We received a statement this afternoon from Tim White, former host of the Song Of The Mountains television program, syndicated to dozens of PBS affiliates around the US.
The live bluegrass performance vehicle has been in the news of late owing to a reorganization announced by The Lincoln Theatre in mid-May, whereby White was dismissed from his host role, and the show was set to go on hiatus after the scheduled August taping. That situation was further complicated by a decision by Horse Archer Productions, who shoot and edit the live shows, to back out of any further commitments absent White’s return.
In his statement, Tim indicates two bits of news: that the acts booked for the August taping have all backed out, and that a plan to resurrect the show is circulating in Marion, VA where the show has been taped.
Here follows his complete statement…
“I want to thank all of my friends, fellow musicians and fans of Song of the Mountains for your overwhelming support over the past three weeks. Your kind words of support have meant so much to me and my wife, Penny.
Just to let you know briefly what has happened since the Lincoln Theatre board’s ‘Re-organization committee’ released me from my contract 3 1/2 years early…
The director of the Lincoln Theatre stands pretty much all alone now. Prior to my release, 4 board members including the vice president resigned. Additionally Christine Stupin, the office and box office manager resigned. Christine did practically all of the work daily in the office. Once I was released, my backstage crew resigned from the show as did John Taylor, the house sound man who has been there since we started the Song of the Mountains Concert Series across America in 2005.
Horse Archer Productions who does fabulous work producing the show has quit as well (once they tape the final two episodes in June and August 2015). The Lincoln Theatre board decided to cancel the remaining September through December concerts to ‘Re-organize.’ On that note I’m not sure how the June 13th show will work out without an experienced stage crew, but for the bands who do show up I hope they do well.
As for the August 1, 2015 taping… Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver has dropped out due to the Lincoln board’s actions and turmoil created. The VW Boys will not be coming nor will the Malpass Brothers or Bill and Maggie Anderson. In other words every scheduled band for the August show will not perform.
Also I have heard that two tour groups have canceled their trips to Marion, VA on August 1st. Lots of folks ask me ‘What happened?’ In my opinion, the director of the Lincoln Theatre as well as the ‘executive committee’ of the board of directors of the Lincoln have made terrible decisions. They say they want to ‘take the show in a different direction working with other partners.’ From what I have seen they have no plan. I hope they wake up before it is too late for the merchants in Marion, VA as well as the entire Town of Marion, VA.
A group of businessmen in Marion have offered to buy the Song of the Mountains brand from the Lincoln Theatre, reinstate me as executive coordinator and bring back my backstage crew, sound man and Horse Archer Productions to work for them (as a new non-profit), and rent the Lincoln Theatre for continued tapings in Marion. This plan has legs and I firmly believe it will work. I hope the board of directors at the Lincoln Theatre will take them up on this offer and save SOTM before it is too late.
The clock is ticking pretty fast now. Once again, I love Marion, VA, I love the Lincoln Theatre and I love bluegrass, old time and Americana music and the people who play it. I’ll keep you posted.”