Opera House season wraps up in April
The Centennial Celebration comes to a close at the Pocahontas County Opera House in April with shows that exemplify the variety of performers who come to the Opera House stage. On April 8, the National Symphony Orchestra Woodwind Quintet presents a classical chamber concert. Then, on April 10, the Opera House presents Gospel Night with ForgivenWV and New Horizon. Finally, the month wraps up with the Latin rhythms of Comparsa.
The National Symphony Orchestra's Woodwind Quintet takes the stage for an evening of classical chamber music on Thursday, April 8 at 7 p.m. Officially founded in 1931, the Orchestra has been committed to both artistic excellence and music education. In 1986 the National Symphony became the artistic affiliate of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the nation's center for the performing arts, where it has presented a concert season annually since 1971. The Orchestra itself numbers 100 musicians, presenting a 52-week season of approximately 175 concerts each year. These include classical subscription series, pops concerts, and one of the country's most extensive educational programs. The musicians featured Thursday are Alice Kogan Weinreb, flute; Nicholas Stovall, oboe; Loren Kitt, clarinet; Laurel Bennert Ohlson, horn; and Truman Harris, bassoon.
Then, the Opera House takes a turn to from the classical to the traditional. Just as Opry Night at the Opera House features some of the best traditional music from local musicians, this season's Gospel Night brings some of the best gospel musicians from the Greenbrier Valley to the Opera House stage. This special evening of uplifting music will feature the sounds of ForgivenWV and New Horizon. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 10.
ForgivenWV sprang from humble beginnings straight from the hills of Greenbrier County, West Virginia. This trio has a unique sound with the old-time roots. ForgivenWV plays a variety of Bluegrass, Country, and Southern Gospel music most often in little country churches and festivals throughout The Greenbrier Valley and West Virginia. They have also traveled outside the state to join in on special gospel events. Musicians are Tina Hedrick, harmony and lead vocals; Lorena Judy, lead and harmony vocals; and Nila Lytle, harmony and lead vocals, guitar, mandolin, and banjo.
Sharing the stage will be New Horizon. Joe Howard's vibrant baritone and powerfully felt original compositions drive this dynamic group. New Horizon's spirituality and heartfelt musicianship is both instantly recognizable and refreshing. Their music appeals to anyone who loves mountain church house gospel singing with a bluegrass flavor. In addition to lead vocals, Joe Howard plays rhythm guitar, with Joey Morgan on banjo, guitar and mandolin, Dennis Zeboskey on lead guitar and Gerald Erskine on bass.
The 2009-2010 Performance Series wraps up with Latin ensemble Comparsa on April 24 at 7:30 p.m. Comparsa is an acoustic world beat ensemble dedicated to exploring the rhythms and melodies of a variety of cultures. While its members call the Mountain State home, their musical influences are drawn from Latin America, Africa, Spain and the Caribbean.
A multicultural feast for the ears, Comparsa is always eager to educate, entertain and transport audiences to another era or continent. The group's performances feature a variety of covers, original songs and percussion jams-everything from salsa and merengue to gypsy styles, Bossa Nova and Venezuelan folk music.
Needless to say, it's not the kind of music most people listen to while sitting down. For the uninitiated, the group will be giving salsa-dancing lessons half an hour prior to the show. But even if you're not the dancing type, you'll love the music.
The leader and founder of Comparsa is Eduardo Canel�n, a native of Venezuela who moved to the US and was raised in Elkins from the time he was 10 year old. Eduardo leads the group on vocals while also playing classical guitar and percussion. Elizabeth Segessenman plays flute and sings back up, Deron Sodaro plays bass and sings back up, Austin Seybert plays trombone, and Randraiz Wharton plays drums and keyboards.
The Pocahontas County Opera House is located at 818 Third Avenue in Marlinton. For further information, call the Opera House at (304) 799-6645. Admission is $7 at the door. Children 12 and under are admitted for free. For information on other upcoming Opera House events, visit www.pocahontasoperahouse.org.
These performances are part of the 2009-2010 Performance Series sponsored by the Pocahontas County Opera House Foundation 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.