Holidays come to a head at White Horse Black Mountain


A white Christmas in the Swannanoa Valley is a rarity, but a White Horse Black Mountain Christmas Eve is a sure thing. The Montreal Road venue is noted both for its involvement in the community and the sense of community that has grown up around it, and in that spirit the White Horse hosts a free annual Christmas Eve concert brimming with holiday cheer.

The celebration commences at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 24. In addition to himself, owner Bob Hinkle has assembled a talented cast of White Horse friends and family, including songstress Rhoda Weaver, Mark Fuller and others for the 60-90 minute show. To ensure that everyone departs feeling festive, the evening will end with an audience participation Christmas carol sing-along.

And then on New Year’s Eve, Rhoda Weaver and the Soul Mates, as well as Marcel Anton and the Antonettes, will kick off a night of music, dancing and socializing.

Anton is up first with his New Orleans-infused stylings, followed by the soulful Weaver and crew ushering in the midnight hour and a free champagne toast.

Anton is of Native American and Creole descent. A child of show business parents (Mom was a Rockette, Dad on the business side), he grew up in many places, but life centered around New Orleans, the city that shaped his sound and attitude.

Anton originally planned to be a scientist, but the arts called more strongly, and he’s worked with major artists as diverse as blues greats Albert and Freddie King, Boz Scaggs, Van Morrison, the Jazz Crusaders, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Dr. John.

Rooted in the gospel music of her childhood, Weaver is equally drawn to soul, R&B, Motown classics and ballads. Several years ago, at the urging of friends, she started busking in Asheville and discovered that it was a way to connect with a wider audience while earning some extra cash.

Her classy a capella renditions of classic songs made her one of the city’s best loved street performers and attracted the attention of local musicians, many of whom became fans and collaborators. While Weaver’s vocals are fully capable of standing on their own, her backup band, the Soul Mates, is a living library of classic songs from the ’60s onward.

Tables and seating for the New Year’s Eve show are general admission on a first-come-first-served basis.