WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Musicians from across the country are expected to descend on south central Pennsylvania this summer without circus wagons and tents, but with the music played under the big top for generations.
Windjammers Unlimited’s semiannual convention will be held from July 17 to 22 in Franklin and Adams counties. Hundreds of people are expected to attend.
Waynesboro residents William Link and Marjorie VonDrach started initial planning for the convention years ago. Now, they’re collecting registration forms, identifying places for guests to eat and sleep, developing tours and soliciting program advertisers to pay for insurance bills and a pair of scholarships.
“This may be the biggest summer meet in 20 to 25 years,” Link said.
They also are researching ties their niche interest had to Pennsylvania composers and the Civil War as they prepare free community concerts.
“We discovered a big connection between circus music many years ago and Civil War music,” VonDrach said.
Immigrants brought their music to this country and used it as truly their only form of entertainment, VonDrach said.
“When the Civil War broke out, they took their bands to the war,” she said.
The Windjammers, which is a nonprofit organization, will play a free concert on Friday, July 20, at 7 p.m. at Waynesboro Area Senior High School. They will play another concert on Saturday, July 21, at 2 p.m. at Gettysburg Area High School.
No tickets are required.
Link and VonDrach described the concerts as having spirited music played by experienced musicians.
“Circus music encompasses waltzes, tangos, marches, gallops and overtures,” VonDrach said. “The music had to fit the acts.”
Attendees already booked all 71 rooms set aside at Liberty Mountain Resort in Fairfield, Pa., so Link and VonDrach are helping them find rooms in Emmitsburg, Md., and elsewhere.
Musicians will be given 58 pieces of music, 19 of which will be played in the Friday night concert. Others will be recorded for posterity.
Some of the selections have never been recorded before, Link said.
Musicians will rehearse at Liberty Mountain Resort for 20 hours before the Waynesboro concert. While they are doing so, nonplaying members and supporters will participate in various activities, including a bus tour designed by the Franklin County Visitors Bureau. They will go to Renfrew Park for a luncheon, tour Waynesboro’s Oller House and Zoe’s Chocolate Co., and visit Tuscarora Mountain Winery and Chambersburg’s Heritage Center.
Participants will be on their own for some activities and meals.
“We’ll be bringing business to town,” VonDrach said.