Lerner Theatre Presents Free Organ Concerts, ‘Phantom of the Opera’

October 14, 2013

Bringing back a feature that was popular in the ’60s, the Lerner Theatre in downtown Elkhart will open its doors for free lunchtime concerts with music played by organist Celia Weiss.

General manager David Smith wants people to grab a quick lunch downtown and head over to the theater from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 16, and Oct. 23.

“Our goal is to drive traffic downtown during the lunch hour, and we want to use the organ to do that,” Smith said. “A side benefit of doing that is that it’s actually better for the organ to be played on a regular basis.”

Weiss is the music director and organist at First Presbyterian Church in Elkhart in addition to teaching music at Indiana University South Bend. For the concerts, she will play the Lerner’s restored pipe organ.

If the two lunchtime events are popular enough, Smith said the organ concerts could become a weekly feature at the theater.

Another opportunity to hear the organ in action will be Saturday, Oct. 26, when the Lerner presents the 1925 silent film “The Phantom of the Opera” with music provided by Christian Elliott. Elliott has performed at the Packard Foundation’s Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto, Calif.; the University of California, Los Angeles; and the Cinequest and San Francisco Silent Film festivals.

“He’s in pretty high demand to accompany silent films,” Smith said.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free for children under 10, $12.50 for students, $17.50 for seniors and $20 for adults. Tickets are available online at thelerner.com, by phone at 293-4469 and at the theater’s box office at 410 S. Main St.