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Pulaski Theatre springs back to life Friday night

The Pulaski Theatre came back to life Friday night.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Jill Sandidge, who serves as secretary of the Friends of the Pulaski Theatre, a group dedicated to the restoration of the theatre. “We’re just so excited.”
On Friday, the first of three performances in a live concert music series fund-raiser, “Holidays at the Pulaski Theatre,” was held at the historic theatre.
Two Christiansburg-based music groups performed, including The Down Home Gospel Band with Olen and Frances Gardner, and Statement.
Friday night’s performance was the first event to be held at the Pulaski Theatre since its doors closed in 1991. Once the building, which was built in 1911 and officially became the Pulaski Theatre in 1937, closed to the public, the property began to deteriorate and fell into disrepair.
In 1992, ownership of the building fell into the hands of Pulaski County. When the county began to talk of demolishing the theatre building to make way for a parking lot, the Friends of the Pulaski Theatre group was formed in 1993 and has since been working to restore the theatre, according to the Friends of the Pulaski Theatre’s website, www.pulaskitheatre.org.
The doors to the theatre opened at 6 p.m. Friday, and, by 6:45, just 15 minutes before the show, 175 tickets had been sold, according to Mike Fleenor, president of the Friends of Pulaski Theatre’s board of directors.
“It’s a great turnout,” he said Friday night.
Throughout the crowd, comments could be heard about the theatre’s past, including memories of first dates, black-and-white movies and even usher suits.
Bob McKinney, a member of the Friends of Pulaski Theatre’s Board of Directors, said he started working at the theatre in 1962 as an usher and continued to work there throughout high school, college and even the years to follow.
He said he arrived at the theatre at 9 a.m. on Friday to help make sure everything was working smoothly for the show that night.
Even a few new and young faces have been drawn in to help bring the Pulaski Theatre back to its original glory.
For example, Vicky Mousouris and her 16-year-old son, Andrew, who are new to the area, have been quick to lend a helping hand for the theatre. On Friday, Vicky manned the ticket booth while Andrew served as MC for the event.
Vicky said Andrew hopes to help draw in a younger crowd to the theatre through events such as comedy, theatre and battles of the bands.
She added that they just want to help the community, and she said they’ve met “so many wonderful people” in Pulaski so far.
“It’s one of the greatest things to happen in the town in a long time,” said Charles Wade, a former mayor of the Town of Pulaski, as he entered the theatre. “And it’s an indication of the progress yet to be made, even in this downturn of economic times.”
The next two “Holidays at the Pulaski Theatre” events include:
•An Appalachian Christmas on Sunday, Dec. 21, at 2 p.m. This concert will be dedicated to the memory of Randy Eley.
•The Old Pros on Saturday, Jan. 10, at 8 p.m.

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Pulaski Theatre springs back to life Friday night

The Pulaski Theatre came back to life Friday night.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Jill Sandidge, who serves as secretary of the Friends of the Pulaski Theatre, a group dedicated to the restoration of the theatre. “We’re just so excited.”
On Friday, the first of three performances in a live concert music series fund-raiser, “Holidays at the Pulaski Theatre,” was held at the historic theatre.
Two Christiansburg-based music groups performed, including The Down Home Gospel Band with Olen and Frances Gardner, and Statement.
Friday night’s performance was the first event to be held at the Pulaski Theatre since its doors closed in 1991. Once the building, which was built in 1911 and officially became the Pulaski Theatre in 1937, closed to the public, the property began to deteriorate and fell into disrepair.
In 1992, ownership of the building fell into the hands of Pulaski County. When the county began to talk of demolishing the theatre building to make way for a parking lot, the Friends of the Pulaski Theatre group was formed in 1993 and has since been working to restore the theatre, according to the Friends of the Pulaski Theatre’s website, www.pulaskitheatre.org.
The doors to the theatre opened at 6 p.m. Friday, and, by 6:45, just 15 minutes before the show, 175 tickets had been sold, according to Mike Fleenor, president of the Friends of Pulaski Theatre’s board of directors.
“It’s a great turnout,” he said Friday night.
Throughout the crowd, comments could be heard about the theatre’s past, including memories of first dates, black-and-white movies and even usher suits.
Bob McKinney, a member of the Friends of Pulaski Theatre’s Board of Directors, said he started working at the theatre in 1962 as an usher and continued to work there throughout high school, college and even the years to follow.
He said he arrived at the theatre at 9 a.m. on Friday to help make sure everything was working smoothly for the show that night.
Even a few new and young faces have been drawn in to help bring the Pulaski Theatre back to its original glory.
For example, Vicky Mousouris and her 16-year-old son, Andrew, who are new to the area, have been quick to lend a helping hand for the theatre. On Friday, Vicky manned the ticket booth while Andrew served as MC for the event.
Vicky said Andrew hopes to help draw in a younger crowd to the theatre through events such as comedy, theatre and battles of the bands.
She added that they just want to help the community, and she said they’ve met “so many wonderful people” in Pulaski so far.
“It’s one of the greatest things to happen in the town in a long time,” said Charles Wade, a former mayor of the Town of Pulaski, as he entered the theatre. “And it’s an indication of the progress yet to be made, even in this downturn of economic times.”
The next two “Holidays at the Pulaski Theatre” events include:
•An Appalachian Christmas on Sunday, Dec. 21, at 2 p.m. This concert will be dedicated to the memory of Randy Eley.
•The Old Pros on Saturday, Jan. 10, at 8 p.m.

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