LIMA — Live entertainment will return to Veterans Memorial Civic Center this fall, more than a year after the COVID-19 pandemic canceled live shows.
The Civic Center Foundation announced Thursday morning that three live performances are scheduled for later this year, including Black Violin on Oct. 21, The Oak Ridge Boys on Oct. 24 and A Christmas Carol on Dec. 12.
“There’s a little bit of rejuvenation here now,” said Abe Ambroza, CEO of the Civic Center. “Now we’re able to book these events and make some announcements. It’s the shot in the arm I need and my staff needed.”
Right now, the building is limited to 25% capacity, but Ambroza said many venues in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana are planning to sell at full capacity for events this fall. The recently announced events should go on sale at the end of April or early in May. There should be more announcements on the way once more contracts are signed, Ambroza said.
“Our intent is to have 16 to 20 touring concerts, in addition to what we hope will be a full Lima Symphony Orchestra season in 2021-22,” Ambroza said. “Add to that our expectations that we have a contract with the Lima Area Concert Band to come back in 2022. Everything else that normally comes to the Civic Center, as of right now, is returning.”
Black Violin, led by classically trained string players Wil B. on the viola and Kev Marcus on the violin, was originally scheduled to be in Lima on Jan. 19. The band blends classical and hip-hop music, which they call “classical boom,” to overcome stereotypes.
The Oak Ridge Boys will return after performing at the Civic Center in December 2018. Their four-part harmonies brought upbeat songs to audiences for the past 50 years.
The final scheduled event is a production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” It is said to include first-class actors, stunning sets and puppetry in the mix of 26 traditional carols throughout the story.
Once virus restrictions hit in 2020, the Civic Center focused on events permissible by the state, playing host to conferences and weddings, Ambroza said last month. Last year, the facility did host an outdoor summer concert series on Wednesday nights. Crouse Hall will play host to Lima Central Catholic’s school play, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” this weekend, since the reduced capacity of 445 seats is similar to what it would’ve sold at the school last year.
Ambroza said he was excited to get back to bringing entertainment to the region.
“We’re going to keep working, keep doing what we can to keep this building viable for years to come,” he said.