July 4th should be summery — but officials advise caution while enjoying it

Strand-Capitol to kick off Appell Center era

Jason Addy

After more than 90 years serving up concerts, plays and movies, the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center will bring one chapter in York City’s history to an end with a free community celebration of art and music.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 6, the newly branded Appell Center for the Performing Arts will host free live performances, interactive workshops and backstage tours, with a lineup of events for all ages, according to a news release.

On Friday, May 5, the center will open its doors for the first time as the Appell Center for the Performing Arts, six months after announcing the name change that will honor prominent local businessman and philanthropist Louis J. Appell Jr., who passed away in June 2016.

Current day image. Stephanie Benamor photo

The Appell Center for the Performing Arts will be the umbrella organization for the performance spaces within the building.

Audiences will still visit the Strand Theatre, the Capitol Theatre and the Studio for performances, films and classes, all of which will fall under the Appell Center for the Performing Arts.

To mark the start of the Appell Center-era on May 6, the Strand Theatre will host a performance by the York Junior Symphony Orchestra wind ensemble and octet and a demonstration from Greater York Dance, as well as a hip-hop workshop, according to the release.

Louis Appell Jr. at his home in York.

York-based band Free Breakfast will perform from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Strand Theatre lobby, which will also host arts and crafts stations, balloon drums and a recycled percussion demonstration, according to the release.

Over at the Capitol Theatre, local artists and musicians will lead several live performances, capped off by the Appell Center Story Slam at 1 p.m.

Elsewhere in the Appell Center for the Performing Arts, The Rossums and Kayla Kroh will perform in the Studio, while artists will lead stage makeup tutorials in the center’s dressing rooms, and Menchey Music will provide an “instrument petting zoo” in the center’s multi-purpose room.

Appell Center staff will lead backstage tours, and those in attendance can enter a sweepstakes to win prizes valued at up to $300, the release states.

Community home: Rebecca Fellin, director of marketing, said staff at the soon-to-be Appell Center are very excited for the name change, which has been in the works since Appell died last year.

Appell loved nothing more than walking around downtown York and watching his fellow city residents going to restaurants and partaking in the performing arts, Fellin said.

"We really feel like (the name change) is representative of where we want go in the future and the Appell family's dedication to downtown York," Fellin said. "We wanted to keep that vision of his alive."

May will mark the start of a new era, Fellin said, as Appell Center staff members work to make concerts, movies and other arts more accessible to York residents, particularly young residents.

"We see the Appell Center being really a home for the community," Fellin said.

Three-day celebration: As well as the free community festivities on May 6, the Appell Center for the Performing Arts is hosting several other celebratory events that weekend, highlighted by legendary singer Tony Bennett's return to the White Rose City.

Bennett will perform a sold-out concert in the Strand Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 5.

His performance will follow “Jazz in the City” at 5 p.m. in the Studio and a showing of CapFilm "Sing" at 7 p.m. in the Capitol Theatre.

After the free community events on May 6, the Capitol Theatre will host a "Sound of Music" sing-along screening at 7 p.m. On Sunday, May 7, the Appell Center will open its doors for a sold-out Old 97’s concert at 7:30 p.m.

More information about the schedule of events can be found at www.StrandCapitol.org or by calling the Appell Center box office at 717-846-1111.