Rock Star Comes Home to Invest in Community

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Born and raised in Akron, Ohio, Chrissie Hynde had big dreams of becoming a famous musician. She chased her dreams to London and then around the world and is returning home to a revived Akron as a rock legend. Hynde, who is the lead singer of The Pretenders, will be in concert with Akron-area musicians at the historic Akron Civic Theatre on Saturday, September 15, at 8 p.m. Reserved tickets are now available for $30. Proceeds from the concert benefit the Akron Civic Theatre, the "Jewel on Main Street" in downtown Akron.

Born and raised in Akron, Ohio, Chrissie Hynde had big dreams of becoming a famous musician. She chased her dreams to London and then around the world and is returning home to a revived Akron as a rock legend.

Hynde, who is the lead singer of The Pretenders, will be in concert with Akron-area musicians at the historic Akron Civic Theatre on Saturday, September 15, at 8 p.m. Reserved tickets are now available for $30. Proceeds from the concert benefit the Akron Civic Theatre, the "Jewel on Main Street" in downtown Akron.

The Akron Civic Theatre is a cultural landmark with a rich and spectacular history over the past 78 years. Among facilities of its size, the Civic is one of a few remaining atmospheric theaters in the country where patrons experience a twinkling star-lit sky and intermittent clouds moving across the horizon, all while sitting inside the auditorium.

Hynde will be donating her time to perform in celebration of the Akron Civic Theatre and Akron-area musicians. Area musicians in the line-up include 15 60 75, The Numbers Band; The Bizarros; The Diffi Cult; Half Cleveland (a group made up of members of Tin Huey, The Waitresses and Chi-Pig); and Patrick Sweany. More performers may be added.

The ideas of a benefit Civic concert and Hynde's September presence in Akron were brought together by Akron marketing communications firm Hitchcock Fleming & Associates Inc. (hfa), led by Jack DeLeo, president and CEO, and Joel Testa, COO of Testa Companies. Testa Companies built and owns the Northside Lofts.

"Being a part of this city, it is hfa's responsibility to invest in Akron," DeLeo said. "Through involvement in events that help sustain organizations such as the Akron Civic Theatre, we are able to make a positive social and economic impact in our community."

Hynde's commitment to the evolving style, development and beautification of Akron isn't fleeting with the concert. The concert will be in conjunction with the opening of Hynde's vegetarian restaurant, VegiTerranean, in the prestigious Northside Lofts.

The restaurant, bar, bakery and coffee house featuring both casual and upscale Italian-inspired vegetarian cuisine will have a celebrity-hosted ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 15 at 4 p.m. The official public grand opening will be announced at a later date.

"With contemporary bars, a stylish ballpark and contemporary living, Akron has been rapidly transforming to appeal to a younger generation," said Testa. "With Chrissie's sharp style and hip personality, she's a perfect fit with the ambiance of Akron."

Along with the concert, on September 15 the public will have the opportunity to experience Akron's Metropolitan Experience, which Testa initiated and is coordinating.

There is no cost to attend the Metropolitan Experience, which includes a tour of premium downtown residential properties with a goal of inspiring attendees to transfer to downtown to live, work and play. Components of the tour include Artwalk, a circuit of art galleries including the newly renovated Akron Art Museum, and Foodfest, a gathering of local restaurants showing off their cuisine, which will be available for purchase.

"Chrissie's presence is overwhelming," Testa said. "Her fans are willing to do what it takes for first-class treatment from this Rock and Roll Hall of Famer."

Reserved tickets to Chrissie Hynde and Friends are $30 and are available on August 17 at 10 a.m. via the Akron Civic Theatre Box Office, 330.253.2488, http://www.akroncivic.com or Ticketmaster.

Special VIP tickets to the Metropolitan Experience are available for $500 and include an intimate Friday evening performance by Chrissie Hynde in the Northside Lofts, attendance at the Saturday VegiTerranean celebrity ribbon-cutting and party, premium seating at the Chrissie Hynde and Friends Civic concert and a personal invitation to the public grand opening of VegiTerranean. These tax-deductible tickets are a donation to the Akron Civic Theatre, and proceeds benefit the Akron Civic Theatre. The $500 VIP tickets are available through Testa Companies by contacting Jennifer Stevens at 330.928.1988, Ext. 110 or e-mail at jenniferstevens@testacompanies.com.

About the Akron Civic Theatre
The Akron Civic Theater was built in 1929 by Marcus Loew and designed by famed theater architect, John Eberson. The interior structure was fashioned after a Moorish castle featuring Mediterranean decor, including medieval carvings, authentic European antiques and Italian alabaster sculptures. In June 2001, the Akron Civic Theatre underwent the most comprehensive restoration and expansion project in its history, whereby the theater was brought up to modern performance and patron standards. Support for the Civic has been an investment in the community that fuels the economy and drives downtown revitalization.

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