Throughout 2018 and 2019, Violins of Hope Knoxville will partner with local nonprofit organizations who will commit to embodying the program theme – Hope, Inspiration, Tolerance, Community - through events that speak to each organization’s own mission and vision. As events will be added regularly throughout the year, please check back often!

If your organization is interested in partnering with Violins of Hope Knoxville to put on an event that embodies the program theme, please contact us.


WDVX Blue PLATE SPECIAL - Ballinger Band fiddler to play a Violin of Hope

01-10-2019 | 12 PM

The Ballinger Band will perform on the Blue Plate Special, January 10th at 12 noon. The fiddler, Mike Whitehead, will be playing one of the Violins of Hope for this special event. The Visitors Center is located at the corner of Gay and Summit Hill and the show is free and open to the public.

Kris, Dale and their son Ethan hail from middle Tennessee on the Cumberland Plateau. The Ballingers play music that ranges from old time fiddle tunes to gypsy swing to contemporary ballads. Along with their tight-knit vocals, Kris’ guitar work and Dale’s upright bass provide a solid foundation for Ethan to soar on mandolin and guitar.

Kris and Dale have been playing music for most of their lives, and since 1980 they have been making music together. They played with national fiddlin’ champion Frazier Moss for seven years and performed with fiddler Junior Daugherty at Carnegie Hall in NYC. As founding members of “The Cluster Pluckers” they recorded five albums, played across the United States and toured Europe and Japan. Their TV appearances included Austin City Limits with Chet Atkins, Ken Burns’ Songs of the Civil War with Hoyt Axton, The Statler Brothers Show, Nashville Now, American Music Shop and Reno’s Old Time Music Festival. They were invited to Washington DC to represent Tennessee music at the Tennessee/Arkansas Celebration during President Clinton’s Inaugural festivities and performed again for Clinton and Gore in Nashville at a special event. In recent years The Cluster Pluckers have retired and so Kris and Dale have been performing and recording with their son Ethan, who is a wonderful musician in his own right.

Ethan was jamming with Chet Atkins, John Hartford and Roy Acuff before the age of two. He started playing piano when he was eight, but his true passion for music blossomed when he started playing guitar at age ten. Ethan is now a full time musician playing and touring with Lee Ann Womack and Aubrie Sellers and stays busy with studio work and producing in Nashville. He has also toured with Alison Brown, Tim O’Brien, Missy Raines and many other great artists. He has performed on several network television shows such as The View, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Kris, Dale and Ethan have been jamming in their living room for years, but decided back in 2007 that maybe they should share some of this fun music with the public. They recorded “The Ballinger Family Band” CD in 2009. Last year they decided it was time to record again, and in the late summer released “It’s About Time”, a collection of 13 tunes, from Paul Simon and Gordon Lightfoot to Bill Monroe and John Hartford. Ethan produced the project and all three are playing a variety of instruments and singing. They were joined in the studio by Luke Bulla on fiddle, Lee Holland on percussion, and Dave Dunseath on drums. Aubrie Sellers also joined in on a “group sing along”.

📍 The Visitors Center located at the corner of Gay and Summit Hill

Lights & L'Chaim

12-02-2018 | 4 - 7 PM

Lights & L'Chaim - A toast to Knoxville's holiday season and all that jazz. Delightful music and delectable food. Featuring Jazz greats, Kelly Jolly and Will Boyd and Klezmer at its finest Dor L'Dor with Rachel Brown and Stella Galanti. Tickets at or call 865-522-0701.

📍 Heska Amuna Synagogue - 3811 Kingston Pike

Buried Words; Addressing the Scrolls of Auschwitz

10-25-2018 | 7 PM

Speaker, Nicholas Chare, is an associate professor of modern art in the Department of Art History and Film Studies at the Université de Montréal, Canada. He received his PhD from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom, and served as a Fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Professor Chare is the author of several books, including Auschwitz and Afterimages: Abjection, Witnessing and Representation (2011), and is co-author (with Dominic Williams) of Matters of Testimony: Interpreting the Scrolls of Auschwitz. Reception to follow.

📍 McClung Museum of Natural History, 1327 Circle Park Dr, Knoxville, TN 37916 - in Auditorium

A Life Rebuilt: Author talk and book signing with Sylvia Ruth Gutmann

10-24-2018 | 6:30 PM

Sylvia Ruth Gutmann is an author, public speaker, and contemporary witness. She is also a Hidden Child survivor of the Holocaust. She is "committed to the work of memory, healing, and reconciliation" and her work "encourages people to shed the guilt and shame of their pasts, and to help us all see our responsibilities to each other". ​Sylvia was born in 1939 in Antwerp, Belgium, where her Jewish parents had fled to from Berlin. After living as a Hidden Child in Europe until she was seven, she has lived in New York City, San Diego, Dallas, and Berlin, Germany. She now lives in Framingham, MA. Please join us for an evening of storytelling from Sylvia as she shares her journey through life. The event will take place at 6:30 in the Dorothy Herron Room A. Sylvia will also have her book for sale.

📍 Blount County Public Library, 508 N. Cusick St., Maryville, TN 37804

Hitler in Los Angeles by Steven J. Ross

10-11-2018 | 4 PM

Professor Ross will tell the fascinating story from his new book, Hitler in Los Angeles, about how a small group secretly infiltrated pro-Nazi groups in the Los Angeles area in the Depression and early World War II years. Based on original archival research, the book was a National Book Award finalist in history.

📍 The University of Tennessee Knoxville