By Marilyn Delk
What a time it was! Darke County Center for the Arts’ “Barbecue and Blues” event once again drew hundreds to the spacious lawn at Greenville Public Library; the crowd was made up of youngsters, oldsters, and those in-between, all enjoying a really good time. The fellowship and the fun were only exceeded by the amazing music produced by Indianapolis-based bluesman Luke Driskell who opened the show, perfectly performing an appealing and diverse playlist, and Zydeco superstar Terrance Simien who, with the incredible musicians of his Zydeco Experience band, spun his magic, not merely entertaining, but bringing joy and inspiration to the crowd — which just couldn’t stop dancing.
This remarkable event is made possible by the efforts of many hard-working people without whose dedication and organizational skills the wonder of “Barbecue and Blues” would never happen — including, of course, DCCA Executive Director Andrea Jordan and DCCA Artistic Director David Warner, as well as extremely efficient and very part-time DCCA Marketing Director Gabrielle Sprinkle. But they need a lot of help — and that generous assistance is offered by an array of enthusiastic volunteers including DCCA past and present board members and their families, as well as the City of Greenville, whose elected officials and employees including members of Greenville’s Police Department as well as street department workers contribute greatly to the security and safety required for such a huge event.
However, “Barbecue and Blues” could not have become the iconic affair it now is were it not for the support and contributions of Greenville Public Library. Obviously, the library provides the inviting venue with its majestic backdrop of the treasured building itself; but not so obviously, library staff and officials generously provide assistance above and beyond that essential component, not only for this summer event, but throughout the entire year. DCCA’s office is housed on the third floor of GPL, providing physical space where patrons can purchase tickets and memberships, where files and office equipment are stored and utilized, and where the mundane business procedures necessary to keep the arts organization afloat and thriving take place.
However, the support provided by the library and its hard-working staff goes above and beyond that expected of a landlord; Front desk employees routinely act as receptionists for DCCA, tickets for DCCA events are often sold at the library, and many of DCCA’s needs and desires are routinely handled as though these are essential to the library’s duties. And without the dedication and assistance of Greenville Public Library, “Barbecue and Blues” could not possibly take place at the scale now achieved.
Mowing and spraying the library lawn was a significant part of pre-event preparation. Chairs, tables, and tents for the event which were set up and taken down by library employees were also provided by Greenville Public Library, myriad other jobs such as selling admission tickets or pouring beer and wine were handled by GPL staff members. In addition to providing the source of human labor, the historic Greenville Public Library building was utilized to provide handicap bathroom access as well to create a Green Room in what is usually known as the Reference Room offering the visiting artists an impressive space for eating and relaxing while preparing for the show.
DCCA’s “Barbecue and Blues” was a triumphant statement of the power of music to bring people together, to spread joy and camaraderie. In spite of some predictions, the weather was perfect, demonstrating that even the gods were smiling on the event which became a night to remember that will be cherished by many for years to come. Credit for its success goes to all those who made it happen — the incomparable musicians providing the inspired jubilance that delighted and exhilarated all within earshot of their joyous sound, the visionary DCCA staff who plan and execute this very special event, and the indescribably invaluable contributions generously provided by Greenville Public Library.
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.