The Squirrel Squad’s Love Of The Cap: A ‘Home Away From Home’

The Squirrel Squad: The Cap’s volunteer street team (including Sue Harmon, back row second from left) poses with moe. at the Port Chester, N.Y., venue. Photo by Jay Blakesberg

Before Sue Harmon became a part of The Capitol Theatre’s volunteer street team – aka “the Squirrel Squad” – she was already talking up the Port Chester, N.Y., venue in her free time.

“My husband and I went to college together and our first date was a Grateful Dead show back in ’87. And really, ever since then – we’ve been married 31 years – music has been our thing. The Cap is 15, 20 minutes away from our home. … And when Pete reopened it back in 2012, we dove right in,” Harmon told Pollstar.

Harmon, who works as a third grade teacher, and her husband, Dave, joined The Squirrel Squad a few years later.

“I would always post videos or pictures of us at The Cap, and eventually somebody who worked at The Cap said, ‘You’re doing so much publicity for [the venue], we would like to introduce you to Stefanie May,’ who at the time was the head of their marketing department. She is who we called Mama Squirrel.”

Harmon explains that May asked if she and her husband would be willing to join the Squirrel Squad and “That’s when it all happened. I haven’t looked back since. … Our crew is just the most amazing community of like-minded, music-loving people. We all say The Cap is our home away from home. It’s just a magical, magical venue that all of us have been just drawn to.”

The members of the Squirrel Squad get the word out about upcoming shows at The Capitol by passing out flyers and posters at local businesses like coffee shops and laundromats. Harmon notes that many volunteers attend gigs at surrounding venues and festivals and when they travel for shows, they’ll bring along supplies to flyer after the events. And then there’s the bright T-shirts advertising upcoming shows at The Cap.

“People see us all over,” Harmon says. “We could be in Virginia. They’re like, ‘Oh my God, you’re the Capitol Theatre people with those bright shirts!’ (laughs) Marketing definitely works.”

Although the Squirrel Squad is offered free tickets, Harmon and her husband still purchase their own because they want to support the venue.

“You walk into the Capitol Theatre, it’s incredibly beautiful to the eye … whether it’s the wallpaper, the projections on the ceiling. The sound is unbelievable. But it’s also the way in which Pete has brought it together as a family in terms of his employees. It’s the whole experience. We all need a lot more joy in our life. We all need to have magic and it’s there. You just have to find it. And that’s why we all feel so strongly about The Cap.”

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