Carefully moving forward

Darke County Center for the Arts is eagerly anticipating (at last) presenting The Hit Men on Saturday, Sept. 11 at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall, opening its 2021-22 “Re: Vision” season. This energizing show starring artists who performed on the hit records made by legendary rock-n-roll bands will bring joy to an audience which has been waiting for this performance for almost two years; The Hit Men were scheduled to perform in March 2020, just as the COVID pandemic hit its stride, bringing all public gatherings to a crashing halt. However, at this point just a little more than a week prior to the re-scheduled show, DCCA has surprisingly sold only half as many tickets as for the original date. What happened to the enthusiasm for hearing top musicians playing the songs we all remember and love?

Perhaps the surge in COVID cases locally and around the nation is a factor deterring advance ticket purchases, and people are prudently waiting to see how the situation develops before buying tickets to attend the show. DCCA Executive Director Andrea Jordan wants potential audience members to know that all current safety protocols will be followed as directed by Greenville City Schools, the owner of St. Clair Memorial Hall, and according to Ohio Department of Health recommendations. The school highly recommends that masks be worn inside the building, and has prudently purchased a new disinfectant system utilizing ultraviolet light to thoroughly clean the auditorium following each use.

Or maybe the plethora of activities being offered in September following the long period of nothing happening due to COVID-related concerns has people in a quandary as to which appealing events to attend. Well, here’s the case for choosing to see The Hit Men.

These are the real guys who played with legendary artists on hits such as “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Sunshine of Your Love,” “Layla,” and others; they will perform these classics just the way you remember them. The Hitmen were recognized by the Musicians Hall of Fame with the first ever “Road Warriors Award,” given to honor their years of dedication to music as they traveled countless miles to deliver so many hits throughout the world.

Steve Murphy got his first big break in 1998 when legendary producer Phil Ramone asked the drummer/singer to work as a vocalist on an Elton John project. He eventually toured the world with The Alan Parsons Project, and has worked with Dave Mason, Todd Rundgren, and more.

Gifted multi-keyboard expert and singer Mike DiMeo’s years as the organist for Tommy James and the Shondells opened the door to his long list of collaborations, including performing with Deep Purple, Johnny Winter, and others. Mark Newman, whose expressive voice evokes warmth and comfort, plays guitar, mandolin, lap steel, and dobro; his musical journey has taken him around the world several times, sharing the stage with soul legend Sam Moore of Sam and Dave as well as the inimitable Sam the Sham.

Bassist and vocalist Greg Smith has collaborated with an amazing array of rock legends, creating a resume that reads like a Who’s Who of classic rock; he’s worked with Billy Joel, Ted Nugent, Blue Oyster Cult, and appeared in the film Wayne’s World as a member of Alice Cooper’s band. Tommy Williams, a guitarist/vocalist, has also worked with some of rock’s most influential names, including Steely Dan, Tommy Shaw of Styx, and Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielson, as well as pop star Debbie Gibson, for whom he served as musical director.

These impressive credentials assure a note-for-note recreation of the exciting sound fans want to hear; to ensure that you don’t miss this memorable evening of music you love, get your tickets now! They cost $30 for adults, $15 for students, and can be purchased on DCCA’s Website, www.DarkeCountyArts.org, or by visiting the DCCA office located on the third floor of Greenville Public Library Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., and will be on sale at the DCCA Box Office which opens one hour prior to the show. Tickets for DCCA’s entire 2021-2022 “Re: Vision” season are also available; for more information, call DCCA at 937-547-0908.