In the Welcome section of the 2011 season brochure I wrote; “We do it under the stars.” For the past 27 years TALK has brought you “stars under the stars” and when the weather does not cooperate, “stars under the tent.”
Ugh! How I regret making that statement. In the 2011 season we had 12 out of 35 nights under the tent. That is more than the past three years combined!!!
Our existing tent is definitely showing its age. We have applied to the USDA Rural Development Program for a loan for a new permanent rain structure and a grant to upgrade our ageing infrastructure. We are hopeful that our application to the USDA will be granted in time for the new rain structure to be erected in time for the 2012 season. The new structure will provide comfortable accommodation for our patrons when the weather is inclement and provide a far superior space when required. The roof will be some 40 feet above the stage and will feature a 3 layer system that is waterproof, sound deadening and condensation proof. What is the betting, that once we have the new permanent rain structure we will be in the next drought? Oh well, better safe than wet. More on the new rain structure when it becomes available stay tuned.
The 2011 season was exciting and diverse. Some of the memorable performances were:
“Lexington’s Letters to the Editor”, a play based on letters to the editor to The News Gazette and its predecessors written and performed by W&L faculty, student and community members, three nights of great local theater, with no rain.
Walker’s Run packed the Bowl and the stage with a lot of their friends for a farewell concert, or at least until the next time, with some rousing Bluegrass. No rain. Thanks to Stellar One for their sponsorship.
Chaise Lounge, despite the rain, provided some unbelievable “big band” Jazz that was very reminiscent of the “Rat Pack” era. They had folks up dancing and really “popped the cork.” So much so, we asked them back in 2012 to provide the cabaret for our Monte Carlo Evening which takes place at the Hall of Valor at the VMI campus on Saturday, February 4. Tickets are selling fast to reserve yours, call Alice at (540) 463 7088.
The Mike Seeger Tribute was a truly great event. (No rain) We had around 500 folks celebrate one of the most influential voices of the generation that rediscovered Old Time Music. This was a free concert made possible by Community Bank. The objective was to keep the Old Time Music flame alive and ensure the torch is passed to the next generation, which it was. Bruce Clark, two weeks after his 90th birthday opened up the Tribute with his Saw Mill Band. Bruce was a close and long time friend of Mike. Then the torch was passed to Back-Step, a youthful Old Time trio that included Chester Macmillan, Tommy Jarrel’s guitarist. The latter being the subject of James Leva’s play “A Kindly Visitation.” James Leva and Carol Elizabeth Jones then played a “reunion gig” to honor Mike and the tribute closed with The Slate Mountain Ramblers playing Old Time dance music until no one could dance any more. The SMR were amazing, after they had been playing for 2 hours straight I suggest they may want to take a break and was politely told that 2 hours was “chicken scratchings.” they could play for 8 hours without a break! Look out for another Mike Seeger Tribute in 2012.
Jay Ungar and Molly Mason put on a great show, under the tent. The rain was torrential, it was good that they are a duo, there was only room for two on the stage where there were no puddles. The audience under the tent huddled together under umbrellas and had a great time by some amazing performers. Sounds crazy, but it is true. The next day I was accosted by some folks who had attended the Ungar and Mason concert. I thought they were going to complain about the weather instead to my surprise they exhorted what a great concert it was and the rain really added to the experience. Oh really? Ungar & Mason was made possible by the sponsorship of “a very dear friend of Lime Kiln.”
The Black Lillies sold out the Grand Ole Opry two weeks before playing the Kiln. What an awesome performance they put on. By the end of the night everybody was up dancing, everybody, including their traveling fans known as the “Lillie Goats.” They were asked back to the Grand Old Opry in September of this year, when again they sold the place out and they will be back to rock the Kiln with their truly unique brand of Americana in 2012. Oh it didn’t rain. Charles W Barger & Son were the sponsors.
“Stonewall Country” returned under the direction of Tom Conway a member of the original cast of 1985, and a veteran of over 15 seasons of Stonewall. After 26 years Stonewall Country has now spanned a generation, and in doing so has become a Lime Kiln tradition. Tom stripped “Stonewall” down to its original form of pure storytelling, staged it in the Kiln, where it belongs and his production received excellent reviews. Amazingly, 8 nights of performance and no rain, one night we took a huge gamble, despite the weather forecast, we called it to be performed in the Kiln, it didn’t rain. Want to know about weather for your next outdoor event, don’t bother with the Weather Channel, just call the Kiln! Big thanks to Welsh Construction and Dominion Power whose sponsorship made the production possible.
Back to the rain, Seldom Scene played their magic under the tent for some, others were happy to pay their money and stand outside in the drizzle to hear one of the major exponents of Bluegrass doing the circuit. (We really do need a bigger tent or as is politically correct rain structure). Great musicians and a great stage presence, the concert was sponsored by Kendal at Lexington.
Then it was the Greencards turn to play under the tent the night Irene hit. We started the show under the tent and hoped we would still be “under the tent” after Irene had passed which we were. For me this was the concert of the season. The Greencards had lost their fiddle player due to the hurricane, he was later found safe. However, despite being light a fiddle player they really raised their game. It was the first time that I have ever witnessed at Lime Kiln or anywhere else a standing ovation in the middle of the first set. They were truly amazing and will be back next year. The sponsor for the second time in the season was Charles W Barger & Son. Now this sponsor obviously knows how to pick a band having sponsored the Black Lillies and the Greencards so watch out for their sponsorships next year, bound to be winners.
Local stars in the making the Steel Wheels did a great performance. They are the next big band out of Virginia and for sure one day folks attending concerts will change from hollering ‘free bird” to “Red Wing”. It didn’t rain and Jim Brown Real Estate was the sponsor.
It didn’t rain either on Friday September 16 when Donna the Buffalo supported by the Roy Jay Band rolled into the Kiln. DtB were late in arriving due to traffic problems and getting their tour bus stuck in the center of Lexington and were duly christened “Donna the Bus is Slow.” That said they and the Roy Jay Band put on an outstanding night of music. As I said it didn’t rain but it was 41 degrees, it almost snowed! Sayre Enterprises of Buena Vista was the sponsor of this great night.
The final outdoor performance of the season was you guessed it under the tent. The American Shakespeare Center of Staunton performed “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” If you missed it you missed it. Three curtain calls, enough said.
In closing, let me sincerely thank all of our sponsors and performers for the 2011 season. Without you and our FOLKs there would be no Lime Kiln, and thanks also to our nonprofit partners who make all the difference in the great place we call home.
• The Judy Chops and Danny Knicely and Friends sponsored by TMG Virginia Inn Brokers benefiting Hoofbeats.
• Lexington Letter’s to the Editor.
• Mac Arnold & A Plate Full O’Blues sponsored by the TALK Board, benefiting Rockbridge Area Community Services.
• Alison Brown Quartet, sponsored by the Southern Inn benefiting Project Horizon
• Walker’s Run sponsored by Stellar One benefiting Rockbridge Christmas Basket.
• Nothin’ Fancy sponsored by the Main Street Group benefiting Habitat for Humanity.
• The Whiskey Rebellion sponsored by Brierley Hill Inn benefiting Rockbridge Area Transportation Systems.
• The Dixie Bee Liners sponsored by the Inn at Hunt Ridge benefiting Rockbridge Area Relief Association
• Chaise Lounge
• Purgatory Mountain sponsored by State Farm – Mac Felts benefiting Rockbridge Area Hospice
• Mike Seeger Tribute sponsored by Community Bank
• Ungar & Mason, sponsored by a very dear friend of Lime Kiln benefiting Yellow Brick Road Early Learning Center
• The Black Lillies sponsored by Charles W Barger & Son benefiting the Wild Life Center of Virginia
• Fatty Lumpkin & the Love Hogs sponsored by Edward Jones – Dan Vance benefiting the Rockbridge Area Free Clinic
• Stonewall Country sponsored by Dominion Power and Welsh Construction benefiting the Rockbridge Historical Society and Wintergreen Adaptive Sports Wounded Warrior program)
• Rome & Juliet by the Traveling Players Ensemble
• Seldom Scene sponsored by Kendal at Lexington benefiting Maury River Senior Center
• The Greencards sponsored by Charles W Barger & Son benefiting Stonewall Jackson House
• The Steel Wheels sponsored by JF Brown Real Estate benefiting Rockbridge Area Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
• Larry Keel and Natural Bridge sponsored by Wells Fargo Home Mortgage benefiting Woods Creek Montessori
• Donna the Buffalo sponsored by Sayre Enterprise benefiting Rockbridge Area Occupational Center.
• A Midsummer Night’s Dream by the American Shakespeare Center.
The final show of the 2012 season is the Robin & Linda Williams and Friends Holiday show, to be held at the Lenfest Center at W&L on Saturday December 10. All proceeds will go to Theater at Lime Kiln. Tickets are available at theaetratlimekiln.com or by calling Alice at (540) 463 7088.
Stay tuned for an update on the “rain structure” and the 2012 season.