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Chambersburg welcomes Hagerstown Municipal Band to Capitol Theatre

December 18, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • Chambersburg (Pa.) native Robert Eyer Jr. opened An All-American Christmas Show Sunday at The Capitol Theatre with a prelude of organ music.
By Jennifer Fitch, Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — The Hagerstown Municipal Band headlined An All-American Christmas Show on Sunday, playing holiday classics like "Deck the Halls" and "Rudolph" for a full house at The Capitol Theatre.

Chambersburg native Robert Eyer Jr. opened the concert with a prelude of organ music. He joined the municipal band for a few songs, too.

The organ's pipes are behind panels and obscured from the audience's view.

"Sometimes you talk to people who don't realize there is an organ in the theater. ... It's fun to play for a big, full house," said Eyer, who is director of choral music at Chambersburg Area Senior High School.

Eyer started taking organ lessons when he was in third grade and later enrolled at Indiana University of Pennsylvania as a pipe organ major.

Eyer, 56, first played The Capitol Theatre's Moller pipe organ when he was a senior in high school in 1972. The organ, which was original to the theater in 1926, was about to be restored when he first played it.

"It was basically, in 1972, unplayable after sitting for so many years," Eyer said.

Now, by having the restored organ in the theater, a new generation is being introduced to its music, he said.

Fayetteville, Pa., resident Linda Jansen brought her 3-year-old granddaughter to the concert to expose her to live music. Although the girl, Elizabeth Jansen, needed to leave at intermission because she was sleepy, her grandmother said the family still had a great experience.

The Jansen family attends a variety of events at The Capitol Theatre.

"I think the things they offer are something everyone should experience," Linda Jansen said.

Chambersburg residents Bill and Flo Reagan also frequent the theater.

"They have wonderful programs. ... It's a really great theater, and no matter where you sit, you can see the stage," Flo Reagan said.

"They have a variety of shows, so you can pick and choose what you like," Bill Reagan said.

The couple enjoys Hagerstown Municipal Band's director, Lynn Lerew, and the musicians.

"They're very talented people," said Bill Reagan, who was looking forward to the singalong opportunities.

Jerry and Mitzi Angulo of Chambersburg said they know Lerew and were looking forward to hearing the band again.

"They were all excellent," Mitzi Angulo said. "It was very lively."

Chambersburg residents Bill and Rosalie Miller said they were looking forward to a festive Christmas concert and found just that at The Capitol Theatre. Bill Miller, a board member with the Chambersburg Community Concert Association, said he enjoys the theater's history, its renovations from 2005, and its vitality.

"It's still up and running, very much alive," Bill Miller said.

Bob Snyder of Hagerstown had never been to The Capitol Theatre before Sunday afternoon.

"I'm glad I came," he said. "I really enjoyed that organ part."

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