Guitar, washboard, accordion anyone?
Greenwood Performing Arts is kicking off its upcoming season with a high-energy zydeco performance by Terrance Simien and The Zydeco Experience.
Simien is a Louisiana music legend and two-time Grammy winner. He has been performing indigenous Creole music for audiences around the globe for years. He is a long-time favorite performer at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Like a spicy Cajun crawfish boil, zydeco is a dance music mix of musical influences: Louisiana French accordion stylings, Afro-Caribbean rhythms, blues and more.
Christy Rowe, Greenwood Performing Arts executive director, is entering her third year at GPA's helm.
She said Simien is also scheduled to perform for one of GPA's popular outreach shows as well, reaching school-age children, senior adults and others in the community.
"We have six shows this season, all at Greenwood Community Theatre," Rowe said. "Our season starts in October and will end in March. We've got some really fun and exciting acts this year."
The mission of Greenwood Performing Arts is to enhance quality of life for area audiences of all ages, by presenting diverse, professional artistic performances that entertain and educate.
"Our second show of the season is four women out of Nashville, who play fiddle and guitar, Farewell Angelina. They are building a name for themselves. And, we're actually bringing back the Annie Moses Band for Christmas. Our patrons really love them. They are a great cross-over combining classical and folk and strings and piano. They kind of do everything and appeal to such a broad audience."
The Annie Moses Band previously performed for GPA in December 2017 and was a hit with audiences.
For several seasons now, GPA has tapped into the tribute band trend. This season's lineup includes a Beach Boys tribute band, Sail On. That concert will be in January.
"February's show will bring two brothers from Miami who play electric violin," Rowe said. "They are classically trained — Sons of Mystro. They will also be doing one of our outreach shows."
"Our last show will be Act of Congress, an Americana band," Rowe continued. "One of our board members saw them perform and was blown away by them. They are from Birmingham (Alabama)."
Since partnering with Greenwood Community Theatre for performance space and ticket sales, Rowe said GPA is "finding its groove as an organization."
"We're really getting great feedback on what audiences enjoy, want to hear and performance trends," Rowe said. "The City of Greenwood, Greenwood County, local businesses and individuals have done a great job supporting us. Financial support allows us to keep the wheels turning and bring in fresh acts."
Rowe said individual contributions, accommodations tax funds and donations toward GPA's outreach programming make it possible.
"Outreach funding has come from Self Family Foundation, Greenwood County Community Foundation, Lonza/Capsugel and The Rotary Club of Greenwood," Rowe said.
"We significantly increased our outreach last year because we received enough funding from organizations that we were able to cover all of the ticket costs," Rowe said. "Because we were able to do that, we got so many more individuals in the doors."
Louise Robinson, THERAP and activities coordinator for Burton Center said people with disabilities and special needs who receive services through Burton Center, plus staff, attended two outreach performances last season.
"It gives them positive experiences and builds self-confidence and social skills," Robinson said. "When they got back from each performance, they told their friends about the performances and showed how they danced."
Aaron Taylor, GPA board president, has been involved with the organization for about four years now.
Taylor said he doesn't have an extensive arts background but the variety of performances have appealed to him.
"I have not been to a bad show and I have learned a lot," Taylor said. "We had a pianist on the schedule last year and I thought to myself, 'I would come back to hear this' and that is not something I would not usually go to. ... You can have a nice date night and there are certain shows you would want to bring your children to. I highly encourage you to give it a chance.
"A lot of the performers we are bringing here are unbelievably talented and many are outside of the mainstream," Taylor said. "Our board has a passion for the arts and for bringing good things to Greenwood. A big thing we are doing is educating young people through our outreach programming."
The programming appeals to all ages and different tastes, Taylor said.
"We have some incredibly loyal sponsors, individuals and businesses who are putting their money where their mouth is in terms of supporting performing arts in this town," Taylor said. "They see the positive impact these artists have on young people and adults who come to the shows."