Vision revised, then realized



By Marilyn Delk

A great deal of advance planning goes into creating a season of Darke County Center for the Arts presentations; much visioning takes place to insure balance and quality so that DCCA meets its goal to successfully present and promote the arts while encouraging cultural enrichment within our community. However, all of the planning and re-planning for DCCA’s 2020-2021 “Vision” season came to nought due to the COVID pandemic. So, plans were completed, negated, revised, and re-revised, constructing a hoped-for 2021-2022 season. That “Re: Vision” season successfully concluded last Saturday night with a festive and enthusiastically received but, fittingly, also revised concert by the outstanding musicians of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra.

Although the TSO concert proceeded pretty much as originally programmed, the appearance and solo by the announced conductor was canceled at the last minute due to his contracting COVID! Despite this setback, the show went on, as it always does in show business—thrilling and inspiring with its patriotic themes and excellent musicianship. Toledo Symphony Orchestra is known for working to bring communities together through music; their performance closing DCCA’s 2021-2022 Artists Series at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall on May 28 fulfilled that sought-after goal.

DCCA’s “Re: Vision” season got off to a rousing beginning with a special performance at the Hall on Saturday, September 11 by “The Hitmen,” the real musicians who contributed to many of the greatest rock-n-roll hits of all time, songs such as “Don’t Stop Believin’.” “Sunshine of Your Love,” and “Layla,” among many others. This much postponed performance, originally scheduled for March, 2020, delivered the energy of rock to an audience eager to once again gather together to share the wonder of music.

Singer Shaun Johnson brought his amazing voice and magnetic personality as well as his bandmates, The Big Band Experience, to the Memorial Hall stage on Saturday, October 2, presenting a memorable program of songs that evoked emotions, soothed souls, and energized spirits. Perhaps the smallest big band ever, the Big Band Experience includes saxophonist Aaron Moe, pianist Theo Brown, drummer David Slanach, trombonist Dave Stamps, and Jeff Carver playing trumpet and flugelhorn. The band’s sound, while based on music beloved by generations past, centers on innovation, ensuring that each performance is a unique, fresh experience.

On Saturday, February 26, music, fun, and energy returned to Memorial Hall with another special presentation, “Motones and Jerseys: In Concert.” The legendary spiritual sound of Motown competed with the rock, pop, and soul music that emanated from Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, seeking to earn approval from the audience in a contest where nobody really loses. Eight amazing singers accompanied by an outstanding 7-piece band and egged on by a multi-talented female emcee pulled out all the stops to mightily entertain an enthralled audience while performing dozens of the greatest songs of the twentieth century.

And then on Saturday, March 26, something entirely different magically appeared on the Memorial Hall stage as Daniel Martin performed his highly entertaining fusion of sleight of hand and playful sleight of mind to the delight and amazement of an enthralled audience. Innovative, engaging, mystifying prestidigitator Daniel Martin’s show was truly magical as the master showman pushed the boundaries of what is possible to a whole new level, tapping into audience’s minds with a roller coaster of emotions and entertainment.

Music returned with a vengeance to Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall on Saturday, April 9, when rock legend Mike Farris and his outstanding accompanying musicians The Fortunate Few lit up the stage with their prodigious and vibrant talents. Producing funky, danceable blues-rock music and much more, Mike Farris powerfully delivers larger-than-life vocals that also offer a deeper insight into his own hard-earned understanding of the complexities of the human condition, producing rousing spiritual music that brings joy to the world.

Despite frustrations, delays, and yes—revisions, DCCA’s 2021-2022 “Re: Vision” season achieved its goal to help local audiences see the world in an uplifting, joyous light by bringing back the inspiration to be found in experiencing live performances.

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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