Circus music players in Pa. for concerts, recording music for posterity

July 18, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • John Roman directs a Windjammers Unlimited rehearsal Wednesday in Fairfield, Pa. The group will be performing at 7 p.m. Friday at Waynesboro (Pa.) Area Senior High School.
By Jennifer Fitch, Staff Writer

FAIRFIELD, Pa. — Thunder mixed with the up-tempo sounds of circus music Wednesday as 156 playing members of Windjammers Unlimited rehearsed.

The organization’s members from across the United States and Canada have descended on Liberty Mountain Resort this week. The instrumentalists are recording music for preservation and preparing for a pair of free concerts this weekend.

“We’re rehearsing 59 pieces. We will be playing 19 at the concerts,” said Waynesboro, Pa., resident William Link, event organizer.

Non-playing members and companions are taking historic and cultural tours, shopping and visiting area restaurants.

On Thursday, more than 40 people were to board a bus destined for Franklin County, Pa., for a period lunch at Renfrew Park, a tour of Zoe’s Chocolate Co., tea at the Oller House, a tour of the Heritage Center and tastings at Tuscarora Winery.

“This location has been beyond phenomenal, and people know that,” Link said.

Windjammers meet twice yearly. They travel to Sarasota, Fla., in the winter and rotate the summer meet across North America.


Link said the Pennsylvania location drew new people, whom he referred to as “first of May” individuals.

The term was used in the circus industry for newly hired help that joined for the summer.

“We have quite a few ‘first of May’ folks that haven’t been to other meets,” Link said.

Ten people are serving as directors for the rehearsals.

Tom Litzenberger of Fayetteville, Pa., first learned of Windjammers Unlimited when he transported a friend to one of the organization’s events in 2001.

“I enjoyed all the directors and music so much that I joined immediately,” he said.

His wife, Janet, also joined. He plays the alto saxophone; she plays the bass clarinet.

Hagerstown resident Eve McGrory is participating in a meet for the third time. The clarinet player said she is challenged by sight reading and the fast runs associated with circus music.

She praised Link and Marjorie VonDrach for their efforts to bring together the meet.

“I think it’s a monumental task,” McGrory said. “They’ve done a great job.”

The location of this year’s summer meet will allow some of McGrory’s friends to attend the concerts.

“It’s going to be a fabulous concert. You don’t want to miss it,” she said.

If you go ...

What: Free Windjammers Unlimited concerts
When: 7 p.m. Friday in Waynesboro, Pa.; 2 p.m. Saturday in Gettysburg, Pa.
Where: Waynesboro Area Senior High School on East Second Street; Gettysburg Area High School on Old Harrisburg Road
For more information, visit

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