“Grand Performances” Opens Concert Season In Clarksburg On September 30th

By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor

Area residents have a “grand” treat in store – particularly if they are music lovers! The Cultural Foundation of Harrison County has four performances slated for its inaugural 2016-2017 concert series, and this will be an amazing opportunity to see and hear some of the most talented artists representing diverse genres.
Dolores Yoke spoke on behalf of The Cultural Foundation, saying that this new community concert series is a throw-back to the community concerts that many years ago were a central part of the Clarksburg area’s cultural life.
“We are calling our concert series ‘Grand Performances’, and we are launching it now in anticipation of even greater things to happen in the future with the scheduled 2018 opening of the Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center here in Clarksburg,” Mrs. Yoke stated. “This year’s performances will be held at local venues – three of them at Robert C. Byrd High School’s Theater and one at Clarksburg First United Methodist Church – and we are so grateful for their support of what we are doing and the cooperation we have received.”
The season opening on Friday, September 30th (scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at RCB’s Theater) will feature Clarksburg native and Broadway star Kirsten Wyatt, who will return to her hometown with an entertaining show titled “Gypsies, Tramps and Elves”, a spin-off on some of the characters she has played on Broadway. Kirsten says she is eager to support this revitalization of the arts in Clarksburg.
She fondly recalls performing during her early years in shows and recitals on the stage of the Robinson Grand Theater. Since that time, she has stepped out into television, performed in regional theater productions across the country and has appeared in numerous Broadway shows including Annie, A Christmas Story the Musical, Elf, Grease, and many others.
The concert series continues with “Voices of Christmas” featuring Tenore, a pop tenor trio that will perform selections from their GMA Covenant Award winning album Christmas With You. Tenore’s performance will be held on Friday, December 10th at First United Methodist Church in Clarksburg at 7:30 p.m.
Since everyone begins to think “green” during the month of March, what better time to schedule “A Celtic Celebration” featuring Cherish The Ladies, an energetic group of ladies who will bring traditional Irish music and dance to the stage of RCB’s Theater. This performance is scheduled for Thursday, March 2nd at 7:30 p.m.
The first season of Grand Performances will conclude with the Fabulous Equinox Little Big Band, an 11-piece band set to deliver some classics made popular by Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Elvis Presley and Harry Connick Jr., among others. They, too, will perform on the stage at the RCB Theater at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 8th.
Mrs. Yoke emphasized the diversity of the shows that are scheduled. “There is truly something for everyone,” she said. “We knew that we wanted a variety and we sought the help of a national booking agency called Live on Stage. In fact, my husband and I attended their national convention in Nashville and were very impressed by the number of talents they represent. We were able to kind of hand pick what this season will bring to our area.”
Now … for the best part … the price is phenomenal! A season ticket for this live entertainment in Clarksburg with FOUR world-class shows is just $100! And at least for this first year, The Cultural Foundation is offering a buy one/get one FREE opportunity. Yoke calls it “the bargain of a lifetime”! You do the math; it comes out to just $12.50 per ticket!!!!!
“Student season memberships are just $40 with the same deal – buy one and get one free!” Yoke added. “Our objective is to instill an enjoyment of the arts in young people and offer an opportunity for adults as well as the younger generation to share this experience together.”
According to Mrs. Yoke, ticket sales are going quite well; they are already halfway to their sellout goal! Season ticket holders will enjoy reserved seating, and any tickets that are still available can be purchased on an individual basis for open seating – but at a significantly higher cost – $35 per ticket. This certainly emphasizes the savings for season ticket holders!
“The wonderful thing about this series is that each of the shows will have an educational component along with each of the performances, just as we try to do with our Ivory Evenings presentations,” Mrs. Yoke continued. “That component will be determined by each of the performers and often it may be dependent upon the schools … if they are able and willing to bus the students to a location for this interaction. Ultimately, our hope is to inspire local kids to ‘dream big’ and perhaps pursue careers in the arts. Certainly, Kirsten Wyatt is proof that that can happen!”
Tickets have been on sale since mid-August; however, according to Yoke, a lot of the marketing has been done via social media. Tickets for “Grand Performances” are available online by visiting www.theculturalfoundation.org or by calling 304-624-6077.
Yoke concluded, “We were blessed to be remembered by The Barbara B. Highland Fund for the Arts, and her generosity allows The Cultural Foundation to engage fine arts presentations such as these that are being offered. We want to enrich our area with these performances and it will only get better. When the Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center is complete, we envision it becoming a ‘home’ for this type of talent. That will also expand the seating capacity to 950, and although season ticket prices will probably increase because we’ll be paying for the venue, we will also be able to bring even bigger name talent to our area. We encourage folks to take advantage of this premier of Grand Performances and get a taste of even ‘grander’ things to come in the future!”

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