Old Town Theater opens doors to new music ventures

The Downtown Music Project took two steps forward this weekend as local bands met in the Old Town Theater to examine the sound equipment and discuss promotion for the first concert on Friday, October 5th.

The concert – which will begin at 8:30 p.m. – will include performances from Masterblaster, Jimamo, Falling North and The Last Great Assault.

Whitaker and the Student Government Association have been pursuing the Downtown Music Project since spring.

Recent negotiations have allowed SGA to make this project a reality – last Tuesday it signed legislation officially recognizing a contract with the city that permits the project to rent the Theater for a one-time down payment of $100.

The meetings on Saturday and Sunday allowed the bands to take promotional pictures and discuss the sound system.

“I think the music project will work because of this place,” said Jordan Volz – a band member of Last Great Assault – upon inspection of the Old Town Theater.

The Theater – formally recognized as the Gibbs Center for the Performing Arts – is located in the Downtown Square, across from the Greyhound Station, on 12th Street.

Gene Myrick, director of the Friends of the Old Town Theater, said that the Theater has been in production for approximately five and a half years and has welcomed at least 65,000 people through its doors.

“I’m thrilled to death,” he said. “The more we have youth in the Theater, the better.”

According to CinemaTreasures, the Town Theater originally opened in 1947 as a movie theater, but closed 30 years later. Friends of the Old Town Theater opened the Theater again in 2002 after years of planning and dedicated it to the late J. Philip Gibbs.

Whitaker said the Downtown Music Project will organize one concert a month starting in October, except in December and May. He said each concert will feature four to five local bands.

“The music scene is growing and strong – we have the talent to draw from,” Whitaker said. “The thing about Huntsville is that we only have small venues. We wanted to have a big performance once a month to highlight Huntsville’s music and attract people to the Downtown area.”

Masterblaster bassist, guitarist and vocalist Dustin Adams said the Music Project concert is probably the biggest project his band has been involved with.

Falling North is a recent addition to the Huntsville music scene. The band was created three months ago when two other bands split.

“Over the past few years, we have noticed how much more prevalent live music has become in Huntsville,” Falling North bassist Garrett Lofgren said. “It’s due to the combined work of musicians, faculty and citizens.”

Members of The Last Great Assault were also optimistic about the Music Project concert series.

“It will appeal to anyone who loves music as a whole,” Taylor Volz said.

Jordan and Taylor said their father, Larry Volz, was very involved in the music scene in the 1970s with his band Voltz.

Their father commented on the popular music scene and said his band would play at sorority and fraternity functions, as well as bars.

The Last Great Assault drummer Travis Weaver said the project should bring out of town bands to the Huntsville area.

“I know big bands that have wanted to come to Huntsville because it’s a college town but can’t because there is no place to play,” he said. “The [Downtown Music Project] will bring these bands from out of town.”

For more information about the Downtown Music Project, contact SGA President Christopher Whitaker at (936) 294-1938.

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