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Concert Sound, Lighting & Staging Productions





Copyright (c) 2009, Charlotte Sun Herald Newspaper


Twin brothers Donnie and Ronnie Brown have been bringing the sound of music to Southwest Florida since 1989. 

Not that they're musicians. They're not. The brothers' company, DB Sound Systems, located at 3120 Sulstone Drive in Punta Gorda, specializes in "the rental, set up, supply and production of stage lighting, rigging and accessories for concerts, entertainment, churches, exhibitions and displays throughout the eastern U.S.," according to their Web site -- and company production manager, Deb Picard.

"We have over 500 churches on account, as well as four counties of schools (Sarasota, Charlotte, DeSoto, and Lee)," Picard said. "We have quite a diverse customer base."

That base includes event centers, arenas, cultural venues, concert halls, colleges, civic centers and beyond, she added.

The brothers, 52, have been at this work since the 1970s, sweetening the concert sounds of such legendary recording artists as Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Bob Seger, to name a few.

They've come a long way from their beginnings in Fairland, Ind., said Donnie Brown, who started out by working the sound for a local band in his high school days.

"(That band) got me out on the road," Brown said. "We ended up in Southern California, where I started DB Sound. I've been doing this for 36 years now."

Southern California led to Juno, Alaska, where the brothers polished the sounds of events in a convention center there. That led to promoting their own shows as well.

"We froze to death for about two years before we got an opportunity in Austin, Texas," Brown said. "We were the production company for Willie Nelson's Austin Opera House for about five years."

The brothers eventually brought their company to Southwest Florida at the urging of their mother, who owned a home in Punta Gorda.

"She was getting up in age and wanted to come back here," Brown said. "We did a lot of research and found this area was wide open for our services. It was the best move we could have made."

Lately, the brothers have turned their talents to producing local concerts.

"In March, we did a series of three shows at the Charlotte County Fairgrounds," Picard said. "We brought in the Bellamy Brothers, who play classic country music, and (singer/songwriter) David Allan Coe. We also had acts such as Gary and Kerri, and Stonewall, who opened for the headliners."

Picard added the brothers have promoted Port Charlotte progressive rock group Carnival of Soul, which recently opened for local rocker Gibson Cage at the fairgrounds as well.

"It was a challenge, changing hats to be promoters," Picard said, "and I have a newfound respect for those who do it full time. But we enjoyed the experience and we'll look into doing more next season."

Brown wasn't so sure.

"We're so booked up with annual festivals and events, it's hard to find dates to squeeze in our own shows," he said.

In the meantime, the company of five full-timers (and a host of freelancers) continues to serve an ever-growing list of clients and repeat customers, demanding its sound and lighting installation and set up capabilities -- not to mention an emerging rental branch of the business.

"People can pick up equipment and set it up themselves," Picard said. "(For) larger (events), they'll just hire us and a few tech (people)."

Picard added the company has come out with a new wrinkle this year: searchlights.

"They're great if you're having a grand opening or a special event," she said.

Brown, who never saw himself as any kind of businessman -- let alone a successful one -- was grateful for the work.

"It's been pretty amazing," he said. "Especially the way the economy is. Our customers just keep calling us."

You might say the ringing phone is music to his ears.

For more information about DB Sound Systems or to book the company for an event, visit their Web site at www.dbsoundsytems.com or call their office at 941-624-4521.

E-mail: ssmith@sun-herald.com

Copyright (c) 2009, Charlotte Sun