An Excursion in Local Music, Food and Community

Tyler Lookabaugh, creator of the Caravan Music Series, at Spotted Cow Coffeehouse, Urbana, Ohio

Tyler Lookabaugh is ready to launch the Caravan Music Series at the Spotted Cow Coffeehouse, Saturday, Feb. 10.

Caravan Music Series Begins February 10 in Urbana, Ohio

You live in Champaign County, Ohio. You want to hear live music. Where do you go?

“Maybe Dayton, Columbus. I’ve driven as far as Cleveland for a concert,” says Tyler Lookabaugh.

But Tyler wants more local options for music lovers like him. And for people like him who desire a strong sense of community right at home, in Champaign County – where he grew up, went to school (Urbana High School class of 2010), and continues to live (with his wife, Lacie) and work (as a service and support administrator for Champaign County Board of Developmental Disabilities).

Caravan Music Series poster, Spotted Cow Coffeehouse, Urbana, OhioThat’s why he came up with the Caravan Music Series, which will debut Saturday, Feb. 10, 5 to 8 p.m. at the Spotted Cow Coffeehouse927 N. Main St., Urbana, Ohio (scroll down for an at-a-glance summary of the event).

Each edition of the series will feature acoustic sets, showcasing local talent playing a variety of genres. “I want people to hear what our county has to offer. And I want people to feel a part of that – that, yeah, this is our community.”

Plus, he wants to make the music series accessible. Admission is free. Tyler encourages tipping, though. Food and refreshments will be available for purchase from local vendors.

The music line-up for Feb. 10 includes:

  • The Caravan Folk Trio, blending early jazz and folk in the gypsy jazz style of Django Reinhardt Featuring Tyler Lookabaugh on upright bass, Chad Reisinger on guitar and Ellie Blanton on violin.
  • The American Landscape, an indie folk band from Springfield, led by Thad Williams on lead vocals, rhythm guitar and banjo.
  • Daniel Dye and the Miller Road Band, a folk group that’s no stranger to Champaign County or Champaign Uncorked! (see here, here and here. DD & MRB hosts an annual music festival, the Madden Road Music Fest, near Mutual. (By the way, Ellie Blanton of the Caravan Folk Trio is Daniel’s niece and cousin of the Miller Road Band members – just part of the local Dye Dynasty of musicians.)

Back in November Tyler put out a call on Facebook for thoughts on his dream for an outlet for local musicians. One of the first responses came from Pam Bowshier of local food vendor and caterer Hippie and the Farmer, which already sets up at local music festivals. She and Hippie and the Farmer partner, Mark Runyan, will serve up pasta dishes, including a vegetarian option. Plus, the Spotted Cow will offer coffee drinks and desserts.

And thanks to lots of recommendations for venues, musicians and food vendors, Tyler is developing plans for upcoming Caravan Music events. Stay tuned!

Tyler Lookabaugh, Singles with Cheese, Urbana High School, Urbana, Ohio

A blast from the past: Back in high school, here’s Tyler Lookabaugh and my son Alex, on drums, in Tyler’s band Singles with Cheese, which on occasion practiced in our garage. Tyler and Alex still perform together in the praise bands at Urbana House of Prayer and the Urbana United Methodist Church.

 

Caravan Music At-a-Glance

When: Saturday, Feb. 10, 5-8 p.m.

Where: The Spotted Cow Coffeehouse, 927 N. Main St., Urbana, Ohio

Dinner: By Hippie and the Farmer, $5 per plate, starting at 5 p.m., featuring locally grown and produced food, including a vegetarian option

Coffee and Desserts: Available from the Spotted Cow

Music: Starting at 6 p.m., with the Caravan Folk TrioThe American Landscape and Daniel Dye and the Miller Road Band

Admission: Free, but tips for the chefs, artists and baristas are encouraged!

Parking: In front, behind and on the south side of the Spotted Cow. And thanks to W Productions, next door to the Spotted Cow, which is allowing Caravan Music guests to park in front of their building Saturday evening.

 

Other local music options in Champaign County, include:

The Ohio Fish and Shrimp Festival
Madden Road Music Fest
Concerts in the Park, coordinated by the Champaign County Arts Council
Mad River Farm Market, which schedules bands throughout the year

 

What are your favorite Champaign County area music groups?

The New Picture Show: Rewriting the Script in Champaign County

Gloria Theatre, Urbana, OhioYears ago, I saw “The Last Picture Show” for a college EnglishThe Last Picture Show class.

I can’t quote any of the film’s dialog. But I can still feel the sense of desolation that pulled the main characters adrift in their dying Texas town. Even their few escapes, like the pool hall and movie theater, were shutting down.

Urbana has a lot more going for it than the movie’s setting. Yet, we did see our own last picture show. That was when the Urbana Twin Cinemas closed about three and a half years ago.

Gloria Theatre Marquee, Urbana, Ohio

A new day at the Gloria Theatre in downtown Urbana.

I remember the downhearted dialog that followed, around town and on Facebook.

The Marquee Shines Again

But a story line far different than the one directed by Peter Bogdanovich began to unfold.

Here, a closed theater has come to symbolize something entirely different. Faith. Hope. Community spirit and self-determination.  Direction.

Now the marquee changes weekly announcing movies (including new releases), concerts, Christian revivals and youth retreats, stage productions and more. (A sampling of upcoming events is at the end of this post.)

Volunteers working at the Gloria Theatre, Urbana, Ohio

Volunteers set seats in place in the Gloria Theatre.

Theater Saved for the Community

The Urbana United Methodist Church bought the theater in 2014 to save it for the community. And to use the theater for the glory of God, resurrecting the movie house’s former name, the Gloria.

The nonprofit, community-based GrandWorks Foundation manages the Gloria Theatre and a campaign to complete the theater’s restoration as a community center to reach, restore and revive Champaign County culturally, socially, economically and spiritually.

Visit the Gloria Theatre website to learn about the foundation’s mission, vision and plans – and how you can support the theater to ensure a future of quality entertainment and cultural, social and spiritual events for Champaign County.

Volunteer and donate to the Gloria Theatre, Urbana, Ohio.

You can volunteer to work, make a donation or sponsor an event on this page of the Gloria Theater’s website.

How to Support the Gloria Theatre

  • Donate to the Foundation
  • Sponsor an event as a business, organization or individual
  • Volunteer at the theater, to sell tickets and concessions, clean up after events, and assist with ongoing renovations
  • Like the Gloria Theatre Facebook page to get the latest theater news and events in your feed
  • Share Gloria Theatre Facebook posts about upcoming events to spread the word
  • Attend events and invite your friends

A Sample of Coming Attractions at the Gloria

Movies

(Admission only $5! All proceeds support ongoing renovation. Shown with the Gloria’s new state-of-the-art 4K digital projection system,  Dolby® Surround 7.1 sound system and new 38-by-16-foot screen. Show times on the Gloria Theatre website.)

  • The American President: Feb. 17, 18, 19 & 20 (Presidents Day)
  • Magnificent Seven: March 3, 4 & 5
  • Trolls: March 10, 11 & 12
  • Rogue One: March 17, 18 & 19
  • Secret Life of Pets: March 24, 25 & 26
  • La La Land: March 31, April 1 & 2

Ignite 2017

Second annual Ignite youth conference, Feb. 24-26, where teens from the region will join together to “ignite” their faith in Christ. For details, visit the Ignite page on Facebook.

Godspell

The musical “Godspell” will be presented at the Gloria April 7, 8 & 9 by the Perennial Theatre Company of Urbana, Check the Perennial Theatre Facebook page for more.

Bonus Feature

And I hope you didn’t miss the January 14 McCartney Project concert. It was a fun trip back to the music of the Beatles and Wings – and a sign of great entertainment to come. Here’s a clip:

And That’s Not All, Folks…

As a Gloria Theatre volunteer, I wrote copy for a two-page section published December 23 in the Urbana Daily Citizen about the Gloria Theatre’s history and 75th anniversary: Page 1    Page 2