On Tuesday, April 19, the Marietta College Symphonic Band will be taking the stage at downtown Marietta’s Peoples Bank Theatre. Previously known as the Colony Theatre, the historic building reopened its doors on Jan. 8, after a 30-year hiatus.
Director Marshall Kimball says that when he learned the theater would be opening in time for the band’s annual spring concert he decided to model their performance after an early 1900s concert.
“That was during the lifetime and professional life of John Philip Sousa,” Kimball said. “For that reason we are going to do an old style John Philip Sousa concert.”
The concert will feature two Sousa marches, “King Cotton” and “Star and Stripes Forever.” Additionally, the band will perform other early compositions that Sousa would have performed during this time.
“Sousa always featured a soprano soloist with the band so Dr. Amy Yekel, dramatic soprano/vocal adjunct at MC, will be performing two selections with the Symphonic Band,” he said. “Jordan Reed, saxophone adjunct at MC, will be performing ‘Fantasia for Alto Saxophone and Band’ with the Wind Ensemble. The Wind Ensemble will also be doing a world premiere of a composition by our new music theory professor, Dr. Andrew Francis entitled ‘Because It Was Real’.”
Band members are excited to be performing in such an iconic venue. Previously known as the Colony Theatre, the century-old building was once a major entertainment draw for Mid-Ohio Valley residents.
“I remember going to the Colony Theatre as an elementary student and seeing a production of ‘Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn’ put on by the MC theater department.” Kimball said. “It made such an impression on me as a young boy. To see the renovated theater, now called the Peoples Bank Theatre, is a dream come true.”
Students had the opportunity to tour the newly restored building on Jan. 18.
“It’s absolutely stunning,” sophomore saxophonist Zebulon Suzelis said. “I just loved all of the little detail work that they ensured helped the Peoples Bank Theatre stay true to its roots as the Colony Theater.”
“It truly is a spectacular venue,” Kimball added.
Band members are most excited about one seemingly simple detail – the stage. For many years, the band has had to perform on MC’s Fenton Athletic Court. Having a full stage and auditorium to accommodate the band’s size and audience will be a welcomed change.
“It’s very special… to be able to perform on an actual stage in an actual theater instead of on a basketball court,” senior trumpet player Elaina Eakle said.
“The Marietta College bands have always had to perform in Fenton Court,” Kimball said. “That’s really not a concert venue but it’s all we had. The bleacher seating is uncomfortable and makes the concert very difficult for some people. This is such a huge step for us. It’s historic in so many ways. It will create a completely different and special feeling for our concert.”
Kimball says the concert will have something for everyone to enjoy.
“Whether you like ‘Phantom of the Opera’, ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’ or ‘English Folk Song Suite,’ the audience will have a memorial musical evening,” he said
The Peoples Bank Theatre is located on 222 Putnam Street. Kimball expects a full house and encourages everyone to spread the word about this free event. Doors will open at 7 p.m. and the concert will begin at 7:30.