Don’t miss the party of the summer


By Marilyn Delk


It’s hard to believe that the time has almost arrived for the party of the summer, but that event will very soon be here; you don’t want to miss Darke County Center for the Arts’ “Barbecue and Blues” fund-raiser featuring music, food, and fun on Friday, July 14. The spacious, inviting lawn of Greenville Public Library will be filled with happy folks celebrating summer with old friends while making new friends among the mass of humanity assembled to enjoy the camaraderie enhanced by the soothing yet energizing sound of America’s original music genre, the blues. The fun begins at 6 p.m.

Needless to say, abundant food is an essential component of the celebration; “Barbecue and Blues” food venders include Wholly Smokes BBQ and Cray Cray Cajun, while drinks will be provided by Heidelberg Distributing. Providing the music will be two seasoned performers plus a young local artist who has been part of the local music scene for a while although he just graduated from Versailles High School in 2022. Dalton Hesson most recently performed on Make Music Day at YOLO Park, catching the attention of DCCA officials who asked him to join the array of talent appearing at “Barbecue and Blues.”

The young artist will be followed by award-winning blues/rock guitarist Will Freed; during his 17-year career, Freed has shared the stage with renowned artists and produced four successful albums. In addition to being a vocalist, the Bellefontaine native plays guitar, harmonica and mandolin; a singer/songwriter who expresses his feelings and experiences in his music, Freed’s dynamic range and wide versatility captivate fans of all genres.

Headlining the “Barbecue and Blues” music lineup is Toledo-area resident Chris Shutters, a multi-instrumentalist who can play flute, drums, and keyboards but is known as a guitar wizard and soulful vocalist. Described as a performer who “is sure to get your feet tapping and hands clapping,” Shutters has been making music since he was two years old, when he went to his family piano and began playing songs he heard on TV. He didn’t take up the guitar until he was a more mature age of eight when he found the instrument to be the first true love of his life. Known among his peers as an excellent songwriter, Shutters has won several competitions, toured nationally and internationally, and released several albums that ranked high on the Blues Charts.

Past “Barbecue and Blues” parties have left indelible memories among attendees, creating a legacy of joy. DCCA officials and board members work hard to create the joyous vibe that permeates “Barbecue and Blues,” as well to assure that everything goes off without a hitch. They are aided and abetted in these endeavors by the staff of the event’s host, Greenville Public Library, who go above and beyond expectations to not only provide a welcoming performance space and comfortable “green room”for the artists, but also work long hours setting up and tearing down all elements of their temporary entertainment venue without neglecting their regular diverse daily duties as a resource for local citizens seeking various services as well as books. The enthusiastic hard work of GPL employees contributes greatly to the continuing success of this exuberant summer celebration.

Good food, great music, and the opportunity to see almost everyone you know in a gracious setting—what more could you possibly need to celebrate summer with joy and enthusiasm. Tickets for “Barbecue and Blues” cost $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under; food and drink are not included in the ticket price. Although tickets will be available at the gate, DCCA strongly recommends purchasing them in advance. Tickets can be reserved by contacting DCCA at 937-547-0908 or and are also on sale at Greenville Public Library.

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