A little bit o' dixie brings North, South together

July 18, 2002|by KATE COLEMAN

Want to start celebrating the arts on Friday night in Chambersburg, Pa.?

The fun - Dixieland style - will begin at 7 at the Capitol Theatre. "Cool Dixieland for a Hot Summer Night" will feature three bands - three flavors of Dixieland.

The Dixie Lion Jazz Band, based in the State College, Pa., plays New Orleans swing-style Dixieland - characterized by the combination of a piano, string bass and drums, says clarinetist and bandleader Jack Eggert.

The band has had the same six members for 10 years - an unusual occurrence, Eggert says. Members enjoy each other and the music they play, he explains.


The Dixie Lions' set will include an Ellington medley, arranged in the style of Duke Ellington, "Toot Toot Tootsie," a song from the 1920s and songs from the '30s and '40s, as well.

"We'll steal from anybody as long as it's good," Eggert jokes.

Local musicians make up the Capitol Dixieland Band - a sextet that takes its name from the theater where the concert will be performed. Lynn Lerew, who plays trombone, describes his band's style as "kind of stand-up and play Dixieland."

The group includes musicians from a variety of walks of life: Bob Steiner, retired dentist, on clarinet; Tim Gotwald, director of music at Chambersburg Area Senior High School, tenor sax; Jan Sulcove, attorney, on trumpet ; electrician Bill Wilson on tuba; and Sam Hepfer, who works "for the government," on drums. Lerew, director of human resources for the Chambersburg Area School District, also wears the hat of leader of the Hagerstown Municipal Band.

"The Dixieland band is just fun," Lerew says. There's that word again.

Lerew adds that's he's looking forward to hearing the other bands and perhaps getting some arrangements from Dave "Scrubboard" Littlefield of the White Lightnin' Washboard Band.

The Washington, D.C., band, with trumpet, clarinet, banjo, tuba - and, of course, washboard - specializes in sound effects and silliness, Littlefield says. The lineup sometimes includes a washtub bass. Yes, that's an actual metal washtub with a stick and some strings. Littlefield, a retired cataloger of Arabic books at the Library of Congress, says the homemade instrument makes a "pretty good bass sound."

Littlefield mans the washboard - he says people still use them for washing lingerie - as well as the banjo. The tune list on the band's Web site includes many Dixieland favorites - "Alexander's Ragtime Band," "Bye Bye Blackbird," "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover."

Littlefield warns that the band's version of "St. James Infirmary" features some variation of traditional lyrics done in a Dracula accent.

"We have some fun," he says.

'Cool Dixieland for a Hot Summer Night'

Friday, July 19, 7 p.m.

The Capitol Theatre

159 S. Main St.

Chambersburg, Pa.

Tickets cost $12 for adults and senior citizens; $6 for students 18 and younger.

For information, call 1-717-264-6883.

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