By Marilyn Delk
Darke County Center for the Arts’ presentations came to an abrupt, unexpected end when the COVID pandemic forced cancellation of everything planned from mid-April 2020 through the entire 2020-2021 “Vision” season. Plans were made, un-made, and revised multiple times as COVID controlled events locally and around the world; glum discouragement ruled as opportunities to gather together to experience performances glimmered briefly, then disappeared again and again.
Then, magic happened! DCCA opened its 2021-2022 “Re-Vision” season with “Barbecue and Blues,” a festive event on the Greenville Public Library lawn starring blues god Noah Wotherspoon; if you were among the huge crowd who attended this amazing party, you know how magical that evening was, bringing joy to all in attendance, inspiring hope for the future in spite of grim realities still looming.
Next, a little red truck brought the Missoula Children’s Theatre residency to St. Clair Memorial Hall on July 26; dozens of youngsters experienced the magic of live theatre, participating in a fully-realized production of Sleeping Beauty. And then, after multiple on-again, off-again agreements, DCCA presented “The Hitmen” on stage at Memorial Hall on Sept. 11, opening a new season with the guys who performed on classic hits magically re-creating those sounds fans love to hear.
Magic moved to local schools next, with Robert Post opening DCCA’s Arts In Education series Sept. 20 to 24; the hard to define artist delighted fourth through sixth graders, invoking joy and spurring creativity with his multiple talents as a mime, movement artist, actor, and juggler. Emmy award-winning vocalist Shaun Johnson brought his incredible energy and talent to St. Clair Memorial Hall Sept. 30 through Oct. 1, creating magical moments with great music that delighted junior high students. Shaun Johnson and his Big Band Experience then re-created that magic in a memorable performance opening DCCA’s Artists Series on Oct. 2, fulfilling the expectations of music lovers from many eras and genres.
Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Zak Morgan spread happiness and enthusiasm while enhancing literacy among local kindergarten through third graders from Nov. 8 through 12, then brought his magical wit, charm, and talents to Montage Cafe to open DCCA’s Coffee House season, delighting children and adults alike with his clever wordplay and impressive musical abilities. The Moxie Strings closed out DCCA’s AIE series, performing for high school students Nov. 29 through Dec. 3, then moved their delightful sound to The Coffee Pot, magically transforming a cold December night into a warm celebration of joyous music for a sold-out Coffee House crowd.
Now, the magic continues into the New Year, beginning with DCCA’s festive fundraiser, “A Taste of Wine and Jazz” at Montage Cafe on Jan. 21, then moving to Union City’s Arts Depot for an entertaining evening of music and fun with Heartland Productions performing favorite tunes from the past and present on Feb. 24. The magic continues when DCCA presents “Motones vs. Jerseys” at Memorial Hall on Feb. 26; the Motones perform the hits of The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, and other Motown greats, competing with the Jerseys, who sing songs made famous by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, the Beach Boys, and more. You’ll want to be among the crowd choosing the winner in this competition where no one really loses.
The luck of the Irish will magically bless our community on Mar. 18, with DCCA’s Irish Wave bringing brews, food and music of the Emerald Isle to Montage Cafe. Magic hits the Memorial Hall stage for real on Mar. 26, when magician Daniel Martin demonstrates his incredible sleight of hand and playful sleight of mind to amaze and thrill audiences of all ages.
On Apr. 9, Grammy winner Mike Farris brings magic of another kind to the Hall with his energetic music and soulful vocal delivery. On Apr. 21, accomplished vocalist and guitarist Jaime Marvin pursues her magical vision, closing out DCCA’s Coffee House series at Arcanum’s Wayne Trail Historical Society. On May 28 Toledo Symphony Orchestra will perform their melodious magic at Memorial Hall, bringing DCCA’s Artists Series season to a glorious end. To capture the magic of the arts, contact DCCA at 937-547-0908 or www.DarkeCountyArts.org.
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.