Having fun, spreading joy through the arts



By Marilyn Delk

Darke County Center for the Arts has happily completed all components of their much revised 2021-2022 “Re: Vision” season except for their Artists Series grand finale, producing a year of outstanding presentations following a much-postponed and revised 2020-2021 “Vision” season that never happened due to the COVID pandemic. The final production of DCCA’s Family Theatre Series, Mister C’s “Full Steam Ahead LIVE!, was performed at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall to the delight of an enthusiastic audience on Sunday, April 24, literally ending the FTS season with a bang!

Mister C, an Emmy-nominated producer and host of Full STEAM Ahead which airs on PBS stations across the U.S., utilized silly songs, exciting experiments and dazzling demonstrations to explain the hows and whys of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math). The fascinated audience learned a great deal while having a whole lot of fun, and a large number of attendees proudly went home carrying souvenirs of the wonders they had witnessed, objects that had figured centrally in the show’s grand finale — great wads of toilet paper!

DCCA’s Family Theatre Series opened at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall on Sunday, Feb. 27 with The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s hilarious retelling of a classic story, Rapunzel’s Hairy Fairy Tale. The cast of just two incredibly talented, energetic, and versatile actors portrayed all of the characters in this fun and funny production featuring a long-haired lady locked in a tower, entertaining youngsters and adults alike with tuneful melodies and an innovative script.

The story of Harriet Tubman’s heroic life was entertainingly retold to a riveted audience when DCCA presented Virginia Repertory Theatre’s musical play Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall on Sunday, March 13. This fantastic tale of adventure recalled pivotal events in our nation’s history as experienced by a courageous woman who willingly encountered perils and hardships while fighting for and serving others throughout her eventful life.

DCCA’s programming directed to youngsters also includes an Arts In Education series which annually presents professional performing artists to students in every grade of all local public schools. Robert Post kicked off the AIE season Sept. 20 through 24, performing his zany category-defying show for fourth through sixth graders. Robert is a mime, a movement artist, an actor, a juggler, and more who invokes joy and spurs creativity in his audiences, enabling imagination and stimulating the development of new ideas which can ultimately lead to many positive outcomes.

Crooner Shaun Johnson brought his masterful sound to Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, enthralling area junior high students. Accompanied by versatile pianist Theo Brown and accomplished drummer David Stanach, the youthful blonde crooner was enthusiastically received as his audience sat beguiled throughout the entire highly entertaining performance in which Shaun extolled the power of joining with like-minded others, each individual uniquely contributing, to create a meaningful outcome for all; his message and his music spoke directly to his audience while also creating magical memorable moments.

Creative force of nature Zak Morgan spread joy and enthusiasm while teaching literacy as well as inspiring self-confidence in kindergarten through third-grade students Nov. 8 through 12. Zak’s zany program pleased students and educators alike, as the engaged youngsters had a really good time while subtly learning lessons about alliteration, imagery, and rhyming, as well as metamorphosis and other features of the natural world. However, if you ask the audience members what they thought about the show, they will simply answer, “It was fun!”

Fiddler Diana Ladio and cellist Alison Lynn obviously take joy in making music, and spread their joy to everyone within listening distance of the amazing sounds emanating from their instruments. The eclectic world-traveling duo, The Moxie Strings, brought their sublime talents to our community Nov. 29 through Dec. 3, performing for high school students in all local public schools as the final presentation of DCCA’s 2021-2022 Arts In Education program.

Darke County Center for the Arts spread the joy of the arts throughout our community to people of all ages during the past year; that’s an accomplishment to celebrate!

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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