June 8 Screening Kicks Off the First High Country Jazz Festival
BOONE, NC – The inaugural High Country Jazz Festival kicks off at 7 p.m. on Wednesday,
June 8 with a public screening of MGM’s classic 1956 romantic musical comedy film “High
Society” at the Appalachian Theatre. This musical remake of the Philip Barry play, “The
Philadelphia Story” stars Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and the incomparable jazz
legend Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong and his all-star band, with an original score by Cole Porter.
The App Theatre Cinema Classics series is generously sponsored by Nancy and Neil Schaffel.
“High Society” is a musical remake of the 1940 film “The Philadelphia Story” which was based
on the 1939 play of the same title by Philip Barry. The story involves a successful popular jazz
musician (Crosby) trying to win back the affections of his ex-wife (Kelly), who is preparing to
marry another man. The cast also features Celeste Holm, John Lund, and Louis Calhern, in his
final film, with a musical performances by Louis Armstrong. “High Society” was Kelly’s last
professional appearance before she married Prince Rainier III and became Princess consort of
Monaco. The film was released just three months after their marriage.
Filming took place between January and March 1956 in Newport, Rhode Island. The location,
according to Turner Classic Movies, enabled them to take advantage of the Newport Jazz
Festival, established in 1954, incorporating it into the film by giving Crosby’s character a
background as a descendant of a Gilded Age robber baron who became a jazz composer and
friend of jazz star Louis Armstrong, who plays himself in the film, and patron of the Festival. As
name-checked by Crosby in the song “Now You Has Jazz,” where each musician takes a small
solo, Armstrong’s band members were Edmond Hall (clarinet), “Trummy” Young (trombone),
Billy Kyle (piano), Arvell Shaw (bass), and Barrett Deems (drums).
These historic tie-ins make “High Society” a perfect kick-off event for the High Country Jazz
Festival. The festival is a precedent-setting partnership between the Appalachian Theatre of the
High Country (ATHC), Boone Sunrise Rotary, and the Jazz Studies Program at Appalachian
State University. The inaugural festival contains nearly a dozen free and ticketed events at ten
different locations in Boone and Blowing Rock from June 8 through 12, 2022. Tickets are now
on sale to the public with information available at www.HighCountryJazzFestival.org.