Ritz Theatre hosts Heart Behind the Music Showcase

Published 2:00 pm Tuesday, January 23, 2024

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Greenville’s historic Ritz Theatre hosted the Heart Behind the Music Songwriters Showcase on Thursday, Jan. 18. The event featured performances by renowned artists Marty Raybon, John Ford Coley, and Lenny LeBlanc, drawing a crowd eager to experience their music in the intimate setting of the theater.

Marty Raybon, celebrated as the former lead singer of the hit band Shenandoah, expressed his joy at returning to Greenville, where he has deep roots. 

“It’s good to be back in Greenville,” Raybon said. “All my folks are from here and live in Butler County. This gives me a chance to see home folks.”

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John Ford Coley, known for his work as part of the duo England Dan and John Ford Coley, appreciated the intimacy of the Ritz Theater. 

“When we play these kinds of shows, it’s great to be able to listen to people,” Coley said. “Here you can play, you can tell stories and explain how the song was written. It’s much more intimate, and I prefer that.”

Lenny LeBlanc, an accomplished musician and songwriter, remarked that this was his first visit to Greenville, and he was honestly red by the warm reception he’d received.

“I’ve never been to Greenville,’ LeBlanc shared. “We’ve stopped here to eat, just passing through but never been in town. This is great!”

Nancy Idland, director of the Greenville Area Arts Council, expressed gratitude to the community for their ongoing support. 

“We’re really excited to offer show number three of season 42,” Idland said. “And we’re so grateful to the community and especially the season ticket holders because that’s what makes these programs continue to be successful.”

One such season ticket holder, Greenville resident Laura Simmons, attended the showcase with her husband and praised the Arts Council for their dedication to the town. 

“My husband bought us season tickets, and I’m so glad he did,” Simmons said. “It’s great that we have this in our town. We don’t have to go somewhere like Montgomery or Birmingham to see a show like this.”

The Heart Behind the Music Songwriters Showcase not only entertained but also provided a unique opportunity for artists and audiences to connect on a personal level. With performers like Marty Raybon, John Ford Coley, and Lenny LeBlanc gracing its stage, the Ritz Theater continues to be a cultural hub, enriching the lives of Greenville’s residents and visitors alike.