After years of anticipation, it is finally time to open the doors to the new Chuck Mathena Center.What began as a dream several years ago by Charles and Marquetta Mathena is now a stunning reality for Princeton, Mercer County and the entire region.

The opening weekend celebration for the CMC begins on Friday, July 11, with a performance by the Del McCoury Band. Then on Saturday, July 12, a “Theatre of Illusion” featuring the Spencers will take center stage at the CMC followed by a performance on Sunday, July 13, by Dr. Ethel Caffie-Austin. Ticket sales are now underway at the CMC for all three events.

A number of additional performances, activities and events already are scheduled for well into 2009 at the CMC.

The entire region is encouraged to support the CMC — a long-awaited jewel in the heart of Princeton. The new $8 million performing arts center will serve as a venue for a diverse range of entertainment and cultural activities, as well as local social and recreational events.

The center is named in memory of Charles T. “Chuck” Mathena III, who died in an automobile accident on March 11, 1992, less than two months from his graduation from the Joseph M. Bryan School of Business and Economics at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

While a student at Princeton Senior High School, he had developed a love of the performing arts. He was a member of the school’s Madrigals Choral Group and was named to the All-State West Virginia Chorus.

The beautiful facility — named in his memory and years in the making — is now a stunning reality.

A once great regional theatrical and entertainment void is now being filled with the opening of the CMC. The promise of professional artists, theatrical performances, quality entertainment, great music and new educational and enrichment opportunities will benefit the entire community — from school children to adults.

We applaud Charles and Marquetta Mathena for their foresight, commitment and their perseverance in the development of the CMC.

A stunning new addition to Princeton, the benefits of the CMC will extend far beyond the city limits. The CMC will serve and benefit all of southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia.

Following three years of construction, it’s time to celebrate the opening of the CMC. The entire region is urged to support our new state-of-the-art performing arts center.

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