Mighty mission to make merry music

By Marilyn Delk

DCCA News

Robert Nance, a multi-talented musician from Fort Wayne, Ind., maintains a lively schedule as a conductor, keyboardist, teacher, composer, and arts advocate. Maestro Nance, founder of Heartland Productions, will (at last) bring his talents to our community, presenting a concert of music for the holidays at Union City’s Arts Depot on Thursday, Dec. 1 in the second of Darke County Center for the Arts’ Coffee House Series shows. Vocalist Richelle Block will sing and Robert will play piano in what the maestro describes as “a fun program for sure and a great way to spend a night out with loved ones during the holidays.”

I am looking forward to this show with high anticipation, and will relish finally getting to see this dedicated artist celebrating his joy in doing what he was born to do while performing familiar music that I love. You see, this is not the first time DCCA has announced a Heartland Productions show; you may remember a February snowstorm earlier this year that resulted in DCCA, for the first time ever, canceling a performance when Heartland Productions artists could not safely travel from Fort Wayne to Union City to perform songs from the Great American Songbook, and even if they could, the Darke County Sheriff had prudently closed roads due to the wintry weather, thereby negating any chance of an audience showing up to partake of the show.

Mr. Nance’s impressive resume` includes graduating magna cum laude from DePauw University School of Music with a degree in keyboard performance and earning his Masters in conducting from prestigious Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore. He has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, been a guest conductor for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, performed at Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center, and received many honors and awards. In addition to concerts and special events around the region, his active performance schedule includes accompanying services for Temple Achduth Vesholom, Indiana’s oldest Jewish congregation as well as playing piano and organ for worship at Fort Wayne’s Plymouth Congregational Church, where the senior minister claims the church’s ministry is enriched by Robert’s “musicianship and blessed by his spirit.”

In 1997, Maestro Nance founded Heartland Sings, a non-profit company dedicated to changing lives through song, enriching and entertaining audiences while cultivating appreciation for arts and culture and also providing performance opportunities to area artists as well as serving as a professional educational resource. Heartland Productions is a vital component of this organization, providing entertaining performances which reach a broad variety of populations throughout Indiana and beyond.

Added to the this impressive artist’s alluring appeal, the performance venue offers inviting and charming assets; the cozy and inviting Arts Depot is acoustically perfect—although the music is sometimes interrupted by the sound of a passing train, an appropriate interruption for the old train station, and one that only heightens the charm of the evening. If you need more motivation to attend this DCCA presentation, how about the low ticket price of just $15 or only $10 for DCCA members! Tickets can be purchased on DCCA’s Website www.DarkeCountyArts.org, or at the DCCA office located on the third floor of Greenville Public Library, and, if any remain, will be available at the door the night of the show which starts at 7 p.m. For more information, contact DCCA at 937-547-0908.