July 11--Gospel singer Bill Gaither remembers seeing the 1958 movie "South Pacific" for the first time at the Paramount Theatre. It's just one of his many memories of the theater and one of the reasons why he's helping the historic building.
The Gaither Vocal Band will do a concert at 7 p.m.Aug. 14 to raise money and celebrate the Paramount Theatre's 85th year.
The band has done a couple of benefit concerts for the theater, and Gaither said it's important to continue supporting the Paramount.
"I've traveled enough to Europe to see that they never tear down old buildings there; they restore them," he said. "The Paramount is one of the prides of Indiana."
The rest of the gospel group's members aren't from the Anderson area, but Gaither said the theater was a big part of his life growing up. For him, there's a lot of sentimental value in the building.
"I'm a product of Madison County," Gaither said. "We have to support it."
Gaither said it's been five or six years since the Vocal Band has played in Anderson, and the theater's setting is the perfect venue for residents to meet the group's two new members.
Baritone Todd Suttles and lead singer Adam Crabb joined the group after two spots opened in late 2013.
Audience members will have the chance to meet them, Gaither and band members David Phelps and Wes Hampton during a pre-concert dinner and a meet-and-greet after-party.
The vocalists will talk to fans and sign autographs in the Hardacre Ballroom.
"It's going to be a wonderful opportunity to see this group up close," Gaither said. "As compared to (performing at) the Banker's Life Fieldhouse, where I don't think we even leave backstage. I'm looking forward to the more intimate setting."
Tickets range $30-150. The cheaper tickets don't include the dinner or meet and greet, but Paramount Executive Director Gayle Jones Burris said after-party tickets can be purchased for $15.
Gaither said he hopes to raise $100,000 for the Paramount at the benefit. He and his wife, Gloria, pledged $5,000 to the theater, and they're asking individual businesses in the area to match it.
Jones Burris said the donations and money from the concert tickets will take a huge chunk out of the Paramount's mortgage if the goal is met.
The theater still owes more than $700,000, but that's down from $1.5 million several years ago, she said.
Jones Burris said the Gaither Vocal Band has been instrumental in the Paramount's fundraising efforts and revitalization.
"You look hard looking through the dictionary to find a better word than 'thank you,'" she said.
Events like the Gaither Vocal Band's concert get people talking, Jones Burris said. If the community rallies around the theater, it starts a conversation, and maybe people realize how important it is to help save the Paramount and other historic buildings in need of repair.
When Jones Burris started at the Paramount five years ago, she said she was in panic mode every day to keep the doors open. Over time, she's drifted into worrying week to week, then month to month.
"It's because of the love and devotion of these people and the community," she said. "We're on the road to being self-sufficient, and that's what every business wants to be so we can give back to the community."
Dinner with the Gaither Vocal Band will be served at 5 p.m. in the Hardacre Ballroom, followed by the concert at 7 p.m. and the meet and greet at 9:30 p.m.
Tickets for the dinner, concert and after-party are $150; "Gold Circle Seats" for rows J through M and the after-party are $75; orchestra seating for rows N through R, without admission to the dinner or after-party, are $50; main floor seating for rows S through EE, without admission to the dinner or after-party, are $40; upper balcony, without admission to the dinner or after-party, are $30, and after-party admission costs $15.
Tickets for the benefit can be purchased 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday at the Paramount Box Office, by calling 642-1234 or online at andersonparamount.org.
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Concert time What: An Evening with the Gaither Vocal Band When: 5 p.m. dinner, 7 p.m. concert and 9:30 p.m. after-party Aug. 14 Where: Paramount Theatre Centre, 1124 Meridian Plaza, Anderson Cost: $150 for dinner, concert and after-party; $75 for concert and after-party; $50 for orchestra seating; $40 for main floor; $30 for upper balcony and $15 for after-party. Tickets can be purchased at the Paramount box office, by calling 642-1234 or through www.andersonparamount.org.
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