The doors of the Pocahontas County Opera House opened last Friday evening after more than a year of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Music filled the air, but it was merely a sample – a taste of what is to come in the 2021-2022 Performance Series.
The Opera House hosted the Season Preview Party where patrons could gather, enjoy refreshments and hear recordings of this year’s opera house performers.
Since last year’s performance series was canceled, Opera House Board president Arla Ralston said the board first reached out to the performers on that list to see if they wanted to be a part of this year’s season.
“We had such a great season planned for last year that our first step was just to reach out to everybody who was on last year’s season and say, ‘Can you come and do it now?’” she said. “Most of them could.”
The Opera House received funding from the mid-Atlantic Arts Council for three shows that would have happened last year and fortunately, the council let the funding roll over into this year.
“The funding was for three shows that feature people from either outside of our geographic range, and a couple of them are outside of the country – world musicians – and they agreed to let us carry that funding over, so we got those people scheduled,” Ralston said. “Usually, we only have two shows at the most of that kind of music, but we’ve got three this year.”
There has been a buzz among the board members and community of what they hope to see this year, and Ralston said several of those hopes are now a reality.
“The Murder Mystery Dinner Theater is on,” she said. “That’s always a big treat and fundraiser for us, and that’s good. I think its come together well.
“There’s one person I’m really excited about, and her name is Vanessa Collier,” she continued. “She’s playing outside July 31. I first saw her in Charleston, outside. She is a saxophonist, and it is very bluesy, very cool.”
Ralston said Collier will be performing on the Discovery Junction stage, right next to the Opera House.
“We’re so lucky the town built this stage so we can transition to indoors,” she said. “I think our first one [indoors] is in September. Bob Thompson – who I am also really excited about. He’s a jazz pianist who’s the regular pianist on Mountain Stage.”
The season has a lot in store, spanning multiple genres.
2021-2022 Performance Series
– July 24: The Suitcase Junket*
– July 25: Vintage Theatre Twelfth Night*
– July 31: Vanessa Coliler*
– August 2-7: Youth Theater Camp*
– September 11: Bob Thompson Quartet•
– September 25: The Hammons Family Musical Heritage Celebration•
– October 16: Pocahontas County Bicentennial Music Program sponsored by WVU•
– October 23: Magic Show•
– October 29-30: Murder Mystery Dinner Theater•
– November 6: John Lily: Hank Williams Tribute•
– November 20: Kaethe Hostetter/Qwanqwa•
– December 11: Kelton Boblits•
– February 20: Opry Night•
– March 5: The Bing Brothers Band•
– March 19: Poisoned Dwarf•
– April 9: Attack Theatre•
– April 23: Ceara Conway•
* 7 p.m. performances will take place at the Discovery Junction
• 7:30 p.m. performances will take place in the Opera House