Seasons Archives: Holiday 2015

Happy Holidays & Thank you for 2015

Thank you of your generous support and concert attendance in 2015.

The 2015 season of the Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts has been a banner year to remember and celebrate – with more people than ever before attending 23 concerts and 7 Red Brick Gallery Exhibits and with record funds raised from new and loyal donors and members.  We thank YOU – our patrons and donors – for helping us make this possible.

The Board of Directors of Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts and The Red Brick Gallery and Gift Shop extends their warmest thanks to its donors and audience members for their generous support of its vision to bring world class music and art to the beautiful Allegheny River valley in 2015.

We wish you and yours a joyous an blessed holiday season and a healthy and happy New Year.
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We look forward to seeing you for ARCA’s exciting Tenth Anniversary Performance Season in 2016.

Yes – the fall of 2016 marks the Tenth Anniversary of ARCA’s First performances in Lincoln Hall.  We will be celebrating this milestone with wonderful concerts and events throughout the year, bringing new and popular favorite artists to Foxburg and the devoted audiences of Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts.

The 2016 season will begin with on Saturday, February 13 with a Valentine’s Day Cabaret featuring Pittsburgh celebrated chanteuse and recording artist Daphne Alderson (snow date of February 20) and with the internationally renowned Alexander String Quartet on Sunday, February 28, followed by a reception for ARCA $100 and above Donors at RiverStone mansion.

The dynamic Brass Quintet – C Street Brass – will present educational workshops and assembly concerts in the Allegheny-Clarion Valley Schools on Thursday, March 3 working hands-on with A-C Valley band students – AND on Saturday, March 12 Carnival of Soul joins us once again as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with their joyous Celtic music making.

Please check back often for more information on ARCA’s excited 2016 season.  ARCA’s new membership brochure will be online in the New Year, when you will be able to become a member, donate and buy tickets online.  You can sign up to receive newsletters and and information about ARCA’s new 2016 season and membership events on this site.

Have a Healthy, Happy and Safe New Year!


Greenville High School Steel Drum Band

The joyous young artistry of the Greenville High School Steel Drum Band is going to make the Foxburg Fall Festival 2015 one to remember!  On Sunday, October 11 at 2:00 PM more than forty young steel drum musicians from Greenville, PA High School under the direction of conductor Chris Williams will perform a FREE OUTDOOR CONCERT under the big tent between the Foxburg Inn and the Allegheny Grille.

Greenvill Steel Band

Pleased by the opportunity for the talented, young musicians to perform in Foxburg for its Fall Festival, Conductor Chris Williams said, “Steel Drum Band students at Greenville perform very often out in the community. We enjoy spreading joy through our music with a unique ensemble that many people have never seen before.  The students work very hard preparing and have a lot of fun performing for the public. I am fortunate to teach such a dedicated and talented group of students.”

During the 2014-2015 school year the steel band played thirteen performances out in the community as well as their normal school concerts.  In 2015, the Greenville Area High School Steel Drum band also was selected to perform at the PMEA State Festival in Hershey, PA.

Don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy these extraordinary young musicians at 2:00 PM during the Fall Festival on the banks of the beautiful Allegheny River in Foxburg.

About the Greenville High School Steel Drum Band

The Greenville High School Steel Drum Band was established in 1989 in order to provide students with a unique music experience incorporating styles, rhythms, and traditions of the Caribbean culture. At inception, the group consisted of only a starter set of pans and percussion instruments. In the years that followed, the group continued to flourish to the current size of twenty-two sets of pans. Currently, the overwhelming success of the high school group has spread into two additional bands at the 7th and 8th grade levels. Each one of these students plays other instruments in the band program and many are involved in chorus.

The repertoire relies heavily upon the basic rhythms of calypso, soca, and latin music and also includes pop, classical, jazz, and show music. The ensemble has had the pleasure of playing for large audiences around the Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia area including performances at festivals, colleges, school assemblies, clinics, and community functions. Some of the ensemble’s most notable performances include performing in 2006 with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, performing in 2006, 2010, and 2015 at the PMEA State Conference, 2007 and 2008 at the Ohio Valley of Steel, and performances in 2009 and 2011 at the MENC All-Eastern Conference.

About Conductor, Chris Williams

Mr. Chris Williams earned his Bachelors degree in Music Education degree from Slippery Rock University, and his Masters Degree in Conducting from Youngstown State University. He currently teaches instrumental music, grades 7-12, in the Greenville Area School District.  Mr. Williams is responsible for the marching band, senior high concert band, junior high concert band, high school percussion ensemble, high school jazz ensemble, and three steel drum bands. The junior and senior high bands consistently receive excellent and superior ratings at adjudication festivals. In 2015, the GHS Steel Drum band was selected to perform at the PMEA State Festival in Hershey, PA.  Mr. Williams is a member of the International Tuba-Euphonium Association, International Society for Music Education, PMEA, and NAfME. Mr. Williams previously taught in the Franklin Area School District.


Pittsburgh Symphony Brass
George VosburghTrumpet
Neil BerntsenTrumpet
William CaballeroHorn
Peter SullivanTrombone
Craig KnoxTuba

Let the trumpets sound! Foxburg’s Memorial Church of Our Father will be the exquisite Holiday setting for the 6th annual performance of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Brass Ensemble on Sunday, December 20 at 7:30 PM. The intimate atmosphere and superb acoustics of this stone church will resound with traditional Christmas favorites performed by some of the most celebrated brass musicians in the world.


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Foxburg’s beautiful neo-Gothic Memorial Church of Our Father constructed by Hannah Fox of the Fox family, Foxburg’s namesake, will resound with glorious strains of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Brass Ensemble on Sunday, December 20 at 7:30 PM.  The  stone church, boasts an intimate atmosphere and superb acoustics, made more compelling by the poinsettias adorning the sanctuary – an ideal environment for this concert of traditional Christmas favorites performed by some of the most celebrated brass musicians in the world.  Join us for “The Song of Christmas”, an auspicious beginning of Christmas week.

You will be uplifted and touched by the elegant arrangements of Christmas favorites from the PSO Brass’ Christmas CDs.  Their concerts have been described as been referred to as “Holiday cheer delivered with virtuoso flair.”  AND you will be entertained!  Audiences are familiar with the friendly and jovial spoken introductions the PSO Brass offers before embarking on a Holiday musical journey in styles ranging from the traditional to Spike Jones.  It promises to be a holiday favorite you will want to make an annual tradition.

Join us for the closing concert of ARCA’s 2015 season, keeping your joyous spirits high for Christmas-only six days later! Indeed, let the trumpets sound!!

For the December 20 concert of the Pittsburgh Symphony Brass, parking will be in the AC Valley Medical Center, opposite the AC Valley Schools, up the hill from the church, one-half mile, on route 58.  Shuttle service to the church will begin an hour before the performance, at 6:00 PM.

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006_6-300x198 - Version 2Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Brass Ensemble is comprised of Principal Players in the Pittsburgh Symphony including George Vosburgh, PSO Principal Trumpet; Neal Berntsen, PSO Trumpet; William Caballero, PSO Principal Horn; Peter Sullivan, PSO Principal Trombone; and Craig Knox, PSO Principal Tuba.

The Pittsburgh Symphony Brass was organized by George Vosburgh in 1994 with an emphasis on featuring some of the world’s finest orchestral brass musicians playing in chamber ensemble. The result has been a unique blend of virtuosity with brilliant sonority usually associated with orchestral brass. The ensemble, all of whom are members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, endeavors to stretch the limitations of performance and explore a wide range of musical expression rarely achieved in brass music.

The American Record Guide described the ensemble’s first compact disc, J.S. Bach, The Art of Fugue for the Four Winds record label as “Magnificent, an extended example of first rate playing, with beautiful tone qualities, impeccable intonation, and polished execution.” The ensemble’s second recording, ” A Christmas Concert”, has been described by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as, “Holiday cheer delivered with virtuoso flair.” At a recent concert for the Frick Art and Historical Center, Mark Kanny, music critic for the Tribune-Review, described the concert as “impressively polished.” After a concert for the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society the Tribune-Review wrote, “Full of brilliance and power, but also stunning in subtle artistic qualities made possible only by masterful control”.

The Pittsburgh Symphony Brass released a third compact disc in 2002. This recording, Cantate Hodie for the Clarion label is in collaboration with the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh and features contemporary works based on Christmas themes for mixed chorus, brass, and organ. The groups fourth and fifth recordings, The Spirit of Christmas (2003) and A Song of Christmas (2008-both for Four Winds) again received great reviews. Music performed by the PSO Brass can also be found on The American Girl’s Christmas, Music of Christmas Past. The groups association with the American Gramophone label has resulted in partnerships on that label’s Holiday Musik II and Renaissance Holiday recordings.

The group’s featured performance on National Public Radio’s Performance Today is replayed annually on NPR stations throughout the United States. The PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY BRASS has performed in Italy, Canada and the United States.

George Vosburgh, trumpet
Neal Berntsen, trumpet
William Caballero, horn
Peter Sullivan, trombone
TBA, bass trombone
Craig Knox, tuba


George Vosburgh
Principal Trumpet

George Vosburgh, celebrated soloist and lecturer is internationally acclaimed for his virtuosity on vosburgh_george-1the trumpet in recordings, concerts and recitals, as well as many guest artist performances in such locales as the Bonn Festival at Rolandsek, Germany, the Ravinia Festival, Chicago, and the Curs Internacional de Musica in Valencia, Spain. In 1992 he joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as Principal Trumpet.

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences awarded George Vosburgh a Grammy as Best New Classical Artist in 1985 for the Reference recording of Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat with Chicago Pro Musica.  He is a Bavarian Radio International Music Competition prize winner and a Gold and Platinum Record recipient for his work with the New Age music ensemble Mannheim Steamroller.  In 2003 he was invited to become Principal Trumpet of the World Orchestra for Peace under the direction of Valery Gergiev. The orchestra has since performed on tour across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, and produced many recordings and television programs.

Recordings featuring George Vosburgh include Trumpeter’s Heritage, music by Bach, Böhme, Tomasi, Fasch, and Neruda with the Czech Philharmonic and Arnie Roth conducting, Trumpet Masterworks, pieces for trumpet and piano with Alaine Fink, and Four Trumpet Concerti, works by Haydn, Hummel, Telemann, and Leopold Mozart with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and Gerard Schwarz conducting. All recordings are featured on the Four Winds label.

In 1994, Mr. Vosburgh organized the Pittsburgh Symphony Brass, a unique brass ensemble featuring some of the world’s finest orchestral brass musicians in chamber ensemble.  Since 1998, the Brass has enjoyed a flurry of recording and performance activity, releasing five CDs, including Bach’s The Art of Fugue on the Four Winds label.

As an educator, Mr. Vosburgh has appeared in universities across Europe, Asia, and the United States, including Northwestern University, University of Michigan, UCLA, and Tokyo Music Academy, as well as the Tanglewood Fellowship program.  He has lectured at the International Trumpet Guild’s annual conference and recently published a critical edition of the Böhme Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra in E minor published by Vosburgh Music Inc.  He is currently on the faculty of Duquesne University and Carnegie Mellon University.

Mr. Vosburgh is a graduate of the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music, where he was Principal Trumpet and featured soloist with the famed Eastman Wind Ensemble.  He began his career as an orchestral trumpeter at age 19 as third trumpet and assistant principal of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of David Zinman.  After three years with the Rochester Philharmonic, he joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Sir Georg Solti as the youngest member of the orchestra’s world-famous brass section.
 George Vosburgh holds the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Martha Brooks Robinson Chair and is an active member of various Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Committees.


Neal Berntsen

BERNTSEN_NEALNeal Berntsen joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra trumpet section in March 1997, having been appointed at the invitation of Music Director Lorin Maazel in 1996. He is a native of Tacoma, Washington. He began his musical studies at age five playing the violin under the tutelage of his mother. By age eight he advanced to the trumpet and ultimately received a B.M. from the University of Puget Sound and a M.M from Northwestern University. A former member of the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra and the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, Neal has also performed as principal trumpet for the Ravinia Festival Orchestra and the Bamberg Sinfoniker in Germany. Other orchestral performances have included the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Active as a chamber musician, Neal is a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony Brass whose recently released recordings, “Bach: The Art of Fugue” and “A Christmas Concert” were described as “…Awhirl with color and rhythmic vitality – quite irresistible on every count” by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Mr. Berntsen is also a founding member of the award-winning Asbury Brass Quintet, about which Fanfare magazine stated, “Not only expert but musical…undeniable virtuosity.” In June 2005 Mr. Berntsen toured Japan with members of the Chicago Symphony brass section with the Chicago Brass Soloists. As a soloist he recently performed the Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Other solo engagements have included the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 at the Sedona Chamber Music Festival in Arizona. Mr. Berntsen’s performance of Copland’s “Quiet City” was called a highlight of the 2005 season by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Mr. Berntsen’s solo recording Trumpet Voices will be released in November 2005.

Neal Berntsen was a finalist in both the Maurice André International Trumpet Competition in Paris, France and the Ellsworth Smith International Trumpet Competition. His wide ranging discography includes the Orchestras of Pittsburgh and Chicago, Manheim Steamroller, the American Girl Doll Christmas album and Michael Jackson.

As an educator, Mr. Berntsen is on the faculties of Duquesne University and Carnegie Mellon University. He previously served on the faculty of Valparaiso University in Indiana. He has been publiched in The Instrumentalist magazine, and the International Trumpet Guild Journal. Mr. Berntsen has presented master classes and recitals around the world.

Mr. Berntsen is an active studio musician and was featured on a national series of commercials during the broadcast of the Olympic games in Atlanta. His performance on “America” sung by Diana Ross opened the women’s final tennis match of the 2001 U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, New York.

Neal Berntsen has studied with Adolph Herseth, Vincent Cichowicz and Manuel Laureano. He resides in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania with his wife, Karen, and three children, Molly, Jacob, and Charlie.

William Caballero
Principal Horn

CABALLERO__WILLIAMDuring the Pittburgh Symphony Orchestra’s 2011 European Festivals Tour, William Caballero – and the horn section he leads – received rave reviews. Michael Church of The Independent called Caballero “a principal horn whose pianissimo is simply miraculous,” and Guy Dammann wrote in The Guardian, “The horn section – led very much from the front by their excellent principal William Caballero – is one of the best in the business.” In its September 2012 review of the Pittsburgh Symphony’s Exton recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, Gramophone magazine wrote, “Pittsburgh’s first horn is as spectacular as any on disc.”

The 2013-2014 Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra season represents Caballero’s 24th year as its principal horn. Before joining the Pittsburgh Symphony in May 1989, Caballero previously held principal horn positions with the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera and Hartford Symphony. He held third horn positions with the Montreal Symphony, Montreal Opera and acting third horn with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops. He has also performed as guest principal horn with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the St. Louis Symphony.

Born in New Mexico and reared in Wisconsin, Caballero’s early horn studies included working under Larry Simons, Barry Benjamin and Basil Tyler, as well as studying the piano and pipe organ. Caballero graduated from New England Conservatory in Boston where he studied with Richard Mackey and Thomas Newell, both former members of the Boston Symphony.

Currently, Caballero is the associate teaching professor of horn at Carnegie Mellon University School of Music. Previously, he held teaching positions at Indiana University Bloomington, Rice University in Houston, Texas and Duquesne University. He has been invited and presented master classes throughout the world including Northwestern University, Colburn School of Music, New England Conservatory, University of Indiana Bloomington, Cleveland Institute of Music, Curtis Institute of Music, Manhattan School of Music, New World Symphony and the Beijing and Shanghai Conservatories.

The past two summers Bill joined the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival as performer and teacher. For the previous seven summers, Caballero was on the faculty and performed at the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan.

In January 2012, Caballero began collaboration with the Internet music teaching company based in Napa, California. His teaching website was released in September 2012 as the only complete horn teaching curriculum available via the internet for horn students worldwide.

Caballero is also in demand as a chamber musician collaborating with musicians such as violinists Gil Shaham, Joseph Silverstein and Philip Setzer, and pianists André Previn, Christoph Eshenbach, Orli Shaham and Andre Watts. Caballero also has performed and worked with jazz musician and composer Chris Brubeck, as well as ensembles that include the Tokyo String Quartet, Trio Johannas, Principal Strings of the Berlin Philharmonic, Center City Brass, Bay Chamber Concert Series, St. Barth’s Music Festival and the Grand Teton Music Festival. He also is a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony Brass, which includes fellow colleagues of the Pittsburgh Symphony brass section.

Recent chamber music performances include performing Brahms’ Horn Trio in E-flat major with Gil and Orli Shaham in Zankel Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, New York and appearing several times live on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today” in NPR’s Washington, D.C. studios.

This season is Caballero’s second appearance as soloist with Maestro Manfred Honeck. His first solo collaboration with Honeck was in September 2012 performing the Pittsburgh Symphony premiere of Strauss’ Horn Concerto No. 1. Previous solo performances with the Pittsburgh Symphony have included Richard Strauss’ Horn Concerto No. 2 in E-flatwith Maestro Lorin Maazel; Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 2 in E-flatwith Maestro Andre Previn; Mozart Concerto fragments with Pittsburgh Symphony Concertmaster Andres Cardenes; Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with Maestro Stanislaw Skrowaczewski and tenor Anthony Griffey; Schumann’s Konzertstück in F, for four horns and orchestra with his Pittsburgh Symphony horn colleagues under the baton of Maestro Sir John Elliot Gardener; and the John Williams Horn Concerto under the baton of Maestro Leonard Slatkin.

Other recent solo appearances outside of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra have included performances in Montenegro with Maestro Ronald Zollman and with the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic at New York City’s Carnegie Hall under the baton of former principal horn of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Dale Clevenger.

In May 1992, Caballero premiered Benjamin Lees’ Concerto for Horn and Orchestrawith the Pittsburgh Symphony under the baton of then-Music Director Lorin Maazel. Following the performances in Pittsburgh, he performed Lees’ Concerto in Spain, Germany and England with the Pittsburgh Symphony on tour. In May 1996, Caballero recorded the concerto with the Pittsburgh Symphony and Lorin Maazel for New World Records.

William holds the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Anonymous Foundation Principal Horn Chair.


Peter Sullivan
Principal Trombone
Tom and Jamee Todd Chair

SULLIVAN__PETERIn the fall of 1999, Peter Sullivan was appointed Principal Trombone of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra by Mariss Jansons. Canadian-born Sullivan came to Pittsburgh following a long and fruitful tenure as Solo Trombone with the Montreal Symphony under Charles Dutoit.

Sullivan has performed as a soloist on many occasions with several orchestras including the Pittsburgh and Montreal Symphonys. In 2006, he performed the world premiere performance of Jennifer Higdon’s Trombone Concerto with Sir Andrew Davis and the PSO.

Apart from his activities in Pittsburgh, Sullivan performs regularly across North America, Europe and Asia as soloist and chamber musician alongside the world’s leading brass players.  He is a regular visitor to Japan, playing and teaching at the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, the Suntory recital hall in Tokyo, the Hamamatsu Summer Academy, as well as performing solo recitals in Osaka. In China, Peter is involved with the Canton International Summer Music Academy and performed and gave master classes at the Tian Jin and Beijing Conservatories in April of 2006.

Aside from countless orchestral performances in the great concert halls of Europe, Sullivan has performed at the Ascoli Piceno Brass Festival in Italy, and was featured in Christian Lindberg’s Trombone Concerto in Bunol, Spain with the composer on the podium. Sullivan was also the first prize winner in the 1990 Umea International Solo Competition in Sweden.

Here at home, Peter Sullivan has given concerts and clinics from coast to coast, including master classes at the Juilliard and Manhattan schools in New York City, The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, the Glenn Gould Academy in Toronto, coaching at the New World Symphony and the Banff School and tours with the Summit Brass and the Music of the Baroque in Chicago. He has been heard across Canada in recital on CBC radio and on NPR with his colleagues in the Pittsburgh Symphony Brass.

Presently, Sullivan serves on the faculties of Duquesne and Carnegie Mellon universities in Pittsburgh, following 15 years as adjunct professor at McGill University in Montreal. For the past few years, he has been working with the Yamaha Corporation on the development of their new line of orchestral trombones, the prototype of which he plays every week with the PSO.

Craig Knox
Principal Tuba

KNOX__CRAIGCraig Knox joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as principal tuba in 2005. His previous orchestra positions included acting principal tuba of the San Francisco Symphony as well as principal tuba of the Sacramento Symphony and the New World Symphony (Miami). Prior to his appointment in Pittsburgh, he was in demand as regular guest artist with many other major American orchestras, including those of Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit and Minnesota. Since 1995, he has spent part of each summer as co-principal tuba of the Grand Teton Music Festival in Jackson, Wyo.

Since joining the Pittsburgh Symphony, Knox also performs with the Pittsburgh Symphony Brass. He has been an active chamber musician for many years, having co-founded the Center City Brass Quintet, which has performed in recital throughout the United States and Japan, and been heard numerous times on NPR. Its five recordings on the Chandos label have met with critical acclaim, the first being described by American Record Guide as “one of the all-time great brass quintet recordings.” In addition, he played for several seasons with the Chicago Chamber Musicians Brass Quintet — with which he recorded for the Naxos label — and has toured with the Empire Brass.
In January 2012, Knox released his first solo recording, A Road Less Traveled, of music for tuba and piano. As a soloist, he has performed with the U.S. Army Band (Pershing’s Own) in Washington D.C., the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the New World Symphony and the Carnegie Mellon University Wind Ensemble, in addition to recital performances at universities and music festivals around the world. In March 2012, he performed the world-premiere performances of Andre Previn’s Triple Concerto for Trumpet, Horn and Tuba with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the composer on the podium.

In 2008, the Albany label released a CD recording featuring Knox and his colleagues in the Pittsburgh Symphony low-brass section. Featuring chamber music, orchestral collections and original compositions for three trombones and tuba, the album — titled From the Back Row — was called “hauntingly beautiful” and “hair-raising” by the American Record Guide.

Knox is artist lecturer of Tuba at Carnegie Mellon University, adjunct professor of tuba at Duquesne University and faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He previously served on the faculty at Kent State University and California State University-Hayward, as well as the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he was director of the Brass Chamber Music program. He has presented master classes, seminars and recitals at universities, conservatories and festivals around the world, including the Music Masters Course in Kazusa (Japan), the International Brass Symposium (Italy), Tainan National University (Taiwan), the Bruckner University of Music (Linz, Austria), Stuttgart Conservatory (Germany), the National Orchestral Institute (University of Maryland), the National Youth Orchestra of the U.S.A. (Carnegie Hall) and the New World Symphony, as well as the University of Michigan, Indiana University, Yale University and the Curtis Institute of Music, among many others.

A native of Storrs, Conn., Knox began formal musical studies on the classical guitar at age six, and took up the baritone horn in the fifth grade. At age 11, while attending a summer music camp, he was so enamored of the student orchestra that he switched to tuba so he could pursue a life in music as an orchestral performer. His first teachers included Gary Ofenloch, Samuel Pilafian and Chester Schmitz, and he attended the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Paul Krzywicki of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and earned a Bachelor of Music degree.

Please visit for more information about Knox and his activities.


David Wickerham - Version 2

The world renowned organist, David Wickerham, will make a return appearance for a Christmas Concert on the Mighty McKissick Wurlitzer Theatre Organ in Foxburg’s Lincoln Hall on Saturday, December 12 at 2:00 PM.    ARCA is grateful to Paul McKissick, for his loving restoration of the Wurlitzer organ in Lincoln Hall which bears his name.

Join us for the joyous and generous virtuosity of David Wickerham in a performance of his Christmas favorites which many have treasured hearing on his CD, which is now out of print.  The concert will certainly be well sold, so be sure to reserve your tickets early.

About the Artist

Unknown-1Dave Wickerham was born in Encino, California in 1962. He began playing the electronic organ at the age of four and had his first pipe organ experience at age10. His musical education started at age 7.
When he moved to Arizona in 1976, he became Associate Organist at the famous Organ Stop Pizza Restaurants in Phoenix, Mesa and Tucson. While in Arizona, he continued his musical studies with Roseamond Crowley, one of the few remaining descendants of the Louis Vierne line of organists. He attended the University of Arizona in Tucson on a full scholarship, pursuing classical organ studies for six years with Dr. Roy Johnson.
In 1984, Dave moved to the Chicago area to become Staff Organist at Pipes and Pizza in Lansing, Illinois. In addition to his performance there, he concertized frequently, as well as ministering musically and serving at various churches.

August of 1990 found the Wickerham family – Dave, his wife and two young children – moving to Wisconsin, where he was one of the featured Staff Organists at the Piper Music Palace in Greenfield, a position he held for 10 years.

In the spring of 2000, Dave ushered in the new millennium with a limited special engagement, as a featured organist at “Roxy’s Pipe Organ Pizzeria”, part of a $26,000,000 expansion phase at the FIESTA Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Wickerham’s, Dave, Rhonda, and now three great kids, spent a year and a half there before returning back home to Wisconsin in August of 2001… For the next three years, Dave resumed his position at the Piper Music Palace and was also the Principal Organist at Williams Bay Lutheran Church in Lake Geneva, WI.

UnknownHe enjoys concertizing frequently to many audiences including various chapters of the American Theatre Organ Society. In April of 1999, he took great pleasure being a feature artist in Melbourne, Australia for the convention of the Theatre Organ Society of Australia for which he received rave reviews. He returned “Down Under” for a six-week concert tour in Australia and New Zealand during the summer of 2003 and very recently has completed a similar tour concluding November of 2012.

Dave also enjoys recording and has recently “sold out” his fourth CD “Sounds of Music” recorded on the famous 5 Manual, 80 Rank Theatre Organ at the Sanfilippo Residence in Barrington, IL. There are two NEW recording projects that are soon to be completed and released.

After seven years as Organist – Curator with the legendary Milhous Collection in South Florida, Dave and his family currently enjoy living in Upper Michigan where he has accepted the position of Co-Manager and Organist in Residence at Crystal Theatre in Crystal Falls. This 1927 theatre is now a regional Performing Arts Center and houses a 3 manual, 21 rank Moller theatre organ that Dave also looks after. Additionaly, his wife Rhonda – at his side – works as Co-Manager of this beautiful and historic venue.

Click the Wurlitzer menu item above to learn about the history of the Mighty McKissick Wurlitzer and Paul McKissick. Then, reserve your seat for this special holiday Wurlitzer concert featuring an artist who delights audiences both young and old. Once you hear the majesty and capability of a Theatre Organ, you will be hooked!
Three Rivers Ringers
Pittsburgh’s Premier Handbell Choir
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Ring in the Christmas Season as Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Ringers return Emlenton’s United Methodist Church on Saturday, December 5 at 2:00 PM. Experience the joy, wonder and beauty of the holiday season in their Winter Concert Program.   The virtuosity of Pittsburgh’s premier handbell ensemble will be on display in delightful selections from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, as well as timeless favorites like O Christmas Tree, Stille Nacht and more. They take the magical sound of handbells to new heights  – come join us and be amazed and inspired!

As a teaser for the concert, enjoy listening to LeRoy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride on youtube.

3 Rivers Ringers-Emlenton Methodist

Three Rivers Ringers in Emlenton Methodist Church, December 2014

Three Rivers Ringers’ Program

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2015 Program

Please check back for the 2015 Program. Last year’s concert program is listed below.

2014 Program

Sleigh Ride  Leroy Anderson, arr. Martha Lynn Thompson

Over the River and Through the Woods traditional American tune, arr. Valerie Stephenson

Marche from The Nutcracker Suite Peter Tchaikovsky, arr. William H. Griffin

Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy Peter Tchaikovsky, arr. Fred Gramann

O Christmas Tree traditional German carol,  arr. Sandra Eithun

Stille Nacht traditional German carol,    arr. Betty Garee

Fiesta Navidad  traditional Welsh Carol    arr. Dan R. Edwards

Tomorrow shall be my dancing day traditional English Carol   arr.  Jason W. Krug

Danse Arabe       Peter Tchaikovsky   arr. William H Griffin

We Three Kings John H. Hopkins, Jr.,  arr. Joel Raney

Danse Russe Trepak Peter Tchaikovsky,    arr. William H. Griffin

The First Noel 17 C. English Carol     arr.  Cathy Moklebust

About the Concert

3 RR

Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts is pleased to bring back to the Allegheny-Clarion River Valley by popular demand the Three River Ringers, making its debut performance last year an annual tradition for you and your family.  The audience certainly will be amazed as the Three Rivers Ringers perform virtuosic movements from The Nutcracker, in addition to traditional holiday selections in its Christmas Program.


The inspiring 2015 Christmas Concert of the Three Rivers Ringers ensemble returns to the Emlenton United Methodist Church’s excellent acoustics in its sanctuary and its intimate seating arrangement.  The Ringers once again will offer traditional Holiday favorites which include selections from a perennial favorite, The Nutcracker.  Emlenton UMC Reverend Kent O’Neil is pleased and excited to host this event in the spacious sanctuary of the beautiful Emlenton United Methodist Church and encourages everyone to attend.

This professional handbell choir of 14 ringers, founded in 2010, has quickly established itself as the premier ensemble of its type in the tri-state region.  Selected by audition, members perform on a 6-octave set of Schulmerich handbells, silver melody bells and 3 octaves of chimes.  They are noted presenters of educational clinics at handbell festivals and are dedicated to advancing the art of handbell ringing through performances of the highest artistic quality.

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TRR_bassRingers - two

Originally founded by five handbell musicians from Pittsburgh in March 2010, the Ringers have grown to include sixteen members selected by audition. It is recognized as Pittsburgh’s premier handbell ensemble and its excellent reputation has spread to neighboring states by way of performances in Ohio and West Virginia. They are dedicated to advancing the art of handbell ringing through performances of the highest artistic quality as well as educational programming. The Ringers also produce the Western PA Handbell Festival, which is an event filled with clinics and seminars led by nationally recognized artists and draws hundreds of attendees.

Compressed DOG PictureArtistic Director Nancy Lutz along has worked tirelessly to secure bells and hand chimes of the highest quality. Nancy states: “We brought this group together so that ringers and enthusiasts could experience this instrument to its fullest musical potential.” Their inventory consists of 6 octaves of Schulmerich handbells and 6 octaves of Schulmerich and Malmark hand chimes. This extraordinary collection offers an extremely wide range of notes and colors, thus allowing arrangers creative freedom in transcribing well known classics such as The Nutcracker for the unique requirements of the ensemble. Each musician has to use several bells, sometimes as many as eight, and place their notes with exacting precision. This skill may even require the use of three bells in one hand. Each bell can be played at least 19 different ways using various techniques, not even counting dynamics!

Chase away those early Winter chills and let the Holiday Spirit shine among your family, friends and neighbors. Let the bells ring forth!!

Nancy Lutz

conductor-in-church-2-269x300Nancy Lutz is the founding Artistic Director of the Three Rivers Ringers, fulfilling a long-time vision of creating an outstanding community handbell ensemble in Western Pennsylvania

Nancy is also Director of Handbells at Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church where she leads two excellent adult ensembles and a youth quartet.

Nancy has been deeply involved in the Handbell Musicians of America (the Guild) since 1998 and served on the Board of Directors since 1999, retiring in 2012 as the appointed secretary. Nancy was presented with the first President’s Award at the National Seminar in 2012 for her years of service. During her time with the Board, the organization completely changed its governance model and underwent a rebranding that included a name change from the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers.

Mentoring new handbell directors and other handbell ensembles is of particular interest to Nancy. She enjoys leading workshops for directors and ringers, doing so extensively throughout the area on behalf of AGEHR.

Nancy is a founding director of the Western Pennsylvania Handbell Festival, an event for beginning and intermediate level handbell ensembles which holds an annual festival each spring. She has been honored to direct this festival along with several others.


Three Rivers Ringers is Pittsburgh’s premier community handbell ensemble.

Three Rivers Ringers (TRR) was founded in 2010 by five handbell musicians with a passion to achieve musical excellence with challenging repertoire while pushing the boundaries of the handbell medium. Today, they are a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation and members of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council.

This unique group of musicians is selected by audition and represents a wide breadth of experience. They rehearse at Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church and use some of the church’s handbells and equipment. Their directors and members have volunteered significant time to develop and manage all aspects of the organization—from finances to marketing, and—of course—many hours of rehearsal. They are funded by contributions from the ensemble, our Board of Directors, and community members.

TRR had a successful 2012–13 concert season, giving 14 public performances (plus private events), premiering a major new work for handbells and narrator, and featuring a wide range of classical music in the spring. They have also begun to acquire equipment of our own; in addition to tables, mallets, and a new set of Schulmerich Silver Melody Bells, they are extremely pleased to announce that after only 3.5 years of existence, Three Rivers Ringers has taken delivery of its own 6-octave set of Schulmerich handbells and 3 octaves of Schulmerich chimes!

Three Rivers Ringers exists to advance the art of handbells.  They  are available to give concerts throughout the tri-state area, and also offer educational programs for ringers and directors.  In 2013–14, they gave 10 public concerts, made our first trip to Ohio, and worked on their first commercial recording project.


Matthew Adler holds a degree in Electronics but is a catalyst technician for a plastics manufacturer. He’s been a member of church & community music groups for 20+ years playing handbells and tuba. He and his wife, Erlina Mae, have been married since July 2010 and welcomed their first child in August 2013.

Deb Artim has been playing handbells for 12 years and piano since she was four years old. She is the organist and choir director at Sampson’s Mills Presbyterian Church and works as an instructor in Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh.

Linda Boice earned a degree in Music Education from Grove City College and serves as Minister of Music at Center Presbyterian Church in McMurray where she directs vocal, handbell, wind, and recorder ensembles. She and her husband reside in Washington, PA and have two daughters who attend Grove City College.

Sarah Boice – Bio coming soon

Karen Hecht Brown has been ringing handbells for over 20 years and is also a member of the Southminster Handbell Ensemble. She enjoys working at the Mt. Lebanon Public Library and volunteering for Produce to People. Karen and her husband have a son who is a senior at Colgate University.

Bobbie Calhoun lives in South Park and has been involved with music since she was a child. She initially played flute and piccolo, but has focused on handbells for 20+ years. She has degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Education, and a minor in Music Education. She has two children and four grandsons.

Beth Dakin has been ringing handbells for 25 years in choirs in Virginia, Georgia and Pittsburgh. She has a PhD in Genetics and works as a researcher in the Biology Department at Duquesne University. Beth and her husband have a son and a daughter.

Cynthia Donahoe lives in Mt. Lebanon and is Clerk of Session at South-minster Presbyterian Church. In addition, she directs the Southminster Handbell Ensemble and sings in the choir. She is a Stephen Minister and is on the Board of South Hills Interfaith Ministries. She and her husband have three daughters.

Mark Etzel has been ringing bells since the age of 9, beginning at Southminster Presbyterian Church, in Mt. Lebanon, PA, where he currently serves as the Assistant Director of Music Ministries. Mark is currently studying at the Mary Pappert School of Music, affiliated with Duquesne University, for his Bachelors of Science in Music Therapy. What he enjoys most about ringing is the potential it has for bringing young people together, regardless of their personal differences. Mark hopes to realize this potential in every group he influences and is a part of, both here at home, as well as abroad.

Dan Fernandez has played handbells for 23 years with choirs in New Jersey and the Pittsburgh area, and serves on the Board for Three Rivers Ringers. Dan is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and works for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He also plays clarinet, sings bass and enjoys hiking.

Jeffrey K. Funk began ringing at Susquehanna University, continued at Penn State where he earned his PhD, and also played at Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church. He works as the lab manager for an environmental company and is Treasurer/Secretary of the Pittsburgh Area Planted Aquarium Society.

Helen Krichbaum – Bio coming soon

Linda Minnotte is a founding member of TRR and current President. She began the Mt. Lebanon UMC Chapel Bells and rings with them. Additionally, she has rung in national events since 2006. She lives in Mt. Lebanon with her husband Rick, and has a daughter at the University of Oklahoma.

Alison Peters learned handbells by joining Southminster Presbyterian’s Handbell Ensemble 11 years ago. She is a CPA who has her own CPA firm and works as the Financial Administrator for Mt. Lebanon Library and Southminster Church. She has 3 children and is thrilled to be ringing with her daughter.

Elizabeth Peters was introduced to handbells at Southminster Presbyterian Church. She currently attends University of Pittsburgh for Accounting and Chinese and is director of Pitt’s Handbell Ensemble. She enjoys composing music and plays organ for Crafton Baptist Church.

Samantha Reid, a Pittsburgh native and proud Penn State Alum, works as a Clinical Specialist/Diabetes Educator for Roche Diabetes Care. She is involved with the Southminster Sonorilo handbell team, volunteering with Cairn Rescue USA and all the while, planning for her July 2014 wedding.

Megan Snider is originally from southeastern Ohio and has been ringing handbells for 13 years. Megan and her husband moved to Pittsburgh four years ago to work for Petland in the Pittsburgh Mills, and spend their free time experiencing all Pittsburgh has to offer with their three children.

Red Brick Holiday Art Show

The Red Brick Gallery and Gift Shop Presents the Third Annual Winter Wonderland Holiday Art Show & Exhibit, November 21- December 20  (Select Weekends with Holiday Hours) 

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 10.56.19 PMHoliday shoppers from the region and area residents looking for unique, creative and inspiring one-of-a-kind holiday gifts and stocking stuffers are invited to visit Foxburg and shop for gifts and treasures at the Red Brick Gallery’s Third Annual Winter Wonderland Holiday Art Show and Exhibit.  Refreshments will be offered for shoppers throughout the Holiday Exhibit.

You are sure to find the perfect gift for those special people on your list.   The Red Brick Gallery and Gift Shop offer for sale artworks by local artists in a variety of media:  Oil and watercolor paintings, pencil drawings, fine art photography, fiber art, silver jewelry, hand woven scarves and rugs, hand thrown wood bowls, knitting, pottery, wearables, and greeting cards.

Xmas treeAlso you can buy your Christmas tree this year at the Red Brick Gallery!  For a $20 contribution to the Red Brick Gallery, you can bring home to decorate for the holiday a fresh Christmas tree grown locally in Parker, PA.

Current members of the Red Brick Gallery Artist Cooperative are Donna Edmonds, Blanche Hall, Angela Taylor Hardwick, Nick J. Karellas, Dennis Keyes, Jason Floyd Lewis, Paul O’Neil, Ray Rossi, Glenn and Linda Thompson, and Cathy and Jack Trzeciak.  To view a sampling of the wide variety of art works in the exhibit, see enjoy perusing the Red Brick Cooperative Artist webpage.

Red Brick Gallery – Second Floor Exhibit Space

Plan to make a day of it – combining shopping in the Red Brick Gallery and Gift Shop with attending one of ARCA’s Holiday performances on November 21, December 4-5, December 12 and December 20.  Take advantage of two Holiday Opportunities in the Beautiful Allegheny-Clarion River Valley.

And Make it a Holiday Outing!  Combine your trip with lunch or dinner at The Allegheny Grille or Foxburg Pizza,  do a wine tasting and some shopping at Foxburg Wine Cellars, buy chocolates to put under the tree and enjoy a gourmet chocolate and specialty coffee at Divani Chocolatier and Barista to fortify your spirits – or spend the night in the romantic Foxburg Inn.

Red Brick Holiday Art Show Dates and Hours
The Red Brick Gallery Holiday art show will run five weekends in November and December: Nov. 21-22, Nov. 27-29, Dec. 4-6, Dec. 11-13, and Dec. 18-20:

Friday: 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Saturday: 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Red Brick Gallery – First Floor Gift Shop


Christmas catRed Brick Gallery, the region’s premier Western Pennsylvania destination for the exhibition and sale of contemporary art, craft and design, has been transformed to bring together the works of a dozen talented local artisans, who will be hand to greet holiday shoppers throughout the holiday exhibit.

Red Brick Gallery features hundreds of unique hand-crafted items (on two floors), priced at or below $25, $50 and $100—perfect for today’s value conscious holiday shopper. For more discriminating buyers, the Red Brick Gallery offers a wide selection of limited edition and collectable fine art signature works—created by some of the region’s most talented emerging artists.

Red Brick first floor

Framed works by Donna Edmonds, Rugs by Blanche Hall

Jason in gallery

Framed works by Jason Floyd Lewis

Visitors can browse and enjoy the wonderfully creative works in just about every medium: ceramics, jewelry, wearables, fiber art, photography, watercolors, oils, illustration, wood, mixed-media, pottery, custom greeting cards and much more.


Sterling Silver Jewelry by Jack and Catherine Trzeciak


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Pottery by Paul O’Neil

Admission is FREE to all art lovers and holiday shoppers, and parking is plentiful. Red Brick Gallery promises some exciting holiday items to choose from. Our juried artists have been hand-picked for not only originality and exceptional quality, but also for reasonable pricing. There will be something for everyone on your holiday list, and maybe even a few items for you.

Those planning their shopping for may choose to enjoy afterwards a gourmet meal at The Allegheny Grille or more casual fare at the Foxburg Pizza Shop, or to pick up some delicious homemade chocolate while sampling a specialty coffee drink at Divani Chocolatier, or sampling some locally-sourced wine at Foxburg Wine Cellars.  And why not make a night of it and spend a romantic evening at The Foxburg Inn.

Holiday Show Dates and Hours
Running five weekends: Nov. 21-22, Nov. 27-29, Dec. 4-6, Dec. 11-13, and Dec. 18-20:

Friday: 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Saturday: 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Red Brick Gallery
17 Main Street
Foxburg, PA 16036

About Red Brick Gallery:

Encompassing two floors of the charming 150-year-old Fox Estate building in historic downtown Foxburg, Pennsylvania – the Red Brick Gallery is a jury-selected artists’ co-operative, supported through the non-profit Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts (ARCA). The Red Brick Gallery strives to nurture artistic creativity by providing an inspiring venue for local artisans to showcase one-of-a-kind work in just about every medium: ceramics, jewelry, wearables, fiber art, photography, watercolors, oils, illustration, wood, mixed-media, greeting cards and more. Along with ARCA, Red Brick Gallery seeks to raise appreciation for the arts within the surrounding region and neighboring states.

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A perennial Holiday Season favorite, The Madrigal Dinner Theatre, returns for two evenings in early December –  December 4th and 5th –  to Foxburg’s candlelit Lincoln Hall, as the Madrigal Dinner celebrates its 20th Anniversary Performance Season.  Come join us for a Holiday Wassail Toast, Medieval Feast and holiday entertainment fit for a King and Queen!

Madrigal Window DecorationsLincoln Hall is transformed into a candlelit Medieval banquet hall with banners and coats of arms reminiscent of England in the Middle Ages.  This re-creation of a Medieval period Boar’s Head Festival dinner is replete with choral musical selections – madrigal songs and holiday carols – woven within a Christmas play with pageantry and costumes, all while enjoying a multi-course medieval feast and wassail toasts to the season .

Madrigal Dinner Producer Cathy Powell was inspired to create the event after experiencing a medieval dinner at Bunratty Castle near, Limmerick, Ireland in 1992. The Medieval Madrigal Dinner is based on the Boar’s Head Ceremony. It is the oldest continuing ceremony of the Christmas season, presented as early as 1340 at Queen’s College in Oxford, England and in time becoming part of Christmas celebrations in the great manor houses of England.

5254c8c2-b79c-46eb-8472-645cc07e14fbThe king and queen arrive in grand flourish and invite all in attendance to share in a festive dinner. A prayer is offered by a monk to bless the meal. The Madrigal Singers, adorned in period costumes, entertain with madrigal songs and traditional holiday carols. They serve each course of the holiday feast, unfolding at the same time the Christmas story set to music. Think of it as an ancient form of dinner theatre.

You’ll believe you’re experiencing musical Yuletide cheer and conviviality as if living for a moment in a bygone era.  The ancient Boar’s Head Festival being reenacted around the Christmas story is not one of times past and gone – but rather is a living story told by modern day minstrels, echoing within each of us the spirit and love of the Season.

The Madrigal Dinner Theatre has been a sell-out each year.   Be sure to reserve your spots early since only 70 seats are available for each performance.  Tickets are $35 for the Dinner and entertainment.  You may buy tickets online here or reserve by calling 724 659-3153.

Madrigal Dinner-Lincoln Hall 2014

Madrigal Dinner in Lincoln Hall, 2014


The Madrigal Dinner has become a Foxburg Christmas Tradition since it moved from Emlenton’s First Methodist Church to Lincoln Hall eight years ago! This year will be even more festive as the Madrigal Dinner celebrates its 20th Anniversary Performance Season.

Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts and the Madrigal Singers transform Lincoln Hall into a grand banquet hall reminiscent of Medieval England. Candlelit tables, banners and coats of arms give one a sense of the majesty enjoyed by a select few.

The king and queen arrive in grand flourish and invite all in attendance to share in a festive dinner. A prayer is offered by a monk to bless the meal.  The Madrigal Singers, adorned in period costumes, entertain with madrigal songs and traditional holiday carols. They serve each course of the holiday feast, at the same time unfolding a story set to music. Think of it as an ancient form of dinner theatre.

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Madrigal Dinner in Lincoln Hall 2014

The menu for each night is representative of typical medieval dinner fare of the time and is yours to enjoy–spoon in hand!  This year the menu created and prepared by Julie Findlan Powell of Little It Deli includes from 15th century England “Pullus Iuvenis” (stuffed chicken with bread pork stuffing with raisins and eggs) and “Brawn en Peuerade” (pulled pork in wine sauce) and from 16th century Ireland “Colcannon” (mashed potatoes with cabbage, bacon and cheese). Finishing the meal are cooked carrots with cinnamon and butter, fresh baked bread, and bread pudding with vanilla rum sauce for dessert. Of course, no meal back then was complete without continuous goblets of wassail and this beverage flows freely.

The meal is divided into courses and each is heralded with a traditional song. A play is performed between courses and a concert of choral music concludes the festivities. The dinner is intended to imitate a meal that might have been served during the Middle Ages.

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Madrigal Dinner 2008 in Lincoln Hall – Trevor Hile, Norma Baum, Cathy Powell, Anna Lowrey, Julie Findlan Powell

Madrigal Dinner producer Cathy Powell is grateful to all who have helped created this popular holiday event: “What started as an idea to add entertainment to a long forgotten event, “Christmas in Oil Country”, has become a tradition in its own right. The Madrigal Dinner could not have happened without the dedication and participation of many people. I feel so much gratitude for my family and friends (who also feel like family because they’ve participated for so many years) for taking time out of their busy lives to rehearse, perform, make costumes, cook, and serve this dinner.  Words can’t express the love I have for these wonderful talented people. While my son Jeffrey Powell has been a singer and my daughter Jennifer Lowrey has served as musical director since its inception, most gratifying is that some of my grandchildren also have joyously embraced this tradition and now sing in my place. I couldn’t be happier.”


Jump start your family’s Holiday enjoyment with this Foxburg Christmas tradition presented by the Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts!

The Madrigal Dinner has been a sell-out each year.   Be sure to reserve your spots early for these 20th Performance year events — because only 70 seats are available for each performance.

Tickets are $35 for the Dinner and entertainment.  Buy tickets online here or reserve by calling 724 659-3153.


Twentieth Anniversary Season:  The History of Emlenton/Foxburg’s Madrigal Dinner

The Madrigal Dinner is celebrating its 20th Anniversary Performance Season. The First performance of the Madrigal Dinner was held in The Emlenton United Methodist Church Social Hall in November 1994 providing entertainment for an annual Emlenton event begun the year before called “Christmas in Oil Country”.

The Madrigal Dinner, sponsored by The Emlenton Civic Club and The Emlenton United Methodist Church, was conceived by two owners of Bed and Breakfasts in Emlenton, Terry Johnson-Cooney (owner of Apple Alley) and Cathy Powell (co-owner of The Barnard House). Cathy Powell had been inspired by a medieval dinner that she experienced at Bunratty Castle near, Limmerick, Ireland in 1992.

Carrying the Boar 2008 - Jim Robertson, Ken Hanby & Bruce Donaldson

Carrying the Boar’s Head 2008 – Jim Robertson, Ken Hanby & Bruce Donaldson

The Medieval Madrigal Dinner is based on the Boar’s Head Ceremony, which is the oldest continuing ceremony of the Christmas season, having been presented as early as 1340 at Queen’s College in Oxford, England.  In time the Boar’s Head Ceremony became part of Christmas celebrations in the great manor houses of England.

The Derrick article and photo below show former ARCA Board member “Lady” Roberta Newton, “Sir” Terrence Johnson-Cooney, “Lady” Jenny Powell and the Boars’ Head.

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Producing the first Madrigal Dinner took intensive planning as well as the cooperation and hard work of many Emlentonians. Cathy Powell served as Producer for the event, lining up the singers and organizing all details of the first Boars Head Celebration. Cathy provided the music and background material on the event used to develop a script following the customs of the medieval boars head dinner.

Terry Johnson-Cooney also contributed background literature and an abundance of brocade fabric from drapes hanging in his residence prior to its transformation into Apple Alley Bed and Breakfast. There was enough fabric to make many of the costumes used in the first performance. Cathy’s future daughter-in-law, Julie Findlan, who at the time was obtaining her master’s degree in costuming at Penn State University, took charge of costuming the group; she used the donated fabric and borrowed some items from the university. Under Julie’s guidance, several volunteers helped sew the costumes. Area resident and pianist, Roberta Newton, took charge of instrumental music which in the first season was harpsichord and brass. Roberta engaged instrumentalists from Clarion University and played her own harpsichord.

Over 100 people attended the first Madrigal Dinner in Emlenton in 1994. Because of its popular success and the considerable efforts of so many, it was decided to make it an annual event.

This article from the Derrick in 1996 – the third year of the Madrigal Dinner – shows Jeff Powell making one of the toasts to the evening.  Even to this day Madrigal Dinner attendees raise their glasses of wassail throughout the evening to celebrate the season as audience members and singers make toasts to the season.

Madrigal 1996 copy

This photo Progress News article from 2007 –  its last year in Emlenton’s United Methodist Church – shows the richness and detail of the costumes worn by the Madrigal Singers, which began more than twenty years ago as costumes refashioned from brocade drapes.

Madrigal 2007 copy

Terry Johnson-Cooney was the first Lord hosting the dinner and Debe Southworth was the first Lady. In 1994 ten singers provided the vocals for the first madrigal dinner: Sopranos; Carrie Morrison Armogost Jennifer Powell,  Cammy Werkheiser,  Altos: Norma Baum, Cathy Powell, Kristin Baum, Tenors; Dick Carr, Jeff Powell, basses; Jerry Baum, Bruce Donaldson. The group always has been under the vocal direction of Jenny Powell Lowrey.

The first boar’s head used was made of paper machete as seen in the photo above – and not very realistic. Since then the Madrigal Dinner has had three authentic boar’s heads. One was purchased on e-bay and another resulting from a boar hunt in the west provided by singer Ken Hanby’s son-in-law, Dr. Michael Evancovich. The third also was acquired by Dr. Evancovich.

Food for the first dinner was prepared and provided by the members of the Emlenton Methodist Church, eaten without the aid of a fork to follow the customs of medieval times.  The meal also has changed over the years.  Julie Findlan-Powell initially researched medieval recipes, from which group members prepared dishes and then voted on their favorites. After tweaking the recipes to appeal to the contemporary pallet, the Madrigal Dinner meal served in ARCA’s Lincoln Hall is derived from those original recipes.  For many years dinners were catered by Cindy and Rod Morrison, parents of madrigal singer Carrie Armogost.  In recent years dinners have been catered by Little It Deli, restaurant owned and operated by Jeff Powell, Julie Findlan-Powell, and Kristie Palmer.

Early decorations were traditional greens and candles on the tables. Throughout the years, many decorative effects have been created to enhance the madrigal experience. The colorful flags emblazoned in Lincoln Hall are based on authentic family crests of many of the singers and were designed and sewn by former singers, Alice Shoup and Cathy Powell.

Over the year costumes also have changed. A second more complete group of costumes were designed by Julie Findlan-Powell.  The costumes worn today have been purchased from a costume company. A tambourine and an Irish drum have been acquired. In 2000 the madrigal group made a CD of songs sung at the dinner, which were made available for sale at the dinner.  Because in 2006 no dinner was held, the Madrigal Dinners of 2015 mark the Twentieth Anniversary Performance Season.

All of the madrigal singers in the group reside or have roots in the Allegheny-Clarion River Valley or Knox area. Over the years the group has been blessed with many talented instrumentalists, some of whom sing and perform brass fanfares. It truly is remarkable that in such a sparsely populated area a group of talented and accomplished people have come together, providing harpsichords, lutes, and Irish drums; contributing their talents to costume and cater; and creating and maintaining the excellent quality of entertainment which this event provides. Some of the younger singers are third generation and even more passionate about singing in this group than their parents; one young woman returns from her college in Berea, Ohio to participate.

renaissancechoirMost wonderful is that so many attendees have traveled long distances to attend the Madrigal Dinner since its inception. Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts is proud to be celebrating the group’s Twentieth Anniversary Performance.

Become one of the devoted Madrigal Dinner participants who have treasured this experience and returned year after year to experience its wonder and magic.  We invite you to open your 2015 holiday season with us on either Friday or Saturday, December 4 or 5, 2015 at 7:00 PM in Lincoln Hall.  We look forward to toasting the evening and celebrating the Season with you.




Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts