The Tally Ho Renaissance

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By Tyler Garling

If you compared a photo of Leesburg 30 years ago to a photograph of Leesburg today, you would notice that there have been so many changes that it would be difficult to notice each and every one. Countless Leesburg residents have asked what happened to their favorite little restaurant or their favorite little shop in Historic Downtown. During all this change, one thing remained constant: the Tally Ho Theater. However, in recent months, plenty of people are starting to ask what happened to their favorite theater.

Tally Ho was built in 1932. It offered the people of Leesburg an affordable place to go see a movie until it closed its doors in the summer of 2012. You would be hard-pressed to find any resident of Leesburg who has not watched a movie in the historic theater. When the word of Tally Ho’s closing hit the ears of Leesburg residents and Tuscarora students alike, many felt as if their memories were being locked away too. Thankfully, owner Don Devine made sure that Tally Ho would not be another lost relic of Leesburg.

Once the doors of Tally Ho closed, the renovations began. After all the work was done, the doors opened once again, but, instead of enchanting its customers with magic on the silver screen, Tally Ho greeted them with sounds of music, something that Leesburg had been missing. When Tally Ho reopened, its renaissance began.

“As a theater, I don’t think Tally Ho was doing very well. Now that it’s a music venue, I think people will actually go. Leesburg didn’t have a place for live music,” says senior Cassidy Ford.

Tally Ho is now functioning as Leesburg’s first live music venue, and it has been drawing crowds from all around Loudoun County. Since it reopened, Tally Ho has featured DJs playing dubstep, bands playing classic rock, and even shows targeted towards children. What’s probably the best thing about the new Tally Ho is that it is very much a family venue unless certain shows have an age requirement.

Junior Clay Smith was one of the many residents in the Loudoun County area who were excited for Tally Ho’s transformation into a music venue. “I used to be in a band that played there when it was just a movie theater, and it was a lot of fun,” says Smith.

While Tally Ho was in its theater days, it would occasionally have musicians and comedy acts live on one of its two stages. Though one of their most popular comedy acts Last Ham Standing moved to nearby Franklin Park, the music has stayed. Its future looks bright for the talents in the area, including Ford, who has already played there. Could this be the spark that Loudoun’s music scene needs? It very well could be.

“Now that Tally Ho is a just a dedicated music venue, I think if I ever get the chance to play there again, it will be really cool,” says Smith.

Smith’s band, The Lamonts, is well-known around Tuscarora, but they would no doubt relish the opportunity to play at Tally Ho.

As stated earlier, Tally Ho is a venue that welcomes all ages, something that sets it apart from other music venues. Leesburg offers a great amount of entertainment for people of all ages, but Tally Ho allows all of those ages to enjoy music under one roof. It may be the cog that reinvigorates Leesburg’s night life.

“Hopefully, Leesburg will start to become more into going out and seeing music. It will be easier to get people out to see live music,” says Ford.

In the digital age that we live in, people aren’t as enthusiastic about going out and enjoying what the real world has to offer them. It’s much easier to discover new bands on YouTube than discover them the classic way: seeing them live. However, you miss out on the experience and sound only a live show can provide.

Although the digital age provides a problem for live music venues everywhere, social media may be essential to Tally Ho’s success. When it was a theater, Tally Ho would offer free seats to its Twitter followers and Facebook event attendees. Now, utilizing both Facebook and Twitter to the fullest would be the perfect way to get the word about upcoming shows, especially in the younger crowd.

The new Tally Ho may have had a rockier start than it intended, with several shows being canceled, but not everything starts out perfectly. Like all great success stories, Tally Ho has to start out small, but in no time at all, Tally Ho and the culture of Leesburg will both experience a renaissance.