Concert proves pavilion can sound great

This column is for those two or three readers who didn't attend the opening concert for the Carson City Summer Music Series at the Pony Express Pavilion in Mills Park. It was amazing.

Frankly, I never thought I would see the day that the pavilion, otherwise known as Marv's Hay Barn, would be full of people eating, drinking, dancing and enjoying good music.

Previous attempts at using this venue for music were a bonafide flop. The attendance was poor and the sound was a disaster. I remember leaving one concert after three songs just to escape the din of notes reverberating off metal at random and to create a cacophony of mud.

So what happened in the interim to make the Pony Express Pavilion a viable music venue? Two things changed -- 21st century sound technology was invented and John Procaccini, the owner of Upstage Theatre, decided to move his summer concert series from Genoa to Carson City.

John got his start as a roadie with Reba McIntire, the BeeGees, Garth Brooks and Pink Floyd, and he has morphed into a well-connected music promoter. John said that he could fix the sound problems at the pavilion by using state-of-the-art sound equipment, and Joe McCarthy, Carson City downtown redevelopment director, believed him.

I didn't quite believe him, but I figured we didn't have much to lose except a little money and a little pride.

Well, let me tell you, John did fix it. The sound was good. No one went running for cover. In fact, the place was still rockin' for Chris LeDoux's pyrotechnic encore. Everyone was on their feet or someone else's shoulders, clapping, yelling and laughing. It was huge.

It didn't hurt that the series kicked off with LeDoux, who has great songs, many of which he wrote, and who is an energetic, inventive performer.

John Procaccini had the knowledge and the connections and Joe McCarthy had the vision and courage, but it would not have worked without the talents of former IGO marketing director Miya MacKenzie. She did an awesome job of marketing on a very small budget.

She had those seats filled and she transformed the ambience of the hay barn from cold and impersonal to fun and friendly. She sold corporate sponsorships and solicited donations from local businesses to offset incredibly affordable ticket prices starting at $18.

It was huge fun and a great success for Carson City. Congratulations to John, Joe and Miya. This took courage, dedication and lots of hard work. You all deserve a standing ovation and an encore.

Speaking of encores, this was the first in a series of concerts, so if you were one of those two or three people who missed Chris LeDoux, put these dates on your calendar and call 1-800-216-0891 for tickets.

-- July 18 -- Contemporary jazz great David Benoit

-- July 26 -- The Mountain Top Tour with Grammy award winner Dr. Ralph Stanley (of "Oh Brother, Where art thou?" fame), Rhonda Vincent and the Rage and the Clark Family Experience.

-- Aug. 2 -- Ambrosia with Poco and Gary Wright

-- Aug. 17 -- James Cotton Blues Band, Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers and the Gospel Hummingbirds

-- Aug. 29 -- The Neville Brothers with Aaron Neville and Bob Malone

You may also purchase tickets at JJ's Ear Candy, the Upstage Center Theatre or Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau; in Gardnerville at Fresh Ideas and Netti's Creations; in Incline Village at the Incline Convention and Visitors Bureau; in Reno at Soundwaves or at South Lake Tahoe at Elephants Music.

As an aside, it was all worth it to see the grin on Marv (Mayor-for-Life) Teixeira's face.

After years of taking abuse about the pavilion, he was finally vindicated. Of course, that did not stop Dwight Millard and myself from making some ice skating comments, but I don't think Marv minded too much.

Marv was a leader ahead of his time. It just took 21st century technology to catch up to his vision.


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