PICKENS — The wheel will be turning and the hills resounding in song at Hagood Mill on Aug. 19 as Hagood Mill hosts an old-time gospel sing-along. Bring your lawn chair or blanket and be prepared to belt out all the familiar old gospel songs with the heritage singers.
For 200 years, Appalachian gospel music has been a staple within Upcountry musical traditions. BLACK GOSPEL is an explosive part of this genre but often can be enjoyed only within the sanctuary of the traditional Black church. This notion will be laid to rest at Hagood Mill on Aug. 19.
In a high-energy presentation, Hagood Mill will feature the Minister Faye Harris Family Gospel Band from Easley, South Carolina. Faye received rave reviews for her performance at the celebrated “New Harmonies” traveling exhibition concert series a few years ago.
That concert series was sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution at Southern Wesleyan University.
Other performers include Mountain Bridge, a Gospel Bluegrass band steeped in traditional music. These musicians truly love the music they play, and it shows. Chad Simpson and Josh Johnson lead Mountain Bridge, with Chad singing lead vocals and playing rhythm guitar and Josh Johnson on tenor vocals and fiddle.
Rounding out the entertainment menu will be a rousing performance by Lib Porter singing old time piano and autoharp gospel songs from the primitive white mountain church tradition and Derrick Phillips, one of the Upcountry’s most dynamic folk singers.
A retiree from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will be in town for the Solar Eclipse and will be part of the event.
Mike O’Neal, a 31-year veteran of NASA at the Kennedy Space Center, was awarded the agency’s Outstanding Leadership Medal and two Exceptional Service Medals. Among other duties, he served as Deputy Director of the Space Station Hardware Integration Office, Deputy Director of the Space Station Engineering Directorate, and Leader of the Exploration Think Tank.
He speaks professionally on the role of spirituality in human space flight and is the author of An Angel’s View: Encountering God Through the Stories of the Heavenly Hosts and Holy God, Holy People. Take the opportunity to visit with a former NASA employee and hear some of his amazing stories.
The gristmill and other demonstrations will be running from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Parking is $5 per vehicle.
The Hagood Mill Historic Site is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. all year long, and it operates, rain or shine, for a special folklife festival the third Saturday of every month.