On a normal day, on quiet mornings at the Apollo you can hear its heartbeat.
Someone new to these sounds may stop and listen. There is no denying the rumors of ghosts, so of course you can’t help yourself.
Your mind works to explain them, and then these sounds make sense and after being there for a few moments alone, you do.
There is the loud clank that will happen as a car drives by outside passing over a manhole.
Sitting on the stage working on a set you might hear what you would first think are footsteps in the floors above you.
Is George above you on the catwalk?
After a while you will decide it’s just wind.
This is an old building after all.
On a normal morning, the reason you would be there is to work on painting the stage, or a set piece, maybe you are preparing for a field trip group to arrive soon, there might be a youth workshop happening soon, or maybe for a repair man.
After all, this is an old building.
Often times, you might walk in tired. You had been there late the evening before but this morning even with your tired body, your soul and heart is full. The Apollo had a great performance last night. Or a great tech run.
The people there had made your heart very happy.
This old theatre was so very alive, and full of invigorating sound and energy.
The weeks leading up to each performance can be described a few different ways.
A beautiful hard core climb, or the occasional moment where you wonder when and how you joined the circus.
You always did joke that you wanted to. You just never knew what kind of circus it would be, or how much you would love it.
It makes you cry out of frustration. It makes you cry out of pride.
Then you cry for the reason that it sucked you in and now you do it:
the beautiful expression of art, and watching people come together pouring themselves out to an audience, the beautiful team that you have all become.
A loud yell brings you back to your goals of being there.
The theatre is in the heart of Martinsburg, and you can hear this second heartbeat on the quiet mornings.
Holding a coffee you will likely find yourself climbing the steps to the stage and turning off the GHOST LIGHT.
As you do it, it is as if you can feel the hundreds, thousands of times someone else did this.
Probably before you were even walking.
You feel the weight of it, and move it with care.
Sometimes you turn on music and this is part motivation, part an attempt to distract you from its sounds.
You tell yourself it is silly to feel nervous to be there alone.
It is hard not to let your mind wander. You may imagine hearing music coming from the ballroom and your mind instantly goes to years ago and the people up there dancing. You can’t help but imagine all the beautiful things that must have happened on this stage.
You feel small, because it feels like an honor to be sitting in this exact place.
Most days you won’t be there working long and you will have people stop by.
Carl and his wife are often there. Taking care of this beautiful building.
They are often repairing chairs, windows and most recently building a new youth closet.
They are both fairly soft spoken, and kind. You are always happy to see them.
If it were not for them, you aren’t sure how these theatre parts would survive.
There are not enough volunteers. Your mind wanders off again, this time trying to think of how to tell more people about this place…
As the day goes on, you will see Michael more than once. You can hear the jingling of his keys and his happy walk.
He is the man who keeps this place running. He can tell you how to fix something or what to do with his eyes closed.
He has been in this building since he was just a teenager and has literally spent his life here.
He stops and says hi and tells you a new story about the theatre that you have never heard and then he is off again.
He never stops.
As the day goes on there are others that stop by.
People dropping off items.
Lots of times by the afternoon you might hear the piano playing upstairs.
It’s not a ghost.
There are voice lessons happening in the ballroom, and you smile knowing that once again you are not alone.
As the day goes on it is time to leave. You will only have a few hours before you will need to be back.
The quiet will be erased by creative voices and talent, by determination and the outpouring of love for theatre.
It is night time when its heart beats the loudest.
It’s been pretty quiet here.
We hope to see people fill these walls again soon.
Until then, I wrote this to help you hear the whispers of this theatre and took these pictures to remind you we’re here.
Turning the ghost light back on,