Arts & Entertainment News Release 11/28/06
Williamsport Symphony to Cheer in the Holidays
Laughter and virtuosity will join together as the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra presents Holiday Cheer, their annual holiday concert at the Community Arts Center in downtown Williamsport on Tuesday, December 12th. Music begins at 7:30PM.
The WSO will give the "world premier orchestration" of "Santa's Super Sleigh," a Christmas novelty song from the film "About a Boy" (which starred Hugh Grant, Toni Collette and Rachel Weisz). Song composer Peter Brewis (said to be "both horrified and thrilled" about this premier) wrote the orchestration especially for the WSO. A "special guest singer" has been recruited to sing this "deliberately schlocky but catchy tune."
The Williamsport Chamber Choir (directed by Dr. Peggy Dettwiler) will join the WSO to perform "The Seasonings" by P.D.Q. Bach, the alter ego of composer Peter Schickele. P.D.Q. Bach has been compared to everyone from Spike Jones to Weird Al Yankovic to Frank Zappa. Instrumentation for "The Seasonings" will include kazoos and foghorns.
WSO performs "Autumn" and "Winter" from Vivaldi's "Four Seasons." Besides having been used in over twenty film soundtracks, numerous commercials and computer games, the "Four Seasons" is said to be an "arm-melting workout" for violinists. The soloist for this piece will be Dr. Kenneth Sarch, WSO Concertmaster and Director of Orchestral Studies at Mansfield University.
Before becoming an author, composer, conductor, educator and performer, Sarch's love of playing music began when he was in high school. "Most of my friends had photos of sports stars hanging on their walls at home. I had concert flyers with photos of famous violinists like Stern, Menuhin, Ricci, Heifetz, Milstein and Elman. There has always been something enchanting about a great violinist performing on stage.
"In my concert performances, whether solo, chamber music or orchestral, I try to create a magical experience for my audience. I think of a concert violinist being like a great actor: bringing to life in one's own personal way, the emotions and messages of the music being played like an actor bringing a character in a play to life.
"I discovered this when I was engaged to play a gypsy violinist in a Checkov play. When I dressed in costume as a gypsy and entered the theater, I no longer felt like myself playing, but really as if I were an actual gypsy. I played so differently in costume - with complete abandon and with imaginative freedom. I recognized that I had played quite differently on stage- more reserved and self conscious. I liked how I played as a gypsy and realized that getting out of myself and into the character and meaning of the music was the secret to reaching the audience. This is how I play now!"
Sarch has presented recitals throughout the United States and in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Canada. Critics say "he brings to his performances a powerful tone, virtuosic technique, and a deep and passionate musical expression." In addition to an impressive record in chamber groups, Sarch has built a reputation as conductor both in the United States and abroad. Known as a musical and energetic conductor, he has a reputation for inspiring young musicians and audiences alike.
After the concert the public is invited to meet the musicians upstairs in the Capitol Lounge. The concert is sponsored by Sovereign Bank. The guest artist is sponsored by Physicians for Music. Tickets can be ordered at the CAC box office (570) 326-2424 or (800) 432-9382 or online at www.williamsportsymphony.com
News release submitted by Johnny J. Blair.
Arts & Entertainment News Release 11/28/06
I thought I recognized that name!
When perusing my recently delivered edition of Lancer News, the Loyalsock Township School District newsletter, I slowed down for the homecoming pictures. I noticed the kids of some friends among the 22 students which comprised the court, and paused when reading the name Adam Scheibeler.
A few days ago, I browsed YouTube to see if I could find any more local video and discovered one titled Christmas 2005 that had been posted on the 19th of this month. I added it to the sidebar that day.
“We go on a journey through Loyalsock interviewing people about important stuff,” is Adam’s description of his foray with friends into Giant, K-Mart, Sheetz and McDonalds gauging holiday spirit and gas prices.
The video is just a bit of adolescent fun. But I thought it was neat to become acquainted, through the ubiquitous reaches of YouTube, with someone whose name I then found in my neighborhood news.
And congratulations Adam on being elected to the Loyalsock Homecoming Court of 2006.
For my family, this coming Friday will mark the beginning of “Christmas Tree Weekend.” On Friday we will haul the decorating supplies from storage, on Saturday we will bring home the tree, and on Sunday afternoon we will drink eggnog, eat cookies, listen to carols and decorate.
I get mine at Tebb’s near the corner of Northway and Four Mile. I can almost always find my preferred blue-spruce there. They do that great tree-wrapping-thing which helps me get it home in as nice a condition as it was on the lot. For me, Tebb’s is just part of my personal tradition; I’ve been buying my tree there for the last fifteen years.
Some more adventurous types like to chop their own. So I did a little web research on Tree Farms and came up with the following links which may be helpful.
Brown’s Tree Farm
Bill Brown’s was the only farm for which I could find an independent website. The website is geared however to their wholesale business. Should you need ten or more trees, check this out!
The National Christmas Tree Association lists 8 local farms:
* Arrowhead Nursery -- Anson Proseus -- Ralston, PA -- 570.995.9288
* Berger's Christmas Tree Farm -- Robert Berger -- Hughesville, PA -- 570.584.2280
* Brown's Tree Farm -- William Brown -- Muncy, PA -- 570.546.2200
* Kohl's Stony Hill Tree Farm -- Stanley Kohl -- Milton, PA -- 570.437.3442
* Moonshadows Tree Farms -- Gary R. Griggs -- Trout Run, PA -- 570.435.0215
* Plunkett's Creek Nursery -- Bruce H. Thompson -- Trout Run, PA -- 570.478.7035
* Springman's Nursery -- James H. Springman -- Muncy, PA -- 570.546.5575
* Tebbs' Twin Hills Tree Farm -- Richard Tebbs -- Montoursville, PA -- 570.546.3530
The Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Growers Association lists Kohl’s (above) as well as Paulings Tree Farm in Hughesville.
Should you need additional help making a choice, read this November 25th article from the Sun-Gazette’s Lifestyle Section: Gardener's Journal: Choosing a Fresh Tree for the Holidays.
Post a comment – Where do you get your Christmas Tree?
I happened to stumble across this website today, found it interesting and thought I’d pass on the links.
The site is Ecanned – The Economy in a Can. Self-described, “Ecanned is an interactive service designed to deliver economic information to business owners, job seekers, economic development professionals and researchers.”
The site features the following local information:
- Employment Report for Lycoming County
- Housing Report for the Williamsport MSA
- Employment Report for the Williamsport MSA
There’s also more information on Pennsylvania, Lycoming County and Williamsport to be found in some tables; easy to find using the site's links.
Finally, Ecanned extends an invitation to become a “local expert,” suggested as a benefit to economic development and real estate professionals.
One of the great things about holidays is that they bring a feeling of community solidarity. And while surely there will be many things we do differently today, we are all brought a little closer by the many things we will do in common.
For many of us today will include The Macy's Parade on TV, The Dallas Football Game, Turkey et al, and Pumpkin Pie.
In the Williamsport viewing area, Comcast broadcasts:
~ 9:00 am - The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Channel 3 - WBRE, and Channel 504 - WBREDT (runs until noon)
~ 12:30 pm - The Miami Dolphons at Detroit Lions in Channel 4 - WYOU and Channel 502 - WYOUDT
~ 4:30 pm - The Thanksgiving Classic Dallas Football Game (Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Dallas Cowboys) on Channel 5- WOLF and Channel 503 - WOLFDT
~ 8:00 pm - The Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs on Channel 122 - NFLNET and Channel 508 - NFLHD
And with a certainty, someone in your family or network of friends has made a pie or two.
1. In Williamsport, We Talk to Strangers – or Perhaps There Aren’t Any
When I am in the grocery store, if I ask the woman next to me if she has any cooking advice regarding the meat I’m eying or a bunch of leeks in my hand … she answers! In fact, invariably, she goes into detail -- despite the fact that we neither know each others names or faces. This is part of Williamsport’s character. Everywhere you go, you’ll find people willing to look you in the eye, connect with you as you pass on the street, lend a helping hand, or even ask for one. I find many residents here to be exceptionally open, and despite the strength of the hard-working, to often show a glimpse of human vulnerability – that elsewhere would be cloaked and armored. When I’m traveling, and see busy strangers with eyes carefully focused on the void, or huffing with impatience when forced to wait for someone slow or confused, I affectionately remember my hometown where unmet friends are waiting around every corner with gestures of kindness in their pockets.
2. We Have a Wegmans!!
You may consider this a rather commercial and trivial thing to be thankful for, and you may insist that it is more expensive than Giant (a well-known point of contention between customers of these two stores) but this is my list – and this goes on it! (And no, no one at Wegman’s has offered so much as a free Latte for the post!) I just happen to love Wegmans! Today I’ll be there buying sour cherries, and Granny-Smith apples and a long list of other ingredients for pies. I’ll walk in the side door and scan the café tables for friends I know and will probably greet five or more before I’m through with my shopping. If I need something from the deli, or cheese counter, an expert in that department will come to my aid almost immediately. It amazes me how much each of these workers knows about the wares in their domain. I have a lot more to say about this bright spot in our little town, but I’ll save it for another post.
|From Fall Leaves|
3. It Turns Gold in the Fall, and Snows at Christmas
I am a child of the north-east. In my not too distant past I was compelled to move to that happy land of sunshine and oranges that many of us dream of during the bitterness of February. There, just as they say, every day was warm and the sky never failed to glare at me in a bright cyan. I deeply missed what we have here, and what I am still experiencing a renewed appreciation for: Weather! Sometimes the skies are blue and dotted with puffs of cottony cumulous, other times a steely blue-grey emitting a dull light which makes more cheery the pale yellow glow of candles in windows, and curling smoke from neighborhood chimneys. In Autumn, the trees display their glory and long walks trailing dogs and children’s laughter are cool and comfortable. And in Winter, a layer of virginal white, diamond glittering purity covers over the frigid slush.
I’d love to hear comments on this one. At Thanksgiving we give thanks for the provision of God, for our families, our churches, our friends … so many things. But it is no accident, that for today, your home is near this gracious place. What good thing do you find here?
I've been toying with the sidebar, and probably will continue to, so please be sure to check periodically for changes!
Today's changes to the Billtown Blog sidebar include:
- Williamsport on YouTube
- New links added to "Other Williamsport Bloggers"
- Williamsport Pics on Flickr
Be sure to look at the Flickr pictures. We've got some really good local photographers here!
photo courtesy of Wendi Staib
Consequently, if you've got local links you'd like me to add, please post your link in comments to this post.
Arts & Entertainment News Release 11/18/06
Billtown Brass to Blast Holiday Special
The Billtown Brass Holiday Special will arrive in the Pennsylvania College of Technology's Klump Auditorium on Sunday, December 3, 2006. Music will begin at 2:00 PM.
The program will feature a pot-pourri of holiday music for the entire family, opening with "Hark the Herald Trumpets Sing," a fanfare written by Manheim Steamroller's Chip Davis. Featured soloists in the program include soprano cornet soloist Dale Orris in a beautiful rendition of "O Holy Night." Tuba soloist William Ciabattari will give a virtuosic performance of "Frosty the Snowman."
Well-known holiday favorites are on the program: Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride" along with "A Christmas Festival," "Silent Night," "Jingle Bells," "Wassail Song," "White Christmas" and "Rhapsody for Hanukkah." The band is said to be excited about "Gaelforce," a three movement neo-Irish work selected to display the full musical and technical range of the ensemble.
Classic works include three dances from Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Ballet Suite (Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Arabian Dance and Trepak)" and "Troika" (sleigh ride), from Serge Prokofieff's "Lieutenant Kije."
Audience members are encouraged to bring their Messiah scores so that they can join the band's majestic conclusion with the singing of Handel's " Hallelujah Chorus."
The Billtown Brass was founded in 2000 as a response to a request for "an entertaining and portable "ensemble to add to the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra's musical repertoire. Membership includes many of the finest brass and percussion players in a sixty mile radius of Williamsport. The twenty-eight member ensemble (twenty-five brass players and three percussionists) perform everything from classical and contemporary favorites to big band jazz, showtunes, traditional marches and original brass band compositions.
Richard Coulter, the ensembles founding director, grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and was bitten by the brass band bug while in high school. After hearing the Salvation Army's Toronto Staff Band he joined a youth band sponsored by the Salvation Army in Pittsburgh. While studying trumpet and music education at Carnegie Mellon University he performed in the brass ensemble directed by the world renown tubist Philip Catelinet (a protégé of England's famed composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams). The ensemble would regularly read through Catelinet's compositions that were destined to become the next year's brass band contest pieces in England.
While in Pittsburgh, Coulter was part of the studio orchestra for the legendary "Mr. Rogers Neighborhood" television series. Since moving to Williamsport, Coulter has become a vital part of the educational and musical fabric of the region.
This event is presented by the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra. Tickets are $10.00 and are available at the WSO office and from members of the Billtown Brass. For information phone (570) 322-0227 or go to their website.
picture ©2006 Williamsport Symphony Orchestra
News release submitted by Johnny J. Blair.
Check out music by Johnny J. Blair, "Singer at Large." Downloads and ringtones available! ~
- FIRE is back! "Love Love Alone" w/Davy Jones
- New! 2006: Word2Soul Project
- "I Like the Street" on TREADMARKS
- "Sunday Morning" w/the Cellarbirds
"If a composer could say what he had to say in words, he would not
bother trying to say it in music." ~ Gustav Mahler
Last night was a big night downtown. The highlight for me was dinner at Franco’s.
As always, the restaurant was full of familiar faces including the ebullient Peachy O’Connor and her salt of the earth husband Tom.
As always, the food was outstanding – I always order the clams appetizer (I can’t remember the name of the dish, but the steamed clams are served in an enormous bath of a delicious buttery broth with bread on the side for dipping), and Maria and Fred were so gracious in allowing me to order Chicken Piccata off the menu. I had a house cabernet, which was both modestly priced and exceptional.
And as always, Fred and Maria roamed the dining room periodically, shedding happiness abroad, greeting every guest as an old and cherished friend.
There are many restaurants in the world that offer fabulous cuisine, impeccable service, an inviting atmosphere, groovy music, a tested wine list … but there are very few restaurants whose hosts parallel the charm and warmth of Franco’s, Fred and Maria Daniele. It makes a world of difference.
I don’t go that often. Our ticket isn’t huge as dinner bills go. But every time I’m there, I feel like an honored friend, a VIP – probably much the way every guest does.
Have you been to Franco’s recently? If you haven’t, give yourself a dose of good cheer and go! Be sure to make a reservation though. Everyone wants to be there.
Alfonse Ciaccio is one of my favourite local musicians and I'm excited to hear he'll be downtown at Otto's Bookstore's 165th anniversary bash tonight. Alphonse is a uniquely stylized Classical Jazz Guitarist; a popular performer at the Bullfrog Brewery for his captivating percussive and harmonics techniques.
The Celebration at Otto’s runs from 4 to 8 pm, complete with nosh and a half-dozen signing authors, and of course the charming presence of Betsy and gang.
I’ll be there!
Like any small community, Williamsport has many residents who were born and raised here … some who plan to raise their own families here and some just waiting for their chance to move someplace more exciting. Others of us came as adults, in some connection with jobs or school or marriage, have varying degrees of contentment at the outcome of their residence.
I am of the latter set – not a native to Williamsport. But I love it here. My children were born here and I plan to raise my family here. In fact, in some ways I feel I’ve chosen Williamsport, Pennsylvania specifically over all of the towns and cities of the nation. My career and other affiliations have afforded me opportunities to move on. And while metro-life occasionally sings its' siren song my way, for the most part I have no regrets about the home of my choosing.
It’s a town big enough to support a nice array of activities, involvements and recreational pursuits. Small enough for a bit of a Rockwellian feel – there are few places to go where you don’t know the name of at least one face in the crowd.
In a recent discussion, my husband and I were discussing new endeavors we wanted to pursue. He quoted some prevalent wisdom about doing what you love. And there was my “Aha!” moment. “I love Williamsport!” I responded. And this blog was conceived – along with some other components soon to come.
I’m looking forward to commenting on and discussing our town. Things that happen, things I hear and see, issues of import and inconsequence alike. And I’m looking forward to hearing the comments of others: of you my neighbors, whom I’ve chosen to be mine, over all the neighbors in the world.