This summer, the Opera House season heats up with the return of a few perennial favorites, as well as an exciting first-time visit by a traveling troupe of young singers.
Friday, July 24
7:30 p.m., $10
Village Harmony is 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, as well as cooking and cleaning for each other. 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 mus-ic, 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 lead traditional and contemporary shape-note songs, early music pieces from Italy and Spain, and an exciting set of songs from Caucasus Georgia.
Saturday, August 15
7:30 p.m., $10
This colorful celebration of the songstresses of the 1960s showcases some of the decade’s favorite hits. The musical revue features 40 songs ranging from girl groups such as The Chiffons and the Supremes to Leslie Gore, Petula Clark, Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin. Featuring such hit songs as “Where Did Our Love Go?,” “Wishin’ and Hopin’,” “Proud Mary,” “Respect” and “Me and Bobby McGee.”
Beehive! is sure to keep your toes tapping.
From its 1966 productions in a tent alongside the Greenbrier River to Actor’s Equity affiliation in a state-of-the-art facility in downtown Lewisburg, the Greenbrier Valley Theatre has adhered to its founders’ concept: quality live theatre centered around a core of professional actors and directors with opportunities for members of the community to learn stagecraft.
Greenbrier Valley Theatre has enjoyed the support of a loyal community whose nurturing has developed a vigorous, professional organization with a vision to establish GVT as a significant regional performing theatre. In March 2006 GVT became West Virginia’s Official Year-Round Professional Theatre.
Saturday, August 29
7:30 p.m., $10
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 voc-al), his brother Bill Hefner (guitar/mandolin/baritone vocal), their late uncle Glenn “Dude” Irvine (mandolin) and the late Harley Carpenter (guitar/lead vocal).
They took their name from Black Mountain in their native Pocahontas County.
For five years the group worked a weekly radio show on WVAR, in Richwood. They also made regular appearances at local events and regional bluegrass festivals.
In the mid-1970s they recorded a pair of albums: “Million Lonely Days” and “Talk of the County.” More recent albums include “Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys 1968-1973,” “Live at Midnight,” “Live at The Opera House,” and “Live at Greenbrier Valley Theatre.”
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.
The Pocahontas County Opera House is located at 818 Third Avenue in Marlinton and is a proud member of the Mountain Music Trail and the West Virginia Historic Theatre Trail. 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.
Season tickets and advance tickets are available at the Opera House, the 4th Avenue Gallery and online at pocahontasoper ahouse.org. Youth 17 and under are admitted free of charge.
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. W