Opera House showcases jazz, classical and bluegrass in April
April brings a variety of musical styles to the Opera House stage. The West Virginia Jazz orchestra starts off the month on April 9, followed by the Marlbrook String Quartet on April 17 and The Hillbilly Gypsies on April 29.
The West Virginia Jazz Orchestra is celebrating its 10th season of performing this year. Housed at the Greenbrier Valley Theatre, the orchestra performs across the region with their group of 18 professional and highly experienced players. In addition to playing the standard repertoire of the famous bands of past years - Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, and others - the band concentrates especially on improvisation. The WVJO also recreates the more outstanding jazz solos and styles of famous jazz artists such as Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and many others. When combined with their careful planning and focus on audience entertainment, the WVJO delivers an educational, experienced package full of great jazz and fun. The WVJO's appearance at the Opera House at 7:30 p.m. on April 9 is made possible in part with the generous support of the Snowshoe Foundation.
From jazz, the Opera House turns to classical on April 17 at 3 p.m. with the Marlbrook String Quartet. The Marlbrook String Quartet is in residence at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. The members are Jaime Letourneau, Paula Zimmerman, Cynthia Penne and Julia Goudimova. The quartet strives to provide quality chamber music in a personal format and talks briefly about the program before performing to explain what makes the work stand out and thoughts on what to listen for. With repertoire ranging from Charles Ives to J.S. Bach, the Marlbrook String Quartet believes in showcasing traditional standards along with presenting less known jewels. The ensemble especially enjoys finding music based in great American musical traditions. The program for April 17th includes: Selections from the Art of Fugue - J.S. Bach; String Quartet No. 1 (from the Salvation Army) - Charles Ives; Crisantemi (Chrysanthemums) - Giacomo Puccini; String Quartet in D, Op. 11 - Peter Tchakovsky.
April ends with a special appearance by The Hillbilly Gypsies to kick off the weekend of the Greenbrier River Race on April 29 at 7:30 p.m.
The Hillbilly Gypsies are a West-Virginia-native string band that specializes in playing its own homegrown style of Appalachian, old-time music, mixed with a hard-driving bluegrass sound. In addition to their original material, The Hillbilly Gypsies play an eclectic mix of traditional and, quite often, not-so-traditional bluegrass standards and catchy old fiddle tunes.
They perform in the old-fashioned style, around a single vintage-style large-diaphragm microphone. This "old-timey" approach adds a high-energy, barn party atmosphere to their show. Watching the whole band work around the mic is like taking a trip back in time.
Admission is $10 for adults and free for children 12 and under. A benefit show for the Opera House, the evening will also feature door prizes and other special drawings.
Performances at the Opera House are informal, family-friendly and open to all. The entrance and main seating are handicapped accessible. Persons with disabilities are encouraged to attend; special accommodations can be arranged upon request. Admission to all performances is $7 unless noted otherwise. Admission is available at the door and in advance at pocahontasoperahouse.org or by calling 304-799-6645. Seating is on a first come, first served basis.
The Pocahontas County Opera House is located at 818 Third Avenue in Marlinton. For information on other upcoming Opera House events, visit pocahontasoperahouse.org, or call the Opera House at 304-799-6645.
These performances are part of the 2010-2011 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 and the Snowshoe Foundation.