Derek Lacey, News-Topic

LENOIR —Lenoir was built on music. At Tucker’s Barn in the late 1700s, area residents would gather for everything from voting to frolicking at the meeting place that would become the city of Lenoir.

The music that was played there must have stuck in the dirt and air, because it’s still there today, says J. Neal Isaac, organizer of Loving Lenoir 2013, the third annual celebration of the city’s musical heritage.

Lenoir has birthed many a great musician, Isaac says, mainly through the Lenoir High School Band, which was rated as superior for 42 years running, and in those decades produced musicians who would travel around the state and country to direct other bands, play in national orchestras and even lead the U.S. Navy Orchestra. The band itself played at the inauguration of Gov. William Umstead in 1953.

The New York Metropolitan Opera even made a trip down to Lenoir, just to sing with the Lenoir Band, Isaac said.

Capt. James C. Harper is perhaps the most renowned figure associated with Lenoir music and Lenoir High Band. [more]