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Goldfield Opera House set for grand opening Tuesday

GOLDFIELD — This old mining town 140 miles north of Pahrump is set to add to the community’s culture with the debut of an opera house.

The Goldfield Opera House, across the street from the historic Goldfield Hotel, plans to host its first show at 7 p.m., June 14. That’s when the new venue at 209 Crook Ave. is to officially open with a show by singer-songwriter Robert Thornton Kent of Oklahoma.

The opera house seats up to 70. The venue is part of Radio Goldfield/KGFN 89.1 FM, and occupies newly-renovated space at the nonprofit radio station, which spearheaded the project.

“It’s a like music venue with a complete professional sound system, stage lighting, a beautiful stage,” said Carl Brownfield, program director and station manager.

“It’s a very nice venue for artists to come and not only to play, but also we’re in a situation where we can broadcast them live and broadcast them on the internet, stream them live,” he said. “It’s a very cool thing.”

Efforts by station volunteers and donations made the opera house possible.

“I was in Las Vegas and had a friend with a recording studio who donated the complete sound system,” Brownfield said. “I have another friend who is in music, who donated the complete lighting system.”

“The only thing that we had to pay for, that KGFN paid for, was the remodeling of the building to include building the stage and installing the electrical,” Brownfield added.

Special artwork, music, audience

Brownfield calls the venue “a sight to behold” complete with a carving of musical mules on the front of the wooden stage, the creation of local artist Bryan Smalley, owner of Hidden Treasures Trading Co. in Goldfield. “It took me about 100 hours,” Smalley said.

The design, he said, “just popped into my head.”

“The station emblem is a donkey so I figured, ‘Well, might as well have a donkey band. It is going to be an opera house playing music.’” Smalley recalled.

Brownfield said that live concerts are planned for the venue, “probably anywhere from seven to nine shows a year.”

“The type of music we play and the type of artists that we will normally have in here will be acoustic, folk, country type, in other words, American roots music,” he said. “Singer-songwriters and that type of artist. You won’t see a lot of rock and roll, and zero rap.”

As for the audience? “We’ll probably have some tourists but mostly people from the local area, Tonopah and Goldfield,” Brownfield said.

“Another thing that this is going to provide is a venue for our young people, the school kids, to put on programs and concerts,” added Brownfield, an Esmeralda County school board member.

How it began

The opera house started as an idea that’s linked to the music itself.

“In my ongoing management of the radio station and my friendship with many of the artists (whose music) that we play, I have had a number of them tell me that they wished we had a venue that they could come and play music for KGFN,” Brownfield said.

As it turns out, the station’s board of directors had been talking about that possibility for a couple of years.

Opera house construction started in December in a building that dates back to the 1920s.

“Our out-of-pocket expenses have been about $5,000, but we probably have another $10,000 in donated equipment,” Brownfield said.

“Almost all of it has been done by friends of KGFN, the people who actually put on radio shows here,” he said. “It’s all volunteer, all the time. We have nine different people who are producing their own radio shows at this station in the little tiny town of Goldfield.”

IF YOU GO

■ The opening show for the Goldfield Opera House is set for 7 p.m., June 14, at 209 Crook Ave.

■ Singer-songwriter Robert Thornton Kent of Oklahoma is to perform.

■ The suggested donation is $15 per person to attend the Goldfield Opera house’s opening show, a concert by singer-songwriter Robert Thornton Kent of Oklahoma.

■ Bottled water will be provided but no alcohol and no food sales are planned.

SOURCE: Goldfield Opera House

Contact reporter David Jacobs at djacobs@tonopahtimes.com

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