Grandin Theatre hosts first live concert in almost 25 years

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The Grandin Theatre is transforming this weekend from a movie theater to a concert hall, as a group of local songwriters hits the stage.

Corey Hunley grew up in Rocky Mount. His passion for music began at age 14.

"I started playing guitar, that turned into heavy, rock and roll like all my friends did, and as time evolved, and I kind of went through phases . . . to more of an acoustic singer, songwriter," Hunley said.

He was yearning to play with other songwriters in the area so in 2015, he created Songwriters in the Round in Roanoke, a group that, "Allows you as an artist to get on stage, perform your song, in front of a listening crowd, and have them appreciate it," Hunley said.

For the group's fourth performance, the songwriters are playing in a space few have played before--the Grandin Theatre.

"It is everything. I have played in every dive across many states, and there's nothing like sitting in a room where you actually have folks listening," Hunley said.

The theater has a rich history with music, but its been almost 25 years since the last concert.

"This is kind of like an archaeological endeavor for us, we're kind of opening up a box that has the dust blown off on top of it, and a lot of us see this shiny jewel in there and we have an interest in seeing whether it's going to speak to the room," Ian Fortier, Executive Director of the Grandin Theatre Foundation, said.

It certainly has brought them to the box office, considering this is a sold out show.

"Filling up this room for other occurrences besides just movies speaks to the diversitivity of the room," Fortier added.

He says the Grandin is going to see how the live music works in this space and if it goes well, he hopes for many more live concerts in the theatre to come.