Do­na­tions sought to ren­o­vate his­toric the­ater in down­town Span­ish Fork

Serve Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By Christi C. Bab­bitt

Curt Gor­don has helped the mu­sic hap­pen at Boothe Broth­ers Theatre for 16 years. Now, af­ter pur­chas­ing the fa­cil­ity, he’s look­ing to the pub­lic to help make the mu­sic con­tinue into the future.

Gor­don be­came the owner of the the­ater, lo­cated at 165 N. Main in Span­ish Fork, in Fe­bru­ary and ren­o­va­tion work is now un­der­way. The foyer has been re­done and the show room re­painted. A new prosce­nium for the stage is un­der con­struc­tion and should be in­stalled by early June.

To raise money to com­plete all the work that needs to be done, Gor­don started a fundraiser on www.gofundme.com. He hopes to raise $25,000, which would pay for a num­ber of projects in­clud­ing:

Restor­ing the build­ing’s façade and mar­quee to era-ap­pro­pri­ate de­sign.

Com­plet­ing four rooms on the sec­ond floor to ac­com­mo­date mu­sic lessons and re­hearsal and event space.

In­stalling a mod­ern state-of-the-art sound and record­ing sys­tem. Re­pair­ing the roof. Im­prov­ing acous­tics in the show room. “It’s just a way for peo­ple to try and get in­volved and try and team up on this his­toric the­ater and make it into the en­vi­ron­ment we all want to hang out in,” Gor­don said. The the­ater was orig­i­nally built in 1914 un­der the name An­gelus Theatre. It was

Span­ish Fork’s only movie the­ater un­til 1948 when it was de­stroyed by fire. It was re­opened in 1950 af­ter be­ing re­built on the same site. Re­named Main Street Movies in about 1984, it con­tin­ued as a movie the­ater un­til 1999. Early in the 2000s, it was op­er­at­ing as the Royal Palace Theatre and pre­sent­ing live mu­sic per­for­mances. It then be­came known as the Boothe Broth­ers Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter, op­er­at­ing just down the street from Boothe Broth­ers Mu­sic, a re­tail mu­sic store.

Gor­don, who has worked full-time for Boothe Broth­ers Mu­sic for many years, has been run­ning the the­ater for Boothe Broth­ers since De­cem­ber of 1999 when he started a pro­gram called BLUESJAM. On the first Thurs­day of ev­ery month since its in­cep­tion, BLUESJAM has been a place where lo­cal bands and mu­si­cians could join to­gether and per­form. A host band opens the evening with a per­for­mance and dur­ing its set, Gor­don goes through the au­di­ence and signs up other in­di­vid­u­als and bands that want to play.

In 2006, the sec­ond Thurs­day of the month be­came Clas­sic Coun­try night, the third Thurs­day be­came Clas­sic Rock night, and the fourth Thurs­day was set aside for song­writ­ers. All of these events con­tinue and are free to the pub­lic.

In 2008, Gor­don started a pro­gram called Real Rock Band through which young mu­si­cians are put to­gether in bands and guided through their re­hearsals un­til they are ready to per­form in con­cert.

Gor­don, who grew up in Lake Shore, has al­ways had a love of mu­sic. His fa­ther was a singer and gui­tarist in a lo­cal band and started mak­ing Gor­don sing with the band when Gor­don was only 2 years old. Gui­tar is Gor­don’s main in­stru­ment and he joined a band while in his late teens. He’s played in bands ever since.

His ser­vice at the Boothe Broth­ers Theatre has given him a deep love for the fa­cil­ity. “This is kind of like the muse that has al­ways kept me in­ter­ested in the mu­sic busi­ness, which can be pretty harsh at times,” he said.

He ex­plored the idea of buy­ing the the­ater back in 2006, but he and the Boothes even­tu­ally agreed the time wasn’t right. Ten years later, Gor­don in­quired again about mak­ing the pur­chase, and the swap in own­er­ship was com­pleted.

“I just de­cided over the course of sev­eral years that what I wanted to do was to go ahead and buy this the­ater if the op­por­tu­nity was there so I could have some­thing to do for the next 20 years that I was pas­sion­ate about,” Gor­don said.

All the pro­gram­ming that Boothe Broth­ers has had op­er­at­ing in the the­ater will con­tinue. In fact, even if he de­cides to even­tu­ally change the the­ater’s name, the the­ater will “still be a Boothe Broth­ers en­vi­ron­ment.”

“I want to model things af­ter what I think they would have done,” he said.

Gor­don be­gan tak­ing gui­tar lessons from Steve Booth at age 8 and he con­sid­ers him­self lucky to have spent his ca­reer work­ing at the store. He will con­tinue work­ing full-time at Boothe Broth­ers Mu­sic as he doesn’t view the the­ater a profit-mak­ing ven­ture.

“What I’d re­ally like to do is go non­profit,”he said, ad­ding that he’d like to see the build­ing be­come sim­i­lar to a con­ser­va­tory for the arts at some point. He en­vi­sions future events at the the­ater might in­clude con­certs by tour­ing bands or in­de­pen­dent film screen­ings. The fa­cil­ity will also be avail­able for rent for fam­ily par­ties or other events.

To do­nate to the the­ater or watch a short video about the project, visit www. gofundme.com/boothe­atre. Res­i­dents can also do­nate or go on a tour of the the­ater to see the ren­o­va­tion’s progress by vis­it­ing Boothe Broth­ers Mu­sic and ask­ing for Gor­don.

Curt Gor­don plays his gui­tar in the Boothe Broth­ers Theatre in Span­ish Fork. Gor­don be­came the new owner of the the­ater ear­lier this year and is now search­ing for donors to help fund ren­o­va­tions at the fa­cil­ity.

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