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Blue Ridge Music Center Welcomes Director

Richard EmmettAsheville, NC -- The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation announces the appointment of Richard Emmett as Director of Music Programming at the Blue Ridge Music Center, a major attraction on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Music Center works with both the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina and Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail - The Crooked Road as it sits on the states’ boundary line and shares a mission with both organizations to boost travel tourism around traditional music. Open late May through October, the Music Center welcomes tens of thousands of visitors each year to traditional music concerts, The Roots of American Music Museum, and lectures, demonstrations, and workshops. The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is the non-profit partner of the National Park Service that oversees programming at the Blue Ridge Music Center, a former role of the National Council for Traditional Arts.

Emmett brings a wealth of experience in arts management to the Foundation. For the past 6 years, he was the Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Facility Operations for the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, NC. Prior to the Arts Council, Emmett was the Executive Director of the Children's Theatre of Winston-Salem and owner of The Garage, a pioneering, intimate live performing arts venue in downtown Winston-Salem that focused on roots and Americana music and featured touring artists from around the nation.

The Directorship is a new position at the Music Center intended to build on significant past accomplishments to extend the Center’s reach and influence throughout the region. “This incredible facility has had a long history of great performances, and we are confident that Richard’s deep experience will allow us to continue to grow the Music Center’s presence with the regional community and Parkway visitors alike.” said Carolyn Ward, Foundation CEO. Parkway Superintendent Mark Woods added “The Blue Ridge Music Center is an incredible resource to showcase the rich musical and cultural heritage of the area. Our partnership with the Foundation will ensure that it continues to provide high quality programming for both Parkway visitors and neighboring communities as well as be a good partner to the many groups who keep the deep musical traditions of the area alive.”

As the primary fundraising partner for the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation funds projects that protect the natural beauty and historic legacy of the Parkway, which generates close to $1 billion in tourist revenue annually for surrounding communities. For a list of the Foundation’s 2014 projects, visit http://brpfoundation.org/projects/current-projects-and-programs or call 866-308-2773.

The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, under a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior, is the primary fundraiser and trusted steward of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Foundation is forever committed to preserving the past, enhancing the present, and safeguarding the future of America’s Favorite Journey®. We are proud to serve and support this extraordinary environment that connects the spirit of countless people through a twisting ribbon of mountain road. We are a strong defender of the Parkway, funding needed projects that enhance and protect the natural, cultural, historic, and recreational qualities that make the Blue Ridge Parkway an American treasure. For more information visit www.brpfoundation.org and www.kidsinparks.com.

The Blue Ridge Music Center celebrates the music and musicians of the Blue Ridge. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1985 as part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the site includes an outdoor amphitheater and indoor interpretive center used to highlight an important strand of American musical culture, which is still alive and thriving in the region. The site is operated through a partnership between the National Park Service and the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. In the summer, its beautiful outdoor amphitheater comes alive through a vibrant and diverse concert series. Many of these concerts include activities for the whole family such as flatfoot dance lessons and instrument petting zoos. The Music Center also offers scenic trails for the novice and seasoned hiker, educational programs and the interactive Roots of American Music museum. The center and museum are open 10:00 am - 5:00 pm daily late May - October. Admission to Visitors Center and the Roots of American Music museum is free. Mid-Day Mountain Music is offered free every day from 12:00 – 4:00 pm. www.BlueRidgeMusicCenter.org

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