Aldona Bird, Contributors, Latest News

Live entertainment is out there waiting

The time at home the pandemic forced on some of us, renewed the interests of many in gardening, baking (sourdough especially), keeping chickens, sewing and other slower aspects of sustaining our bodies and homes.

I was no exception — I got baby chicks for the first time (I’d always bought grown chickens before) in 2020 and again in 2022, had a beautiful garden in 2020. I canned, fermented and preserved food in other ways, I made my sourdough regularly and shared starter with several friends who wanted to begin their sourdough journey.

While my interests in these homesteading tasks began long before the pandemic, the amount of time I stayed at home allowed me to focus on them.

I’ve found myself lately with less time — this year my garden was a total bust, and I haven’t made sourdough bread in months.

I got a new job this year, and at home have been working on some major time-consuming construction projects — which account for a lot of the time and focus I have for my homestead. I’ve also found that I’ve been taking more time to enjoy live entertainment, which I’d avoided for a few years.

In the last week I enjoyed a Shakespeare play performed live in Morgantown, and the Pittsburgh Symphony performing Beethoven’s 7th Symphony (opened pieces by John Adams and Robert Schumann).

I already have tickets to see an indie pop group perform in Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Opera, Hamlet performed by the Rustic Mechanicals at the Mon Arts Center (full disclosure, I work there), Narnia the Musical performed by West Virginia Public Theatre, the Monongalia Symphony Orchestra performance and the Community Orchestra concert.

While that seems like plenty of live entertainment for a few months, I have found that I continually want more.

Even though we live in a small town, there are lots of local opportunities to see music and plays performed. As I reminded myself when buying tickets, Pittsburgh isn’t that far away and has loads of performances. Clarksburg, Fairmont and Bridgeport are also not long drives and expand our options for what performances to enjoy.

Many performances are free — the university is a great resource for free concerts. Community ensembles (the brass band, harp ensemble and opera outreach program will be performing for free at the MAC next month) and the above mentioned community orchestra have free concerts. Graduate music student performances at the CAC toward the end of the semester are open to the public.

A concert I’m very disappointed to be missing this fall is the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. They will be performing Nov. 3 at the Robinson Grand. Unfortunately, I have a commitment that evening, but I am encouraging my family to go in my stead.

Local theater groups — M.T. Pockets, Dancing Elephant Productions and Morgantown Theater Company and WVU Puppet Mobile and school of theater and dance in general, all regularly have productions. Preston County also has options — with live music at Arthurdale Heritage, the Rustic Church and the Preston County Arts Center and excellent plays at Preston High School.

At most shows I’ve gone to this fall I’ve noticed low attendance. I wondered if the renewed of interest in live entertainment I am experiencing is not shared in our community. Or maybe there are just so many options, and we are all going to see different productions.

Either way, I plan to keep going to as many as I can squeeze into my schedule — both for my own entertainment and to support as many performances and performers as I can.

ALDONA BIRD is a journalist, previously writing for The Dominion Post. She uses experience gained working on organic farms in Europe to help her explore possibilities of local productivity and sustainable living in Preston County. Email