GREENVILLE — Popular bluegrass band Rhonda Vincent and the Rage played to a packed auditorium at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall Saturday night. The concert was presented by the Darke County Center for the Arts (DCCA), and sponsored by Don and Mary Jane Dietrich, Bistro Off Broadway, Greenville National Bank, and other local groups.
Vincent’s musical career has spanned more than four decades. She has performed with Dolly Parton, Alan Jackson, and Vince Gill. She’s played for audiences as big as 30,000 in Kumamoto, Japan, and as small as ten in Nashville, Tennessee (a private show at the Country Music Hall of Fame for board members of the Smuckers Corporation).
DCCA Executive Director Andrea Jordan spoke enthusiastically about the opportunity to bring Vincent to Darke County.
“She really is a feather in our cap,” Jordan said. “We’ve been trying to bring her out here for a long time, and we’re absolutely ecstatic about the outpouring of support and excitement for the event that we’ve had from the community. Bluegrass is something that Darke County does very much enjoy, and we’re happy to be able to bring that in.”
The backstage area at Memorial Hall was hectic moments before showtime Saturday night, with workers unloading equipment from the band’s tour bus as audience members were guided into their seats by DCCA volunteers a few feet away, on the other side of the curtain.
Guitar player Josh Williams has played with Vincent for nine years. He made his way toward stage on a pair of crutches, his right leg encased in a heavy brace. Williams slipped getting off the tour bus in Bloomington, Indiana, the previous night. But he wasn’t going to let that stop him from doing his job.
“I didn’t break my hands,” Williams said. “The show must go on, as they say.”
Williams said the group were frequent visitors to Ohio, and in fact had just played a concert in Nelsonville, Ohio the previous week. He was especially impressed with the facilities at Memorial Hall, however.
“Beautiful venue,” Williams said. “It’s just gorgeous, and it sounds so good.”
Once the group was onstage, Vincent started things off with a humorous reference to the band’s visit to Greenville’s Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe earlier in the day.
“We saw all the gum on the wall, and I thought, ‘Oh no! I forgot to bring any chewing gum,’” Vincent said. “Maybe we’ll take the bus over there before heading out of town and we’ll all chew some gum.”
Vincent also joked playfully with her injured guitar player.
“Somebody told Josh to break a leg before the show in Bloomington last night,” Vincent said. “I guess he took it to heart.”
After playing two 45-minute sets, Vincent signed autographs and took pictures with fans in Memorial Hall’s lobby.
“We didn’t know what type of incredible venue this was,” Vincent said of Greenville, and Memorial Hall, later in the evening. “The acoustics. The hospitality. It’s just perfection.”
Vincent and her bandmates spent several hours on the road between Bloomington and Greenville before playing Saturday night, and had another long drive back to Nashville to look forward to before the night was done. Next week they’ll be in New York City, in a performance intended to be live-streamed during the Grand Ole Opry.
Vincent said she enjoyed the chance to visit different parts of the country.
“We love waking up in a different place every day,” Vincent said. “When I wake up and the bus isn’t moving, I think ‘We must be there!’ You get off the bus and you never know what you’re gonna find.”
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