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Crooner comes to The Capitol

July 26, 2007|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - At 60, Tom Netherton, the former heartthrob of "The Lawrence Welk Show," is still "singing to the ladies."

"They say 60 is the new 40," Netherton said, laughing, during a phone interview from Nashville. "I'm 6-foot-5 and I'm trying to keep a 33-inch waist."

Netherton is performing at The Capitol Theatre on Sunday. Tickets start at $26.

While Netherton said he was known for singing gospel and romantic ballads on "The Lawrence Welk Show," he hopes to show fans in Chambersburg that he has more to offer.

"It's a chance for people to see more of who I am," outside of the Welk show, said Netherton in a telephone interview.

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He said his 90-minute set will be a combination of old standards - Frank Sinatra, Vic Damone and Tony Orlando - plus gospel, some comedy and plenty of "singing to the ladies."

Netherton said this will be his first time performing at The Capitol Theatre. He performed at The Maryland Theatre in Hagerstown in 2005. He also had a four-year stint at the Country Inn in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., during the late 1990s - a stretch of shows that had earned Berkeley Springs the nickname of "mini Branson," according to Herald-Mail reports.

Performing in Berkeley Springs was uniquely personal, Netherton said.

"It's so fun because you're so close to everyone, there's not that distance, and by the time the show's done, you've probably shaken everybody's hand, hugged all the ladies and had them on the stage dancing with you," he said.

On Sunday, Netherton will play alongside the same drummer and pianist who played with him at the Country Inn. Drummer Harry "Bing" Crosby, 53, of Ranson, W.Va., said Netherton was a popular performer.

"We never played for an empty house," Crosby said. "We feel like we're part of the team, not just backing up Tom."

Pianist Tom Colgan said he still is impressed with Netherton's voice.

"He has a beautiful voice, from the bottom of his range all the way to the top, with no weaknesses in between," Colgan said.

Netherton first appeared on the musical variety show "The Lawrence Welk Show" in 1973, doing 36 live tapings and two live tours a year. The show was on the air 31 years, attracting 40 million viewers at its height.

While the show had its fans, it also had its critics, Netherton said.

"Some people were like, 'Oh, this is corny,'" Netherton said. "But if they gave it a chance, they'd like it. It wasn't all waltzes and polkas."

The last new episode of Welk was taped in 1982. Welk died in 1992, at the age of 89. Welk TV specials and a weekly series continue to air on public television, said Margaret Heron, the show's syndication manager.

Netherton has continued performing since the Welk show. He has released 10 recordings and has written a book about his life and career. He has now decided to focus more on mentoring, working with abused teens and the Boys & Girls club.

"You can do what you love, but you should also share some of your life experience with them," Netherton said.




If you go ...



WHAT: Tom Netherton

WHEN: 3 p.m. Sunday, July 29

WHERE: The Capitol Theatre, 159 S. Main St., Chambersburg Pa.

COST: $26 to $30, go to www.thecapitoltheatre.org for more information.

MORE: For tickets, call the theater's box office. The box office is open 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays and one hour before showtime. Call 717-263-0202.

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