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Dear Darla Brings ‘80s Rock To Orris



While new to the Ste. Genevieve Chamber of Commerce Winter Music Series, Dear Darla is no stranger to the Orris Theatre stage.

The band has played there before, including a benefit concert for the late Duane Donze.

“We are so thankful,” said the lead vocalist,who goes by just “Darla.” “We’re so thankful and honored to be asked to play for the Winter Concert Series. We’ve played at the Orris before a few times. One of the times that we played at the Orris was for a benefit for Duane Donze. I don’t remember the year that was, but I still have the poster in my house of all the bands that played that night, like Crossroads and Southern Gypsi, who was also in the Winter Series, plus the Blue Marlins and Stingray.

“To be asked to join in the Winter Series is such an honor to us. We do this because we love it. Just like Dwayne says, you know, you do it because you love it. And so we are so thankful.”

The group focuses on classic 1980s rock, including Loverboy, Journey, REO Speedwagon and more.

“We love the 80s rock. We just can’t get away from it,” Darla said

It’s excellent music,  the best music ever.”

Nostalgia also ties into the ‘80s sound.

“It just brings back great memories, you know,” Darla said, “great memories of great times.”

For the band members Darla, her husband/band co-founder John Smarsh (also the lead guitarist), bass player Brian Greer,  keyboard player Tony Arnett of St. Mary, drummer Richard Hill, and Ryan Krist on lighting, “music is a way of life.”

“We’ve all been musicians and have loved music all of our lives,” Darla said. “That’s what we do. So, we just want to share that with everybody.”

The band has played all over St. Louis and the region, after starting out now far fro here.

“We started in 2010 at a tiny little pub in Brewer,” Darla said. “And as word spread that we played great ‘80s rock, we’ve played in all the venues across St. Louis Metro and Southeast Missouri and southern Illinois.”

Dear Darla follows Southern Gypsi and The South Side Johnny Band in the Winter Music Series. Next up will be The Outsiders.

“We’re so happy that we have friends and family and fans that follow us and keep watching our music,” Darla said. “We’re very blessed and we want to thank the St. Gen.’s Chamber of Commerce and Dena Kreitler and Dick Greminger and Kenny Greminger and all of St. Gen. We’re ready to come down and rock that place. We can’t wait to party.”