BEDFORD — Lawrence County Concert Association directors, now seven weeks away from the debut act in its 2015-16 season, are confident the year ahead will be a success.
At the same time, the group is looking beyond the upcoming season and is focused on a future that will find it operating under a new name and also reaching for a much wider audience.
In cooperation with Live On Stage (the Tennessee-based organization through which the local group books most of its acts), the LCCA plans to change its name to Southern Indiana Live On Stage.
“We’ll be marketing to the region, not just our county,” said Andie Redwine, who serves as a consultant for the LCCA.
“We hope to be able to have an impact in this entire region, from Martinsville on down to Louisville,” said Charles Edwards, chairman of the LCCA board of directors. “If people look at what we’re doing and compare it to what’s being offered at The Palladium (in Carmel), we are right there with them.”
He added, “With our support from Andie as a consultant, with the relationship we have with Live On Stage and the inroads we’ve made in the community, we’re starting to gain momentum.”
Edwards came on board as chairman of the concert group eight years ago at a time when the organization was close to folding. At the time, the subscriber base was down to about 200. But that downward trend eventually was reversed. “We expect to get back to 450 to 500 subscribers,” Edwards said.
He added that the group has survived thanks to the support and patience of Live On Stage, which Edwards described as “a phenomenal partner,” and with the help of local sponsors. “Our sponsors have kept this alive long enough to bring this around to where we are at a tipping point,” Edwards said.
The concert group began in the spring to sell subscriptions to the 2015-16 season after announcing the season’s four acts: Mike Farris on Oct. 10, Indiana University Another Round on Dec. 11, Billy Dean on Feb. 13 and Kevin Johnson on April 15.
“What I want to stress is that our association is so pleased with the early results of our new season,” Edwards said. “There’s a huge amount of interest in this season. We’ve never been in a position where we’re already, at this time of year, this early in our season, assured the success of the upcoming year.
“We think we have financially gotten to a place where we can have a more positive impact on the entire region of southern Indiana as it relates to the arts.”
As part of the effort to enhance the region’s performing arts, Edwards said he is exploring ways Southern Indiana Live on Stage, when it becomes the operating organization next year, can work with the Mitchell Opera House. Hoosier Uplands, based in Mitchell, purchased the Opera House and, this summer, restored it to its earlier status as an entertainment venue.
“I have been in discussion with David Miller (Hoosier Uplands executive director) and his staff to explore a reciprocity agreement for the 2016-17 season,” Edwards said.
The LCCA already has reciprocity agreements with concert groups in Olney, Ill., and Martinsville. The agreements allow for subscribers to the LCCA series to attend performances in the other communities for free and in turn permits subscribers from those communities to attend shows in Lawrence County without charge.
An arrangement with the Mitchell Opera House would mean a specified number of shows in that venue would be available to Southern Indiana Live On Stage subscribers.
Eight members of the LCCA board, along with Redwine, were in Nashville, Tenn., earlier this year for a Live On Stage showcase, to view the various acts that can be booked through Live On Stage.
Redwine said, “Over the next 12 months, we’ll be working on a re-branding effort in conjunction with Live On Stage, so their folks there and our folks here are going to be working hand in hand to really up the production value for the offerings that we already have. This season is already fantastic, and I think next season is going to be even stronger.”