BY LARRY BLOCK –
On Saturday night, August 17 at 7:30 PM, the Ouachita Little Theater (OLT), will provide its sixth OLT Community Praise and Worship Concert, where praise and worship teams from local churches take the stage to play and sing and provide inspiration to the community. This is part of the OLT Saturday Night at the Lyric (SNL) concert series, which is produced quarterly. SNL was started over 15 years ago, by Roy Vail and has been produced by Jay Rodgers and Larry Block in the years since. This year’s SNL producer is Jay Rodgers, again, and he is in the process of assembling the church bands for this year’s praise and worship concert.
Historically, SNL has been a revitalization of an informal activity, which took place outside the old Lyric Theater, founded in 1923, and the home of the OLT since 1979. On Saturday nights, musicians and other entertainers would gather on the street outside the theater, waiting for moviegoers to leave the theater. They then would provide entertainment, including singing dancing, magic, juggling and perhaps some comedy, and “pass the hat,” in the hope of making some money. Vail thought that producing a variety show, onstage, on a regular basis, usually quarterly, would bring that kind of entertainment back to the people of Polk County, in a very entertaining way, again.
SNL has been going on, on this basis ever since, usually in January, April, August, and November. In recent years two of the four quarterly shows have been “specialty” shows. The January show, for the last two years has been called The OLT Goes Dancing, and it features local dancers of every kind, ranging from ballroom to Middle Eastern belly dancing, and everything in between. It is produced by OLT Board member Jennifer Ogger. The praise and worship concert was originated six years ago by OLT Communications Director Larry Block. It has featured many of the praise and worship teams of local churches, including Mena, Hatfield, and Wickes.
The April and November SNL’s are always variety shows, much like the original ones performed on the street, and the ones developed by Roy Vail for inside the theater. SNL in November will again feature local musicians, singers, and other performers. For more information about Saturday Night at the Lyric, and other OLT programs and performances, visit the OLT website at www.oltmena.com, or call the OLT Info Line at (479) 243-0186.