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Rumsey Radio Hour a Shepherdstown tradition

By Staff | Jan 20, 2017

This weekend, the Friends of the Shepherdstown Library will host the Rumsey Radio Hour, a live variety show that has taken place in town for more than 20 years.

According to Hali Taylor, director of the Shepherdstown Public Library, the Rumsey Radio Hour – a live, old-time radio show that includes musical performances, live sound effects, skits and stories – was started by Rev. Randy Tremba and his friends in 1989.

“He had the idea for a live radio show with local humor and local color,” Taylor said. “He had a running sketch about an elderly couple who lived just outside of Shepherdstown and their adventures, that went on for years. At the time, it was broadcast in real-time over WSHC (the Shepherd University radio station).”

Taylor said Tremba ran the show until 1995, but took a few years off. She said the show was revived in 2004 as part of the dinner theater fundraisers the Friends of the Shepherdstown Library hosted at the time, and Tremba said he would help bring the Rumsey Radio Hour back.

“The show changes every year and the only real theme is that it reflects what is going on in the world and locally,” Taylor said.

This year’s show includes storyteller and Shepherd University Appalachian Studies professor Adam Booth, Shepherd Professor Emeritus Phil Bufithis, Todd Coyle, Clissy Funkhouser, Grace and Nina Geiger, Hope Snyder, Don Oehser, Laura First and Ed Zahniser.

At the Saturday matinee performance, set for 2:30 p.m., the Asbury Church Ambassadors Choir will perform. The musical performance for the Saturday evening show at 8 p.m. will be by the band Flowers and Birds. Local group The Speakeasy Boys will perform at the Sunday matinee, which will be at 2:30 p.m.

There will be an interactive “talk back” with the cast following Saturday evening’s performance, with beer, wine and snacks available.

“I think a lot of people come back year after year because it is a lot of fun to watch. There’s a lot of humor specific to Jefferson County and Shepherdstown about local current events,” Taylor said. “It’s a great chance for younger people to experience an old-fashioned radio show, and it showcases local talent. It’s a fun community get-together.”

All proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Friends of the Shepherdstown Library, a nonprofit support group for the Shepherdstown Public Library.

Taylor said the Friends group donates the proceeds from all fundraisers and events it hosts to the library, with the funds from the Rumsey Radio Hour going to support children’s programming at the library, including preschool literacy, summer reading and after-school programs like yoga.

All performances will take place at Shepherd University’s Marinoff Theater. Taylor said there are a limited number of tickets, adding tickets will not be held for patrons at the theater doors.

Prior to Jan. 18, tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children under the age of 12. After that date, ticket prices will be $25 for adults and $15 for children age 12 and under. Tickets for the Sunday matinee are sold out, Taylor said.

Tickets may be purchased by calling the Shepherdstown Public Library, 304-876-2783.