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MOTS to get ready for 21st season with kick-off gala

Listeners gather at a Music on the Square concert.



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For area music lovers, Music on the Square’s spring gala has become almost as much a sign of the season as crocuses in bloom.

But for organizer Steve Cook —  currently getting ready for the March 22 gala, to be held once again at the historic McKinney Center — it’s still all about bringing the tunes to downtown Jonesborough.

Music lovers gather at the 2018 gala.

“We’re 21 now,” Cook said, adding with an impish grin, “we’re legal.”

From May 3 until Sept. 27, MOTS has and will continue to offer top-of-the-line talents each Friday to residents and visitors alike — all at no cost for the listeners, other than what they choose to toss into the entertainment hat that goes around each performance.

But while Cook remains committed to continuing to offer this family friendly event to all who come to listen, he soon recognized there was a cost to be met.

That’s how Music on the Square’s  springtime gala and fundraiser was born. Cook decided it was the perfect way to provide the community with a fun event, showcasing some of what MOTS has to offer, all while raising needed money to continue the tradition.

This year, the Friday event, which begins at 6 p.m., will feature music, a live auction, heavy hors d’oevres and drinks, much like past galas.

But 2019 is boasting a few differences.

For one thing, while Cook promises the food will be every bit as good as in previous years, he is hoping it will be a bit more Jonesborough focused, partly out of  necessity.

“Last year, the Noli Truck provided all the food, free of charge,” Cook explained. “This year, however, with a new Erwin restaurant on the horizon for Noli, MOTS needed to look elsewhere

“I thought what better way than to feature our own restaurants,” Cook said. “So Dawn Heaton (of Barrell House) is in charge of organizing the food.”

Cook added that they will be meeting this week to fine tune the details, but ideally, diners will be able to sample everything from brisket and burritos to pizza and more.

Auction items will also be paired down a bit to feature more of the best-of-the-best.

And music — always a necessity at a MOTS event — will this year be provided by Blue Foxx.

“Sol Driven Train was not available,” Cook explained. “Blue Foxx is a great oldies band. They do Santana, the Beatles, the Allman Brothers. . . “

Of course, in all that fun, ticket-buyers will also have the satisfaction of knowing they are helping to make MOTS available for all. And for Cook, that makes this one of the best causes to participate in.

“I love music,” he said simply. “I’d rather be playing music than presenting, but you can’t play all the time.”

Tickets for Music on the Square’s 21st Anniversary Gala are $50 per person and can be purchased by calling the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center at 753-1010 or by visiting

Sponsorships are also still available throughout the season. Contact Cook at [email protected] for more information.