Multiple goals motivated DCCA to establish the Coffeehouse Series, including wanting to provide a venue for gifted performing artists who might not attract an audience large enough to fill Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall, as well as to meet the desire of local residents to enjoy an enriching evening out with friends without traveling long distances or expending megabucks. The community has responded with enthusiasm to DCCA’s solution.
Chase Padgett’s performance entitled “Six Guitars” helped provide inspiration for the “Arts Count” theme of Darke County Center for the Arts’ 2017-18 season, along with special event “One Night in Memphis” and a cappella group Six Appeal, who not only performed a concert for DCCA’s Artists Series but also provided Arts In Education presentations for local junior high students. Chase Padgett also presented a version of his show as part of DCCA’s A.I.E. Series, as did Terrance Simien and his band, Zydeco Experience, who entertained and educated fourth- through sixth-graders with their energetic and energizing “Creole for Kidz.” But Chase and Terrance multiplied their impact on our community by also appearing in DCCA’s Coffeehouse Series, sharing their numerous skills in a comfortable social setting which did not subtract from the power of their performances.
On Thursday, Feb. 20, The Bistro Off Broadway hosted “Six Guitars,” in which Chase Padgett plays six characters, each performing a different genre of music and telling stories revealing how that character was introduced to the music he loves. In addition to creating sharply etched and immediately memorable characters, Padgett displayed impressive chops as a musician who can demonstrate that music, whether celebratory or sad and regardless of genre, profoundly affects the human spirit and is essential to life.
The Bistro also provided the venue on Thursday, Oct. 26 for zydeco god Terrance Simien, an eighth generation Creole who has been playing the indigenous music of his people since he was a teenager and has lost none of his commitment or enthusiasm in the intervening decades. Blessed with an extraordinary talent that expresses deep emotions through the original instrument, the human voice, Terrance takes his audiences on a multicultural tour of the world, creating a hypnotic blend of New Orleans funk-reggae-world-blues-American roots music that generates wonder and joy, ultimately producing a good time for all concerned.
Vocalist Annie Sellick and her husband, master guitarist Pat Bergeson, opened the Coffeehouse season on Thursday, Sept. 21, with a memorable performance at Union City’s Arts Depot that covered much musical ground. Annie Sellick ably demonstrated her ability to communicate through music, sharing her heart as she sang and spun stories. Pat Bergeson’s amazing guitar-playing added a further appealing element to entice and enthrall, his high degree of skill contributing to the allure and emotional satisfaction of this entertaining encounter.
DCCA’s Coffeehouse Series presented “Zoe Speaks,” a trio from the mountains of Kentucky, at The Coffee Pot in downtown Greenville on Thursday, Nov. 9. The trio, consisting of Mitch Barrett, Carla Gover, and Owen Reynolds, played traditional ballads as well as contemporary tunes and original songs, drawing on a variety of rhythms and styles. With themes ranging from the environment to relationships and lyrics populated by tricksters, angels, fools, and heroes, their mellow, yet socially conscious and spiritual music connected to their audience in a unique and lasting manner.
Singer/songwriter Jill Jack charmed and delighted her audience in the final Coffeehouse Series concert of the season on Thursday, May 3 at Arcanum Historical Society’s Wayne Trail House. Jill Jack’s versatile, authentic voice can transform, reminding you of Joan Baez on one song, Janis Joplin on the next, and Billie Holiday on the one after that. Jill also displayed a rare ability to connect with her audience, sharing her life story in humorous anecdotes as well as in the well-crafted lyrics and melodies of her original songs. Her music revealing hopes, dreams, triumphs and failures touched hearts and stirred souls.
The Coffeehouse Series continues to add up to a positive equation for DCCA, not only providing artists who inspire season themes, but also by producing magical moments that resound in memory for the community it serves.
Marilyn Delk is a director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.