A Pike County couple will debut the opening of Floyd County’s newest public-private partnership next week.
The Mountain Arts Center, Big Sandy Community and Technical College and McDonalds of East Kentucky are teaming up to launch this 2019 Fall Artist Series, “Hotcakes & Harmony,” featuring a concert by Pike County musicians Kelli and Scot Robinson at the newly-named BSCTC venue, The Gearheart in Prestonsburg.
MAC Director Joe Campbell said the concert comes in an effort to promote regional musicians and the BSCTC’s 122-seat auditorium.
The MAC has hosted Fall Artist Series events there for several years to give up-and-coming regional artists a place to perform.
Greta Heintzelman Slone, director of strategic communications at BSCTC, said an official with McDonalds of East Kentucky contacted her about collaborating for projects that support the arts.
“They are a huge supporter of arts and culture and it’s an exciting time because we’re looking at this project, Hotcakes & Harmony, as the beginning of a lot of great things in partnership,” Heintzelman Slone said.
McDonalds of East Kentucky will provide free McGriddles and drinks for all concert-goers, she said.
Heintzelman Slone said this concert series comes as BSCTC is renames the college’s auditorium as “The Gearheart” in an effort to increase awareness about the facility and its availability to the college and the public.
“What we’re doing — and I’m super excited about this — what we’re doing with the Gearheart Auditorium is we’re re-branding, we’re re-naming it, and we’re giving it a different mission,” Heintzelman Slone said. “We’re saying that as it a part of the college, it’s also a part of the MAC through that partnership. Let’s create this little satellite of the MAC that lives on our campus. ... We came together on it and we said we need to use this space for emerging Appalachian artists.”
She said The Gearheart will get a “facelift and a flavor” as part of this project, which will feature two Hotcakes & Harmony concerts this year, as well as other activities for students at BSCTC.
The Robinson couple graduated from the University of Pikeville. Kelli Robinson, a native of Emma, works at Pikeville Medical Center. Scot Robinson furthered his education at Vanderbilt University.
“They went to Nashville, they came back a year later and Kelli said I didn’t play any music, and I’m coming home and I want to play music,” Heintzelman Slone said. “And I’m like ... okay, let’s make this happen.”
Campbell described the couple’s music as “a mix of soul and a little bit of rock,” and attendees can expect some acoustic sets. Heintzelman Slone said Kelli Robinson is an “incredible pianist” who has an “incredible voice.”
“They’re singer-songwriters themselves. They’ve got original materials. But they love, I mean, they go back in the vaults of Americana, Bob Dylan. I mean, they may come out with a Black Sabbath ballad. They turned one of their songs into a ballad. That’s their range. They can do anything,” Heintzelman Slone said.
The concert will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17, at The Gearheart.
Tickets are $12 general admission.