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HEARTS Presents Junion '23

You’re invited to an exploration of regional history through the lens of genealogy, along with live music, dance, and local ecology. It all happens Saturday, June 10, from 2:00-5:00 at Huntersville’s historic Cedar Grove and Hugh Torance House and Store. Junion ‘23 is the second annual HEARTS Happening exploring regional ancestral roots through the Reunion Project, the “R” in HEARTS (history, ecology, art, reunion, trails, store). Designed to inspire and enhance our community’s shared sense of place, these grass-roots events are known for juxtaposing regional history and ecology with curated local music, visual art, and dance in multi-faceted, place-based programs.

Junion’s featured speaker is noted genealogist Andre Kearns, presenting Helping African Americans Trace Enslaved Ancestors. Kearns is a descendant of Charlotte Kerns, enslaved to James G. Torrance, builder of the 1831 Greek Revival house called Cedar Grove. Kearns will share his approach to genealogy, and how he applies it to research his enslaved ancestors and uncover their stories. Kearns holds degrees from Morehouse College and Harvard Business School, serves on the board of the National Genealogical Society, and is Co-chair of the HEARTS Reunion Project.

HEARTS is excited to present Thomas Rhyant as the featured musical guest for Junion ‘23.

Rhyant’s childhood was spent singing in traditional gospel quartets in Florida, and since then he has been dazzling audiences with his soaring vocals and sophisticated and nuanced guitar work. Today he calls North Carolina home, and his repertoire includes original gospel compositions along with musical review-style interpretations of his musical heroes such as Sam Cooke and The Platters. His recent appearance at the Newport Folk Festival in 2022 was praised in Rolling Stone magazine as one of the highlights of the event. Don’t miss this chance to see a true legend in an intimate, historic setting with acoustics as beautiful as the architecture.

Junion ‘23 will also feature celebrated Charlotte dance company Moving Spirits, Inc. Founded in 2011 by dancer, choreographer, and educator Tamara Williams, Moving Spirits, Inc. brings alive the dance traditions of the African diaspora in the American South. Williams graduated from Florida State University in 2006 and earned her MFA from Hollins University. In 2016 she joined the faculty of UNC Charlotte as Assistant Professor of Dance. In 2021 Williams was awarded an Arts and Science Council’s Emerging Creators Fellowship for her recent study of the Ring Shout tradition.

HEARTS Happenings are monthly, place-based, community gatherings featuring music, visual arts, and lectures exploring local history, nature, and our shared sense of place. Junion ‘23 is free to the community with tickets on the Events page at Tickets are advised for this very special program due to limited seating.

The Hugh Torance House and Store will be open from 2:00-5:30 selling snacks, beer, wine, sundries, and more. Plan to come early and/or stay late to enjoy the historic grounds and take a tour of the oldest standing store in NC. The Hugh Torance House and Store is one of Mecklenburg County’s few surviving 18th-century structures and is adjacent to Cedar Grove, the 1831 Greek Revival home of James Torrance, son of Hugh and Isabella Torance.

​The Store and HEARTS events are operated by the Hugh Torance House and Store (HTHS), a private 501c3 nonprofit. This event is made possible by dedicated volunteers, HEARTS Circle members, community sponsor Lake Norman Realty, and donations. All proceeds benefit HTHS’s efforts to further the HEARTS mission of historic preservation, ecological conservation, and forging community connections in our region. Group tours and volunteer opportunities for stewardship, preservation, and conservation are available. For more information, visit, email, or call (704) 920-9931. The historic Hugh Torance House and Store is located at 8231 Gilead Road, Huntersville, NC 28078.

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