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Telephone   828.488.3442
Monday - Friday
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Eastern DST
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or write me at:
Ron Hutchins
The Inspirations.com
P O Box 1338
Bryson City, NC 28713


Inspirations CDs



Come Hear The Mountain Sing at Inspiration Park
In The Heart of
The Great Smoky Mountains


Inspiration Park is located at 1130 Hyatt Creek Road, Bryson City, NC 28713

Between Bryson City and Cherokee, NC ~ Use Address above for GPS address

Go North on Hyatt Creek Road (Exit 69, Off Hwy 74 - Smoky Mountain Expressway)
Or Exit from Highway 19 and go east on Hyatt Creek Rd
 From Interstate 40, Take Exit 27, then west on Hwy 74 W to Exit 69

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Children 12 & Under Free All Days
(When accompanied by adult)
NO RAIN CHECKS - Event is Rain or Shine ~ (We NEVER cancel!)


What to bring/wear:
Comfortable clothing and shoes; Sun protection (sunglasses, cap, etc.);
Hand-held fan (Summer); Jacket & Blanket (Fall); and An Attitude For
Praising And Worshipping God through Great Southern Gospel Singing!

Time and Temperature Click for Bryson City, North Carolina Forecastin Bryson City, North Carolina

              Home of The Inspirations & The Singing In The Smokies 


NO PETS * * * (Exception made for service animals only)


Singing In The Smokies Fall Color Festival
Inspiration Park, 1130 Hyatt Creek Rd.,
Bryson City, North Carolina  28713


For Hotels, Motels, Campgrounds, etc. listings… Phone…
Bryson City and Swain County Chamber of Commerce (Toll Free) 800.867.9246

TICKET PRICES                  ADULTS: $20. EACH NIGHT
Children 12 & Under Free All Days
(When accompanied by adult)
NO RAIN CHECKS - Event is Rain or Shine ~ (The SIS NEVER cancels)

For info about great daytime outdoor trips, visit Greg Mimbs terrific site,
dedicated to our beautiful region and Smoky Mountain activities.

Top 5 Trees you are likely to see during your
Singing In The Smokies Fall Color Festival Visit!

Use the <Back button on your browser to return.

The Inspirations - A Story Of Two Legacies
Singing News Magazine Cover Story

By Tim Gardner, Associate Features Editor, Singing News

             SINGING IN THE SMOKIES  ~ The Second Legacy ~ The Event
     The First Legacy - The Quartet (story below) - Original stories below from June, 2000

   Though the Inspirations continue to add a chapter to their legacy every day, another legacy that originated
through them is growing just as fast. Most Gospel Music groups have distinctions that help them carve
their own niche in the industry's annals. Without a doubt, the Singing In The Smokies is such a factor for the Inspirations.

   This year, the gospel singing will be held on a mountainside in Bryson City, North Carolina, overlooking a
majestic panorama of the Great Smoky Mountains. There are few places on Earth that can compare to
Inspiration Park for beautiful scenery and natural beauty.

   Before the Singing In The Smokies runs its course, folks from all over the U. S. will have occupied the
hillside singing grounds known as Inspiration Park to hear some of the top groups in Gospel Music
make joyful noises. And the Inspirations guarantee that there'll never be a sellout on the spacious hilltop.

   The Singing In The Smokies is the cornerstone of the Inspirations' promotions. The size and scope of this
festival pales in comparison only with the story of the quartet, who will sing each of the evenings.

   Two years after their formation, they started the Singing In The Smokies as a one-day promotion on the
Sylva-Webster High football field in nearby Sylva, NC in an effort to bring more groups in for the public's
enjoyment, and three years later they moved the event to the airport in Bryson City. That fourth year they
finally broke even financially on the festival, and it has grown by leaps and bounds every year since.
In 1974, the Singing In The Smokies relocated to its present location on Hyatt Creek Road off Highway 19
or the Smoky Mountain Expressway, both from Interstate 40, between Bryson City and Cherokee, North Carolina.

   Many economic analysts have contended that the Singing In The Smokies has done more than anything
else to bolster a once-depressed economy in the western part of North Carolina. Not only has it pumped
millions of dollars into the economy, it has also attracted numerous singing fans to move and make their
residence in this region of North Carolina, becoming taxpayers and establishing businesses. (also, a side
note, the Fourth of July festival here in 1976 was recorded in the North Carolina history book as one of
the state's great celebrations of our nation's bicentennial.)

   "We started the Singing In The Smokies for two primary purposes," he added. "First, I was working for the
US Park Service and we sang only on weekends at that time. I realized that as our friends and supporters came
into the mountains to vacation, we were going elsewhere to sing, and we really needed to be here in our
hometown area as much as we could during this time each year. Therefore, we hatched up the idea of
hosting a homecoming sing.

   "The other reason was this: While I was teaching at Sylva High School in Jackson County, NC, there was
a vote scheduled on legalizing liquor sales. A county commissioner spoke to our faculty telling us how
much the money the county would make from liquor sales would help the schools. However, the commissioner
failed to mention that when lives were lost and homes and families destroyed because of alcohol, it would be
on our hands so-to-speak if liquor sales were legalized. The liquor was evil, and each member of the
Inspirations knew that the Singing In The Smokies could be a strong force to fight it with. And it was and
has been. That's how to overcome evil -fight it with something good. We can't fight it on its own terms because
he same rules never apply."

   Martin noted that coming up with a name for the Inspirations' homecoming sing was easy.
"Since we were a singing group based in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, the name Singing In The
Smokies was a given. It just fit to a tee," he reflects.

   Nothing is more satisfying to the soul than hearing the tuneful sounds of wonderful Southern Gospel songs
echoing from mountaintop to mountaintop in western North Carolina. The notes of those songs continue to
spread two legacies literally around the world.

            Meanwhile, you can't help but wonder,
           "Do the mountains around the Singing In The Smokies really sing?" 
            It certainly seems that way.


                         SNCover_June.gif (153800 bytes)  The First Legacy-The Quartet

      So you want to build the ideal Gospel Music male quartet from scratch? What sort of components do you need?

   A good lead singer, one who has power and finesse and can take the feature part, yet one whose voice can
blend well with the rest of the group.

   How about a great tenor -a guy with tremendous range who can reach the high notes time after time, song
after song without any noticeable strain?

   You've got to have a solid baritone-he's the singer who is often the best in the group and who will make
everyone else sound better.

   A quality bass singer is also essential. Proficient at hitting the low notes as well as singing in harmony,
this guy needs to add that extra flair when needed.

   And every male quartet needs one of those guys who is as equally talented as a singer or musician. This guy
never worries about being in the spotlight and is the real blue-collar member of the group.

   Throw in an accompanist who can provide great rhythm piano playing. Then add a bass guitarist who can slap
out a steady beat that rounds off the sound of the group.

   While you're at throw an absolute must for any group-a string of quality songs filled with a strong message,
along with a sound business organization led by an astute business person. Then to make the group complete,
follow with THE most crucial factor-a constant following of God's will.

   Hmmm. Sure sounds like you're describing The Inspirations. But after all, they are one of the top male quartets
in Southern Gospel Music.

   The story of this Bryson City, NC-based group is well-known throughout every musical spectrum. Over 50 years
ago, in 1964, Martin Cook, a science teacher at Swain County High School, and several of his students held nightly
singing sessions in the basement of his home, purely for fun. Very soon, however, singing became serious
and Martin and four high school kids, (Archie Watkins, Ron Hutchins, Jack Laws and Troy Burns) became
the Inspirations Quartet. They soon went on the road to sing professionally.

   The focal point of the story was that despite their youthfulness, the Inspirations quickly rose to the top of the
gospel singing world, and they have remained at its forefront. Based on their longevity and continued success,
the Inspirations have been a blueprint for consistency in the industry.

   This particular cast has no peer on the Gospel Music circuit for harmony, song arrangements, delivery and energy.
Now let's take a closer look at the men who make up this remarkable group.

   Through the 50+ years, Martin has been the group's manager and pianist. Today, Martin's son, Myron, plays
the upright bass, and Jon Epley sings bass; Daron Osbourne sings tenor; Mat Dibler sings lead; and Melton Campbell
supplies the baritone. The newest and youngest member of the group, Luke Vaught plays several instruments,
concentrating primarily on steel guitar, violin and occasionally even piano.

   Martin Cook is arguably the most respected individual in the industry. In fact, he has been referred to as the
best manager in the history of professional Gospel Music. His skills as a leader, visionary and businessman
are unsurpassed. As a pianist, his style is so distinctive that no one ever doubts who's playing when he takes off
on the ivories. His piano-playing features a mixture of great intros and runs.

   A native of Caney Fork, USA (aka Cullowhee, NC), Martin says that no matter how much talent a Gospel group
or artists has, there is one dominator most crucial to remaining on the circuit.

   "The secret to being successful in Southern Gospel Music is to foremost stay close to the Lord and never forget
the primary purpose you're in this field is to serve Him and fulfill His will. This is true in every other profession too.
God has a job for every one of His children, and He will make a way for you to carry it out," Martin says.

    "I've come to love singing more than I ever have in the last couple of years. I feel like Southern Gospel Music
in the best shape its been in quite some time, "Archie contends. "There are more groups on the road than
ever before, and there are also more people attending the concerts than there's ever been. As a result, there's
more witnessing happening about the love of Jesus and what happiness He can bring to one's life. And
most importantly, there's more people getting saved because of the wide exposure of Southern Gospel Music.
This is what it's all about."

    "There is a Bible verse that reads, 'Many are called, but few are chosen'. I know the Inspirations have
been chosen. Our purpose has always been to uplift and magnify His name, and then to bless and help
people realize the dire need for God in their lives,".

    God has a reason for everything, and I'm very thankful that He allowed me to be a part of Gospel Music.
It's songs can move us to tears and make us shout for joy. God truly answers prayers, because this is the
only profession I've ever really wanted to be in, and He's the reason I'm in it,".

    Myron says that one of the best things that's ever happened in his life is my association with Gospel Music;
"I've developed a lot of lasting friendships, seen many people saved and I've become closer to the Lord because
of it. For these and many other great happenings, I'm grateful to Him."

    Content and happy. Those are two terms that definitely describe the Inspirations as they continue a legacy
dedicated to spreading the wonderful news of God's great love. And may He richly bless them as they continue
on this journey.

     Beginning in late September and continuing throughout the season, fall color reports for Asheville and other
WNC areas are updated weekly, along with suggested scenic drives and fall foliage photography tips.

    Western North Carolina is home to the highest mountains east of the Mississippi River, including Mt. Mitchell
at 6,684' feet and Grandfather Mountain at 5,949'. Because of the differences in elevation in the mountains, the
color "peak" changes week to week. Brilliant color begins to appear at the higher elevations as early as
late September, along with a profusion of wildflowers. The autumn hues intensify and creep down the
mountain slopes throughout October and some coves and gorges will continue to show off their finest fall
finery through early November

                                                          Copyright 2000-2018 All Rights Reserved ~ Ron Hutchins, P O Box 1338, Bryson City, NC 28713
                                                          Telephone 828.488.3442 M-F, 10 a.m - 5 p.m