Mountain Stage makes its Debut in the Mid-Ohio Valley
West Virginia Public Radio’s Mountain Stage made its first appearance in the Pioneer City last month, filling the Peoples Bank Theatre with fans from across the Mid-Ohio Valley, the state of West Virginia, and beyond. Spirits were high and energy filled the room as Larry Groce and the Mountain Stage Band recorded the show’s introduction, which will soon be broadcast to listeners all across the country.
Mountain Stage with Larry Groce has been the home of live music on public radio for more than 30 years. Produced in West Virginia and distributed by NPR, each two-hour episode can be heard every Sunday on more than 200 public radio stations around the world. The show is recorded in front of a live audience and features performances from seasoned legends and emerging stars in a wide range of genres, from folk, blues and country, to indie rock, alternative, synth pop and beyond.
If you tune in to Mountain Stage this Sunday evening, you’ll hear live performances from rock and roller Edward David Anderson, award-winning blues singer John Németh, gospel-belting Shemekia Copeland, recent soloist Bridget Kearney, and the infectious, harmonic T Sisters.
“One of the things I love personally about Mountain Stage is the ability to discover a new artist in each show’s lineup,” said Drew Tanner, Marketing Director for the Peoples Bank Theatre. “After their appearance here, I’ve been spinning Bridget Kearney’s solo debut album on my turntable frequently.” The show has a reputation for discovering artists who have since reached main stream radio. “In the past, I’ve gone to Mountain Stage at their home venue of the Culture Center in Charleston, where I first came across artists like Ray LaMontagne or The Be Good Tanyas. It’s a treat to be able to bring that sense of discovery to the Peoples Bank Theatre stage, along with the electric energy of the live radio audience experience.”
From the second row, the show felt larger than life. The audience clapped along with Shemekia, boogied with John, and fell silent in awe of Bridget’s eerie vocals. Five performers and three hours later, show-goers left the theatre still humming, dancing, and wishing for more.
“We loved working with Larry, Joni, Adam, Vas, and the whole Mountain Stage crew,” Drew exclaimed. “It’s no small undertaking to take a production like Mountain Stage on the road and coordinate the various tribes of their crew, our stage crew, and the five guest bands from morning arrival and load-in to producing a world-class concert and radio show that same evening.”
Drew described the experience as surreal and a truly special event for the theatre. “It really was magical to watch it all come together on our own stage at Peoples Bank Theatre, which only reopened as a fully functioning theatre in our community a little over a year ago. Having Mountain Stage here was the realization of a dream for many of our staff, volunteers, and board members that has been a long time in the making.”
If you missed the original performance in Marietta, or if you simply want to experience the magic all over again, you can listen to all five performers this Sunday evening by tuning in to Mountain Stage on West Virginia Public Radio.
“I’m really looking forward to this weekend, when the show will begin to be rebroadcast nationally, and people all over the country will hear Larry Groce say words ‘live from the historic Peoples Bank Theatre in Marietta, Ohio,’” shared Drew. “For both our city and our theatre, I hope that plants a seed and gets people thinking, “I need to check that place out!”
The Peoples Bank Theatre would certainly love to have Mountain Stage return to Marietta again in the future. So stay tuned, and tune in to Mountain Stage this weekend!
Sarah Arnold is an Architectural Designer who graduated from Miami University of Ohio and briefly became a Cincinnatian before moving back to Marietta to design her parents’ home. Inspired by the growing creative community here in the Mid-Ohio Valley, Sarah launched Clutch MOV in March of 2014.
Photography by Michelle Waters