Culpeper area musicians rally around the State Theatre
By Allison Brophy Champion, Culpeper Star Exponent
Local musicians from all genres are backing the Culpeper State Theatre – big time.
A busking event Sunday raised almost $300 for the Main Street arts center and two more benefit events are planned for Christmas week.
So inspired were they to help the theater, the so-called ‘Davis Street Buskers’ set up in front of the former Hazel River Inn Restaurant at 195 E. Davis St. this weekend and played Christmas tunes for tips.
Organizer/harmonica player Kevin Woodward said the owners of the for-sale historic building, Karen and Peter Stogbuchner, allowed them to use the space where the merrymaking occurred, generating $280 for the State Theatre.
In making the impromptu concert a success, Woodward credited Travis and Samantha Kenney, guitarist Aubrey Driggers, musician Tony Hoffman, guitarist Teddy Deal, drummer Kim Dawn Atkins and saxophonist Douglas Schmit. A group of carolers also participated.
“This was an idea to give back to the community that helped me this time of year,” said Woodward.
A more traditional act also wants to give back. Tuesday at the State Theatre, the White House Band returns to share holiday favorites at a 7:30 p.m. concert with proceeds to benefit the State. Band leader and trumpeter Dave Detwiler, of Culpeper, is hoping for a full house.
“We are donating back to the State Theatre because it is really important to Culpeper,” he said.
Detwiler, former lead and solo trumpet with the U.S. Army Band, has played with some of the finest musicians from Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand to Tony Bennett and Aretha Franklin in some of the finest venues, including the Kennedy Center, for presidents and other dignitaries. He said the state-of-the-art State Theatre, though smaller, certainly measures up in terms of acoustics and quality.
“It’s just about as nice a theater as I’ve ever been in,” Detwiler said.
Tuesday night, the nine-member White House Band will play jazz arrangements of Christmas songs. It will be the band’s fifth time playing the State.
“About 200 tickets are sold already,” Detwiler said Thursday. “We would like to see the other 300 sold.”
Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children and students.
The day after Christmas, local promoter Gordon Humphrey, of Culpeper, presents “Rep the Pep: A Concert to Save the State Theatre” at Buffalo Wild Wings. The Saturday show starts at 8 p.m., and is free, but donations will be accepted at the door with 100 percent of proceeds benefitting the local arts center.
Those wishing to attend should reserve seats online at repthepep.org, Humphrey said.
“It will be a who’s who of local talent,” he said. “Each artist will be performing and also sharing with the audience what the theater has meant to them and how it has changed their lives positively.”
Restaurant patrons can also elect Saturday night to have a percentage of their tab benefit the State.
“The true power of the evening will be highlighting the impact that the theatre has had on these young people’s lives — hearing them say it — and then hearing the power that each local artist has within their music,” Humphrey said.
As of Monday, the State Theatre had raised more than one-third of its $400,000 goal needed to fund next year’s operations, according to fund-raising campaign co-chairman Steven Barker. The fund-raising campaign started about a month ago.
Allison Brophy Champion can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (540) 825-0771, ext. 101.