After 23 years, the Reeves Theater has once again opened its doors, offering a farm-to-table café as well as a venue for music.
“They say it takes a village,” said co-owner Debbie Carson, “in our case ,it’s taken a whole town.”
That started with former Mayors Tom Gwyn and Lestine Hutchens, according to Mayor Sam Bishop, who also expressed gratitude to town board members who have helped guide the project.
“A year ago we started a committee to get Elkin downtown going again,” said Bishop, claiming the Reeves Theater will contribute to the goals of Explore Elkin. “Everything is really changing downtown and this is going to be a very big part of it. This is a game changer for Elkin.”
One of the reasons is the high-quality sound system installed and designed by Philip Zanon and Myron Surber of ON AVS.
“A music venue with this level of acoustic technology is such a gift to Elkin,” said Sherry Berman. “It is a much-welcomed addition to town. I can’t wait for all the memorable nights in 2018 at the Reeves.”
Part of what makes the sound efficient is the design of the facility itself thanks to help from Joe Seipel-Parks of West Depot Architecture, who helped maintain historical qualities of the building as well as its safety.
A high quality sound means little without the musicians to make the music that fills the seats, and the Reeves already has held a sold-out show thanks to local favorites Time Sawyer. But it is the house band that has stirred old memories.
Playing everything from sounds to make the stands swing to rock that makes revelers roll, the Reeves House Band is led by Tommy Jackson, however many of the musicians awaiting the Reeves stage have had a hand in preparing it for performance.
“It’s taken musicians as well, like Joe Thrift, and people who are both musicians and craftsmen who contributed to this building,” said Carson. “Robert Holthouser [has] been amazing as a carpenter and hardhat musician.”
Music is only the beginning of what the Reeves now offers with the café opening on Saturday.
Chef Leanna Freeman offered a sampling of snacks featuring homemade breads that make the dinner wish for a bakery.
“I never tried curry before, but the curried chicken was pretty good,” said Bill Taylor. “The bread was the best part though.”
“I love to make bread,” said Freeman, who gave a hand outside of the kitchen before the café was opened.
“Everything is farm to table,” she said. “We’re going to highlight all of these farmers around here that come to the farmers market and some other ones and get connected back to our community.”
For this reason, the menu will be constantly changing to reflect items available. Daily updates can be found at www.facebook.com/ReevesTheater/.
“I’m just so, so pleased by the people we’ve assembled to work here,” said Carson. She is eager to see Suzanne Puckett, Christie Harrison, Joe and Zulma Fisch and others in action at the Reeves.
Carson also was eager to thank a long list of those who helped in the even longer process of getting the Reeves up and running again.
“Cicely McCulloch has been so invaluable championing the Reeves for all those years with Tri-county Citizens Foundation, but also helping us by storing furniture and being so generous with time and space throughout this effort,” said Carson, who also was appreciative of the extensive work done by Teresa Howell.
“Everybody knows what Teresa has done to keep the Reeves alive and Main Street efforts, as have Larry [Irwin] and the current Main Street Advisory Manager Laura Gaylord,” said Carson. “She’s been wonderful helping us representing the town of Elkin as we applied for Main Street Solutions Funding Grant.”
Carson also thanked those who were continuing to help as well as those who had done a great deal of work before Carson took over the project with husband Dr. Chris Groner and Erik Dahlager.
“Jason Couch is helping us find photos and information,” said Carson. “We intend to put up a display on the wall in the lobby to provide lots of information about the past and contributors to previous efforts over the last 23 years. We just haven’t finished that yet.”
In addition to wishing that project had been able to be completed for the grand opening, Carson also regretted that Dahlager, who has served as the primary project manager in recent years, was unable to be present for the actual ribbon cutting event.
Carson also regretted that Dr. Hal Stewart was not able to be present.
“He’s the reason that we came to Elkin in the first place,” said Carson, who wanted to be certain Stewart knew he was missed. “He used to tell us what a wonderful town Elkin was when we were living in Winston-Salem when my husband Chris was doing his residency there. We found that Hal was correct and Elkin has been a wonderful place to live.
“We’ve lived here almost four decades, which is staggering to me. We’ve been here now longer than anywhere else,” said Carson. “We love it here and we just appreciate Elkin and you all. We look forward to the future.”
“This is something we’ve been anxiously awaiting. This is really a monumental night for downtown Elkin,” said Bishop, “in fact for the whole community and area.”
To find out what events are coming to Elkin by way of the Reeves Theater, go to www.reevestheater.com.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.