The Lucketts Bluegrass Series returned to its home at the village’s old school Saturday night, drawing a packed house to see a performance by a longtime favorite and to tour the community center, which has reopened after a two-year renovation effort.
The performance by the Larry Stephenson Band was significant in that it marked the anniversary of the concert series’ first show on the same stage on Jan. 12, 1974. Stephenson didn’t perform at that first show, but was on the Lucketts stage a few weeks later and has been entertaining area Bluegrass fans ever since.
The real star of Saturday night’s show was the renovated community center. Built in 1913 as a public schoolhouse, it continued to serve students until 1972. The building got new life as a county community center in 1981. In 1993, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Over the years, the Old School’s preservation was championed by community leaders and the annual Lucketts Fair has raised money to support building upgrades and community programs.
The just-completed renovation was done by the county government as part of a series of community center upgrades and was spearheaded by longtime community center manager Hilary Cooley. While the building’s architectural features were refurbished and maintained—from the distinctive bell tower to the wood flooring—the structure enjoys new electrical, heating, cooling systems and is compliant with the American with Disabilities Act, including the installation of an elevator to move patrons between the first and second floors. In addition to the weekly Bluegrass concerts, the community center offers daily preschool and child care programs.
During the renovations, the Bluegrass concerts were held next door at the Lucketts Elementary School. Next week’s performers will be Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper. Go to www.luckettsbluegrass.com for details.