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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

SU Brass Ensemble presents ‘1914 Revue’ at Rome’s Capitol Theatre March 30

Award-winning group performs light classics, marches, songs, and rags

March 19, 2014, by Rob Enslin

Maestro Spencer leads the SU Brass Ensemble
Maestro Spencer leads the SU Brass Ensemble

The Syracuse University Brass Ensemble (SUBE), directed by James T. Spencer, continues its spring concert season with a “1914 Revue” at the historic Capitol Theatre (220 West Dominick St.) in Rome, N.Y. The concert is Sunday, March 30, at 3 p.m.

Administered by SU’s College of Arts and Sciences, SUBE will be joined by Master of Ceremonies Gerry Orlando, trombonist David DiGennaro '90, pianists Edward Clute and Greg Unangst, novelty singer Jack Theakston, soprano Alice Loomis, singers Shane Davis and Denise Morganti, and theater organist Jim Ford.

Tickets are $10 (adults), $8 seniors, $6 (Capitol Friends), and $3 (children 12 and under) and may be purchased by calling 315-337-6453 or visiting

“We’re excited to return to The Capitol Theatre for what is the highlight of our spring run,” says Spencer, who also arranges for and plays with the group. “The concert is a virtual time capsule, allowing people to relive the sights and sounds of a bygone era. There’s something here for everyone.”

SUBE will perform a grab-bag of selections, ranging from classical chestnuts (e.g., Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony and Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique), to popular marches (e.g., Sousa’s Columbia’s Pride and Alford’s Colonel Bogey), to lively songs and rags (e.g., Handy’s St. Louis Blues and Joplin’s Stoptime Rag). DiGennaro will be the featured soloist in Arthur Pryor’s Fantastic Polka

Rounding out the afternoon will be a variety of music-hall numbers, an audience sing-along, a fully staged scene from the play On Trial, and several short films.

“I can’t think of a better venue in which to present this program,” says Spencer, also a Meredith Professor of chemistry and an associate dean in The College of Arts and Sciences. “With its full-size stage and orchestra pit, The Capitol is a gem among movie houses in Central and Upstate New York. Playing there is like being transported back in time.”

The Capitol Theatre in Rome, N.Y.
The Capitol Theatre in Rome, N.Y.
The Capitol opened in 1928 as an opulent first-run movie theater and was the first in the area to play “talkies.” Citing high overhead costs, the theater closed in 1974 but reopened more than a decade later as a performing arts center. Today, the 1,788-seat venue is home to over a hundred events a year, including screenings, concerts, and theatrical productions. Amenities include a 20- x 40-foot movie screen and the original-installation theatre organ.

Upcoming SUBE concerts include those on Thursday, April 7, at 7 p.m. in SU’s Hendricks Chapel, as part of the CNY Brass Festival; Saturday, May 3, at 7 p.m. at Holy Cross Academy (4020 Barrington Hill, Oneida); and Thursday, July 3, at 7 p.m. at Emerson Park (6914 East Lake Rd., Auburn), as part of that city’s annual patriotic celebration. All events are free and open to the public. 

SUBE features more than 30 professional and amateur musicians from Central New York. In addition to performing at official SU functions, SUBE presents 15-18 public concerts a year, including the award-winning “Holidays at Hendricks,” which is broadcast on WCNY TV and radio throughout New York state and southern Canada. Distinguished composers from whom SUBE has commissioned music include Robert Ward, Arthur Frackenpohl, and Joseph Downing. DVDs of the ensemble are available at the SU Bookstore.