The Pocahontas Opera House in Marlinton will celebrate Labor Day weekend with the return of the Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys.
The band has become a regional audience favorite and a mainstay of the Opera House's annual performance series. The Labor Day weekend concert is set to take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys group is among West Virginia's longest-running bluegrass bands. The group first organized in 1968 around the foursome of Richard Hefner (banjo/tenor vocal), his brother Bill Hefner (guitar/mandolin/baritone vocal), their late uncle Glenn "Dude" Irvine (mandolin) and the late Harley Carpenter (guitar/lead vocal).
Members of the Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys are set to perform at the Opera House in Marlinton this Saturday, bringing a traditional bluegrass sound to the stage.
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. The group also made regular appearances at local events and regional bluegrass festivals. In the mid-1970s, the members 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.
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and tickets are $8. Children 12 and younger are admitted free of charge. Tickets are available in advance at pocahontasoperahouse.org and at the Green Bank and Marlinton galleries of the Pocahontas County Artisans Cooperative.
The Pocahontas County Opera House is located at 818 Third Ave. 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 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 the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. This performance also is made possible in part by the generous support of the Law Office of Roger D. Forman.