The Pocahontas County Opera House opens its 2015-16 season with July performances by Nashville singer-songwriter Caroline Spence and the youthful voices of Village Harmony.
Earlier this year, Caroline Spence made Rolling Stone’s list of “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know.”
The young singer-songwriter says she is enamored with words and songs. Though countless singer-songwriters boast the same simple claim, few have been lifted up by their passion the way Spence has. That passion led the Virginia native on a pilgrimage to Nashville, where the 25-year-old honed her writing and her dusky soprano across folk, Americana and alt-country genres. That same passion resonates throughout the tracks on her first full-length solo debut, “Somehow,” released in March of this year.
With songs that wrap the truths of life up into personal vignettes of clever wordplay and catchy hooks, it’s little wonder that in 2013 Spence won American Songwriter Magazine’s June/July lyric contest as well as the Rocky Mountain Folks Fest songwriter competition later that year. Spence also had her songs recorded by up-and-coming independent singer songwriters Andrew Combs (“Heavy”) and Annalise Emerick (“A Good One” and “Somewhere In Between”). But when American Songwriter named her the grand prize-winner out of all song submissions for all of 2013, she began to feel her passions validated.
Spence takes the Opera House stage July 18, at 7:30 p.m.
The following Friday, July 24, the voices of Village Harmony will fill the Opera House.
A traveling, singing summer camp for teenagers, the group of 20 young singers rehearses intensely for a week, learning traditional music styles from around the world from three master teachers.
They then get in a fleet of vans and take their concert program on tour for two weeks. The concerts are high-energy affairs, with raucous gospel and shape-note tunes performed alongside heart-wrenching ballads.
Directing this session of camp is Chicago native Mollie Stone, who will lead music from her amazing repertoire of South African dance-songs, Georgian traditional music, American gospel and renaissance motets. Village Harmony alumna Emily Miller – lead singer in the Sweetback Sisters, who just appeared at the Opera House in April – brings her marvelous humor, musicianship and vast repertoire of American folk music and amazing traditional fiddle playing to the concert program. Joining them is Gideon Crevoshay, an exceptional tenor singer, who will be leading traditional and contemporary shape-note songs, early music pieces from Italy and Spain, and an exciting set of songs from Caucasus Georgia.
Tickets for each concert are $10 and available in advance at pocahontasoperahouse.org and at the Fourth Avenue Gallery in Marlinton. Youth 17 and younger are admitted free of charge.
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 2015-16 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 Drama, Fairs and Festivals.