No matter how we try to bring good news to everyone every weekend there are times when we have to pass along news that is not so good.
Matt Scott, the wonderful young man who operates the lights and sound equipment at the American Mountain Theater and debuted his singing talent near the end of last year's season, was recently diagnosed as having a rare form of cancer and underwent an operation. Matt, like so many of our young people who are seemingly in the best of health and have no need for medical insurance, does not have insurance to cover his operation and rehabilitation expenses.
The AMT will host a benefit performance at 3 p.m. on May 16 at the theater to raise money to help cover his medical expenses. The event will feature performances by a selection of local musicians including bluegrass by Hardly Ever, gospel by The Shaffers and the Sexton Trio, rock, jazz and fusion by Frank Fusion with Marshall Scott on trumpet and much more.
I can personally vouch for the quality of gospel by the Shaffer Family and the bluegrass of Hardly Ever. Both groups are tremendous performers. Anyone who has attended a show at the AMT is already aware of the great gospel singing of the Sexton Trio.
Sponsors of the event include the AMT, of course, Colonial Estates, Colonial Place, Citizens Bank of West Virginia, The Phillips Group, Davis & Elkins College, Johnson Realty, Mike Ross Inc. and anonymous friends of Matt Scott.
The afternoon of entertainment will certainly be worth far more than the $10 donation for admission - it is an opportunity to help one of our young people in a time of great need.
If you can't attend the concert but would like to contribute to Matt's need, you can help by making a monetary donation. If you choose to do so, make your check to BREATHE Ministries, and mail it to: the American Mountain Theater, 49 Martin St., Elkins, W.Va. 26241. Indicate "Matt Scott" on the memo line of the check.
Many, if not most, of you are aware of the wonderful "Gershwin Gala" being performed by world renowned British pianist Jack Gibbons on May 7 at D&E's Harper-McNeeley Auditorium in support of D&E's Highlands Scholar program. To help promote the event I was asked by D&E's Director of Communications and Marketing Carol Schuler, and am pleased and honored, to carry news of the event in this column. This is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the music of one of the world's greatest composers performed by one who has been called a virtuoso and performed in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Albert Hall in London and other world-class concert halls in Europe and the United States.
Gibbons is coming to Elkins thanks to the support of philanthropist Doris Buffett and area corporate sponsors including The Inter-Mountain newspaper, Citizens Bank of West Virginia, Davis Trust Company and Huntington Bank.
D&E President Dr. G.T. "Buck" Smith noted that this promises to be a rare musical event for the region.
In addition to helping celebrate the success of the Highlands Scholar Program, the "Gershwin Gala" will also promote the Buffett Challenge - a $300,000 dollar-for-dollar match that will fund scholarships for students from the seven Highlands counties including Randolph, Barbour, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Tucker, Upshur and Webster. As Highlands Scholars, graduating seniors who qualify can receive a scholarship to D&E that reduces the cost of tuition to roughly that of the state's public universities.
In announcing support by Mike Ross and the event sponsors, Smith said he is gratified by their commitment to the education of youth from the region. "When they learned what Doris Buffett was doing, they were eager to help sponsor the 'Gershwin Gala' and thus provide Highlands Scholarships to area students. This is indeed an amazing and generous community for which we all can be most grateful."
Last week in this column I summarized for you the information gleaned from the business and history status survey that was conducted by Judy Guye, former mayor and chairwoman of the OnTrac Economic Restructuring Committee. In that story I failed to mention who helped make the survey possible. According to Guye, members of the Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) were the ones who made the door-to-door contact with the survey, sometimes having to go back three, four or five times to pick up the completed forms.
"Sean Kelly worked the most in the worst weather we had in February and March," Guye said. "His diligence really paid off. Members of the SIFE program needed a community project and this worked so well for them and for us. We thank them very much for all they did to help us with the survey."
Ed Griesel passes along his sincere thanks to all those who helped plan and execute this year's Ramps and Rails Festival last Saturday.
"I thoroughly enjoyed the event because of all your help with preparing for the festival," Griesel said. "Members of the Elkins Depot Welcome Center can expect a full report at the next board meeting on May 4.
"We were very fortunate - the weather was great, no rain and the temperatures were cool enough to get people out into the outdoors. Most of the food vendors sold out by mid-afternoon and from all indications the craft vendors did well, too."
According to a news release by The Phillips Group, Rogers Earl Jr. has been named president and CEO of Valley Supply Company, taking leadership of the talented group of managers and associates at the century-old business. He joined the company in 2006 as a project manager, then, in 2008 was promoted to branch manager at the Elkins store. Earl held that post until April 1, 2010, when he was promoted to his new position.
Earl takes over from Pat Lafayette, who is stepping back from day-to-day management responsibilities but will remain chairman and treasurer of the family-owned company. He will focus his efforts on growth and development.
Evans TV is celebrating its 30th anniversary this weekend with a 30-hour special discount sale on selected items. The store opened in 1980 in a small, cramped addition to the old Delmonte Hotel. After several moves resulting from growth and the need for more space, the business is now located at 125 Third St. It is still operated by its original principals, Senior Partner Grover Evans, his sons Larry, who has been with the company since it opened, and, Stanley, who came aboard a year after the business opened. The senior Evans credits the success of his business to honest and reliable sales and service.
Celebration of the store's long-running success began yesterday and will conclude today at 3 p.m. For information, call 304-636-8950.