Main Stage series schedule set

You can make your own season with membership

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Sumter Opera House's 2017-18 Main Stage series lineup is set, and the shows promise the variety and excitement of acts from the previous season. After the series' opening show, the colorful spectacular Artrageous, on Oct. 5, the season gets underway on Oct. 13 with a double bill comprising two sibling acts - the three Quebe Sisters and the two Malpass Brothers - who perform traditional country music, then brings popular S.C. native Patrick Davis to the stage with his Midnight Choir on Oct. 21.

The roster of acts for the fall half of the series holds several country music performers, including Sammy Kershaw on Nov. 4 and John Berry, returning with his popular Christmas show on Dec. 16. Kershaw is known for his "pure country music" sound and songs from his latest album, "Better than I Used to Be," his first in four years. He says he won't sing or record a song unless he's lived its story, so Kershaw's concert will be personal and universal.

Country singer Berry will reprise his celebrated rendition of "O Holy Night" and will sing other Christmas music on Dec. 16. He'll also sing his past hits and newer songs. Seth Reimer, Sumter's cultural manager, advises getting tickets for this show early, as the venue will fill quickly for Berry. Berry has more than 20 albums, including a platinum and two gold recordings.

Country music is not all that's coming to the Sumter Opera House stage this season. Just one week before Berry, on Dec. 9, the Celtic Tenors will present a program of diverse genres, from classical and folk to Irish and pop. While their roots are classical, Matthew Gilsenan, James Nelson and Daryl Simpson are proficient in all types of music, creating a wide-ranging experience for their audience.

After a break for the holidays, Main Stage returns in February with Bob Eubanks and the updated game show, "The Not So Newlywed Game," on Feb. 17. Eubanks has many hilarious stories about couples on the original "Newlywed Game," which he hosted from 1966 to 1974, and he'll solicit volunteers from the audience to play the game on stage. The premise of the competition has one spouse answering questions about the other's foibles, while his or her partner, who's been kept out of hearing off stage, attempts to match the answers.

Luckily, the married couples selected don't have to be newlyweds, and they can win prizes.

Stand-up comedian Jon Reep takes the stage on March 10, with the humor that's taken him across the country doing live shows and to parts in film and TV. In addition to his many network TV appearances, Reep has had his own special on Comedy Network.

March 16 brings Lightwire Theater's Moon Mouse: A Space Odyssey to literally light up the stage in its family friendly magical show. Lightwire Theater performs across the country and the world and previously proved very popular on TV's "America's Got Talent" and "Fake Off!"

The final (so far) performance of the 2017-18 Main Stage series will be the Del McCoury Band. This highly anticipated concert by the hardcore bluegrass band is scheduled for March 24. McCoury himself is noted for his bluegrass roots, taking fans back to the days when bluegrass was just gaining popularity. Its current popularity is often attributed to musicians such as McCoury, who now sings lead and plays guitar with his sons, Rob on banjo and Ronnie on guitar. McCoury played with Bill Monroe and His Bluegrass Boys in the mid-1960s.

Reimer noted that Main Stage memberships are already available and offer several advantages to the holders, including but not limited to early access to reservations, listing in the souvenir playbill, access to special events and more, depending on the level of membership.

In addition, Main Stage members can go over the series schedule and put together their own season. Visit the website http://sumtersc.gov/MainStageSeries for more details. You can also follow the Sumter Opera House on its Facebook page.