Singer Rotz moves forward, respectfully, after death of collabo

September 20, 2007|By JULIE E. GREENE

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Hometown boy Corey Evan Rotz knows his return Saturday night to The Capitol Theatre will be emotional, but even he doesn't know how he'll react when he walks out on stage without his longtime accompanist on piano.

Rotz, a tenor, performed at least five times at the downtown theater with Susan Rowe Gable of Hagerstown.

Gable was responsible for Rotz, an opera singer, becoming interested in standards from the 1930s and 1940s.

But this time Rotz will be without Gable, who died in August 2006 after a battle with cancer.

"After Sue's death, I was a little unsure I could come back and do it again," said Rotz, 38, of performing in Chambersburg. A 1988 graduate of Chambersburg Area Senior High School, Rotz lives in Washington, D.C.

This time he will be accompanied on piano by fellow Chambersburg native Brian Helman. Both performed at Appalachian Jubilee in the 1980s when The Capitol Theatre hosted country music nights on Saturdays. As teenagers, Helman was the house pianist and Rotz occasionally was a substitute backup singer. They both attended Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va.


Rotz admires Helman's improvisational skills and knowledge of American standards.

While Rotz makes his living with opera - he has been a member of Washington National Opera since 1995, his Chambersburg shows focus on music he believes a greater number of local residents are more interested in hearing than say, Russian opera.

A piece Rotz will not apply his robust tenor voice to on Saturday will be "Man of La Mancha" from the musical of the same name.

"I will never sing that in public again because that was our song, Sue and I. It just can't be done," Rotz said. "It was her song. When she played that she just dug into the keyboard. I prefer to leave that."

Rotz is releasing a CD, "Someone to Watch Over Me," Saturday night at The Capitol Theatre that features 20 selections he performed with Gable at previous Capitol Theatre engagements. The CD costs $20 and will remain on sale at The Capitol Theatre while supplies last.

The pair wanted to issue a live album, but whenever they would listen to recordings one of them would nitpick with minor flaws they heard.

Those small faults matter no more, Rotz said.

What better way to honor her piano playing and their friendship than the CD, Rotz said.

If you go ...

WHAT: Corey Evan Rotz performs American standards during "The Best is Yet to Come: Songs from the Great American Songbook"

WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22

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

COST: $18 for adults; $16 for ages 60 and older; and $14 for students through college. Prices include a $2 service charge.

MORE: For tickets, call The Capitol Theatre box office at 717-263-0202 or stop by the box office at 159 S. Main St. from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays, oro one hour before showtime Saturday. For more information, go to

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