Thursday, June 5, 2014 —
LINVILLE, N.C. — The 90th annual Singing on the Mountain at Grandfather Mountain will pay tribute to the late Arthur Smith, a legendary country, bluegrass and gospel musician and entertainer who died April 3.
The free gospel music festival, set for Sunday, June 22 at MacRae Meadows in Linville, promises a day of praise, fellowship and tributes to the musician long considered a friend of Grandfather Mountain.
Smith and his “Crackerjacks” served as music masters of the event from the 1950s through the early 1980s. He also was a close personal friend of the late Hugh Morton, developer of Grandfather Mountain, and supported Morton's efforts on various civic causes.
Perhaps best known for his instrumentals "Guitar Boogie" and "Feudin' Banjos" ("Dueling Banjos"), Smith also wrote and performed an array of inspirational tunes including "Acres of Diamonds," "Because Jesus Said It" and "I Saw a Man."
"He had a very strong faith and considered being the musical host for the 'Singing' to be part of his ministry," said Harris Prevost, vice president of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation.
This year's festival will celebrate that lifelong ministry with music from outstanding gospel groups beginning at 8:30 a.m. and continuing throughout the day, with a break around 1 p.m. for the sermon. The event is informal and the schedule spontaneous.
The 2014 speaker will be Leighton Ford, a noted evangelist whose organization, Leighton Ford Ministries, focuses on empowering younger leaders to spread the message of Christ.
Ford previously served as vice president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and has shared the Word to millions of people in almost 40 countries. His wife, Jean, is Graham's youngest sister.
Ford has a long association with the Singing on the Mountain, having also served as keynote speaker 25 years ago in 1989 and 45 years ago in 1969.