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The State Theater concert series continues to impress the crowds and generate income for the State Theater renovation | News

JOHNSTOWN Pa, – The first few notes of Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” first drew a few concertgoers onto the dance floor, and then more and more dribbled from their high seats at Johnstown’s State Theatre.

Before long, a small crowd filled the Saturday night dance floor just in front of the 16-piece band, made up of local musicians, who covered “The Best of Earth, Wind and Fire Vol. 1” and “Chicago IX.”

It was the first time in decades that the Johnstown State Theater dance floor at 336 Main Street in downtown Johnstown was put to proper use.

“I forget I’m in Johnstown,” said Brianne Layton, 38, after the dance, still gasping for air, “but I don’t want to say that anymore — it’s the norm now.”

The change is due to the partnership of Eric and Amanda Reighard, who reopened the theater in 2020, and local musician Jeff Webb, whose idea it was to put a band together and perform The Classic Vinyl Concert Series.

Saturday night’s sold-out concert was the final concert of the series dedicated to the live performance of classic and influential albums in the theatre. Previous concerts in the series have included The Beatles and Stevie Wonder, but even at these concerts the dance floor was not fully open as it was a Saturday.

Webb, Associate Professor of Music at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and Conductor of the Johnstown Symphony Chorus, has extensive experience in all types of high-profile venues. He said he enjoys the State Theater.

“There’s nice acoustics, the theater only seats about 400 people – it’s a great venue,” he said. “I encourage more groups and bands to play here. The more we can do, the better.”

Proceeds from concerts and film screenings at the theater will go towards the Reighards’ plans to refurbish the theater by 2026. By then, the theater complex will have state-of-the-art screening rooms, an IMAX theater and performance arts center, classrooms, luxury accommodation, a restaurant and jazz club, and recording studios.

The historic Johnstown State Theater was built in 1926. Having changed hands several times in its nearly hundred years of use, it is now being renovated to become a mixed-use arts facility.

Eric Reighard said Webb plans to return for a concert series in the fall. With every new event hosted at the evolving theater, something gets improved, Reighard said — concessions, facilities, shows.

“We want people to come and have a good time,” he said. “It gets better every time.”


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