Novelist Has High Praise For Local Library

Novelist Jaimy Gordon, author of “Lord of Misrule,” a prize-winning work of fiction set near Wheeling, had high praise for the Ohio County Public Library, where she visited and spoke Monday, March 21.

“With a new book in hand, I’ve visited a lot of libraries lately, and I think the Ohio County Public Library is my all-time favorite,” Gordon wrote in a note.

“This is a handsome library in the historic riverfront city of Wheeling … There’s a real sense of community here, almost of family. People are kind and welcoming, and deeply appreciate a visiting writer, especially one who shows an interest in their city. I had a wonderful time there,” she stated.

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Speaking of books, retired history teacher and author Gary Rider said the deadline for entries in the second volume of his book, “Marshall County Patriots and Heroes,” is Sunday, May 15.

“If anyone wishes to submit a profile of a man or woman from Marshall County who served in the military, they need to contact me by that date,” he said.

Contributors who want to share stories and photographs of Marshall County’s military personnel, past or present, can contact Rider by e-mail at, by phone at 304-845-3161 or by regular mail. His mailing address is Gary Rider , 1100 Tenth St., Moundsville, WV 26041.

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As plans for the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra’s 2011-12 season were announced Tuesday, April 5, WSO Executive Director Bruce Wheeler offered a succinct summation of the orchestra’s mission: “We’re about live music and the magic that happens with symphonic music on the stage.”

Music Director Andre Raphel remarked that the world premiere of composer Richard Danielpour’s “Come Up From the Fields Father,” co-commissioned with the Manhattan School of Music in New York and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, “holds special resonance.” The work is based on a Walt Whitman poem about a mother who loses her son in the Civil War.

The performance of Danielpour’s piece on the Masterworks bill Friday, Nov. 11, will feature critically acclaimed baritone Randall Scarlata and Elisa Kohanski, principal cellist of the Wheeling Symphony. Guests at the WSO reception in the Capitol Theatre ballroom Tuesday had the opportunity to hear Kohanski playing with the symphony’s string quintet.

Raphel said the WSO also “is thrilled to present” another co-commissioned work, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s “Shadows,” in a Masterworks concert Friday, March 9. Joining with other orchestras to co-commission the composition is an “extraordinary” way, he explained, “to let people around the world know about the wonderful things that are happening in Wheeling, West Virginia.”

Regarding the pops series, Raphel said the “Cool and Swingin”‘ concert, set for Friday, Oct. 14, with vocal jazz from Five By Design “should be a wonderful program.” He noted that Five By Design appeared with the Wheeling Symphony for the highly popular “It’s Wheeling Steel” show a couple of seasons ago.

Raphel also noted the return for a pops performance Friday, Feb. 10, of Cirque de la Symphonie, whose amazing acrobats appeared with the orchestra at WesBanco Arena a few years ago, when the pops series was moved there temporarily during the closure of the Capitol. “It will be nice now to bring them to our home here at the Capitol Theatre,” the conductor remarked.

During the week of the 2011 Young People’s Concerts, the music director announced that the outreach concerts for young audiences will continue next season. “The Young People’s Concerts are a special part of what we do at the Wheeling Symphony,” he commented, adding that the series is “so important a part of our mission to bring classical music to young people.”

Observing that “orchestras around the country and the world face challenging times,” Raphel thanked Chesapeake Energy for sponsoring Tuesday’s reception and for supporting the Young People’s Concerts tour, and he issued special thanks to Frederick and Joan Stamp of Wheeling for their generous support of the Danielpour project next season.

Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at: