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Maryland Theatre outdoor show gets fans jazzed

July 25, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN -- Once the afternoon sun was gone, there truly was cool jazz Friday at The Maryland Theatre - outside.

More than 100 people sat in the courtyard, on folding chairs and bar stools, sipping drinks and nibbling finger food.

Playing beneath the theater's marquee, the Jackson Brothers with Van Showe supplied two sets of smooth music, with an intermission.

Admission was $5.

This, some said, is how a downtown is meant to be.

Friday's concert was the first in an eight-week series called Wind Down Friday Night. More shows are possible.

"We thought we'd get a turnout," said Jenni Hatcher, the theater's executive director. "We got a lot of good feedback for this."

The music series was organized in about six weeks, said Brenda Bush, a co-chair of the Circle of Friends volunteer group helping the theater.

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"We pulled this together with no budget," she said.

Some bad feedback - acoustically speaking - is connected to the concert series.

Proceeds will help the theater buy a new sound system, estimated to cost between $150,000 and $250,000.

Greg Dahbura, whose band will be next week's entertainment, attested to the sound system's failings. He said he's played in The Maryland Theatre eight or nine times and there have been sound problems about half of the time.

As he played the piano at the end of one show, the sound cut out. The audience got up and left, Dahbura recalled.

Next week, his band will play alternative and new age songs, along with current cover tunes. His father, Tony, will sit in on drums.

The Jackson Brothers and Showe covered Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind," Herb Alpert's "Rise" and The Four Tops' "Ain't No Woman Like the One I Got" as part of their sets.

In between, Showe stopped to chat with Marti Miller of Hagerstown, who was there with her husband, Dudley.

Showe, a member of North Hagerstown High School's class of 1963, went to school with Marti Miller's older sister, Carole (Delauney) Disharoon.

Marti Miller said she went to Friday's concert because it's music she loves, at a place she's equally fond of. Her daughter danced there for about 15 years.

Miller said Wind Down Friday Night was classier than she expected, with tables set up like an outdoor café.

Brian Marquiss, another member of the Circle of Friends, pointed to attractive architecture across the street as he talked about a block in the middle of a revival.

He noted that a local restaurant will sponsor each concert - Always Ron's was the first - and the exposure could help the restaurants succeed, too.

"I just want to see progress ..." Marquiss said. "We want this to be a community theater."

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