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Style · February 8, 2019

Gloria’s opens to bring great entertainment to town

Contributed Photo
Musicians perform last Saturday night at an opening reception at the new Gloria Faye Dingus Center for the Arts on Warrenton’s Main Street.
Photo/Cassandra Brown
“We want there to be activities here every night of the week,” says Tim Dingus, president of the Gloria Faye Dingus Music Alliance, a nonprofit foundation that operates the new venue.
It can accommodate a substantial audience, but it’s not huge, cavernous. You can still get a sense of intimacy between yourself and the audience.
— Vincent Henry, veteran musician
Gloria Faye Dingus Center for the Arts 
• What: Nonprofit entertainment venue, art gallery, education facility and event hall hosting multiple concerts each week; revenue from concert tickets would be used to provide instruments and music education for those in need. 

• Where: Suites 103 and 104 at 92 Main St., Warrenton

• President: Tim Dingus. 

• Opening: Friday, Feb. 8 to the public.

• Seating: 125 patrons. 

• Concert tickets: $15 to $25 depending on the performers.

• Space: 4,680 square feet 

• Investment: About $36,000 in renovations and equipment.

• Funds raised: About $38,000 from donations; $9,500 in grants for a total of $47,500.

• Facebook page: Click here

• Website: Click here.
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Staff Journalist
He hopes the 4,680-square-foot performing arts center will provide a plethora of entertainment for Fauquier.

After five months of renovation, the Gloria Faye Dingus Center for the Arts will begin hosting high-quality musical performances Friday, Feb. 8, at 92 Main St. in Old Town Warrenton.

In addition to at least two concerts per week, the center will host art exhibits, educational programs, dance classes and movie nights.

“We want there to be activities here every night of the week,” said Tim Dingus, president of the Gloria Faye Dingus Music Alliance, a nonprofit foundation that operates the new venue.

“People talk about how there’s nothing to do in Warrenton,” Mr. Dingus said. “We want to fix all that. We want to have an arts center that’s a caliber to where nobody has to get in their car and drive to D.C. or Northern Virginia.”

For several years, the Gloria Faye Dingus Music Alliance has hosted multiple concerts each month in the “Listening Room,” which seats about 30 people, in the back of Drum & Strum’s space, just a couple of doors east on Main Street. 

Beginning this weekend, all concerts will move into the new venue.

Mr. Dingus, 45, who also owns Drum & Strum, created the nonprofit, named for his late mother, who founded the business in 1990.

He established the new performing arts center to continue his mother’s vision of sharing music with the community. Gloria Dingus died suddenly in 2012. 

Regional, national and international musicians will perform at the new venue, as they have at Drum & Strum’s listening room since it opened.

Occupying two suites of the former Blue Ridge Hardware and Furniture building, the center has a 125-seat performance hall, an art gallery, a multipurpose room and small pre-performance room for musicians. 

The space features “world-class” sound, lighting and a projection system. Mr. Dingus in August signed a five-year lease for the space.

The new venue will open to the public with a concert by blues musicians, Dino & The Grinders on Friday, Feb. 8.

About 200 citizens attended a private, soft opening last weekend.

“It’s nice and open. The sound is great. There are so many possibilities of ways it could be utilized,” said multi-instrumentalist Vincent Henry who performed during the event.

A professional musician for 40 years, “I’ve done all kinds of rooms to tiny clubs to coliseums and stadiums,” Mr. Henry said. Gloria’s has “the room I prefer. It can accommodate a substantial audience, but it’s not huge, cavernous. You can still get a sense of intimacy between yourself and the audience.”

Concert tickets will cost $15 to $25 depending on the performances.

“We want to keep it affordable to everybody and we want to be able to pay a fair wage to the artist,” Mr. Dingus said.

A portion of each concert ticket will go toward scholarships to provide instruments and music education for those in need. 

The nonprofit arts center will rely on grants, donations and rental fees for operation and to eventually pay $5,000 in rent each month.

The venue will provide refreshments such as coffee, water and cookies to attendees.

Eventually, “we want to work with different restaurants, breweries and wineries to bring stuff in,” Mr. Dingus said.

The nonprofit’s eight-member board has raised about $38,000 so far to fund the project, along with $9,500 in grants.

Renovations and new equipment, including a movable 12-foot by 24-foot stage, cost about $36,000. Several items such as sound panels, lights and equipment installation were donated.

Mr. Dingus and Drum & Strum General Manager Dean Honeycutt will book performers. But, the effort will rely heavily on volunteers.

“We don’t have a facility manager because we didn’t want to burden the organization,” Mr. Dingus said. “We don’t have enough to keep a facility manager 100 percent busy right now because it’s brand new and we are still figuring out what’s needed.”

“It’s a community effort,” Mr. Dingus said. “It’s going to be a community arts center for everyone.”

Contact Cassandra Brown at CBrown@FauquierNow.com or 540-878-6007.
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