By Julia Grippe
Holt Journal staff writer
HOLT — Country music artist Billy Dean will be performing on Holt’s Margaret Livensparger Stage April 14.
Dean is a Grammy Award winning artist and has appeared on a number of television shows including Good Morning America and The Tonight Show.
“We are pretty excited to have Billy Dean perform,” said Jeff Miller, theater and events manager for Holt High School. He started on Star Search and in the second season he was the winner. That’s what launched his career.
The Dean concert is a chance for Holt residents to enjoy entertainment right in their hometown.
“We know Michigan audiences like his music,”said Miller. “There are also ticket holders coming from states such as Ohio and Indiana. He has a very loyal fan base.”
“There is a pretty healthy contingent that gives their support to the Wharton Center. Those venues bring a lot to the community and we want to give our part to the community,” said Miller.
Miller is especially excited to have the event hosted at the Margaret Livensparger Theater. He said, “It’s very simple and elegant.”
Compared to the Wharton Center, which holds 2,600 people, the Margaret Livensparger Theatre holds 800.
“The Livensparger Theatre is very intimate,” said Miller. “It’s really a unique venue among high school theater. It’s a giant hug. The seating wraps around to the stage and there is not a bad seat in the house.”
By having the concert in Holt, Miller said, “It attracts people into our community that wouldn’t normally come here.”
Miller said Holt is a place that’s conducive for living, working and playing. “This is a way for us to enjoy being in our own community.”
Before the concert starts, there will be a reception for the first 80 people who purchase tickets. This is a chance for people to socialize and enjoy food from the Holt Public Schools catering services, said Miller.
Pre-concert social buffet tickets, $10 each, will also be available only from the box office, according to the Billy Dean press release.
“We have invited Mr. Dean to attend the event before the show,” said Miller.
In addition to the entertainment and social aspects, the concert is also provides funding for the school district.
“With the hard economic times, the general fund and all the programs that use this facility are at the straining point,” said Miller. “Those things that are generated within the school district don’t pay for the wear and tear on the curtains, the paint, the floors and more.”
Miller said the district is cutting millions of dollars from operating expenses. Money from the Billy Dean concert will go to the venue. “It’s a way to keep these venues looking beautiful.”
Miller said the staff works extra hard by doubling and tripling up on tasks to cut costs. When one custodian can support two events, it makes it less expensive.
“This is something our district and our board feel strongly about. They are really excited about being able to offer this to our community,” said Miller.