Aretha’s coming to the Clay Center

ArethaThe Queen of Soul — Ms. Aretha Franklin — is headed to West Virginia next month.

She’s going to perform a stop-over concert at the Clay Center on Tuesday, Nov. 25 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $65, $90, $115 and $150, and are on sale now for Clay Center Fall 2014 season ticket holders.

Clay Center members and donors with performance benefits can purchase tickets Friday, Oct. 10 at 10 a.m. through Saturday, Oct. 11 at 6 p.m.

Tickets will go on sale to the general public next Monday, Oct. 13 at 10 a.m.

You can buy tickets online at, over the phone at 304-561-3570 or in person at the Clay Center’s box office.

In the meantime, here’s one of my favorite Aretha tracks (with her playing piano, no less).

Clay Center announces fall 2014 line-up

MichaelMcDonald_Toto_COL1The Clay Center announced its fall 2014 line-up Wednesday morning.

The performance center has again stacked its schedule with classic rock and blues artists, including:

  • Michael McDonald with Toto, Aug. 24
  • Three Dog Night, Sept. 28
  • B.B. King, Oct. 5
  • Ian Anderson, Oct. 24

The Charleston Light Opera Guild also will present “Fiddler on the Roof” on Oct. 31, Nov. 1, 2 7, 8 and 9. Comedian/commentator Bill Maher closes out the series Nov. 16.

Season tickets are on sale now at Single ticket sales begin July 14 at 10 a.m.

Amelia Chan leaving the W.Va. Symphony

Amelia Chan Concert master Amelia Chan is wrapping up her time with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra. The group will perform the last concerts of its 2013-2014 series this weekend, after which Chan will return to her native Hong Kong.

She has worked with the symphony since 2004, after graduating from the Manhattan School of Music and Mannes College of Music in New York.

After returning to China, she plans to perform as a solo artist and spend more time teaching.

Here’s a short video of Chan, shot by our videographer Marcus Constantino.

Old Crow Medicine Show coming to Appalachian Power Park

OCMSOld-timey troubadours Old Crow Medicine Show will perform at Appalachian Power Park on July 26 as part of “A Summer Night of Jam Bands,” sponsored by the Charleston Convention and Visitors’ Bureau.

The group, which was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2013, is best known for songs like “Wagon Wheel,” “I Hear Them All” and “Down Home Girl.” Local band Qiet also will perform, along with other bands yet to be announced.

The event is co-presented by the Clay Center and Appalachian Power Park.

Clay Center Presents Spring 2014 season ticket holders can buy tickets Friday, May 9 at 10 a.m., and Clay Center members and donors with performance benefits can purchase tickets Monday, May 19 at 10 a.m. through Tuesday, May 20 at 6 p.m.

Tickets will go on sale to the general public Wednesday, May 21 at 10 a.m. General admission tickets are $45 in advance or $50 at the gate. Visit for more information.

In the meantime, here’s my favorite OCMS song, “Methamphetamine.”

Clay Center president is retiring

Clay Center CEO and president Judy Wellington will retire in March 2015, after more than eight years at the arts and science center.

Her last day will be March 31, 2015, according to a press release from the Clay Center.

Wellington moved to West Virginia from Pittsburgh in 2000 to run the old Sunrise Museum. In 2003, after Sunrise closed, she became president of the Clay Center’s Avampato Discovery Museum. She moved into her current job in 2006, after former Clay Center CEO Sue Sergi left to work with the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation.

“From my time at Sunrise to the past 10 years at the Clay Center, I have met so many wonderful people throughout the community, and I’ve had great experiences that I’ll always carry with me.” Wellington said in a press release. “Being part of the establishment and growth of the Clay Center is among my proudest accomplishments, and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to serve an organization that’s making such a huge impact on education for children throughout the state.”

She said she wanted to announce her retirement early to ensure a smooth transition.

According to the Daily Mail archives, Wellington has a PhD in chemistry from Harvard University. She has been a college professor, researcher and former design and planning director for the Philadelphia Zoo. She was president of the Camden Aquarium in New Jersey before coming to West Virginia.

Update: Melissa Etheridge coming to the Clay Center

UPDATE (Feb. 18, 10:05 a.m.) – Etheridge’s stop is part of her “This is ME Solo” tour. She’ll play songs new and old all by herself,  switching between acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harmonica and piano.

Melissa EtheridgeJust announced from our friends at the Clay Center, singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge is coming to Charleston Thursday, April 17.

Etheridge, known for her early 1990s hits like “Come to My Window” and “I’m the Only One,” has recently been promoting her song “Uprising of Love” as a protest against Russia’s anti-gay laws.

Presale tickets will be available Wednesday, Feb. 19. Tickets go on sale to the general public. Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 10 a.m. on You can also call 304-561-3570.

The Weekender (Feb. 14, 2014)

vdayHappy Valentine’s Day, everybody.

If you just realized you’ve forgotten to get dinner reservations, check out our tips from local chefs for preparing Valentine’s dinner at home.

Pull it off, and your sweetheart will think you planned it all along.

If you can’t pull it off, earn your way out of the dog house with a trip to Sarah’s Bakery on Bridge Road. They’ve finally brought croissant doughnuts to West Virginia. (Just don’t call them “cronuts,” or the inventor will hit you with a cease and desist letter. I speak from experience.)

Anyway, here’s what’s happening this weekend around Charleston:

If you have an event you’d like to see included in future editions of The Weekender, please drop a note to I’ll do my best to include you.

Have a good weekend!