Glassmaking studio opens in Westmont

Submitted photo
Angela Godin, executive director of the Community Arts Center of Cambria County, poses for a check-passing photo with Community Foundation for the Alleghenies Executive Director Mike Kane.

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Staff members at Community Arts Center of Cambria County recently unveiled the nonprofit’s Glass Fusion Studio.

“We are the only studio in this area offering something like this,” said Angela Godin, executive director of the arts center. “It is very exciting and special to us as an organization to offer a fully functional Glass Fusion Studio. The closest one is located outside of Pittsburgh.”

The arts center’s former darkroom was converted into the new Glass Fusion Studio.

“It was the perfect scenario,” Godin said. “It created a space for the new glass fusion kiln, along with all of the materials. This permitted them to be kept separate from the other divisions of our glass department, such as the stained glass and mosaic items. 

“The room is a practical and functional space that was formerly used for storage.”

The arts center has already hosted a handful of glass fusion workshops, giving people who are interested in glassmaking opportunities to make items such as tiles, trivets, ornaments, bowls and jewelry.

“Our first round of workshops was completely full and even had waiting lists,” Godin said. “Individuals have called with interest when our next workshops will be offered. 

“It is very exciting to see all our hard work to make this dream become a reality come into being. We hope to continue offering more workshops and classes to accommodate everyone interested.”

Godin added that, when it comes to glass fusion, workshop opportunities seem endless.

“There is such a large realm of diversity that can be created in glass fusion,” she said. “We are only scratching the surface of what we will eventually be able to offer. Through the process of glass fusing, you can make great tiles, trivets, bowls, light shades, jewelry, ornaments, miscellaneous 3-D works of art and more.
 
“To start, we are focusing on tiles trivets, jewelry and ornament projects. The creative process allows for new opportunities and expansion on our curriculum constantly.”

Instructors for the arts center’s education department have been offering stained glass and mosaic classes for a number of years, and the addition of the Glass Fusion Studio allows for a permanent home for these already established areas, not to mention the creation of a complete Glass Studio Division.

“I am excited beyond words to be a part of this new endeavor,” said Lida Hood, education director for the arts center. “I truly believe this will take our class offerings to a new level.”

Hood is in the process of developing a multi-level curriculum of glass fusion techniques and skill building. Glass art is to be created during workshops or six-week length classes, while specialization on projects and techniques are to be centralized in one-day workshops. Children’s classes and camps are also be offered.

Godin said the studio wouldn’t be complete without the purchase of a new glass kiln and all of the necessary “start-up” supplies the arts center needed. The kiln and supplies were provided by the Robert Waters Economic Development Fund of the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies as part of a 2016 fall grant.

The Community Foundation and its donors supported 63 organizations throughout Bedford, Cambria, Indiana, and Somerset counties through that grant, and Community Arts Center received $3,200.

“The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies is proud to support the Community Arts Center of Cambria County through this grant,” said Angie Berzonski, program and communications officer for Community Foundation for the Alleghenies. “In reviewing this project, our Distribution Committee appreciated their efforts to integrate new arts technology and was excited about the opportunities that the glass kiln will provide.”

Godin said she and her staff are thrilled with the possibilities that come with the opening of the new studio.

“We are privileged to be one of the 63 organizations to have received funds,” Godin said. “Our entire staff is excited about the new opportunities for our community and are thrilled to be able to host the first Glass Studio in our region. This new chapter in the community arts center’s history is very exciting.”

For more information about the Glass Fusion Studio, call an arts center staff member at 814-255-6515 or visit www.caccc.org online.

The Community Arts Center of Cambria County is located in Westmont along Menoher Boulevard.

“Glass fusion is something that has been around for a long time, but not every organization or center can offer it,” Godin said. “We are truly blessed to have received a grant from the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies. This was able to give us the jump start to offer something new to our community and expand the ways we ‘keep the Arts Alive in Cambria County.’ No matter the age or experience level, we can offer something with glass fusion.

“Because of the unique way fusion works and the different types of ways items can be fused, you never know what your item will look like when it comes out of the kiln. The surprise and joy of this mystery makes very alluring. You could fuse a million pieces of glass and make thousands of different items and not one would ever be the same.”

Arts center readies for annual auction

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

The 28th Great American Auction will take place inside Community Arts Center of Cambria County’s Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center gallery April 7.

The Great American Auction gives people an opportunity to win an array of items that will be part of the evening’s live auction. Angela Godin, executive director for the arts center, said that the list of items is as impressive as ever.

Some of the items up for bid include: autographed Arnold Palmer memorabilia, autographed Steelers gear, antique fabric quilts, golf outings, a Sabika necklace, Arcadia Theater tickets, Sight and Sound Theatre tickets and four one-day park hopper passes for Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Gift baskets, gift cards, collectibles and more, which have been donated by the arts center’s members and friends, are also to be auctioned off. Cambria County businesses have pitched in to help make the event a success, too, by donating nearly 100 gift cards and certificates.

A preview of all the items is scheduled at 4:30 p.m. that afternoon. At 5:30 p.m., Dale Mishler of Mishler Auction Services is to begin the bidding.

“Dale has been donating his time and services for pretty much the past 28 years,” Godin said. “He’s so generous, so thorough and so professional. We’re truly blessed to have him partner with us again this year.”

Local business Clark’s Corner Store is to offer food for purchase both before and during the auction.

As in years past, proceeds from the 28th Great American Auction will benefit the arts center.

“All the proceeds from this event go into our general operations fund so we can offer more exciting programming and events to our community,” Godin said. “The money we raise during this auction definitely helps to offset costs for many of the free events we host.”

Godin said she’s hoping that this year’s auction will be as successful as last year’s, which turned into a standing room only event.

“We actually had people backed up into the hallway of the arts center,” Godin said in regards to last year’s auction. “It was literally two and a half hours of non-stop bidding, and that was wonderful for the arts center.”

Last year, Godin said, she worked hard to make some positive changes to the auction that were well-received.

“Last year, we were able to get more high-ticket items,” she said. “Plus, we had such a variety of eclectic and antique items. I think that’s why it was so successful.

“Basically, our auction was packed with a variety of exciting merchandise. My objective is to continue offering the new attractions that prompted more individuals to attend and keep adding additional big ticket items. For example, once again this year I have four Disney passes.”

Godin said she’s proud of the variety of items that are part of this year’s auction, including those Disney passes.

A list of businesses that donated items, as well as pictures of items up for bid, is available on the community arts center’s website at www.caccc.org. The list and items will be updated regularly up until the event takes place.

The 28th Great American Auction is free to attend. For more information, call an arts staff member at 814-255-6515 or visit the organization’s official website at www.caccc.org.

The Community Arts Center of Cambria County is located in the Westmont along Menoher Boulevard.

“People are going to find some wonderful items that they could really use or just can’t live without and, at the same time, help a nonprofit that’s a staple in our community,” Godin said.

The Vinyl Review: ‘Magical Mystery Tour’

One of the better albums in my collection is a roughed-up copy of “Magical Mystery Tour.”

I have mentioned it before in AMPED. I think I found it about a year ago in a used record store and only now pulled it out for a second listen.
The Beatles, while not my favorite band, deserve more regular play.

Listening to the music and paging through the mini-book included in the album jacket takes the listener/viewer to another place and time. Strange pictures add to the unique music coming from under the needle.

The jacket adds to the experience, much like one of Alice Cooper’s artistic albums.

I plan to get on the tour bus more frequently.

(A British word seldom heard in songs by American bands, but used at least once by the Beatles: knicker.)

-@DARickKazmerCE

Jazz band, choir among performers scheduled at Grand Halle

Submitted photo
Members of Johnstown Christian School’s Handbell Choir, pictured above, are to soon perform at The Grand Halle.

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

This month’s Tuesday Noon Recital Series at First Lutheran Church features performances by a jazz band, a handbell choir, a St. Vincent College student and the founder of the series itself.

“We’re somewhat amazed and certainly grateful to come up with such good lineups,” said George Fattman, chairman of the Tuesday Noon Recital Task Force. “The April group has a couple dozen talented young people, plus a well-regarded veteran, Kim Rauch.”

The series commences April 4 with a performance by Greater Johnstown High School’s jazz band. The band is to perform selections from its upcoming concert, “A Night at the Movies!” This show is under the direction of Eric Pfeil.

“We had the jazz band a couple years ago, and people loved the enthusiasm of the young musicians,” Fattman said. “Their current director, Eric Pfeil, scheduled this a year ago.

“They rarely play in a venue outside the school district, so they regard this as something special. I don’t know who likes the program more, them or us.”

On April 11, another group of high school students will have the unique opportunity to perform inside the church. Johnstown Christian School’s Handbell Choir, under the direction of Kristen Lloyd, is to present a recital alongside the school’s high school choir. A vocal quartet and flutist also are also to share their talents.

“We’ve been hoping for some time to bring in youngsters from the Johnstown Christian School,” Fattman said.

“We’ve had several recommendations to bring the bell choir. Now we are getting the bell choir plus a vocal quartet plus a flutist. Their director, Kristen Lloyd, is such a devoted teacher and musician.”

And Rauch is set to entertain audiences April 18, when he plays the church’s 3,000-pipe Skinner organ.

“Kim knows the instrument well because he used to be the minister of music at First Lutheran,” Fattman said.

Rauch is also the founder of the Tuesday Noon Recital Series, and serves as program director at The Grand Halle, a church-turned-performance-venue in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood. Previously, Rauch taught music at Richland School District and University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.

Rauch is also responsible for founding the children’s chorus of the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra (Inclined to Sing) and has served as organist and choir director at numerous churches within the area.

“I don’t know what Kim is playing, but he’s playing something exuberant and joyous, fitting for the week after Easter,” Fattman said. “Kim is so enthusiastic. This program will reflect that.”

Music composed by Handel and Andrew Lloyd Weber, among others, is to be performed by St. Vincent College senior Kayla Uveges on April 24.

Uveges, a biology major who is minoring in sacred music, is a member of St. Vincent College’s Camerata and Camerata Scholars choirs. She’s to be accompanied that afternoon by Harriett Miller, a longtime piano teacher and performer.

“People love Kayla and have been following her success as a singer since she was a little girl in our congregation,” Fattman said, “and everybody wants Harriett Miller as an accompanist. There will be plenty of nostalgia — but a lot of talent.”

First Lutheran Church’s Tuesday Noon Recital Series, which has been taking place for more than 25 years, is designed to give people a laid-back opportunity to enjoy music during the lunch hour.

“These programs are such a nice break in the middle of the day, and culturally important to downtown Johnstown,” Fattman said. “The programs are excellent, but they’re also short. People can grab a light lunch in just a few more minutes, or they can remain and talk with the artists and others who attend.”

A free luncheon follows each performance. The luncheons are scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m.

“Good as the music is, it really helps to have lunch, which also is good,” Fattman said. “People ask for recipes or take-out.”

First Lutheran Church is located at 415 Vine St. in downtown Johnstown. For more information about the series, visit www.firstlutheran.info/recitals.htm online.

The Tuesday Noon Recital Series, which takes place in April, July and October, is underwritten by the Carolyn Walker Music Fund, contributions made by those who attend and by the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts through a grant administered by Pennsylvania Rural Arts Alliance. Other support comes from individual contributions.

Fattman works in conjunction with other members of the congregation, as well as consultants Rosemary Pawlowski, Jean Reavel and the Rev. Dr. Wilbert Boerstler, to bring the series to fruition every year. Greer Koeller serves as chair of the kitchen crew and is a member of the task force.

Together, they host a dozen recitals per year and serve around 1,300 lunches — all on a $4,000 budget.

“This takes organization and the input of about 30 volunteers,” Fattman said, “but people respond to success. They like to perform, they like to attend and they like to help.

“I remember the comment of a popular local artist, who said after his program, ‘Everybody should be doing this!’”

The Wall: Events for the week of March 29

Who: Paprika Rose
What: Vintage-style event
Where: Paprika Rose, located along Diamond Boulevard in Westmont
When: April 4 from 4 to 7 p.m.
Additional details: This event gives shoppers an opportunity to meet featured artists, see new items and purchase antiques, gifts and artisan goods. For more information, call the shop owner, Agnes, at 503-806-5400.

Who: Ron McIntosh
What: “Year-Round Maintenance for Your Property” seminar
Where: Sandyvale Memorial Gardens and Conservancy Greenhouse, located at 80 Hickory St. in Johnstown’s Hornerstown neighborhood
When: April 1 from 10 a.m. to noon
Additional details: Ron McIntosh, a local horticulturalist and the owner of “Green Grower Grown Organic Produce,” is offering this seminar. Those who attend can learn the secrets to year-round maintenance for lawn and property, and how to have the nicest landscape on the block. Free refreshments will be served. To register, visit www.sandyvalememorialgardens.org or call 814-266-7891 and a registration form will be mailed to you. Class size is limited to 30 seats per session.

Who: Richland High School Performing Arts Center
What: Jim Donovan and Sun King Warriors in concert, featuring guest accompaniment by Richland High School student musicians
Where: Richland Performing Arts Center, located at 1 Academic Drive in Richland Township
When: March 31 beginning at 7 p.m.
Additional details: Former Rusted Root founding member and multi-platinum recording artist Jim Donovan and his band, Sun King Warriors, are teaming up with Richland High School student musicians for this show. Released early 2016, Donovan’s debut album, “Sun King Warriors” gained critical national acclaim and wide non-commercial and AAA radio play. Sun King Warriors can be best described as a mix of Americana rock, with a strong dose of tribal style drumming. Doors for the performance are set to open at 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.sunkingwarriors.com or www.richlandpac.com.

Who: Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art (SAMA) at Johnstown
What: “The Art of Healing: Reflections 2017” exhibit
Where: SAMA—Johnstown, located inside the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center on the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown campus
When: Now through June 2
Additional details: SAMA—Johnstown’s latest exhibition features approximately 80 works created by patients during SAMA’s Museum/Healthcare Partnership Program residencies at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center. The works in The Art of Healing Exhibition, now in its sixth year, were created during residencies with SAMA directory artists Deb Bunnell and Susan Novak. The museum’s hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. The museum is a handicapped-accessible facility and is open to the public free of charge. For more information, please call the Museum or visit www.sama-art.og.

Who: Johnstown Senior Center
What: Fifth annual basket party
Where: Johnstown Senior Center, located at 550 Main St. in downtown Johnstown
When: April 1 beginning at noon
Additional details: Baskets are to be chanced off beginning at 3 p.m. This event is open to the public. The price for admission covers a light lunch and 25 basket tickets. Baskets are to be on display for presale March 27 through April 1. All proceeds benefit Johnstown Senior Center.

Jamieson, an award-winning author, to headline book festival

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

The ninth annual Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown is set to take place at Bottle Works—Arts on Third Avenue on April 1 and April 2 this year. 
The purpose of the Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown is to provide children with a free, engaging literary experience that promotes the joy of reading. It is also designed to give parents the tools they need to encourage a lifelong love of reading in their children.

The theme for this year’s festival is “Read, Rock and Roll.”

New York Times best-selling author and Newberry Honor Award winner Victoria Jamieson is headlining the festival. Jamieson’s graphic novel, “Roller Girl,” focuses on friendship, survival, determination and girl power.

“Jamieson’s graphic novel is great for young girls because it’s about empowerment and navigating those confusing pre-teen/teen years,” said Ingrid Kloss, The Learning Lamp’s director of development. “Plus, it’s really funny. This year, we knew we had to continue recruiting top caliber authors to headline the festival, and Jamieson does not disappoint.”

In addition to offering presentations and signing books throughout the weekend, Jamieson is to deliver the keynote address during the festival’s “Saturday Night Author Talk.” 

The talk, scheduled to take place from 6 to 8 p.m., is designed to give both published and aspiring authors/illustrators of children’s literature valuable information and tips for finding success within the publishing industry.

“This talk helps to flesh out what people don’t know, and offers the chance to ask questions in a supportive environment,” Kloss said.

Tickets for the “Saturday Night Author Talk” must be purchased in advance through Eventbrite.com; no tickets will be available at the door. Sales through Eventbrite.com will remain open up to two hours before the talk begins.

To complement Jamieson’s book, “Roller Girl,” the Johnstown Roller Derby Club and Pittsburgh Roller Derby Junior League will be offering demos during both days of the festival.

“A lot of people simply don’t know what roller derby is, so it will be helpful to meet actual derby skaters,” Kloss said.

Author Micha Archer and author/illustrator Stacy Innerst are also participating in this year’s festival.

Archer’s book, “Daniel Finds a Poem,” was chosen as this year’s Pennsylvania “One Book, Every Young Child” program’s selection. “One Book, Every Young Child” highlights the importance of early literacy development, the advantages of reading early and often, and the impact of engaging children in conversations and activities as they relate to the books they read. Archer works with oil, watercolors, pen and ink and collage.

Innerst, meanwhile, has illustrated numerous children’s books, including books about Levi Strauss, Abraham Lincoln and the Beatles. His work has received awards and recognition from American Illustration, the New York Society of Illustrators, Society of Illustrators Traveling Exhibition, Print Magazine Design Annual, a Gold Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and an Emmy from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Entertainer Mike Zaffruto and storyteller Melinda Falgoust are also participating.

Zaffruto’s “Rock n’ Roll Pet Show” introduces children to an imaginary pet store that comes to life with music, magic, puppets and more. Falgoust’s storytelling skills have been recognized by NY Book Festival Annual Competition, Oshima International Hand-Made Picture Book Competition and Writers Unlimited Annual Literary Competition.

“We’re happy to feature some talented women as part of this year’s festival, as the past two have been male-dominated,” Kloss said. “We got a lot of feedback from young girls wanting female authors.”

During the festival, parents and children can purchase new and used books as part of the book sale. In addition, every child who attends the festival will be invited to select a free, brand-new book of their choice courtesy of First Book.

“First Book is a great organization that enables us to get books for the price of shipping only,” Kloss said. “This means that every kid gets a book, regardless of whether mom or dad or grandma are able to buy one for them. And it’s a new book, so it’s just for that child, which is important.”

Children who are interested in writing and/or illustrating will have the opportunity to participate in workshops once again this year. Due to last year’s positive response, new workshops — including a poetry and a graphic novel workshop — have been added.

“We were overwhelmed to get 30 kids at last year’s writing workshop, and realized the audience for these workshops is here and ready,” Kloss said. “Many showed up with their dedicated personal writing journals and special pens or pencils and were clearly engaged. We heard back that a lot of them wished it had lasted longer.”

Also new this year will be an appearance by Joey Reisberg, this year’s national student poet for the northeast region.

“Through luck of the festival being in April, which is also National Poetry Month, we are able to feature Reisberg,” Kloss said. “He’s a high school student poet who is spending the month of April travelling and sharing his poetry and facilitating workshops for younger students as service to the country. The program is operated through Scholastic in New York.”

Locals selling food are to park their food trucks along Third Avenue. This year’s vendors include HK Hot Dogs, TNT Concessions and Flair of Country Catering. More vendors may be announced.

Children and teens can also plan to participate in a bookmark contest. Winners in each age group receive a basket full of age-appropriate books.

Live entertainment, storytellers, and themed arts and crafts opportunities round out this year’s two-day event.

Kloss and her fellow The Learning Lamp staff members are hoping that this year’s festival is as well-received as last year’s.

“Last year, the festival was a huge hit with the community, spotlighting the importance of reading to over 3,470 children and their families,” Kloss said.

The ninth annual Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown is supported in part by a $10,000 grant from National Endowment for the Arts as part of their “Challenge America” grant program.

“The NEA funding is huge, and I like to talk about it because people read about these crazy, maybe controversial, projects funded by the NEA, which are also important because art is a conversation about the world,” Kloss said. “But also realize that the NEA supports things in our community like the book festival. 

“We also get funding from the state arts agency via (Pennsylvania) Rural Arts Alliance. We’re also grateful to the Grable Foundation in Pittsburgh, and to our many corporate and individual donors of both funding and in-kind contributions.”

Kloss added that the festival’s success is also due in part to the many volunteers who donate their time and talents.

This year’s festival will take place Saturday and Sunday only, with no Friday evening events scheduled this year. Saturday’s hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday’s hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Bottle Works—Arts on Third Avenue is located at 411 and 413 Third Ave. in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood.

For more information about the 9th Annual Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown, call a Learning Lamp staff member at 814-262-0732 or visit www.thelearninglamp.org and/or facebook.com/CBFJohnstown/ online.

Kloss said she hopes everyone enjoys this year’s festival, as well as the books they take home with them.

“Reading connects you to the world, to new ideas,” she said.

BLACKBERRY SMOKE

‘Like an Arrow’
12 songs, 48 minutes
Legged Records (2016)

This is a band that’d sound equally at home opening for ZZ Top as it would opening for Eric Church — and has, in fact, already done both.

On last year’s “Like an Arrow,” Blackberry Smoke lays out a down-home Southern swing and, occasionally, hard-rock stomp. Charlie Starr’s voice is comparable to that of the Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson, and the group’s singing dual-guitar leads and walking piano lines evoke ghosts of the original Skynyrd lineup.

Highlights of this album include “Waiting for the Thunder,” a righteous rocker, and low-key “The Good Life.” Also worth noting that “Free On the Wing,” a collaboration with the legendary Gregg Allman, makes for a sweet closer.

The group’s music and merch can be found at www.blackberrysmoke.com.

-@BruceJSiwy

UPJ students to perform ‘Hamlet’ spin-off

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown’s theater department will present Lee Blessing’s “Fortinbras” April 5 through April 8 inside the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center.

The play, which was voted by Time magazine as one of 1991’s 10 best plays, tells the story of Fortinbras, who enters during the last scene of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” orders the bodies to be taken away and quickly devises a plan to ascend to the throne of Denmark. Fortinbras designates Horatio as his public relations person, which doesn’t thrill Horatio.

Meanwhile, ghosts have invaded Poland — and not just any ghosts. Ophelia and Gertrude are among many seductive ghosts who ultimately make Fortinbras question what distinguishes a good ruler from a great ruler.

“Fortinbras is a naive prince who just wants to be a popular and beloved ruler,” said John Teacher, Pitt-Johnstown’s director of theater arts. “Unfortunately, that encourages him to make some less than ideal choices while — quite literally — having to deal with the ghosts of his predecessors.

“While not a hard-hitting political piece, I think ‘both sides of the aisle’ can have a bipartisan laugh at the trials and tribulations of leadership versus popularity while watching young Forinbras negotiate his new kingdom. Additionally, those with a fondness for Shakespeare can enjoy a laugh at this speculative look at what happens to Hamlet and his family, friends and enemies after they die.”

The “Fortinbras” cast features Michael Cadden as Fortinbras, Mark Bambino as Horatio, Bradley Keller as Osric, Victoria Kwok as Captain, Erin Cain as Marcellus, Ben Berkebile as Bernardo, Carolyn Zeis as Polish Maiden No. 1, Kelsey Chabal as Polish Maiden No. 2, Grant Kristo as Hamlet, Paul Douglas Newman as Polonius, Erin Whyte as Ophelia, Devin Parfitt as Claudius, Emma Adams as Gertrude and Samuel Jackson Miller as Laertes.

Teacher said the script for “Fortinbras” appealed to him because he felt the students would have a lot of fun with it.

“In addition to picking a play that satisfied the academic goals of our department, I felt I needed something to help pick up the spirits of students, something fun that students would laugh at, and laugh while working on,” Teacher said. “This play is a great little comic romp that fills that bill while being a very intelligent and well-crafted piece of theater.”

In addition to the aforementioned cast, many other Pitt-Johnstown students make up the crew, designers and production/stage management team, bringing the total of students involved in “Fortinbras” to 47 altogether.

“Everything on that stage is a result of student effort,” Teacher said. “For this production, 100 percent of the costuming will have been made in our costume shop (including armor) by students under the guidance of me and our costumer, Judy Bingler. Sophomore Temperance Moore designed all of the female costumes as part of her degree study focusing on costume design.”

All four performances of “Fortinbras” are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can only be purchased at the door or in advance by visiting the arts center box office during regular business hours.

Teacher rated the play “PG-13” due to crude humor and implied sexuality. He encouraged community members to come and see for themselves what makes Pitt-Johnstown’s theater department special.

“The continuation of the arts for years to come starts right here with the efforts of these students,” Teacher said. “In addition to rewarding their hard work and time devoted, supporting them and all of the academic arts here (music, dance) is also a declaration that one wants to see and attend these activities into the future.

“It is, in many ways, a validation of the arts as a whole.”

Museum offering history program for preschoolers

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

Staff members at Ligonier Valley Historical Society are planning to host its Little Explorers preschool program suitable for 3- to 5-year-olds whose parents want to give them an age-appropriate introduction to local history.

Little Explorers is scheduled to take place Thursday mornings from 9:30 to 11 a.m. April 6 through April 27.

Malori Stevenson, program coordinator and innkeeper at Compass Inn Museum, and Cathy Cummings, Compass Inn Museum’s business office coordinator, are working together to lead the sessions.

“The preschoolers quickly get used to interacting with history,” Stevenson said. “They see it as play and not something to be intimidated by.”

The sessions are to include storytime, a movement activity, a craft and other activities that will encourage learning and exploration within the walls of Compass Inn Museum. All of these activities and opportunities will be designed to teach preschoolers what life was like back in the 19th century.

“Kids learn best through play while engaged and having fun, and that is what Little Explorers offers,” said Cummings, who has enjoyed teaching preschoolers for more than 20 years.

Advance registration is not required, but is strongly encouraged. There is a nominal fee for preschoolers to attend Little Explorers, and sibling discounts are being offered.

For more information, contact Stevenson by calling 724-238-4983 or emailing mstevenson@compassinn.org.

“This is a great introduction to history for little ones,” Stevenson said. “It’s a fantastic way to expose the kids to history in a preschooler-friendly environment.”

SHOCK TOP GINGER WHEAT

If aroma and flavor were everything, this one could be an award winner.

Shock Top Ginger Wheat blends a citrus and — of course — ginger scent into a tangerine-colored brew topped with precious little foam. The taste includes both of the aforementioned and a fair amount of spice and honey. It’s sweet, but not sickishly.

All this is fine and good. But it falls way short on mouthfeel.

A better brew in this genre would expand for a more satisfying finish. The effort is good here — it’s just a little too watered-down for a lot of wheat beer drinkers.

-@BruceJSiwy

The Vinyl Review: Bob Marley

Winter Storm Stella hit the region like a sickness.

Common symptoms of Stellitis: The blues, anxiety, grouchiness and depression. There is no medical cure.

There is, however, musical treatment. I pulled my copy of “Bob Marley’s Greatest Hits” and threw it under the needle. The music instantly put me in Jamaica, at least for a little while, as the snow fell outside.

Music has the ability to impact more than just the auditory sense. Some people see different colors in response to certain sounds.

We only use a small percentage of our brains. I bet musical stimulation is one key to unlocking a deeper experience.

Mozart seemed pretty smart.

Even at 10 percent, the rest of us can get the most out of our vinyl collections to get us through the tough times, including annoying late-season storms.

No prescription needed.

(For instant relief from the winter blues: “Summer in the City” by The Lovin’ Spoonful.)

-@DARickKazmerCE