Even Saturday afternoon’s below-freezing temperatures could not keep Shippensburg University students and community members from enjoying some live music to benefit Shippensburg’s newest venue — The Shippensburg Station.
Ian Davies a junior at Shippensburg University organized the concert, which was the first event held at the station located on the corner of East Fort Street and North Earl Street.
The event featured an array of artists and the first performer was Kerin Maguire, an indie-folk act from Washington, D.C.
Maguire made an effort to keep the mood light as she performed under the slate gray gazebo adorned with string lights placed directly on the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail trailhead.
“I can’t feel my fingers but it’s fine. I’m really happy to be here,” Maguire said.
The natural acoustics of the outdoors paired with various amplifiers and pedal boards, made for a more-than-pleasant listening experience that could even be heard in a harmonious echo across the street in the parking lot of Pizza Man.
Other acts that performed during the concert included Harrisburg based act Billy Gartrell, Shippensburg’s own Nick Andrew Staver, The Firnats from Richmond, Virginia, and Hot Jam Factory, an art/rock, indie/rock band from Harrisburg.
Cumberland Valley Rails to Trails board member and associate professor of history at SU Allen Dieterich-Ward said the event was “a proof of concept show” to demonstrate that the community is serious about its plans to make the now unfinished venue thrive.
Dieterich-Ward said the idea for The Shippensburg Station came about after uncovering an abandoned, rusty, muted green 1956 railroad boxcar in the nearby woods, that was previously unused for thirty years. The boxcar, which will be the centerpiece of The Shippensburg Station, was relocated in early October.
Although the boxcar currently sits off the tracks in solitude, when finished, it will be placed back on the tracks and contain a historical museum featuring railroad artifacts. The boxcar will also be connected to a large wooden deck that will act as a stage for the multi-use event and performing space.
Davies had previous experience in booking bands for concert and contacted Dieterich-Ward immediately after learning of the new space — eager to get involved in any way. Davies said he is excited to see the new space used and gain popularity.
“It would be really cool for people to be familiar enough with it that they say, I want to go to a show at The Station,” Davies said. Davies further explained that the new space is especially beneficial to students as an accessible and safe place for individuals of all ages to have fun.
Holding views similar to Davies, Dieterich-Ward stressed the importance of The Shippensburg Station as a bond between the town and the college community.
“This is the linchpin that holds the town and university together,” Dieterich-Ward said.
Moving forward, Dieterich-Ward said the Cumberland Valley Rails to Trails board is currently in the process of applying for a grant that would help speed up the refurbishment process. The board hopes to have the site completed by mid-April 2018 in time for TrailFest that will feature art exhibits, bands, local wine, beer and cider and a series of races on the trail.
“I want to keep this momentum going,” Davies said.