Toys for Tots benefit in Saluda Sat.

Published 3:43 pm Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Saluda Mountain Jamboree will be sponsoring a concert on Saturday, December 19 to benefit Western North Carolina Toys for Tots. The present economic conditions have left Toys for Tots struggling to meet the needs of the underprivileged children in Western North Carolina.

Matt Stillwell, an up and coming country music artist, will perform for this organization. Other artists who have volunteered to perform for this concert are Julia Ann Roberts and Hoss Howard.

Stillwell grew up in Sylva, N.C. and attended Western Carolina University. After school, he moved to Nashville and attended Belmont University, the music business school that nurtured Trisha Yearwood, Brad Paisley, Lee Ann Woman and Josh Turner, among others.

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After just one semester at Belmont, Stillwell began playing in Knoxville and in and around Sylva, and eventually drew a following in Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh, Statesboro, Chapel Hill, and Asheville.

Howard is a singer and songwriter from the mountains of North Carolina. Inspired by a promise made to his late mother, Howard&bsp; completed his debut album, Hossology. Howard released his first single to radio in the summer of 2008. Its onHossology! Twang Thang reached number one on the World Indie Charts in&bsp; December of 2008.

Roberts grew up singing in the church choir and elementary school. At the age of 18 she toured with her first southern gospel group, The Gospel Travelers. In 1995, Roberts was diagnosed with cancer. She was told in 2006 that she would never sing again because the cancer had moved from her thyroid to her throat and had to be removed. However, less than a month after surgery she was on the road singing again. She now has her own band, Laurel Ridge Bluegrass.

Stillwell is usually booked and on tour so organizers say they&bsp; feel fortunate to have him in Saluda to perform. Clear Channel radio and WLOS-TV are also helping with the concert and fund drive. All of the proceeds from the concert will be used to purchase toys to help fill the requests of many families.

Tickets will be sold at the door. The doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and will be general admission. Event organizers recommend that the public come early to get the best seats.

You can find directions and other information on how to donate or help Toys for Tots at the Jamboree website: or