written by Tom Netherland
Adios to Miles Marek, executive director of the Paramount Center for the Arts in Bristol, Tennessee.
Hired in 2015, Marek was greeted with a vintage and beloved Paramount, yet one mired in issues. For one, the theater, which was built and opened in 1931, was financially struggling.
“It’s a beautiful theater,” said Marek months after his hiring. “I was running a small theater in New York, the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater. I was looking for the opportunity to do something different. I was becoming less enchanted with New York. When I Googled Bristol, there was something about it. It was calling me.”
Marek began work at the Paramount in July 2015. In accepting the position of executive director, he followed the late Merle Dickert.
He spoke at length of his plans to revive the Paramount, plans he instituted thereafter. Primarily, Marek strove to return the Paramount to a financially stable venue, a vivid and viable showplace for an array of live performance arts.
“I would love for the Paramount to be the stage where country music comes back to Bristol,” he said.
And he did. A wide array of country music legends performed at the Paramount during Marek’s tenure. The Oak Ridge Boys, members of the Country Music Hall of Fame, appeared for two sell-out concerts at the Paramount last January. They followed such house-packers as Tanya Tucker, Ronnie Milsap, Bill Anderson and Dean Dillon.
Furthermore, Marek booked an incredible and varied lineup for 2020. They included gospel music legends The Blind Boys of Alabama, blues wiz Robert Cray and country’s Milsap, as well as Trace Adkins and Sara Evans. They’ve all been rescheduled to appear at the Paramount later this year.
“It’s an exciting little place,” Marek said of the Paramount. “I want live entertainment that changes people for the better. It’s about bringing greatness to the stage of the Paramount.”
And he did. Thank you, Miles Marek, not just for keeping the lights on inside Bristol’s beloved Paramount but for making them brighter.