Since 1964 a group of dedicated residents of the Chillicothe area have worked hard to bring the performing arts to town as the Chillicothe Area

Arts Council.

“Today the 18-member working board is dedicated to both bringing a variety of performing art experiences to our local and area rural population, and to increasing and fostering an appreciation for the arts among all ages of our local and area residents, Mary Lou VanDeventer, administrator of Chillicothe Area Arts Council said.

The council's new season begins earlier than usual this year with one of the most-requested performers the council has ever featured. In conjunction with Sliced Bread Days the council is featuring “Sliced Bread Days Bluegrass Jam,” featuring Rhonda Vincent and the Rage at 3 p.m., on July 7 in the Gary Dickinson Performing Arts Center. Vincent an award-winning performer is often referred to as the “Queen of Bluegrass.” VanDeventer said she has performed in Chillicothe before and has always wowed the crowd and draws in spectators from as far as St. Joseph and Kansas City.

“This really is quite the show to see and I am very excited that we were able to bring her back,” she said.

The council has eight live performances scheduled for the 2019-2020 season. Performances include Rhonda Vincent, Bryan Savage in September; Acoustik Element in October; Enrico & friends, “Music of Christmas,” in December at First Baptist Church Rockland Road in February and more.

This year the always popular Chautauqua in the Park will be Sept. 7-8 in Simpson Park.

“The two-day juried arts festival includes over 100 booths, visual arts, storytellers, and two full days of live music entertainment on stage presented by local regional musicians,” VanDeventer, said. This event is produced in conjunction with the Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce.

Part of the mission of the Chillicothe Area Arts council is promoting arts education in local school. VanDeventer said this mission is at the heart of the group. “Included in this year's shows is a musical by the CHS Players under the direction of Lisa Rule,” she said. “And in January we will have the Missoula Children’s Theatre back with The Emperor's New Clothes.”

The Missoula Children's theatre brings the arts to as many as 140 children from Chillicothe and other area schools by allowing them to audition and then take part in week-long practices and then two - weekend performances of the play.

“We will reach more than 1300 students through the auditions, play and then assemblies and workshops,” VanDeventer said. The council also sponsors an annual spring lunch performance featuring student band members; this last spring the Stinger Singers also performed.

In addition to the eight shows and Chautauqua the council also collaborated with other groups and organizations in town for a variety of performance-based events.

For the first time ever the council is teaming up with Hedrick Medical Center for a sunrise Breakfast at The Gardens at Hedrick Medical Center from 7:30 a.m.,-8:30 a.m., on July 7, the morning of the Rhonda Vincent show. At The Sunrise Breakfast service a variety of local performers will participate. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.

VanDeventer said that the board and a core group of volunteers, who are typically board members, do their best to keep the ability to experience the performing arts plentiful in Chillicothe. Grants and a few local funding sources help supplement the budget,. However, the group relies heavily on annual membership drive, which is currently ongoing for the 2019-2020 season.

Membership is open to everyone and is really a great deal,” VanDeventer said. “Those attending shows save on the costs of tickets and it helps really support the arts and ensure we can keep bringing these quality performers to the area and give everyone a chance to experience performing arts.”

This year’s membership includes entrance to the eight live performances for $65-$70 for adults and $30 for students. It also includes advanced seating and recognition in the season program. Business and corporations are also accepted and encouraged to seek membership, which will allow them ad space, marquee recognition and tickets to the shows.

“To purchase individual tickets it totals $136 for adults and $53 for students,” she noted.

For a complete listing of the events for the 2019-2020 season visit

www.chillicotheareaarts.com/events/. For more information about the Chillicothe Area Arts Council visit, www.chillicothearts.com.