I found Charles McElwee’s Op-Ed piece in the October 26 edition of The Pocahontas Times quite interesting. I wholeheartedly agree with him that the various attributes of Pocahontas County serve to attract people with a creative bend, and with more promotion could do so more significantly. I moved to Pocahontas Coun-ty over forty years ago, and have never once regretted having done so.
In reading his piece, I found that there was a glaring omission in his list of all the attractive features of the county – the Pocahontas County Opera House located in Marlinton.
Ever since its restoration was completed in 1999, (it was built in 1910) the Opera House has been a marvelous venue for musical and theatrical entertainment, as well as a location for various kinds of community events: meetings, dinners, wedding receptions, craft shows, etc.
The Opera House does a superb job of fulfilling its mission of being the “cultural heart of the community”. The Opera House Foundation sponsors an annual performance series of a dozen or more presentations. A recent one on October 20 featured Dom Flemons, a Grammy Award winner and a stellar musician. The offerings run the gamut from popular local groups to musicians from all over the world – quite amazing considering the rural nature of the county.
To drop a few names, past performers over the years have included Kathy Mattea, Leon Redbone, Andes Manta, the Avett Brother, the Steel Wheels, Alash (the throat singer from Tuva), classical musicians from Garth Newel and many others.
I do not know why Mr. McElwee did not mention the Opera House in his piece. He may be unaware of all that takes place there. Considering that the opera house does not receive nearly as much coverage in statewide media as it deserves, perhaps this is not surprising.
I would like to invite Mr. McElwee and anyone else who might be unfamiliar with the opera house to look at the website, pocahontasoperahouse.org, attend a performance and learn what the opera house was involved in during the COVID pandemic, namely The Story Sessions.
Douglas H. Bernier