What a difference year makes


Just a little over a year ago, Darke County Center for the Arts’ shining Ruby Anniversary season concluded with a sparkling performance by Toledo Symphony Orchestra; the show shimmered with glitz and glamour. Versatile conductor Carl Topilow not only led the orchestra through its exuberant playlist, but also displayed his glittering abilities on a ruby red clarinet, playing a show-stopping medley, “The History of the Clarinet Part I;” stellar vocalist Joan Ellison skillfully sang songs made popular by Judy Garland (who famously wore ruby red shoes while traveling through Oz in the movie which catapulted her to super-stardom), and a rousing good time was enjoyed by all as DCCA celebrated the triumphant conclusion to not only the Ruby Anniversary season but also 40 years of growth and success.

What a difference a year makes! DCCA’s 41st season was off to a rousing start with sold-out presentations earning rave reviews and new fans, and looked forward to another highly successful year. Then COVID-19 hit, bringing with it unprecedented concerns about public gatherings. DCCA responded responsibly, canceling highly anticipated performance after highly anticipated performance in accordance with safe social distancing requirements. And that explains why this column is not touting the wonders that await when Toledo Symphony Orchestra returns to Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall as scheduled, because that concert concluding DCCA’s colorful and diverse 2019-2020 Kaleidoscope season will sadly not be happening.

But here’s the good news! Those of us who are sorely disappointed by this understandably necessary cancelation can once again relive the glow of Toledo Symphony Orchestra’s concert of May 11, 2019 by tuning in to Discover Classical’s “Live and Local” broadcast this Saturday morning at 10 a.m. Each week, our public radio station WDPG airs recordings of a broad range of local performances including concerts by Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Richmond Symphony Orchestra, University of Dayton and Wright State University music groups and more. DCCA is proud to participate in this program airing outstanding community presentations which shares the thrill of live music originally enjoyed locally with audiences across the world.

Discover Classical, which can be heard at 88.1 FM WDPR Dayton, 89.9FM WDPG Greenville, 89.1USO Springfield, and online at discover classical.org, provides the background music to my daily life, usually accompanying my morning routines and easing me into each new day. Following the events of 9/11, I discovered that I no longer wanted to begin my day listening to news, moved the radio dial to 89.9, and never looked back. Although I may switch to other stations or listen to CD’s during the day, “Discover Classical” and its radio hosts are cherished companions to my daily life; the remembered glory of last year’s final celebratory DCCA presentation will enhance my delight as I happily enjoy the wonderful sounds once again this Saturday morning.

The joy of experiencing live performance will be difficult to come by for a while. Disappointing thousands of music lovers across the region, Dayton Performing Arts Alliance canceled all events through August; Kettering’s Fraze Pavilion has announced cancellation of its entire season. In our community, DCCA was forced to cancel the exciting Family Theatre Series closer Llama Llama Live, as well as two Coffeehouse shows featuring amazing performers in intimate casual settings, and the final two Artists Series concerts—legendary rock supergroup The Hit Men and Toledo Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, DCCA’s very popular fundraiser BBQ & Blues which in past years attracted hundreds to the Greenville Library lawn will not be happening, nor will local students have the opportunity to star in a Missoula Children’s Theatre-produced musical this summer, as the MCT residency has been postponed until summer of 2021. So, during this intermission, join me in seeking out live performances streaming on the Web and captured on Youtube—and turn on your radio; you’ll be glad you did.


By Marilyn Delk


Marilyn Delk is the former executive 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.

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