Couple helps develop different sounds in downtown Dayton through Levitt Pavilion

(WKEF/WRGT)

DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - You may have noticed a much different sound coming from downtown Dayton this summer, with Levitt Pavilion bringing more than 30 free concerts after opening in August.

It took a big effort to bring the Levitt to the Miami Valley, and a local couple make it all happen.

Before Levitt could open and bring free concerts to the public, fundraising was needed, so organizers went to Ellen and Jeff Ireland. They've helped raise funds for big projects before, and this one spoke to them.

"The opportunity it was going to present for people who don't have the availability of cultural events," Ellen said, "so the inclusivity and diversity that it would bring was important for us."

The Irelands said that they soon discovered the idea spoke to people in the Miami Valley, too.

"Dayton raised the money faster than any other Levitt Pavilion has done," she said.

They said that the Levitt was an easy sell because of what it brings. It's more than just the concerts, because it goes beyond that with the diversity of and inclusion of the acts and the people it appeals to.

That was brought home to them on opening night back in August.

"It's totally surreal," Ellen said, "standing out there and watching all the people and listening to Gina Chavez as she's doing translations in and out of Spanish, and different rhythms, and encouraging people to move differently, think differently."

"The challenge now is to sustain it and grow it and make it better," Jeff said, "because I think what we've proven in 34 concerts in the first year is we can do it, it's a real thing and people like it. So that's a great springboard going into year 2."

That new year and new sounds will be coming soon to downtown Dayton.

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