While communities continue to stay home protecting themselves and their loved ones from infection, the halls of the historic Athens Theatre in DeLand echo in silence. But the Athens staff have been working around the clock (from home) figuring out how to produce quality theater — with no theater — or audience in seats applauding.

Just as The Beatles suggested so many years ago, to “get by with a little help from [their] friends,” the Athens is proud to shout out with a bullhorn that they have joined forces with DeLand’s own The Studio Creative Group and several local bands to create the Rock & Virtu-Roll Concert Series!

Kicking off this new virtual ticketed series is the local DeLand band JCMD (which stands for Johncougarmellendan). This rockin’ band features Dan Reed, the co-owner/operator of Cafe DaVinci, on vocals and electric banjo; Jim Campbell on vocals and rhythm guitar; Adam Riggs on lead guitar; Jimmy Edwards on bass; Daniel Bennett on keys and guitar; and Chris Burgess on drums.

As Reed put it perfectly, “We’re the type of band that does our own distinct version of the songs you forgot you love!”  You’ll find yourself wanting to crank up the volume as they play hits like “Let It Ride,” “In the Midnight Hour” and “Love the One You’re With”!

As The Studio Creative Group’s owner Joey Maxwell said, “We were thrilled to be back in the production business after a substantial slowdown during the pandemic. While we typically specialize in commercial film and photography work such as television commercials, the opportunity to work together with the Athens Theatre was just too perfect to pass up. As sponsors of the theater, and huge supporters, it just made sense to shift our production resources to this kind of partnership.

“This concert series is spectacular. It rivals anything you’ll see on TV, and it was all produced by local businesses with local bands.”

“JCMD helms the series, and we could not have been more excited to work with them. This is an incredibly talented group of musicians who put on an amazing show. We can’t wait for the world to see and hear them in this format,” said Maxwell. And we agree.

Virtual tickets for Rock & Virtu-Roll: A Night With JCMD can be purchased at www.AthensDeLand.com. This video will begin livestreaming at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 23, and can be viewed like a rental for 24 hours with a $20 ticket. There is a downloadable option for $50, where ticket holders can watch it as many times as they like.

Also, you can purchase the VIP Full Series Pass and get the downloadable concerts of each of the four upcoming concerts in our Rock & Virtu-Roll series for $150! (The local bands featured in this series will be JCMD, Bad Actors, The Surrogate Band and Beartoe.)

All funds raised by this event will help the Athens Theatre and The Studio Creative Group make it through their COVID-19 crisis closures.

— Alexa A. Baldwin is director of marketing and operations for the Athens Theatre.