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Meet David Schroeder, Virginia Theatre House Organist

The Champaign Park District proudly presents maestro David Schroeder performing regularly on the Virginia Theatre’s historic Wurlitzer Pipe Organ.

David Schroeder is the Director of Bands and Chorus at Bismarck-Henning Jr/Sr High School in Bismarck, Illinois, as well as Organist and Parish Music Director for Trinity Lutheran Church in Danville.

Mr. Schroeder received his Undergraduate degree in Comprehensive Music Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was active as an organ student and played in the UIUC Symphonic Band and the Marching Illini. As an undergrad Music Ed. major, David’s principal instrument was the organ, which he had already been playing for 15 years in church.

Over a decade ago, David made his acquaintance with Warren York, house organist for Champaign’s historic Virginia Theatre, and traveled with Mr. York to a number of theatre organ concert’s around Illinois and Indiana.

David Schroeder is a long-standing member of the Central Illinois and Central Indiana chapters of the American Theatre Organ Society. He has always been a fan of the “theatre organ style” but thought that he was perhaps “too ingrained” in the style of hymns and classical organ literature to ever be able to play a theatre pipe organ. It was through Warren York’s encouragement and the opportunity to visit the Virginia with him where Warren would say, “Well, sit down and try the thing out!”  That’s all it took, and David was hooked.

Through further encouragement from Warren York, David went on to play pre-show concerts at the Headback Theatre, Indianapolis, and countless other live engagements.

Mr. Schroeder is delighted and thrilled to be welcomed to the Virginia and her “Mighty Wurlitzer”, and he hopes you enjoy hearing the music as much as he enjoys playing it for you!

The Arthouse Experience Film Series

The Champaign Park District has announced a new film series at the historic Virginia Theatre, 203 West Park Avenue, Champaign, IL, 61820. The Arthouse Experience will showcase the best of recent art films once a month on the Virginia’s 52-foot-wide movie screen throughout the theatre’s 2021-2022 season. Conceived as a way to bring limited-release, high-quality films to a larger audience, The Arthouse Experience will combine favorites from past Roger Ebert Film Festivals with new releases, popular favorites, and titles chosen by the audience. Screenings will include introductory remarks and post-show talkbacks with guest curator Sanford Hess. $6 tickets to each of the films (additional per-ticket processing fees apply) are available at the Virginia Box Office, at thevirginia.org, or charge by phone at 217/356-9063.

The Arthouse Experience film series was made possible by a collaboration with guest curator and former operator of the Art Theater (126 West Church Street, Champaign), Sanford Hess. A movie-lover since early childhood, Mr. Hess realized his dream of operating a theater when he took over the management of Champaign’s popular Art Theater in 2010. After running the Art for three years, Sanford Hess helped transition the facility to a community Co-Operative, the first of its kind in the nation. Since that time, Sanford has continued to watch and comment on films at a prodigious pace, including in broadcasts on his Urbana Public Television program “Reel Reviews” with co-host Chike Coleman and his cinephile son.

In describing his reasons for curating the Virginia’s new Arthouse Experience series, Mr. Hess stated, “Movies are a communal experience, something we appreciate in a new way with the pandemic. Watching a movie with other film lovers in a gorgeous theater like the Virginia—it’s the kind of thing we really need right now”.

10/6/21 Emma (2020)
11/3/21 Moonlight (2016)
12/6/21 Cold War (2018)
1/19/22 Wild Tales (2014)
2/9/22 The Artist (2011) – rescheduled from original 2021 screening date
2/23/22 Adaptation (2002)
3/23/22 The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
4/6/22 Big Night (1996)
5/25/22 Eighth Grade (2018)
6/1/22 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)
7/27/22 Viewer’s Choice

COVID-19 Mitigation Practices at the Virginia Theatre

Please note that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Champaign Park District has adopted the following practices at the Virginia Theatre per CDC, state, and local public health guidelines:

Per an Executive Order signed by Illinois Governor Pritzker on August 26, 2021, all individuals age 2 and up who are medically able are required to wear a face mask while indoors in public settings, regardless of vaccination status.

Please note that due to the recent increases in active COVID-19 cases in Champaign County the Virginia Theatre has suspended the sale of food and beverages, including liquor, at all public events.

Patrons may, if they choose, bring in a single bottle of water (20 oz or less) for consumption during an event, provided they resume wearing their mask after taking a drink. No other outside food or beverage items are allowed into the theatre.

The Virginia has taken these steps to help ensure that all individuals are wearing a mask at all times while inside the facility.

CLEANING: The Champaign Park District has engaged ServiceMaster of Champaign to perform extra cleaning and disinfecting at the Virginia Theatre, with extra care being taken with touch surfaces, door knobs and push plates, railings, restroom facilities, and countertops.

For more, please visit this page, c-uphd.org, or CDC.gov.