Seasons Archives: Holiday 2016

Pittsburgh Symphony Chamber Players

Jennifer OrchardViolin
Shu ZhanViolin
Marylène Gingras-RoyViola
Mikhail IstominCello
Dimitri PapadimitriouPiano

Back by popular demand, the Pittsburgh Symphony Chamber Players return to Lincoln Hall on Sunday, May 7, 2107 at 2:00 PM to perform an inspiring program that seems to exude the joy and exuberance of spring! It promises to be a glorious afternoon of world class chamber music right in the intimacy and crystalline acoustics of Lincoln Hall – as the beautiful Allegheny River Valley is in full bloom.  

The concert includes the thrilling masterwork, Robert Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E flat Major, as well as Gustav Mahler’s piano quartet and Antonín Dvorák’s Terzetto and the hauntingly beautiful second movement from his “Dumka” Piano Quintet.  

The extraordinary PSO Chamber Players artists include Pittsburgh Symphony violinists Jennifer Orchard and Zhan Shu, violist Marylène Gingras Roy, and cellist Mikhail Istomin, joined by Pianist Dimitri Papadimitriou.  Appearing in ARCA’s inaugural classical concert in 2005 with mezzo soprano Katherine Soroka, Jennifer Orchard and Mikhail Istomin have become audience favorites; they have appeared in nearly every ARCA season and frequently with violist Marylène Gingras Roy, who most recently performed in the Schubert “Trout” Quintet with pianist David Allen Wehr in the Duquesne University “Schubert on the Bluff” program.  It will be a love fest for their fans as they return to perform some of the most lyrically beautiful chamber music ever written!


After the concert, join us for a Meet the Artist reception at the Red Brick Gallery and Gift Shop, from 4 to 6 PM coinciding with the Red Brick Gallery exhibit Magic & Mystery:  Painters Bruce Pipman & Jason Floyd Lewis at 17 Main Street, Foxburg.

Tickets are Adults $25, Members $20, Students $5.  Call to reserve at 724-659-3153 or buy online here.

arca_pgh_symph_spring-15 - Version 2The Chamber Players is an acclaimed group of Pittsburgh Symphony musicians performing in mixed ensembles raging from two to eight artists.  Previous appearances on the stage of Lincoln Hall have made this group an audience favorite.  Their performances are noted for an eclectic mix of traditional repertoire along with rarely heard works and new compositions-a display of daring and intelligent programming presented with uncompromising artistry.  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette states: “They appealed to the heart and the head, offering a warm, seductively luxurious sound and an impressive precision and unity of purpose”.

Mikhail ‘Misha’ Istomin, Pittsburgh Symphony Cellist and the group’s Artistic Director says: “Our concerts with favorite chamber music treasures, new musical flavors and stirring experiences will engage and involve you with both the music and musicians for intimate and informative performances, taking chamber music back to its roots as an evening among friends”.

Each member of this ensemble has an impressive list of credentials not only as performers, but also as educators, sharing their skills and love of music with students of all ages.  “One piece of great art makes all people feel the same…another piece of great art makes people feel a variety of emotions, but one thing is constant: great art always makes people….feel!”- Misha.

The concert program will feature master works by Antonín Dvorák, Gustav Mahler and Robert Schumann.

Antonín Dvorák            Terzetto in C, Opus 74 for Two Violins and Viola
     Introduzione: Allegro ma non troppo

Gustav Mahler               Piano Quartet in A minor

Antonín Dvorák            Second movement of Piano Quintet No. 2 in A major, Opus 81
Dumka:  Andante con moto

Robert Schumann        Piano Quintet in E flat major, Opus 44
     Allegro brillante
    In modo d’una marcia. Un poco largamente
    Scherzo: Molto vivace
    Allegro ma non troppo

Mikhail ‘Misha’ Istomin, born and educated in Russia, holds a Master of Music degree from the St. Petersburg Conservatory. While still in school, he became Principal Cellist of the State Hermitage Orchestra under the direction of Saulus Sondetskis and later joined the orchestra of the Kirov Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre under Valery Gergiev.  In 1987, Istomin became the cellist of the Leningrad Conservatory String Quartet, and in 1989 the group won the grand prize in the National Soviet Union Competition of String Quartets. Later that same year, Istomin defected during the quartet’s US tour, and was granted political asylum in the United States.

Immediately following these events, Istomin joined the Richmond Symphony and became a faculty member of both Virginia State University and the Governor’s School for the Performing Arts at the University of Richmond.  Istomin was appointed Principal Cellist of the Pittsburgh Opera and Pittsburgh Ballet Theater orchestras in 1991, and the following year he joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Lorin Maazel.

Istomin is a winner of both the Passamaneck Award of the Y Music Society and the Pittsburgh Concert Society Major Auditions. He has appeared as a soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Williamsburg Symphonia, the Asheville Symphony, the Knoxville Symphony and others.In July of 1998, Mr. Istomin returned to St. Petersburg to perform in the Second World Cello Congress under the direction of Mstislav Rostropovich.

Istomin is a founding member of the Pittsburgh Piano Trio. The Trio has released three CDs on the Minstrel Label to resounding critical acclaim. Three Graces features the chamber music of British composer Armstrong Gibbs; Phantasie is dedicated to the chamber music of Frank Bridge; the CD of Russian music includes the Piano Trio by Georgy Sviridov and Seven Romances inspired by the poems of Alexander Blok. “Encore!…Encore!” is a collection of short works for a piano trio, including compositions by Piazzolla, Schostakovich, Albeniz, Glinka and many others.

Frequent guests at major summer music festivals in the US, Canada and Europe, the Pittsburgh Piano Trio recently premiered a Triple Concerto by post-romantic Russian composer Paul Juon with The Tchaikovsky State Symphony Orchestra under Vladimir Fedoseev at the Moscow Conservatory Grand Hall.

Canadian violinist, Jennifer Orchard, has traveled the world performing as a chamber musician, soloist, and as first violinist of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since 2001. Upon graduating from the Juilliard School, Ms. Orchard was invited to be a member of the world renowned Lark Quartet. As a legacy from this time period with the quartet, Ms. Orchard recorded works of Robert Schumann, Alfred Schnittke, Peter Schickele, Arnold Schoenberg, Alexander Zemlinsky, Amy Beach, Alexander Borodin and the Pulitzer Prize winning quartet by Aaron Jay Kernis – one of several new works for string quartet commissioned by the Lark Quartet.

Shortly after arriving in Pittsburgh, Jennifer was invited to join the Pittsburgh Piano Trio. Highlights of their career include a tour to Russia to the St Petersburg Conservatory and the Moscow Conservatory Grand Hall where the trio presented the Russian premiere of the triple Concerto of Paul Juon with the Tchaikovsky State Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Vladimir Fedoseev.

As well as playing with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Orchard enjoys staying active in the chamber music arena. Her recent release of Paul Juon’s violin and piano works was a world premiere and has another CD of Paul Juon’s music with pianist, Igor Kraevsky scheduled for later this year.

Ms. Orchard studied at the Curtis Institute of Music with Szymon Goldberg and at the Juilliard School with Robert Mann. She participated in the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont, the Schleswig Holstein festival in Germany and the Mehli Mehta Festival in Mumbai, India.

She plays on an Andreas Guarnerius violin, dated circa 1676.

Marylène Gingras-Roy, a native of Québec City, Canada,  joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra viola section in the 1997 season, and in 2004 was promoted to fourth chair. She studied at the Conservatoire de Musique de Québec with Douglas McNabney and François Paradis and graduated in 1993 with unanimous First Prizes in both in viola and chamber music. She was the recipient of Canada and Québec Arts Councils’

Scholarship Grants, enabling her to attend the Harid Conservatory, where she studied with Victoria Chiang, and then at the renowned Curtis Institute of Music with Karen Tuttle and Joseph DePasquale. She earned an Artist Diploma in 1997.

Marylène is adjunct professor of viola at Duquesne University and has a full private studio at home. She is also an orchestra coach for the Three River Young Peoples orchestra and the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony. A highly sought-after teacher and pedagogue, Marylène has over twenty years of experience with students at various levels of experience and distinction.

Marylène has also taught at summer music festivals such as: Domaine Forget, Québec, Interharmony Festival in Germany and Italy and Advanced Chamber Music Seminar in Pittsburgh.  Marylène has been featured as a soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Duquesne University Orchestra and Symphonette and she performs regularly in chamber music concerts.

She has participated in many festivals, including the Festival Dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy, the Solti Project at Carnegie Hall, the Jerusalem Music Festival, the Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra (where she served as Principal violist), and since 2000 the Sun Valley Summer Symphony in Idaho.

Marylène’s recordings of chamber music include Leo Zeitlin’s Yedish songs and the Caprichos Nos. 2-4 by Leonardo Balada (world premiere recording) for the Naxos label. She has also recorded the Serenade no 6 for trombone, viola and cello by Vincent Persichetti.

Marylèneʼs viola is by Italian maker Umberto Muschietti (1929).

Violinist Zhan Shu
joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at the start of the 2014-2015 season. Before coming to PSO, Shu spent 8 seasons as a member of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, where he also served as Acting Associate Concertmaster for the 2008-2009 season. Shu has previously served as concertmaster of the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra and Symphony of Southeast Texas, and as guest concertmaster of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra in Iowa, EOS Repertoire Orchestra in China, Pacific Music Festival Orchestra in Japan and Scheleswig-Holstein Musik Festival Orchestra in Germany.

Shu has won numerous competitions, including the first prize at the Friday Woodmere Music Club Young Artist Competition in New York,  the Midland-Odessa Symphony Young Artist Competition, the Indiana University Concerto Competition, the Mannes College of Music Concerto Competition, the Texas Music Festival Concerto Competition, and price winner of the New Jersey Symphony Young Artist Competition, the Central Conservatory of Music Violin Competition and the China Youth Violin Competition. The recordings of Shu’s performances have been heard on WQXR’s McGraw Hill Young Artists Showcase in New York City, WUSF in Tampa, KUHF in Houston and NPR. Shu has appeared as soloist with the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra,  the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Indiana University Philharmonic, the Texas Music Festival Orchestra, the Mannes College of Music Symphony Orchestra, the Midland-Odessa Symphony Orchestra and the Hunan Symphony Orchestra in China.

As an active chamber musician, he performed regularly with the Present Music and Colectivo Coffee Chamber Music Series in Milwaukee. Shu has also been invited to participate in Sarasota Music Festival, Toronto Summer Music Festival and Peninsula Music Festival in Wisconsin.

Pianist Dimitri Papadimitriou has distinguished himself as an artist of refined musicianship and personal verve. A passionate avid of chamber music, Dimitri has recently collaborated with principal musicians from major European and U.S. orchestras, including Noah Bendix-Balgley, concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic, and Andrés Cárdenes, former concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. A musician of versatile skills, he has lately developed an interest in conducting that led him to a successful debut on the podium with Chausson’s Symphony in B-flat major and Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony at the Pierre Monteux Festival and School. Currently a faculty member at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Music in Pittsburgh, he also serves as the Artistic Director of the ‘Carnegie Mellon Chamber Series’, a newly found series that brings together members of the CMU faculty and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Before moving to the U.S., Dimitri was residing in Ireland enjoying a flourishing career with engagements in some of the country’s most prestigious venues and festivals, while completing his Doctorate in Music Performance. A native of Greece, Dimitri at age sixteen won first prize at the international chamber music competition ‘Classical Heritage’ of Moscow, made his debut with the Greek Radio Symphony Orchestra with Rachmaninov’s ‘Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini’ and following an outstanding success, he was invited to perform Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto for a national broadcast. A graduate of Indiana University and the Royal Irish Academy of Music, he has participated in a plethora of festivals throughout Europe and the U.S.


Resonance Works – Pittsburgh

Do you LOVE Broadway musicals and professional musical  theatre – but can’t get down to Pittsburgh or New York City?  Then this sophisticated, professional musical theatre revue of Broadway’s musical and dramatic genius, Stephen Sondheim, right here in FOXBURG is for you!!

In its debut in the Region on Friday, March 3 at 7:30 PM in Lincoln Hall, Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts is proud to present a professional stage production of the Tony award winning revue, Side by Side by Sondheim – produced by Pittsburgh’s innovative company, Resonance Works.

This celebration of the wit and genius of musical theater’s most influential artist of the last half-century – Stephen Sondheim – features favorite numbers from Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Anyone Can Whistle, and Pacific Overtures, plus his collaborations with giants Leonard Bernstein, Jule Styne and Richard Rodgers.

“Sondheim’s brilliant music has long been beloved by opera and musical theater performers alike. His songs and productions are pieces of remarkable workmanship – crossing different styles of music and theater, and taking on issues of contemporary life with his brilliant wordplay. Marriage, relationships, madness, nostalgia, injustice, revenge, and the human condition are explored in meaningful ways” says Artistic Director Maria Sensi Sellner. “This revue also presents a number of lesser-known but marvelous songs that you will be glad to know, from shows like The Mad Show and The Seven-percent Solution.”

The brilliant stage director, Craig Joseph, returns after directing Resonance Work‘s Trouble in Tahiti last season.  Singing Sondheim’s tasty, introspective and dramatic numbers will be seasoned RW professional singers from New York City and the Pittsburgh region – Hilerie Klein Rensi (Evidence of Things not Seen), Rebecca Shorstein (Elixir of Love, Cinderella), Daniel Teadt (Amahl, Evidence of Things not Seen), and Christopher Scott (Evidence of Things not Seen).  Carnegie Mellon alumna Gillian Hassert, who will have just returned from the national tour of Fame, makes her Resonance Works debut.  The production will be narrated by Pittsburgh’s opera and musical icon, Anna Singer (Pittsburgh Opera – Daughter of the Regiment and popular on-air host of classical WQED) – who may have a musical surprise of her own!  Duo pianists are the extraordinary Rob Frankenberry and Sara Chiesa.

Tickets are Adults $25, Members $20, and Students $5.  Call to reserve: 724-659-3153 or buy online here.



In less than four years, Resonance Works has quickly become an important part of the professional arts ecosystem in Pittsburgh, and is committed to maintaining a rich and vibrant community of professional musicians in the region. Resonance Works’ multi-modal approach takes the form of a variety of musical performances that may include opera, chamber music, orchestral music, and choral music, often with interwoven elements of dance, visual media, and spoken word.

Resonance Works embraces all of Pittsburgh. Venues are carefully chosen to enhance and inform each performance project, and celebrate spaces throughout Pittsburgh –  the North Side, in Shadyside, Downtown, Regent Square, Oakland, and the Strip District in Pittsburgh… and now they coming to the other ‘Burgh – Foxburg. 

This is its first run out performance for ARCA in Foxburg’s Lincoln Hall.


Resonance Works is an artist-driven, collaborative, multi-modal performing arts company dedicated to exploring the confluence of artist, audience, music, and space through performances that empower musicians and engage audiences.

Artist-driven programming sets Resonance Works apart. They create our seasons to showcase outstanding professional artists from Pittsburgh and beyond, performing in a variety of venues in Pittsburgh.  Their artists are creative partners in every way – performers, administrators, board members, and donors – and their work has quickly become an important part of the professional arts ecosystem in Pittsburgh. They are committed to maintaining a rich and vibrant community of professional musicians, and work to produce performances that complement the work of larger organizations such as the Pittsburgh Symphony, Opera, and the Ballet.

Trouble in Tahiti

A multi-modal approach: They present a variety of musical performances that include, but are not limited to opera, chamber music, orchestral music, and choral music, often with integrated elements of dance, visual media, and spoken word. Their venues are chosen to enhance and inform each of our performance projects, and celebrate spaces throughout the city. Exciting collaborators include Cello Fury, Texture contemporary Ballet, and the University of Pittsburgh Department of Theater Arts.

In their first three seasons, the spectrum of their programming has included fully-staged operas by Verdi, Donizetti, Massenet, and Menotti; orchestral works by Shostakovich, Mahler, Bach, de Falla, Piazzolla, Debussy, Respighi, and Copland; vocal works by Britten, Pergolesi, Rorem, Bernstein, and Pittsburgh’s own Nancy Galbraith; and chamber works by Barber, Bach, Boulanger, and many others. In addition to our mainstage productions, they offer a popular Resonance Chamber @ The Cloak Room chamber music series with programs curated by their artists that riff off of our mainstage projects.


Resonance Works was founded in 2013 by Artistic Director Maria Sensi Sellner who is recognized for her versatility as a conductor of opera, orchestras and choruses. The first three-time winner of The American Prize for Opera Conducting, she is active as an opera conductor throughout the northeast, and has previously held positions with the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, the Akron Symphony, and Carnegie Mellon University. Maria holds degrees in conducting, composition, and engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

Hilerie Klein Rensi, mezzo soprano

Rebecca Shorstein, soprano

Gillian Hassert, mezzo soprano

Christopher Scott, baritone

Daniel Teadt, baritone

Anna Singer, soprano

Sara Chiesa, piano

Rob Frankenberry, piano

Craig Joseph, stage director

Susanne OrtnerClarinet & Soprano Saxophone
John MarcinizynGuitar

Love and Romance will be in the air as Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts opens its 2017 season with a Valentine’s Cabaret on Saturday, February 11 at 7:30 PM in Lincoln Hall in Foxburg with the glorious artistry of The Susanne Ortner and John Marcinizyn Duo.  Glittering candlelight and cabaret table seating (with beverages by donation) make it the perfect night out with your sweetheart to celebrate the Valentine’s Day holiday.  Cheese and snacks will be served and beverages by donation.

It will be “Love at first Song” as the inspiring music making of clarinetist/soprano saxophonist Susanne Ortner and guitar virtuoso John Marcinizyn enchants you with melodies they love – the romantic and mesmerizing sounds of New Orleans, Paris, and Brazil and the Gypsy Swing World… music to make your spirits soar and your feet move! And, yes, there will be dancing at the back of Lincoln Hall.

Hear Susanne while you still can in this “Farewell Performance”!  Be a part of this musical love-fest and Foxburg’s farewell to Susanne, who is moving to the wonderful musical city of New Orleans – “The Cradle of Jazz” – for grand, new musical adventures, performing with the extraordinary community of jazz musicians there.  Her expressive sound, technical virtuosity, wit and inspired riffing with the consummate guitarist, John Marcinizyn, will transport you and make this a Valentine’s celebration to remember!

Tickets are Adults $30 and Members $25.  Because of cabaret tables, seating is limited.  Buy online here or call to  reserve 724-659-3153.


Susanne Ortner

“Susanne Ortner seems to be capable of everything … Warm, soft tones if necessary, rapid, speedy passages and in addition to this the challenging embellishments, typical for klezmer music, all at breakneck speed and with an almost unbelievable ease.” Donau Zeitung.

Internationally renowned for her artistry and musical versatility, German clarinetist Susanne Ortner has been acclaimed for “her almost unbelievable witchcraft on the clarinet” both as a soloist and member of the German Klezmer Quartet “Sing Your Soul“,  Klez & Morim with the Bulgarian accordionist Vladimir Mollov and with guitarist John Marcinizyn in the Ortner-Marcinizyn Duo.  She also has performed with extraordinary musicians such as pianist Tom Roberts, guitarist Mark Strickland, trumpeter Charlie Caranicas (NYC), drummer Tom Elrick, drummer Roger Humphries (Pittsburgh), as well as multi-instrumentalist Vince Giordano (NYC).   Other collaborations have been with accordionist/pianist Alan Bern, and Noah Bendix-Balgley, former Concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony – now Concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic.

The German Newspaper Augsburger Allgemeine states that she is “a musician par excellence, capable of moving you deeply“. Susanne is a graduate of the Leopold Mozart Conservatory, and the University of Augsburg. She previously taught German literature, language and music.

Susanne is a serious researcher of Eastern European music, and offers Klezmer Workshops. Following an invitation by the University of Pittsburgh in 2006 in recent years she has accompanied Pittsburgh area Holocaust Survivors at schools and Universities creating the musical framework for their stories. Besides master classes and lectures at the University of Pittsburgh, and Duquesne University, she instructed the klezmer band at the Agency for Jewish Learning, was the interim director of the Carpathian Ensemble at The University of Pittsburgh, and has been coaching the CMU/Hillel klezmer band. She has held an adjunct teaching position at Washington & Jefferson College and is the co-founder of the Three Rivers Klezmer Festival.

Susanne has arranged and composed music for many theatrical productions including “Mazel” by Amy Hartman, and “Our Class” by Tadeusz Slobozianek . She appears on several CDs, including “A Trip To America” and “Hot World Chamber Music” (Ortner-Roberts Duo), “A Tribute to Teenie Harris” (Manchester Craftsmen’s Guilde), “Khosn Kale Mazl-Tov” (Sing Your Soul), and has done book and film projects.

She is the subject of the recent book “Living the Dream” – Für die Musik nach Amerika” (Wissner Verlag Augsburg, 2011), written by German Television journalist Helge Fuhst.

John Marcinizyn

Pittsburgh based guitarist, composer, banjoist John Marcinizyn performs frequently as a soloist, with the Ferla-Marcinizyn Guitar Duo, Ortner-Marcinizyn Duo, contralto Daphne Alderson, Duo Cieli (flute and guitar duo), violin and guitar duo, and groups ranging from The Bach Choir of Pittsburgh to Billy Price. He is also a member of The Red Hot Ramblers (Dixieland jazz).

His versatility as an acoustic and electric guitarist allows him to perform in many styles including classical, jazz, flamenco, rock, blues, and folk. John has also performed guitar and banjo for many theater companies including Quantum Theatre, where he wrote and performed a flamenco score for The Red Shoes and a Blues score for El Paso Blue. His playing can be heard on eight CDs and one DVD and on his website.

John’s original music compositions have received numerous performances and include a guitar concerto, string quartet, orchestral music, music for theater, and pieces for solo guitar and guitar with mixed ensemble, as well as a number of jazz and rock pieces.

His Sonata for Guitar and Marimba received critical acclaim following its premiere at the Guitar Foundation of America International Festival and Competition held in Buffalo.  The Westmoreland Symphonic Winds commissioned Song for the Sparrows, in memory of Beth Ann Johnson and Elyse Jeanne Saraceni who were killed in the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pan Am flight 103.  IonSound Project premiered his And All Manner of Thing Shall Be Well, for Contralto, Cello and Piano, based upon the writings of Julian of Norwich.


John wrote and performed the theme music for Excela Health’s (hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and health facilities of Westmoreland County) television, radio and web commercials. Recently he toured in South America and the Eastern Caribbean with contralto, Daphne Alderson in programs that varied from chamber music through cabaret.

John holds a Ph. D. in music composition and theory from the University of Pittsburgh, and is an Artist-Lecturer in guitar and composition at Carnegie Mellon University and Seton Hill University.  He also teaches a class on slide guitar techniques at the Duquesne University Guitar and Bass Summer Workshop.



Brian LowryKeyboards, Accordion, Hammered Dulcimer
Kelly LowryVocals & Percussion
Caitlin LowryVocals & Bodhran
Benjamin LowryBass, 6-String Guitar, Vocals
Joshua LowryFiddle, Mandolin, Banjo, Vocals
Roy AbbottFlute & Vocals
Daryl HartmanVocals, 12-String Guitar, Mandolin
Jonathan ShegogHighland pipes, small pipes, Vocals

Returning by popular demand, the superb Irish Band CARNIVAL OF SOULS will sound the call for the Irish on Saturday night, March 18, 2016 at 7:00 PM at Lincoln Hall in Foxburg. 

Extend your St. Patrick’s Day Celebration with this joyous evening of superb Irish and Celtic Music with the very talented Lowry Family and Friends. Leprechaun magic will abound with the call of the highland bagpipes and all those lucky enough to be Irish – and all those hopefuls who wish they were Irish  – will tap their toes and kick up their heels celebrating St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Foxburg.

Led by Brian and Kelly Lowry the band features highland pipes, bodhrán drum, 12 string and bass guitar, mandolin, fiddle, accordion, and keyboard along with high spirited vocals.   Listen to their music from their CD No Scone Unburned – Forty-two Pound Checque/Wind that shakes the Barley on their website, Carnival of Souls.    More samples of No Scone Unburned  and their second CD, SconeHenge,  is available through their website and CD Baby.  CDs will be available for sale at the concert.

Tickets are $15 for Adults and $5 for students.  To reserve, call 724 659-3153 or you  can buy tickets online on this page.

CARNIVAL OF SOULS has been performing traditional and original Celtic music in Western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, and West Virginia for nearly twenty years. The group uses a wide variety of traditional and non-traditional instruments to produce a rich range of music that would be at home in a pub in Dublin or a coffee shop in Shadyside.

Their first CD, “No Scone Unburned” was released in 1999 and has been acclaimed by Dirty Linen, the international magazine of folk music, and is in the Irish music archives in Dublin. They can be heard at a variety of venues in the tri-state area.

The band includes talented members of the extended Lowry family.  The band members are:

Roy Abbott – flute

Daryl Hartman – vocals, 12-string guitar, mandolin

Brian Lowry – keyboards, accordion, tin whistle, hammered dulcimer

Kelly Lowry – vocals, percussion

Jonathan Shegog – Highland pipes, small pipes

Caitlin Lowry – vocals, bodhran, keyboard

Benjamin Lowry – bass, six-string guitar, vocals

Joshua Lowry – fiddle, mandolin, banjo, vocals



Happy New Year!  Thank you for your generous support and concert attendance in 2016.

During the 2016 season of the Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts celebrated its 10th Anniversary Season with memorable concerts and art exhibits.  What ARCA has accomplished in these ten years has only possible because of YOU – our devoted audience members and donors.

The 2016 season also was a banner year with more people than ever before attending concerts and viewing Red Brick Gallery Exhibits and with record funds raised from new and loyal donors and members.

The Board of Directors of Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts and The Red Brick Gallery Cooperative Artists extend their warmest thanks to you – our treasured donors and audience members – for your generous support of our vision to bring world class music and art to the beautiful Allegheny River valley.

We hope you have had a joyous and blessed holiday season and wish for you a healthy, fulfilling, and Happy New Year.

Join us as ARCA begins its second decade in 2017 

As ARCA begins its second decade, the 2017 season promises to bring more world class music and art to the beautiful Allegheny Valley.  Check back with us soon for our event listings for the Winter and Spring Seasons and information about Red Brick Gallery exhibits during the 2017 season.

ARCA’s new membership brochure also will be online in the New Year.  You can sign up to receive newsletters and and information about ARCA’s new 2017 season and membership events on this site.

Heartiest wishes for a banner 2017!


Red Brick Holiday Art Show

Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts’ Red Brick Gallery and Gift Shop will present its Fifth Annual Holiday Art Show & Exhibit over five weekends from Friday November 18 to Sunday, December 18
featuring one-of -a-kind, high quality, original artisan made gifts created by Red Brick Gallery Cooperative Member Artists: Cheri Lee Anderton-Yarnell, Mark DeWalt, Donna Edmonds, Cindy Ford, 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.


Enjoy finding holidays gifts by talented local artisans for those special people on your Christmas list and enjoy refreshments during the Opening Weekend from November 18 to 20 and music on Saturday, November 19. Gallery Hours are Friday 2 – 6:00 PM, Saturday 11 – 7:00 PM and Sunday, 12 – 4:00 PM.

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 10.56.19 PMHoliday shoppers from the region and area residents looking for affordable and creative home-made Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers are invited to visit Foxburg’s  Red Brick Gallery Holiday Art Show and Exhibit.  You are sure to find that unique and perfect gift for the special people on your list.  The Red Brick Gallery Gift Shop offers for sale artworks 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, wearable art, hand made baskets, 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 Cheri Lee Anderton-Yarnell, Mark DeWalt, Donna Edmonds, Cindy Ford, 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


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.

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

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.

Plan to celebrate the season, combining shopping in the Red Brick Gallery and Gift Shop with attending one of ARCA’s Holiday performances:  The Madrigal Dinner on December 2-3 at 7:00 PM in Lincoln Hall, The Three River Ringers hand bell choir on Saturday afternoon, December 3 at 2 PM at Emlenton United Methodist Church, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Brass Holiday concert on Sunday, December 18 at 7 PM in Foxburg’s Memorial Church of Our Father.

Red Brick Gallery – First Floor Gift Shop

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 first floor

Framed works by Donna Edmonds, Rugs by Blanche Hall

Jason in gallery

Framed works by Jason Floyd Lewis

Paul O'Neil pottery 1

Pottery by Paul O’Neil

Red Brick Holiday Art Show Dates and Hours
The Red Brick Gallery Holiday art show will run five weekends in November and December: Nov. 18-20, Nov. 25-27, Dec. 2-5, Dec. 9-12, and Dec. 16-18:

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.

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

Let the trumpets sound!  There is no more inspirational way to begin Christmas week than to give yourself the gift of music performed by the world celebrated Pittsburgh Symphony Brass in Foxburg’s beautiful Memorial Church of Our Father on Sunday, December 18 at 7:00 PM.

Foxburg’s beautiful neo-Gothic Memorial Church of Our Father, gloriously bedecked with poinsettias, will be the exquisite holiday setting for this perennial favorite.  The intimate atmosphere and superb acoustics of this beautiful stone church will resound with stirring strains of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Brass Ensemble – some of the most superbly talented brass musicians in the world – right here in the beautiful Allegheny-Clarion River Valley for your holiday inspiration.

2016-xmas-PSO Brass

Call to reserve your tickets for this audience and holiday favorite:  724-659-3153  or buy online here.  Tickets:  Adults $30, Members $25, Students $5  Parking is at the AC Valley Medical Center, up the hill from the church, one-half mile, on route 58, across from the A-C Valley Schools  Shuttle service to and from the church will be provided.  The shuttles will begin an hour before the performance, at 6:00 PM.

Performing works from their three acclaimed Christmas CDs (available on Amazon), Pittsburgh Symphony Brass is led by Grammy award winner George Vosburgh.  The group possesses a unique blend of virtuosity with brilliant sonority rarely achieved in brass music.  Organized in 1994 and featuring some of the world’s finest orchestral brass musicians playing in chamber ensemble, the ensemble endeavors to stretch the limitations of performance and explore a wide range of musical expression rarely achieved in brass music.

pso-brass-albums-copy“Brass ensemble playing cannot possibly be more virtuosic or musical…” — Sir Andre Previn

You will be uplifted and delighted by the elegant arrangements of Christmas favorites from the PSO Brass’ Christmas CDs.  Their concerts have been described as “Holiday cheer delivered with virtuoso flair.”  AND you will be entertained!  ARCA audiences have been charmed by the friendly and jovial spoken introductions the PSO Brass musicians offer as they take you 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.


Photography by

These world renowned brass musicians are led by Grammy Award winner and PSO Principal Trumpet, George Vosburgh who in 1987 won the Grammy for Best New Classical Artist. Internationally acclaimed for his virtuosity on the trumpet in recordings, concerts, and recitals, Vosburgh has appeared as a soloist in such locales as the Bonn Festival, Ravinia Festival, and the Curs International de Musica in Valencia, Spain. After his tenure as the youngest member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s world famous brass section under the late Sir George Solti, Vosburgh joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as Principal Trumpet in 1992.

Before the concert, plan to tour the beautiful Holiday Exhibit at the Red Brick Gallery and Gift Shop, and pick up a gift for this special people on your Christmas list – or for yourself – from the affordable, unique hand-made artwork of Red Brick Cooperative Artists.  On Sunday, December 18, the Red Brick Gallery is open from 12 to 4 PM.  Before the concert, you also may wish to enjoy supper at the Allegheny Grille or Foxburg Pizza, and a gourmet coffee and dessert at Divani Chocolatier.  Or plan to spend the night where every room overlooks the Allegheny River at the Foxburg Inn Hotel.

Then drive your car to the AC Valley Medical Center, up the hill from the church, one-half mile, on route 58, across from the A-C Valley Schools  Shuttle service to and from the church will be provided.  The shuttles will begin an hour before the performance, at 6:00 PM.

2016-RBG Xmas


pitt_symphony_brass_christmas_foxburg-22_0_1 - Version 3

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 18 at 7:00 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 Spirit of Christmas”, an auspicious beginning of Christmas week.

You will be uplifted and delighted by the elegant arrangements of Christmas favorites from the PSO Brass’ Christmas CDs.  Their concerts have been described as “Holiday cheer delivered with virtuoso flair.”  AND you will be entertained!  ARCA audiences have been charmed by the friendly and jovial spoken introductions the PSO Brass musicians offer as they take you 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 2016 season, keeping your joyous spirits high for Christmas-only as week later! Indeed, let the trumpets sound!!

For the December 18 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.

Google Maps


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.


Three Rivers Ringers
Pittsburgh’s Premier Handbell Choir
Three Rivers Ringers 2016

Ring in the Holidays as Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Ringers returns to Emlenton’s United Methodist Church on Saturday, December 3 at 2:00 PM.  What a joyous way to usher in the wonder and beauty of the Christmas season – with the inspiring and uplifting strains of the Three Rivers Ringers Handbells Program:  Carols Around the World.  

The Three Rivers Ringers will enchant you with the international flair of Christmas carols from England, France, Austria, Spain, Scandinavia, South America, and China. Experience the unforgettable sounds you Christmas favorites performed by these professional handbell artists – including Angels We Have Heard on High, a jazzy arrangement of Silent Night (à la Brubeck), the exotic We Three Kings… and many more!

AN INSPIRING CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY – and children under 6 are FREE.  Adults $15, Students $5.  Buy online here or call 724-659-3153 to reserve or you may buy tickets at the door, with cash or check.

The Three Rivers Ringers 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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2016 Program

Come celebrate the holiday tradition with Pittsburgh’s premier handbell ensemble in their Christmas Concert at Emlenton’s United Methodist Church: Carols Around the World.

Three Rivers Ringers will enchant you with the international flair of Christmas carols from England, France, Austria, Spain, Scandinavia, South America, and China. Experience the unforgettable sounds of handbells at the holidays, with favorites including Angels We Have Heard on High, a jazzy arrangement of Silent Night (à la Brubeck), the exotic We Three Kings… and many more!

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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 as an annual tradition for you and your family to RING IN THE HOLIDAYS.  The audience certainly will be amazed as the Three Rivers Ringers perform virtuosic movements from The Nutcracker, in addition to traditional holiday selections from around the world in its Christmas Program.


The inspiring 2016 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 United Methodist Church is excited to host this event in its spacious sanctuary 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 in recent years have given 14 or more public performances annually (plus private events), premiered major new works for handbells and narrator, done a recording project and featured a wide range of classical music. 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 give concerts throughout the tri-state area, and also offer educational programs for ringers and directors.


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.

Madrigal Dinner dates 2016 jpeg

A perennial Holiday Season favorite, The Madrigal Dinner Theatre, returns for two evenings, December 2nd and 3rd, to Foxburg’s candlelit Lincoln Hall.  Come join us for a Holiday Wassail Toast, Medieval Feast and holiday entertainment fit for a King and Queen!

The Madrigal Dinner Theatre has been a sell-out each year.   Be sure to reserve your spots early since only 79 seats are available for each performance.  You may buy tickets online here or reserve by calling 724 659-3153.  As of November 30, ONE SEAT IS AVAILABLE for the Friday, December 2 performance and THREE SEATS ARE AVAILABLE for the Saturday, December 3 performance – by telephone reservation only, cash or check at the door.

Madrigal Dinner-Lincoln Hall 2014

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 has become a Foxburg Christmas Tradition since it moved from Emlenton’s First Methodist Church to Lincoln Hall nine years ago! This year the Madrigal Dinner marks its 21st 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.

Madrigal Dinner ticket prices will be announced soon.  You may buy tickets online here or reserve by calling 724 659-3153.


The History of Emlenton/Foxburg’s Madrigal Dinner

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 2 or 3, 2016 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