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Holidays are just the beginning for entertainment at the historic Paramount Center

November 19th, 2013 9:07 am by Amanda Marsh

Holidays are just the beginning for entertainment at the historic Paramount Center

A heartwarming holiday show and a well-known country gospel vocalist are set to take the stage at the historic Paramount Center for the Arts, but the entertainment doesn’t stop there.

The Paramount Center for the Arts, 518 State Street in Downtown Bristol, has a packed schedule now through the end of 2013 and into 2014. And new partnerships are adding a dose of variety to the Paramount’s offerings. 

By working with the City of Bristol, Tenn., the Paramount was able to book Guy Penrod for Nov. 23. He’s best known for his membership in the popular gospel group, the Gathier Vocal Band.

“This enables the Paramount as well as Viking Hall to present a more diverse show that is more suited for smaller audiences,” said Diane Dempsey, Executive Director of the Paramount Center for the Performing Arts. “This partnership joins together the 20 years of expertise that Viking Hall has and puts it together with the historical Paramount Theater.”

This partnership will also result in another family-friendly show on March 30, 2014, called “An Evening with C.S. Lewis” starring British actor David Payne.

Another forthcoming event at the Paramount will take place a little sooner. The Christmas Concert by Jimmy Buffett band’s lead guitarist Peter Mayer is scheduled for Dec. 20 with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit a new children’s performing art education initiative at the Paramount.  Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at door.

“Mayer is only performing six concerts and we were able to get one of them,” Dempsey said. “This will be a big concert, particularly for the Parrott Heads.”

With 2014 fast approaching, the Paramount Center for the Arts is also looking forward to putting another partnership in motion, this time with the Symphony of the Mountains. A three-show series is scheduled next year, the first featuring Voices of the Mountains on Jan. 25, followed by a full orchestra set on Valentine’s Day and a string quartet and wine tasting event on Mother’s Day, May 11.

“We’re trying to bring more symphonic music and things of that nature to the Paramount,” Dempsey said. “The partnership benefits both of us. It’s one more step in us being able to provide something for everyone. It broadens audiences for both organizations.”

Along the same vein is a three-concert series by the Paramount Chamber Players with concerts on Feb. 1 and April 12.

The Paramount is also hosting a brand new organ series: Jan. 19, Feb. 9 and March 16. The shows will center on the marvelous organ that lives underneath the Paramount stage. Rex Ward, the house organist, came up with the idea, which will incorporate silent films, audience participation and, of course, the organ.

“We need to let people really experience what we have here,” Dempsey said. “The organ is an unsung jewel.  It’s just a throwback to the way the Paramount was when it opened in 1931.”

Also on the schedule for Jan. 22 is the longest-running play on Broadway, “Smokey Joe’s Café,” which showcases 39 pop standards, rock-and-roll and rhythm and blues songs.

The “Hit Men,” featuring the performing and recording members of mega-star acts like Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, Tommy James and the Shondells, will premier Feb. 15. These entertainers are the hitmakers of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, making for a perfect trip down memory lane.

“That’s going to be a huge, sell-out show,” Dempsey said. “It’s hearing the music the way you heard it the first time.”

The 2013-2014 Paramount season will end with “A Tribute to Barbra” on March 21 featuring Sharon Owens who has the Streisand look and sound down pat. Owens will sing classics of the ‘60s all the way to the power ballads of today directly from Las Vegas and onto the Paramount stage.

And even though the official Paramount season will end with the Streisand tribute, the U.S. Navy Band will give a free concert March 26, followed by a performance by the Royal Moscow Ballet March 28.

To purchase tickets to upcoming shows at the Paramount, visit, or call 423-274-8920. Phone lines are open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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