Songwriters Week coming to historic theatre

MCKENZIE, Tenn. — The Park Theatre in McKenzie has a long history.

It first opened in 1941, and it remained open for 50 years until it was closed in the early 1990s.

But thanks to a revival effort in 2016, the Park Theatre reopened.

Now, the 2020 Tennessee Songwriters Week will host a qualifying round there on Thursday night.

“We want the Park Theatre to be a landmark, and we are on the country music trail, kind of on the side of it, but we’re trying to make a bigger impression,” McKenzie city recorder Jennifer Waldrup said.

The competition is statewide, and it seeks to find musical talent across Tennessee.

Waldrup says it was by coincidence that they realized the Park Theatre could be a good host site.

“We’ve had a lot of people that come here, music talents, and they love the acoustics, so that is one of the reasons we thought it’d be great venue for this,” Waldrup said.

“West Tennessee has a lot of songwriters, and I think people are going to be surprised about the talent that’s going to come out,” McKenzie economic and community development director Monica Heath said.

Whoever wins at the competition will go to the Lafayette Room in Memphis. If they win there, it’s onto the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville.

There will be 13 performers at the Park Theatre, and it will start around 7 p.m. Thursday.

Officials hope this is the beginning of something new.

“We’re trying to make our mark in the music industry as well,” Waldrup said.

“Who knows, we may have a winner here,” Heath said.

Admission on Thursday night is $5, and the Park Theatre can hold up to 250 people.

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