Sunday May 19, 2024
Mac Arnold
& Plate Full O' Blues

thedesoto.org - 2

A Blues legend, Mac Arnold has played with such stars as  James Brown, The Temptations and B.B. King. At 84, he brings his energy to the DeSoto stage for the third time to serve us a mess of blues!


Mac Arnold must have known at an early age that his music career would read like a “Who’s who” of Blues/R&B Legends. His high school band “J Floyd & The Shamrocks” was often joined by none other than Macon, Georgia native, James Brown on piano. After deciding to pursue a professional music career, he joined the Charles Miller group until 1965 when he made the move to Chicago to work with recording artist/saxophonist A. C. Reed.

In late 1966, at age 24, came the opportunity of a lifetime to join the Muddy Waters Band and help shape the electric blues sound that inspired the rock and roll movement of the late 60’s and early 70’s. Regular guests of the band included Eric Clapton, Paul Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield, and Elvin Bishop. The Muddy Waters Band (as a unit) shared the stage with the likes of Howlin’ Wolfe, Elmore James, Jimmy Reed, Junior Wells, Big Joe Williams, and Big Mama Thornton just to name a few. During this time, Mac played on John Lee Hooker’s “live “album, Live at the Café Au Go-Go, as well as Otis Spann’s classic recording “The Blues is Where It’s At”.

After more than a year with Muddy Waters, Mac formed the Soul Invaders which backed up many artists, including The Temptations and B. B. King. In the early 70’s, he moved Los Angeles to work at ABC Television and LAFF RECORDS (Redd Foxx). This led to working on the set of Soul Train from 1971 to 1975 and then working with Bill Withers (“Lean On Me”) before moving back to South Carolina in the 80”s.

Mac now resides in Pelzer, SC, where at the age of ten he got his first taste of the blues when he learned to play his brother Leroy’s home-made guitar. Going back to his roots. Mac is serving up a mess of Blues with his own band, “Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues”. The band consists of Austin Brashier on guitar and vocals, Max Hightower on keyboards, harmonica, guitar, and vocals and Mac Arnold on vocals, bass and Gas Can Guitars.

Our Foundation is maintained by our fundraising events and the generous donations of our supporters.
We could not do this without you.
Thank you!


Help us Keep the Jewel of Broad Street Shining Bright.

Please donate to our Annual Fund. Your donations not only help us to complete the restoration of this cherished landmark, but will transform the DeSoto once again into a modern performance venue able to attract world-class acts to Rome.

Renovation For Our Future

The DeSoto is a treasure We are Always Working to maintain

Your generosity ensures that our work continues year by year so that our children and grandchildren will enjoy this historical and beautiful center of culture.

Your generosity ensures that the Jewel of Broad Street will be restored to its original splendor.

Your generosity ensures we can meet the requirements of matching grants so that projects are completed efficiently.


Energy Savings For a Greener DeSoto

Atlanta-based Southface Institute, a national  environmental non-profit, awarded the DeSoto Theatre a $30,000 grant in Spring 2021 for technical assistance and energy-savings projects  to make the DeSoto's historic 1929 stucture a "greener" building.  The 2:1 match grant requires that DeSoto contribute a $15,000 match in funds raised from the community.
In consultation with Southface, Energy Consulting Services in Atlanta was hired in the fall of 2021 to insulate, air seal and weatherize the historic DeSoto Theatre.

FALL 2021

Concessions Lounge Furniture

Thanks to a generous donation from Romans Linda and Jim Owens, and in preparation for numerous concerts and holiday events, the Concessions Lounge is now beautifully furnished with consoles, chairs and wall hangings. The center of the room is open for concessions lines and community gatherings.

JUNE 2021

Furnishing for the Stylish DeSoto Lounge

We are thankful to life-long Roman Villa Sulzbacher Hizer for her impactful legacy gift earmarked towards beautifying the front rooms of the DeSoto.  Her gift this year allowed us to add the beautiful period antique furniture and reproductions that complement the  custom-made, curved, floating bench that she helped fund in 2020.
The beautiful new  look for the lounge came together thanks also to the vision and generosity of interior designer Tommy Lam. With an uncanny ability to remember every detail of what his grandfather O.C. Lam's theater used to look like, Tommy brought the 1940s Art Deco Lounge back to life.


New auditorium heat and air units, thanks in part to a GCA $75,000 grant

We're honored to have won a  competitive, state-wide grant in Fall 2020 that helped us replace and relocate the auditorium's hvac units. The timing could not have been more perfect, as air filtration and ventilation especially in public places take on new, critical importance in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. Winning the Georgia Council for the Arts Cultural Facilities Grant reinforces the importance of the DeSoto and other arts and culture  facilities to serve as economic engines for their communities.


Historic recreation of the curved, floating banquette seat in the DeSoto Lounge

We are fortunate to have details of a leather banquette in the original plans of the 1940s addition of the Art Deco Lounge. But, we’re even more fortunate to have Villa Sulzbacher Hizer as the wonderful donor who made this project and additonal period furniture possible!
The banquette was custom-made by Corn Upholstery Co., an Atlanta company established in 1946 that made all the beautiful furniture at the new Marquee Club at the Fox Theatre.


Historic recreation of the Art Deco neon lights

The neon lights that used to illuminate the DeSoto’s entrance lobby and Lounge are back!  As with the banquette, this work was also based on the original plans for the 1940s addition. The recreation of the neon lights was possible thanks to two matching grants awarded to the DeSoto by the Rome Area Heritage Foundation.


Want to help in our efforts?

Click on the button to donate towards these projects

DeSoto Theatre Promo Videos:  2009 & 2019


The DeSoto is honored to be only one of three theatres featured in Atlanta's  Fox Theatre Institute's 10th Anniversary movie.  We're thankful for FTI's mentorship and support as they continue to engage with us and other historic theatres, "helping revitalize communities one theater at a time."

Polar Express Poster 2019v2

About the Historic DeSoto Theatre


In early 1928, O. C. Lam, owner of Lam Amusement Company, laid plans to construct a new movie theater in Rome, Georgia, modeled after New York’s Roxy. It was the first venue in the South designed and built as a “talkie” for sound films.
When the DeSoto opened in August 1929, it was one of the seven largest movie venues in Georgia.
It was an instant success and the pride of Rome. The Historic DeSoto Theatre Foundation maintains and preserves this legacy for future generations.

DeSoto Theatre

About the Historic DeSoto Theatre Foundation

The Historic DeSoto Theatre Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 2008 to secure the future of the iconic 1929 theatre in downtown Rome.
We are committed to preserving the tradition and legacy that is the Jewel of Broad Street. It is our mission to usher in the movie house that introduced us to “talkies” into the age of “selfies” and social media.
In 2019, DeSoto Theatre celebrates 90 years of downtown entertainment, the only theatre left in Downtown Rome’s once-thriving arts district.