The Pocahontas County Opera House kicks off its 12th season of performances with three exciting shows this July. Local musicians take to the stage for the Loren Buzzard Memorial Scholarship Benefit Concert on Saturday at 7 p.m. They'll be followed by the riotous horns and raucous drums of the Veveritse Brass Band on July 16 at 7 p.m. The month wraps up on July 29 at 7:30 p.m. with the chart-topping hits of Neal Sedaka in Greenbrier Valley Theatre's musical review "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do."
Buzzard's life was claimed by a car wreck just weeks before his graduation from Pocahontas County High School. Music was the love of his life. Buzzard played rock and folk guitar and, for all four of his high school years, hosted a Celtic music program, "The Haggis Bowl," on Allegheny Mountain Radio. In his memory, friends established a scholarship fund to help Pocahontas County students interested in music or broadcasting attend college.
Nationally known Celtic musician Patrick O'Flaherty of Lewisburg, who had been a guest on Buzzard's radio show several times, suggested that a concert be hosted each year to benefit the scholarship fund; the first one happened in April 2010.
'Breaking Up is Hard to Do'
Veveritse Brass Band
O'Flaherty will open the show, which will feature a variety of talented local musicians including teenage pop singer Erica Rebinski. The 2011 scholarship winner, Kelsea Lane, will also sing, and 2010 winner Mark Egan will run the sound system.
Egan used his scholarship to study music production at the University of Memphis; Lane will attend Davis & Elkins College to become an elementary school music teacher. The 2011 runner up, Adam Fuller, will attend Glenville State College where he plans to major either in communications or English and work at the campus radio station.
Admission to the concert will be $7. People wanting to make a donation to the scholarship fund can send checks to: Buzzard Scholarship, Pocahontas County High School, Dunmore, West Virginia 24934 or bring their donation to the concert.
For more information, call Gibbs Kinderman at 304-799-6004 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two weeks later, the most thrilling Balkan brass band this side of Vranjski Banja will parade into the Opera House. The members of Veveritse revel in the dramatic soaring melodies and unrelenting dance beats of Serbian-style brass and drums.
The group was formed in the clouded collective minds of a group of relocated miscreant New Orleanians and misfit Brooklynites. Its members share a bloodlust for loud horns and drums, the incomparably visceral charge of the Romany music of south Serbia and for the desire to bring a feeling of musical celebration to the places where it's least expected.
Their performances rekindle a spirit of street theater and spontaneous celebration.
The 11-piece band creates not a wall of sound, but a loud tapestry. Members are: Emily Geller (bubanj), Luke Schneiders (snare drum), Joe Keady (tuba), Erin Bell (baritone truba), Patrick Farrell (alto horn), Don Godwin (baritone truba), Quince Marcum (alto horn), Aurora Nealand (alto and soprano sax), Greg Squared (alto sax), Sarah Ferholt (truba), JR Hankins (truba) and Ben Syversen (truba).
July concludes with the return of Lewisburg's Greenbrier Valley Theatre and its production of "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do."
Marge has just been dumped at the alter, and her friend Lois decides they should go ahead and take Marge's planned honeymoon trip to the Catskills to cheer her up. That's where they meet all kinds of colorful characters ... and eventually everyone falls in love. The score showcases 18 Neil Sedaka classics, including "Where the Boys Are," "Sweet Sixteen," "Calendar Girl" and the chart-topping title song "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do."
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 the 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.
This performance is made possible, in part, by support from the Law Office of Roger D. Forman.
Advance tickets are now available for these and other 2011-2012 Performance Series events at the Opera House. This season includes local favorites, such as the Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys and Juanita Fireball and The Continental Drifters, nationally recognized artists Leon Redbone and John McCutcheon, and exciting new groups like the The Steel Wheels and Caravan of Thieves. All tickets are general admission, and seating is still first come, first served. To order tickets, visit the "Events" section at pocahontasoperahouse.org.
Performances at the Opera House are informal, family friendly and open to all. Children 12 and younger are admitted free of charge. The entrance and main seating are accessible to people with disabilities. Special accommodations can be arranged upon request.
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. Financial support is also provided by Pocahontas County Drama, Fairs and Festivals, Pendleton Community Bank and Glades Building Supply.