By Marilyn Delk
When asked why they failed to attend a highly enjoyable Darke County Center for the Arts presentation, many people reply “Because I never heard of him/her/them,” equating performers’ fame with talent and skill, an equation that does not always compute. However, that’s a more acceptable response than, “If they were any good, they wouldn’t come here.” That reply can inspire me to rant and rave, as it not only negates the worth of the artist, but also the value of DCCA presentations for the past 30+ years. And I believe that the “Super Bowl mentality” underlying those attitudes unnecessarily deprives many folks of a lot of incredibly pleasant moments.
The “Super Bowl mentality” moves people to only seek out the biggest, most potentially exciting events. And how many times does the Super Bowl itself fulfill expectations, how often does it disappoint? Seldom and often, respectively. Although I don’t intend to endorse as a philosophy of life the concept that those who don’t expect much are seldom disappointed, demanding over-the-top success before deciding to attend an event is pretty unrealistic, and results in missing really good stuff.
This summer, we’ve traveled out of the county to enjoy a few concerts by performers whose names you might or might not recognize. Were they the greatest concerts ever? Probably not, but they provided memorably pleasant evenings that left us feeling joyful and content—and that’s more than enough for me. Honestly, Greenville Municipal Band’s concerts in the park offer opportunity for a delightful experience that can be enjoyed and savored without the need to travel or even expend any funds. Hearing good music performed in a lovely outdoor setting on a pleasant Sunday evening certainly seems like an attractive, inviting prospect.
DCCA’s Coffeehouse Series features artists who have not achieved fame (at least nationally—some of them are quite famous locally and regionally), but those Coffeehouse shows provide some of my favorite memories. Whether the pleasure was provided by gentle music that made me feel good or surprisingly insightful lyrics that made me think or amazing talent that blew me away, the happy experience stuck with me for a while, buoying my spirit and energizing my soul. Who couldn’t use a little more of that?
DCCA’s first Coffeehouse concert of the new season will be here before we know it; folk musician Lee Murdock will play and sing his songs of the Great Lakes at the Arts Depot in Union City on Thursday, Sept. 17. The Depot provides a charming venue occasionally enhanced by the whistle of a passing train, providing a touch of nostalgia that only adds to the authenticity of the setting. Lee’s musical influences span the centuries, embracing the blues, Scott Joplin rags, and seventeenth century Irish harp music. The fluent instrumentalist ‘s songs tell of hard work, hard living, ships that go down and ships that come in, and I am eagerly anticipating hearing and enjoying them.
Most of the artists appearing on the Coffeehouse Series are deeply connected to their music, and that connection reaches out to the audience, creating a mysterious energy exchange that can move and inspire. Being there when such a moment occurs can be transcendent, but even if it’s only enjoyable, it’s worth seeking out. So if this sounds appealing to you, I have another suggestion. Buy your tickets now so that you won’t miss what will undoubtedly be a quite pleasant concert—and may even be memorable and exciting. Then mark the event on your calendar so that you can schedule around it if necessary to assure your ability to partake of a thoroughly enjoyable evening that leaves you feeling good.
To get your tickets for Lee Murdock or any DCCA event, contact DCCA at 547-0908 or [email protected]. Tickets can also be obtained at DCCA’s website www.centerforarts.net.
Marilyn Delk is a director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.