Note Singing is sometimes called "Sacred Harp Singing," no harp, nor any other constructed musical instrument, is used.  The singing is always a cappella.  (The Sacred Harp may have referred to the human voice.)  The Shape-Note singers always face each other in a kind of square box shape, with tenor, bass, alto and treble each occupying one of the four sides of the box.  One or more of the singers keeps the beat of the song with up and down strokes of the arm, using the elbow as the hinge for the 90 degree forward movement (something akin to an English policeman directing traffic, or the Queen waving to her subjects from a moving automobile).

     The Shape-Note songs are always sung at full voice.  The voice sounds can include, to quote from the Smithsonian Education statement, "Celtic traces: tones held like a drone of a bagpipe."  The singing is indeed a joyful noise.

     No one is excluded from joining in Shape-Note Singing.  Perfect pitch is not required.  Exuberance is.  Come celebrate some living history at this event, and a full day of similar events, at Cedar Mountain's and Transylvania County's 150th Birthday Celebration. 

 Submitted by Christine Pace



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