Strand Theater to Host ‘Thrive’ Benefit Concert for Don Hixon

ZELIENOPLE − The Strand presents “Thrive”, a concert celebrating the life of Don Hixon, 45, who died on January 3 after a battle with cancer.

The concert is at 6 p.m. Sunday at 119 North Main St. in Zelienople.

One of Hixon’s favorite bands was Casting Crowns, and the title of the gig was taken from their 2014 studio album, “It’s Time for Us to More Than Just Survive – It’s Time to Thrive.”

The Strand Initiative’s executive director, Ron Carter, said he wanted to do something to help Don’s family.

“Don was not only a devoted husband, father, teacher and friend, he was the primary breadwinner. His friends and colleagues come together for this special evening of inspirational music for all ages,” Carter said. . “Every share of the proceeds from this fundraiser goes to Don’s family.”

One of the event coordinators, Bobi-Jean Alexander, said they are coming together to help the Hixon family.

“It’s a fundraiser for a big family that’s been through so much, but it’s also a concert that will bring the audience together and uplift them,” Alexander said.

Carter had known Don Hixon for many years, saying he was supportive of his community and his children and loved music.

“Hixon’s kids, Leta, Liz and Isaac, joined the choir for The StrandTastics youth show, so I saw Don quite a bit at that time. My wife, Kathy, became quite close to the Don’s wife, Tammy, because the two have helped with the Seneca Valley All-School Music Program, and served on committees together. We know the family personally and how dedicated they are to their children.” , did he declare.

Audiences can expect an evening of uplifting, energetic and uplifting music from a variety of artists seeking to honor Hixon’s legacy.

Hixon taught at Portersville Christian School, Penn Christian Academy, Western Beaver School District, and finally Farrell School District.  Pictured is Hixon with his wife Tammy.

David Bruce Smith, keyboardist, conductor and composer, is the musical director of the Calvin Presbyterian Church in Zelienople and the Strand Theatre. For the gig, it will be David Bruce Smith & Friends, which is the name used when Smith fronts house band The Strand.

For this concert, the musicians are Matt Stanton on drums, Adam Corrigan on bass and Jonah Smeltzer on guitar. Two of the special performers bringing Broadway to the stage are Michael Marra, a Strand fan favorite with Broadway national tour credits, and Sarah Bishop, a talented and multi-faceted performer who was on the pre-pandemic nationwide tour of “Chicago”.

The Fantastic StrandTastics, The Strand Theater’s exclusive youth performance choir for grades 7-12, are sure to amaze audiences with their talent and energy.

These are just a sample of the people who will share their talent and love to make the evening a success. Carter said the Hixon family’s mother, Tammy, and six children will all perform, and at some point the whole family will also perform together.

“All are involved in the music in one way or another, and all will perform in the concert in various groups and solos,” he said.

Twins Leta and Liz were in The StrandTastics, and they will perform solo numbers as well as a duet and some numbers with a full band.

All of Hixon's family members will be performing in one form or another during the concert, including her twin daughters Leta and Liz.

Isaac, who was also in The StrandTastics, will do a solo number, and Quintin and Trenton will perform with their family. Oldest son Trey, a Seneca Valley High School senior, will perform solo with a backing band, as well as the Seneca Valley High School Male Quartet.

Trey will be attending Slippery Rock University in the fall as a music education major.

“This is a special night of life-affirming music and an opportunity to show love and support for the Hixon family,” Carter said. “There are more special guests and artists.”

After graduating from Seneca Valley High School in 1995, Hixon went to Bryan College and began his career in music. Hixon touched countless lives with his mentorship and teaching, beginning at Portersville Christian School, then moving on to Penn Christian Academy, Western Beaver School District, and finally Farrell School District.

Admission is $20 for reserved seating. For more information or tickets, call 724-742-0400, or visit

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