Although the Junaluska Singers presently consists of sixteen members, this was not always the case. When the Junaluska Singers was first formed in 1966, the group only had twelve vocalists. Because of Draper’s passion and ability to recognize talented vocalists, the group grew in size and talent as the years passed.
Draper has always been an innovator when it came to organizing and establishing traditions. Beginning in 1968, the Junaluska Singers began the tradition of performing a “Christmas in August” concert. The “Christmas in August” concert is said to have originated at the final concert rehearsal for 1968. Because of a recent cold snap, one of the Singers suggested that they sing Christmas carols. The concert was to be held in Memorial Chapel, but a crowd much larger than they anticipated attended the concert. Not wanting anyone to be turned away, Draper had the windows to the Chapel opened so that the sounds of the concert could be heard far and wide. In addition, the Singers caroled up and down the aisles of the Chapel.
Furthermore, Draper’s unwavering determination to spread God’s word through music has enabled the Junaluska Singers to have amazing opportunities to tour throughout the United States and internationally.
Beginning in the seventies, the Junaluska Singers toured frequently. The first tour of the Junaluska Singers was to Florida in 1971. After the success of this initial tour, the Singers began recording music and spreading joy through their musical tours.
One of the more prestigious tours that Glenn Draper planned for the Junaluska Singers took place in 1973, when the Junaluska Singers toured England for two weeks. One year later, they toured churches throughout Tennessee and North Carolina. Through these tours, Draper and the Junaluska Singers not only spread the word of God through music, but they established lasting bonds with one another through their fellowship.
The Lake Junaluska Singers pose for a picture on the Cherokee III in 1970.
*Note: The header image is of the Junaluska Singers from 1972 at the Colonnade.