CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Tamarack's Sunday @ Two program is constant, yet always changing.
Current events director Kelly Elkins said the program was created by original events director, Tim Pyles to be "a regular event, something that never changed." What does change, however, is the entertainment the hour-long program presents.
"The entertainment can always vary. We do anything from theater to dance to music," Elkins said. "It's just a wide variety of what you're going to see on that stage."
"The live music is constantly changing. We have blues, bluegrass, country, jazz. We even brought punk and metal to the stage recently," she added, although noting that the latter two genres were represented in a Friday night fundraising concert, not during Sunday @ Two.
Sunday @ Two concerts are held weekly in the Gov. Hulett C. Smith Theater at Tamarack, which seats 200 people. Admission is free, but a ticket is required.
"We try to bring in entertainment that appeals to a broad range," she said, adding that the demographic for the program is people ages 35 to 75.
Elkins said people may call during the week leading up to a concert to reserve up to 10 tickets, or they may come anytime on Sunday before the show to get them. However, they are given on a first-come, first-serve basis, and there are programs that sell out.
Some of the groups that are especially popular, she said, are Beckley's The Boatmen, Fayetteville's The Wild Rumpus, Charleston's The Carpenter Ants and Clear Creek's The Lilly Mountaineers. As you can see from that list, all Sunday @ Two performers are from West Virginia.
"We keep it local. That's one of the requirements," Elkins said. "In order to perform at Sunday @ Two, you must be a West Virginia musician, and we have to sell your CD in our music department. That way, we know the music is of good quality, and you are a professional musician."
She noted that musicians whose music is not currently sold at Tamarack can find more information about its jury process under Artisan Services at tamarackwv.com.
Musicians who play original music as opposed to cover songs are also preferred.
"I enjoy original music. I will select a band that performs original music over one that performs cover music," Elkins said. "I wan to hear what you came up with, what you wrote. I love to hear your original tunes -- your creation, your work of art.
"That's what Tamarack is all about: showcasing your talent."
Elkins, who has worked at Tamarack in various capacities since it opened, said the Sunday @ Two concerts have broadened her musical horizons.
"I've grown to have an appreciation for bluegrass music and even country because these people are really talented musicians," she said.
"I love that West Virginia is just a big, huge melting pot of different types of music. We even have reggae; who would ever think West Virginia would have a reggae scene? But there it is!"
While musicians make up the bulk of the Sunday @ Two performers, the program does feature other artists as well. Among the theater performers are the students of the Tamarack youth theater summer day camp, who conclude their two-week camp with a Sunday @ Two production.
Dance companies that have performed include the West Virginia Dance Company, the Charleston Ballet and the Beckley Dance Theater. The Beckley troupe performs selections from "The Nutcracker" every December, Elkins said.
The Appalachian Country Cloggers from Summersville are another popular act. Elkins said the group frequently employs audience participation in its shows and that audiences love it.
"They'll have them get up on stage and clog with the team," she said. "When they tell them to come on up, there are more people on stage than in the audience."
Kanawha County improv troupe The No Pants Players have performed during the series, as has street performer Glenn Singer of Lewisburg.
"Glenn is a top-of-the-line performer," Elkins said. "He brings on this horse, if you will, named Siegfrido. It's this suit he gets into; it looks like he's riding this horse. He is hilarious!"
Elkins said she currently has the schedule booked until around Christmas, though nothing after June is official, as she has to wait until the new financial year to make sure she has funding. (See a schedule through July on page 2.) She likes to work well in advance so there's a cushion if a problem arises.
One group she's looking forward to later in the year is the Harper's Ferry quintet, The Woodshedders, who will perform in the fall.
"Their gypsy jazz style of music is excellent!" she said. "I've never heard music put together like that. I think people are going to travel the distance to check them out; they're very entertaining!"
Reach Amy Robinson at flips...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4881.