Don Gibson Theatre Opens With Marty Stuart, Sell-Out Crowd

This appeared in The Shelby Star - November 21, 2009

Some say it’s an indication of what a community can accomplish. Others praise it as a vision come to life.

Either way, The Don Gibson Theatre is now officially open, ushering in a new era for the building on Washington Street, once The State Theatre.

“Words can’t express it,” Bobbie Gibson, Don’s widow, said Saturday night.

The 400-seat theater is named after the Cleveland County native and legendary country singer best known for his hit, “I Can't Stop Loving You.”

Mrs. Gibson participated in the planning and has granted use of her late husband's name in the identity of the new facility.

Destination Cleveland County Executive Director Emily Epley said plenty of time, resources and ideas went into the dream. And now it’s a reality.

Dignitaries gathered for a pre-show soiree in the facility’s meeting area. Those present included Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, legislators, various department heads from city and county government and contributing members from the community.

Marty Stuart, a four-time Grammy Award winner, was carefully chosen to open the Gibson Theatre.

“There’s no country act out there that can both knock the audience out and live up to the standards that Don Gibson set with as much heart as Marty can,” Executive Director David Jenkins previously said. “And Marty truly knows and appreciates what Don’s music meant to the business and to the history of contemporary music.”

Stuart brought laughter from the crowd as he revealed a desire to tour Boiling Springs and Flint Hill. “It took all of nine minutes,” he joked. “And I loved every minute of it.”

Don’t confuse the Gibson Theatre with an arts project. Its primary responsibility is positive economic impact as a concert hall, Jenkins said.

“That’s what draws people into your town,” he said. “It’s about bringing people to this uptown. It’s about creating jobs, increasing tax revenues, getting people to move here, getting people to come off that highway and spend money in this town. That’s what it’s all about.”

Saturday’s concert was sold out.

By David Allen

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