Tag Archives: Tuesday Noon Recital Series

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!’”

Noon recital series set to begin

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

The Tuesday noon recital series at First Lutheran Church in downtown Johnstown is to resume April 5.

“We look for fresh sounds with artistic quality,” recital series chairman George Fattman said. “It attracts an appreciative audience.”

The first performance on the spring schedule is an organ recital by Matthew Beckman, who serves as organist at Moxham Lutheran Church. 

Beckman — also the former director of music at First Lutheran — will perform familiar hymns on the church’s 3,000-pipe restored Skinner organ.

The following week, on April 12, multi-instrumentalist Sam Coco will present a tribute to the Beatles titled “It Was 50 Years Ago Today.” Coco is an educator, songwriter and the conductor of the Johnstown Symphony Chorus who performs under the name Koko.

Pianist Henry Wong Doe will perform on April 19. Wong earned his doctorate from Julliard and currently serves as an associate professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He was born and raised in New Zealand.

University of Pittsburgh graduate Chloe Wieczorek will perform soul and jazz music on April 26. During her senior recital at the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium, she sang pieces by Jerome Kern, George Gershwin and other American classics.

Light lunches follow each recital, which are approximately 30 minutes in length. Fattman said that the noon recitals allow people to take a unique break during the day.

“It’s something people can do in an hour at midday in a downtown setting,” he said.

First Lutheran Church is located at 415 Vine St. in Johnstown. For more information about the recital series, visit www.firstlutheranchurch.info or call 814-536-2715.
There is no cost to attend the recitals in the series, but contributions may be dropped into a basket during lunch.

Funding for the series comes in part from the state arts council through the Pennsylvania Rural Arts Alliance, as well as the Carolyn Walker Music Fund.

Tuesday noon recitals start next month

By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent

First Lutheran Church has invited a number of local and regional musicians to perform in next month’s Tuesday Noon Recital Series.

The first scheduled performer is improvisational pianist Dr. Henry Davis, who will return to the church March 10. Davis started playing the piano at a young age and received formal training at the Cleveland Settlement House, Montgomery College and Howard University.

He was pianist for the male trio Voices Supreme, which for five years was named the “Best Male Gospel Group in America” by the Gospel Music Workshop of America. He was also pianist for the acclaimed Howard Gospel Choir.

Davis created “Great Celebration,” an original Christmas musical and an arrangement for “Peace in the Valley,” which won a Peabody Award. He was commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution to conduct and perform “Peace in the Valley” as a tribute to Tommy Dorsey.

Davis serves as pastor of Peniel Praise Community Church, as well as an administrator for Johnstown’s Peniel Program. Those who attend his performance can expect to hear Davis play a variety of genres, including gospel and praise songs.

Following Davis’ performance, Christine Clewell will perform on the church’s restored 3,000-pipe organ March 17. Clewell, assistant professor of organ and keyboards at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, has been a guest soloist at the Washington National Cathedral and numerous other venues throughout the Northeast.

Richland High School Chamber Strings, or Del Borgo, will perform at First Lutheran Church on March 24. Then, on March 31, Bishop McCort students Anastasia Hall and Jessica Schulte will perform.

In addition to playing the piano, Hall also plays the trumpet and Schulte the saxophone. They have been appearing in regional and district ensembles.
First Lutheran Church is located at 415 Vine St. in Johnstown.

The church’s Tuesday Noon Recital Series is as a cultural gift to the people who live and work in downtown Johnstown. A light lunch follows each program.
The series is supported by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts through the Pennsylvania Rural Arts Alliance and the Carolyn Walker Music Fund.