When Darke County Center for the Arts’ final Artists Series concert of their 2016-2017 “Connections” season concert was over, no one in attendance really wanted it to end. The connection created on Saturday, April 29 between Toledo Symphony Orchestra, conductor Sara Jobin, guest pianist Michael Chertock and their audience was visceral, creating an atmosphere of camaraderie and delight that filled Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall, and then went home with the participants to inspire joy for at least a little while longer and maybe well into the future. The electrifying connection created by the transcendent music of George Gershwin united artists and audience in magically energizing moments that remain vibrant still—the wondrous sound of “Rhapsody In Blue” continues to thrill as it reverberates in memory, as does the entire exhilarating yet elegant evening.
However, meaningful connections occurred throughout DCCA’s just-completed season, which opened on Saturday, Sept. 24 with guitar duo Loren and Mark. Loren Barrigar played guitar on the Grand Ole Opry stage when he was just six; classical guitarist and New Zealand native Mark Mazengarb discovered the world of American roots music while an exchange student at University of North Carolina. The two connected at Nashville’s Chet Atkins Guitar Festival in 2010, launching a performing partnership that transmits an infectious sense of fun to audiences as the skilled musicians deftly perform original tunes along with music made famous by Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and others, inspiring a vibrant exchange of energy that connects with audiences of all ages.
DCCA re-connected with perennial favorites Riders In the Sky for a special event at St. Clair Memorial Hall on Saturday, Nov. 12, when America’s favorite cowboys presented their “Salute to Roy Rogers.” Songs, jokes, and film clips not only connected the audience to the fabled practitioners of “The Cowboy Way” but also to the iconic Ohio-born “King of the Cowboys.” Justifiably characterized as “one of the most historically significant acts in the history of American music,” Riders Woody Paul, Ranger Doug, Too Slim, and Joey the Cow-Polka King sang and played and yodeled and shared witty repartee, eliciting cheers and laughter as they entertained an appreciative audience with their wholesomely evocative show.
Christmas traditions around the globe are intertwined with A Christmas Carol; DCCA’s Saturday, December 17 presentation of the classic tale performed by the North County Center for the Arts National Touring Company connected those assembled at St. Clair Memorial Hall to the far away yet familiar time and place so memorably devised by Charles Dickens over 150 years ago. Strong and unforgettable images vividly recreated the world of Ebenezer Scrooge as he confronted the ghosts of Christmases past, present, and future; beloved traditional carols of the season woven throughout the show evoked the sounds of fondly remembered holidays, bringing them to vibrant life once again. This meditation on the true meaning of Christmas buoyed spirits and maintained valued traditions essential to enjoyment of our cherished seasonal celebration.
Irish supergroup We Banjo Three lit up the stage at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall on Saturday, February 4, performing their innovative blend of old world traditional music and authentic Americana merged with modern sensibilities. The two sets of amazingly talented brothers produced a firestorm of energizing “Celtgrass” music; one of the most renowned fiddlers in Irish music, Fergal Scahill, his brother banjo wizard Enda Scahill, seven time All-Ireland Banjo Champion Martin Howley, and his younger brother David played with skill and chemistry, their music inventively connecting ancient traditions to the present, creating music of the moment that appealed to listeners of all generations.
The arts transcend time and space, connecting the past to the present and creating a bridge to the future, linking cultures, creating relationships, inspiring joy. Even though DCCA’s “Connections” season is now past, lasting bonds were created that will continue to enhance lives in multiple ways for the foreseeable future.
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.