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The annual downtown Christmas tree lighting is on November 30 at 6:30 p.m. — and we invite you to come by the museum afterwards to share in some festive cheer! We will be serving refreshments in the lobby, and there will be holiday storytelling by MaryGrace Walrath followed by Bill and the Belles playing a special Christmas set in the museum’s Performance Theater. In the true spirit of the season, this free event is a charity food drive in partnership with the Bristol Emergency Food Pantry (http://www.bristolfoodpantry.org) so we will accept food and/or cash donations to the food pantry as admission. Come share in the goodwill!
The Christmas tree lighting starts at 6:30 p.m.; the Christmas Stories & Music event will take place directly after the lighting around 7:15–7:30 p.m.
About MaryGrace Walrath
MaryGrace grew up in southern West Virginia where stories and old time music could still be heard around kitchen tables and on front porches. Some of her earliest memories are of her father’s bedtime stories. While in college MaryGrace began telling stories and singing traditional songs at folk festivals, summer camps, youth groups, and churches. As a volunteer historical interpreter at Rocky Mount Historic Site, MaryGrace indulges in her love of history, fiber arts, storytelling and ballad singing.
MaryGrace’s story repertoire includes historical stories (often told in first person), inspirational and sacred stories, folk tales, fables, humorous stories, personal stories, traditional Appalachian stories, and ghost stories. She often intertwines folksongs and shape note tunes with her stories. Mary Grace is a performing member of the Jonesborough Storytellers Guild and Beaver Creek Storytellers.
About Bill and the Belles
With striking three-part harmonies and masterful instrumentation, Bill and the Belles skillfully breathe new life into the sounds of early country music. At the foothills of the Blue Ridge and the forefront of old time music, Bill and the Belles (Johnson City, Tennessee) continue to further the music traditions of their region. From sentimental Southern ballads to the popular songs of Tin Pan Alley to regional fiddle breakdowns, a Bill and the Belles show is a celebration of the diversity country music once represented.
With a rapidly growing reputation throughout the Southeast, Bill and the Belles has shared the stage with many national acts, including Hot Rize, the Gibson Brothers, and Larry Sparks. They continue to play alongside America’s top country and roots music artists as the resident band for the historic radio program Farm and Fun Time presented by Radio Bristol and the Birthplace of Country Music. In just a short time, Bill and the Belles have brought their show to the audiences of television and radio broadcasts, and several major festivals around the country.
Lifelong musicians Kris Truelsen, Grace Van’t Hof, Kalia Yeagle, and Karl Zerfas bring to the stage an uplifting show unlike any other, full of humor, high spirits, and all-around revelry. It’s clear this group shares a rare musical connection and deep love for the music, and their excitement is contagious. Bill and the Belles are hitting the road with fervor, eager to share their music with new audiences.