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Louise Mandrell performs at Capitol Theatre

March 03, 2001

Louise Mandrell performs at Capitol Theatre



By LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Louise Mandrell stepped off the Capitol Theatre stage Saturday and into audience members' hearts.

Singing a country song about her Texas home, Mandrell took the first of several walks through the aisles to shake hands and give hugs.

"I am so thrilled to be here," she said.

Admired as much for her sweet personality as she is for her music, Mandrell entertained about 900 people at two shows Saturday.

The theater's stage was overflowing with Mandrell's entourage, which included a dance troupe and a nine-piece band.

One Franklin County resident got up close and personal with Mandrell when she invited him on stage to sing with her.

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"It was completely unexpected," said Stephen Luhrs of Shippensburg, Pa., who met Mandrell while sport shooting. She's quite a markswoman, he said.

Mandrell thanked him for helping her raise money for the Boy Scouts and gave him a black cowboy hat.

Luhrs said he's seen her put on fantastic shows, even when she was exhausted.

"She really is a terrific lady," he said.

Mandrell, who first gained fame in the early 1980s variety show "Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters," showed off her musical versatility by playing the violin in an early number.

She kicked up the heels of her glittering silver cowboy boots, dancing and singing songs such as "I'm Just a Country Girl at Heart" and "Stand Up, Break Down."

Later, she slowed it down with a ballad, "I Can't Stop Loving You," and treated the audience to a gospel medley.

Several times, she stopped to talk to the audience.

"I need the attention because I'm a middle child," she said, referring to her famous sisters Barbara and Irlene.

Mandrell answered questions from the audience and encouraged them to visit her at her theater in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

Mandrell thanked the audience for their applause.

"Typically, people don't want to make a lot of noise until it's dark out," she said.

Fans, many of whom had never seen her perform, said they enjoyed the show.

"When an actor includes the audience it's really nice," said Rich Harmon, 34, of Chambersburg, Pa.

Harmon brought Kelly Seilhamer of Chambersburg, Pa., to the show for her 34th birthday present.

Tim and Betty Derick of Newburg, Pa., said they have been coming to the Capitol Theatre since they began dating some 50 years ago.

Eugene Klee, 68, of Chambersburg, Pa., also said he has fond memories of the theater.

"We used to sneak in here as kids to the movies," he said.

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