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Saint Patricks Day Concert with Joshua Messick, Southern Highlanders and more Sat March 17th 2018 beginning at 6pm

$15 in advance

$18 at the door

(Hammered Dulcimer)

(Doug and Darcy Orr, Joe and Karen Holbert)


We will kick off the celebration with a 
 Traditional "Irish Pub" style Jam Session 
with great celtic music
at 6pm

Each year, White Horse hosts a celebration of Ireland on or around Saint Patrick's Day.    Our annual celebration focuses on the traditional music from Ireland along with poetry, stories, and imagery.    

Our celebration is a family event and stays close to the true roots of Irish music.

We hope you'll join us for this year's big celebration.


Asheville, North Carolina-based National Hammered Dulcimer Champion, Joshua Messick, breathes new life into an ancient, enchanting instrument. Creativity flows with dynamic passion as he weaves progressive, cinematic stylings & modern techniques into traditional melodies, original compositions, & powerful improvisations. You will be inspired as Joshua plays World Fusion, New Acoustic, Classical, Folk, & Traditional Favorites.

When his four-year-old ears heard the hammered dulcimer for the first time, Joshua Messick turned to his mom and said, “I promise I will learn to play the hammered dulcimer before I am thirty.” At nine, when he got ahold of a pair of dulcimer hammers and coaxed sound from the strings for the first time, a music teacher asked how long he had been taking lessons. “I haven’t,” he said, still going at it. It’s as if Joshua came into this world equipped with a preexisting relationship with the hammered dulcimer.

Joshua began arranging music at ten and composing in high school. By the time he was eighteen, he became the 2003 National Hammered Dulcimer Champion.

“I thought I had seen everything. Then, I came upon Joshua Messick bringing a gorgeous hammered dulcimer to life. His ability to pull both gentle beauty and edgy power out of this instrument is astounding. And his ear is impeccable. I had no idea that a hammered dulcimer player could be a rockstar.” 
BJ Leiderman – Theme Composer, NPR 

Joshua is first and foremost a composer, crafting original compositions drawing from Celtic, Classical, and World styles. For those who love more traditional music, he breathes new life into Folk, Hymns, Classical, and traditional favorites.

“I’ve put my entire life into this music,” he tells an interviewer, and it is readily apparent. Few musicians can span the breadth of styles he easily plays. Enjoy his music on iTunes or CDs, or catch him playing live and you will feel the soulful presence that stirs in his music. You will be transported to a peaceful, nourishing place. Messick further elaborates his soul by stating, “how music relates to people is something that fascinates me. Music is the sound of the human spirit and for me is prayer without words. There has been a process for me to understand the place music has in my life and why I play it. I used to play only for the purpose of becoming good. Now, I play music because I love it with an understanding that music is God’s gift to experience His love and healing. In addition to this, I seek to play.

The Southern 
Doug and Darcy Orr 
Joe and Karen Holbert 

The Southern Highlanders perform a music tapestry of Scotland, Ireland and the Southern Appalachians, as well as more recent compositions in the traditional mode. All are singers and instrumentalists, including the guitar, mountain dulcimer, hammer dulcimer, fiddle, piano, pennywhistle, concertina, jaw harp and various percussive instruments.

Doug and Darcy Orr have been performing music for over 25 years through their previous Celtic/Appalachian band Maggies Fancy in Charlotte, as they recorded and toured through several states, and during subsequent years at Warren Wilson College where Doug served a president from 1991 to 2006 and founded the Swannanoa Gathering summer music camp.

Doug has published a top-selling book, Wayfaring Strangers with Fiona Ritchie, host of NPR’s The Thistle & Shamrock, about the musical connections between Scotland, Ireland and the Southern Appalachians. Darcy, an oil and watercolor painter, is the book’s art editor.

Joe and Karen Holbert began performing together in the mid-1980s as multi- instrumentalists and singer-songwriters. They have their own recording Appalachian Saga, and can he heard on recordings of several others. Joe and Karen performed at the Asheville Mountain Dance and Folk Festival for 21 consecutive years, winning awards for their performances.

They have appeared on a number of other stages including the Philadelphia Folk Song Society, the Asheville Folk Art Center and the former Montreat Kilt ‘n Fiddle Festival. Joe retired after 30 plus years as a public and private school music teacher, and has taught hammer dulcimer at music camps. Karen retired after a 30 year career as a Special Educator and a Clinical Social Worker, and clogged semi-professionally.

Bob Hinkle

Bob Hinkle began his career as a performer while in college at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He was a member of a trio called The Good Earth and when he and his bandmates graduated they headed straight to New York where a recording contract awaited them with the DynoVoice label.

After a couple years of touring and recording with The Good Earth including serving as the backup band for Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Bob released a solo recording of his own entitled Ollie Mogus. For the next fifteen plus years, Bob Hinkle and Jeb Hart successfully managed the careers of leading pop music starts including: The J. Geils Band, Tom Chapin, Manfred Mann, Naked Eyes, Patti Lupone, Etta James and others. Seven years ago Bob returned to the WNC mountains to open White Horse Black Mountain.

The White Horse Irish Jam Sessioners

White Horse hosts an open Irish Jam Session each and every Tuesday evening. Jam sessions are an important tradition in Ireland as musicians, singers, players, dancers, gather regularly at local pubs to make music.

Sessions are usually led by fiddlers and are very participatory with different musicians invited to select the next tune or to share a song.

We honor this tradition weekly and some of our weekly "sessioners" will be on hand to kick off the musical portion of the evening musical program.

St. Patrick’s Day: An Irish Legacy for America

St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, also called “The Day of the Feast of St. Patrick”, has deep roots in Irish history but also is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival. It is especially observed in the several countries that have long been a part of the Irish diaspora: the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina. It commemorates the foremost patron saint of Ireland Saint Patrick, who is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. His legend and life are revered in the annals of Irish history. Captured by Irish pirates from his home in Roman Britain, he was taken as a slave to Ireland, where he shepherded animals but after six years escaped and returned to his family. After becoming a cleric, he went back to northern and western Ireland and introduced the Irish to Christianity in 431 A.D. In his efforts to convert the Celts, he practiced inclusivity and highlighted the many similarities between their beliefs and those of the Catholic faith, such as the existence of an afterlife and harmony with their environment. March 17 is said to be the date of his death in 461 A.D.

Celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day have expanded well beyond Irish religious and cultural observances by the colorful festivities in America and elsewhere: parades, festivals, concerts, and general partying. The largest St. Patrick’s Day parade is in New York with many other substantial and colorful marches including Boston, Savannah, Chicago, Toronto and Montreal – all with a history of significant Irish immigration. In previous decades Ireland has adopted many of the Day’s festivities from across the sea, but still observes it as a religious holiday and largely has avoided the American excesses of green beer, commercialization and deafening rock music pretending to have something to do with Ireland. The “Wearing of the Green” is customary throughout, a color associated with Ireland since the 1600s, as is the three-leaved shamrock (which St. Patrick used to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish),Ireland’s iconic symbol.

I have always felt that another factor is at work with the anticipation and celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. In many areas, March 17 and its contiguous days bring the welcome breath of spring: the first sign of the golden daffodils, a softer air after the harsh winter days, a greening of the landscape, and the upcoming spring equinox as the sun “crosses” the equator with the promise of longer and languid days of spring. It is indeed a time for celebration but hopefully with special emphasis on two of Ireland’s great gifts to the world: poetry and song.

               - Doug Orr, 
Warren Wilson President Emeritus, 
Founder of the Swannanoa Gathering,
                                    and co-author with Fiona Ritchie of 
Wayfaring Strangers:
                                    The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia