Regional acts in the spotlight

Variety show honors U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd

Variety show honors U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd

February 02, 2006|By JULIE E. GREENE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Regional music will be celebrated at Saturday's West Virginia Serenade with Salute to Senator Robert C. Byrd at The Apollo Civic Theatre.

Entertainment includes musical groups from the Eastern Panhandle such as bluegrass band Allegheny Uprising, Shenandoah Circle and the folk-bluegrass band Steve Warner and The Rolling Coyotes, says Bill Yearout, president of Appalachian Institute. The economic development organization for the Appalachian states is producing the event for free.

The variety show is a way to provide a community event in the middle of winter when things are kind of slow, Yearout said.


The show also is a fundraiser for The Apollo Civic Theatre and the event's sponsor, the Berkeley County Democratic Association.

Preshow performances by Elvis tribute artist C.J. Stevens and Joe Santoro from Wonderment Puppets will be from 6:25 to 6:50 p.m.

The main show begins at 7 p.m. with a brief tribute to Byrd. This includes the a cappella group Belles of Berkeley singing patriotic songs.

Byrd has been a champion of providing better opportunities for people living in the 20 Appalachian states, Yearout said.

The senator played the violin and fiddle, even playing on the campaign trail when he started in politics. Byrd has represented West Virginia in Congress for 53 years, serving in the Senate for the last 47 years.

Byrd used to play classical and bluegrass songs, performing at the Grand Ole Opry around 1979 and cutting an album entitled "Mountain Fiddler," said Byrd's press secretary, Tom Gavin.

The senator no longer plays due to tremors in both hands, Gavin said.

Byrd was expected to attend Saturday's serenade said Jennifer Reed, a spokeswoman for the senator.

Gov. Joe Manchin III and his wife, Gayle, were expected to attend the event, said Travis Mollohan, one of the governor's schedulers.

Other local, state and federal dignitaries also were invited, Yearout said.

After the salute to Byrd, the show will continue with acts by the following:

  • Sounds of Broadway by pianist Anthony Brooks and tenor Alex Knepper.

  • Berkeley County Strings, a high school orchestra that performs classical and contemporary pieces. Violin solos will be performed by David Price and Sam Crowell.

  • Frank Lafaro singing and pickin' the blues.

  • Steve Warner and The Rolling Coyotes, a folk-bluegrass band.

  • Folk duo Joan and Keith Pitzer from Preston County, W.Va.

  • Wolf Creek Session, an Appalachian and Celtic band.

  • Tari Jo Dancers.

  • First Baptist Trio, an a cappella gospel trio.

  • Voices of Destiny, a gospel choir.

  • Shenandoah Circle, traditional mountain, Celtic and folk music.

  • Bluegrass band Allegheny Uprising.

If you go ...

WHAT: West Virginia Serenade with Salute to Senator Robert C. Byrd

WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 4. Preshow starts at 6:25 p.m. Main show starts at 7 p.m.

WHERE: The Apollo Civic Theatre, 128 E. Martin St., Martinsburg, W.Va.

COST: Call the 24-hour event hot line at 1-304-263-6801 to see if tickets are still available. Tickets cost $20 each. The hot line will provide information about how to get advance tickets. Advanced tickets can be ordered through today, subject to availability. After today, any available tickets will be sold at the door the night of the event.

DIRECTIONS: Take Interstate 81 south to Exit 13 (King Street) in West Virginia. Turn left onto King Street and go about one mile to Queen Street. (Look for the public library on the right). Turn left (north) onto Queen Street. Go two blocks to Martin Street and turn right (east). Go one block on Martin Street. The Apollo Civic Theatre is on the south (right) side of the street. Approximate driving time is 25 minutes from Hagerstown.

MORE: A party at the Market House Grill will follow the performance for Serenade ticket holders who made reservations. A $5 donation is requested to help pay for entertainment. Joan and Keith Pitzer will be performing.

For more information, go to or call the event hot line at 1-304-263-6801.

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