Thank you for a successful season

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Thank you. The celebration of 20 successful seasons is coming to a close rather quickly, and the Opera House would like to extend heartfelt gratitude to you for celebrating alongside the staff and board. From a wild kick off with the Eclipse to a rocking New Year’s Eve, the official birthday party on February 20 to all four tribute Tuesdays, the season long celebration has been one for the record books.

Your Opera House did think Beyond the Tower this year, and you are the reason it was incredibly successful. We were able to showcase our town, our talent and our tribute to Newberry. We shouldn’t stop here though; 20 years is a milestone for a small venue within the industry, but our footprint on the national stage is much larger. We must continue to celebrate Newberry and its authentic flavor in South Carolina in everything we do whether it be performances on the stage, showcasing children’s art work around the building, or capturing stories.

The new Season is one way we can continue this tradition. I am putting the finishing touches on the performances that will grace the Opera House and have been blessed with input, both of shows to have and those never to have again, and I am grateful for the feedback! One interesting event that will take place which will keep Newberry top of mind is the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit entitled Crossroads: Change in Rural America. YES THE SMITHSONIAN is coming to NEWBERRY December 10 through February 7. I am so excited to be a part of the local coordinator team for this event that is only going to four other communities in our state and is premiering here in South Carolina before going to other locations throughout the United States.

In a nutshell, there will be an exhibit from the Smithsonian in our lobby. This exhibit will be interactive, historical and thought provoking all at the same time. Here is a description about the exhibit:

In 1900, about 40 percent of Americans lived in rural areas, by 2010, less than 18 percent of the U.S. population lived in rural areas. In just over a century, massive economic and social changes moved millions of Americans into urban areas. Yet, only 10 percent of the U.S. landmass is considered urban.

Many Americans consider rural communities to be endangered and hanging on by a thread—suffering from brain drain, inadequate schools, and a barren, overused landscape. Why should revitalizing the rural places left behind matter to those who remain, those who left, and those who will come in the future? Because there is much more to the story of rural America.

Crossroads: Change in Rural America offers small towns a chance to look at their own paths to highlight the changes that affected their fortunes over the past century. The exhibition will prompt discussions about what happened when America’s rural population became a minority of the country’s population and the ripple effects that occurred.

Despite the massive economic and demographic impacts brought on by these changes, America’s small towns continue to creatively focus on new opportunities for growth and development. Economic innovation and a focus on the cultural facets that make small towns unique, comfortable, and desirable have helped many communities create their own renaissance. The future is bright for much of rural America as small towns embrace the notion that their citizens and their cultural uniqueness are important assets.

A requirement is four events or activities that are specific to Newberry County and are free. We as a community have a chance to shine and have conversations about the good old days, but also about where we are as a county, if we are happy where we are, what is to come, how to get there and what our authentic self is. Maybe have ghost tours of what things are no longer standing in our county, displays from each town in the county showcasing history and progress, lectures. It’s a real chance to look at home and talk about home in ways we haven’t. Again thinking Beyond the Tower in so many ways!

Your Opera House says THANK YOU for making the last 20 years memorable and ensuring the programming is here for future generations. We are thrilled to push the boundaries of conversation more this upcoming season, as well as, celebrating our Newberry County with this sneak peek program.

Make sure you are on the mailing list, so you receive your brochure in August! And I am looking forward to having more sneak peaks into the season over the summer months. And don’t forget to mark your calendars for Crossroads! The Smithsonian is coming to us! OH here’s a little sneak peak for the Opening Reception in December: Randy Cohen from Americans for the Arts will be the speaker. He’s amazing!

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Molly Fortune is the executive director of the Newberry Opera House. Contact her at molly@newberryoperahouse.com.

Molly Fortune is the executive director of the Newberry Opera House. Contact her at molly@newberryoperahouse.com.