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Opera House celebrates Mountain Music in September

Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys

September brings a month-long celebration of mountain music to the town of Marlinton. The month kicks off with a concert by Pocahontas County’s own Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys on September 2.

September 15 and 16 the Pocahontas County Opera House will team up with the Mountain Music Trail and 4th Avenue Gallery Artisan Co-op for the Music in the Mountains Old-Time Festival.

The month will wrap up with the annual Hammons Family Musical Heritage Celebration on September 30, during the West Virginia Roadkill Cook-Off and Autumn Harvest Festival.
September 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys

To loyal Opera House concertgoers and anyone who knows bluegrass music in West Virginia, the Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys need no introduction. The Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys are among West Virginia’s longest-running bluegrass bands.

The group first organized in 1968 around the foursome of Richard Hefner (banjo/tenor vocal), his brother Bill Hefner (guitar/mandolin/baritone vocal), their late uncle Glenn “Dude” Irvine (mandolin) and the late Harley Carpenter (guitar/lead vocal).

As with many bluegrass bands, the Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys have had changes in personnel over the years. Richard Hefner remains as the lone original member. Hefner’s traditional bluegrass banjo playing and tenor vocals have contributed both continuity and much of the “high lonesome” sound for which the band has become so well-known. He has displayed his banjo skills many times as a victor in contests and at the Vandalia Festival.

Chris Nickell from Monroe County, contributes driving lead and rhythm guitar work as well as lead vocals. Rick Carpenter—son of founding member Harley Carpenter—picks a fine mandolin and sings lead and baritone vocals. Bass player Mike Smith, of Culloden, has worked with such notables as Larry Sparks, Dave Evans, and the Goins Brothers.

Tickets are $10 for adults. Youth 17 and younger are admitted free of charge. Tickets are available at the door and in advance at or at the 4th Avenue Gallery in Marlinton.
September 15-16
Music in the Mountains Festival

Local musicians, artisans, community members and visitors come together to experience and celebrate mountain music, craft and dance in the making. Friday night features Mountain Music Trail musicians kicking off the evening program at 7 p.m.

Saturday afternoon activities begin at 1 p.m. with make-and-take crafting led by 4th Avenue Gallery artisans.

From 1 to 5 p.m., musicians are invited to participate in an informal old-time music jam on the Opera House stage. Bring your banjo, guitar, fiddle, bass, or spoons to join in.

The afternoon will also include old-fashioned children’s games, homemade ice cream, kettle corn, a cast iron cornbread contest and a cornbread and soup bean dinner at 5 p.m.

Entries for the cast iron cornbread contest must be at the Opera House by 4 p.m. to be considered.

On Saturday evening, beginner square dance lessons will start at 6:30 p.m. with a traditional square  dance at  7 p.m.  to close the weekend’s festivities.

Dinner tickets are $5. Square Dance tickets are also $5.

The Music in the Mountains Festival is sponsored through the Cal Price Enrichment Series in partnership with the Mountain Music Trail and 4th Avenue Gallery Artisan Co-op.

Members of The Hammons Family

September 30 at 7:30 p.m.
The Hammons Family Musical Heritage Celebration

After getting your fill of wild food at Marlinton’s Autumn Harvest Festival and West Virginia Road-kill Cook-off, the Opera House invites you to come be a part of the “Hammons Musical Heritage Celebration.”
The Hammons Family carried on long-standing traditions of fiddling, banjo playing, ballad singing and storytelling at their remote mountain home in Pocahontas County. Their legacy continues and is proudly celebrated among today’s musicians.

In recent years, musicians from West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina have taken to the Opera House stage to pay tribute to the Hammons family, celebrating their own diverse range of musical styles and talents.

Musicians and storytellers of all ages are invited to be a part of the celebration. Registration is free and available by calling the Opera House at 304-799-6645.

Tickets are $10 for adults. Youth 17 and younger are admitted free of charge. Tickets are available at the door and in advance at or at the 4th Avenue Gallery in Marlinton.

The Pocahontas County Opera House is located at 818 Third Avenue in Marlinton. Performances at the Opera House are informal, family-friendly and open to all. The entrance and main seating are accessible to persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities are encouraged to attend; special accommodations can be arranged upon request by calling 304-799-6645.

The Opera House Performance Series is presented with financial assistance through a grant from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts. Support is also provided by Pocahontas County Dramas, Fairs and Festivals and the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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