Even before Darke County Center for the Arts announced that Rhonda Vincent and the Rage would be a part of their 2017-2018 Artists Series season, loyal local fans were clamoring for the opportunity to enjoy the Queen of Bluegrass, some even volunteering to help sponsor a local appearance. Then, when the season announcement late last spring confirmed the reality of Rhonda and her band appearing at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall on Saturday, January 20, the rush for tickets began. As of the time this column is being written, fewer than two dozen tickets remain available to experience the joy and vitality of a live concert by these exemplary artists.
For those few who are unaware of the almost universal appeal of Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, perhaps a little background is in order. Rhonda Vincent, who continues to hone her craft while focusing on the integrity and immediacy of her music, is a gifted storyteller who draws listeners in with her passion and energy, as well as her stellar voice. Her musical career, which has spanned more than four decades, began when at the tender age of five she sang gospel songs with her family’s band. As a child growing up in Greentop, Missouri, she learned to play multiple instruments including the guitar, fiddle, and mandolin. Her family toured extensively, performing throughout the midwest, and spent time working as musicians in Branson, Missouri. She released her first solo album in 1988, and twelve years later was crowned “Queen of Bluegrass” by The Wall Street Journal, a title that she still holds almost two decades later. All the Rage, her latest album with her band, has been nominated for a Grammy Award as the best bluegrass album of theyear.
And then, there’s The Rage, a group of world-class musicians full of verve, vitality, agility and authenticity. Award winning fiddle player Hunter Berry is also Rhonda Vincent’s son-in-law, as is dobro player Brent Burke, who was the first master of this unique instrument to join The Rage. Bass player Mickey Harris is accomplished on many different instruments, and has a keen ear that allows him to sing almost any vocal part, a trait shared with other members of this outstanding group. Possessing the ability to step front and center with a driving force that inspires awe as well as knowing how to provide the perfect background enhancing a solo singer, banjoist Aaron McDaris brings many positive assets to the band, as does Josh Williams, a musician described by his boss as being able to “be anything he chooses to be.” In addition to leading his own band, soloing on center stage, or performing with some of the most accomplished musicians in the world, this multi-instrumentalist brings out the best of everything to which he lends his hand.
When Rhonda Vincent and the Rage perform, everybody has a good time, including the artists. Their show will include traditional bluegrass tunes, country ballads, gospel music, and more—essentially something for everyone; you’ll hear pure voices singing sweet melodies and close harmonies as highly skilled instrumentalists pluck and strum and sometimes tear up the house. As an extra added attraction for her devoted fans attending the show at St. Clair Memorial Hall, a poster autographed by the reigning queen of bluegrass will be awarded to the highest bidder during intermission. But you must act quickly to partake of these pure and simple pleasures.
For as long as they last, tickets for the concert by Rhonda Vincent and the Rage may be reserved by contacting DCCA at 937-547-0908 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or purchased at DCCA’s office located within Greenville Public Library or online at www.CenterForArts.net. No Standing Room Only tickets will be sold. However, unused tickets are sometimes returned to the box office; therefore those missing out on seats prior to the show date may be able to pick up a ticket the night of the performance, which begins at 8 p.m. The obvious conclusion to all of the above: The Queen still rules!
Marilyn Delk is a director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at email@example.com. 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.