Seasons Archives: Summer 2016

“Impressions of Nature” Exhibit

Donna EdmondsWatercolorist
Angela HardwickWatercolorist
Cheri Lee Anderton-YarnellPotter
Kathleen G. ChovitOil Painter
Artistic Quartet

Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts and the Red Brick Gallery proudly announces its next exhibition – “Impressions of Nature: An Artistic Quartet” on display from Friday, July 15 to Sunday, August 21.

This multimedia exhibit will showcase a panoply of colors and textures and nature subjects by three Red Brick Gallery Cooperative Members: Donna Edmonds, watercolorist; Angela Hardwick, watercolorist; and Cheri Lee Anderton-Yarnell, potter; and guest artist Kathleen G. Chovit, oil painter.

The historic Gallery on the bank of the Allegheny River in Foxburg is an ideal venue for this exhibition that showcases the arresting natural beauty of Pennsylvania. Each artist is adept at handling the organic subject matter with sensitivity and grace. The show is a collection of works by four unique artists, offering art pieces in different media and subjects that are knit together in perfect harmony.

The Meet the Artists Opening reception on Sunday, July 17 from 4 – 6 PM, immediately following ARCA’s concert at 2 PM by internationally acclaimed pianist Alec Chien in Lincoln Hall, gave gallery goers an opportunity to meet and visit with the four artists.

Four Artists' photo-Exhibit opening

Donna Edmonds, Cheri Lee Anderton-Yarnell, Kathleen G. Chovit, Angela Hardwick

Donna Edmonds

Edmonds - Ground nut & nest

Ground Nut & Nest

As a life-long gardener and nature lover, the typical focus of Donna Edmond’s watercolor paintings is botanical subjects, although she has also painted insects and pollinators.  Her interest in native plants has inspired her to observe the extraordinary beauty and diversity of the Western Pennsylvania countryside. These observations have introduced her to other delights, most recently our feathered friends. Several paintings in the exhibit will feature native birds and their nests.

Edmonds - Black capped chickadee

Black Capped Chickadee

Donna studied Botanical Art and Illustration at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden and is now an instructor there, teaching classes for the Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate Program. Her work has been exhibited at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens as well as the Phipps Garden Center in Shadyside and other Pittsburgh venues. She is a member of the Allegheny Highlands Botanical Art Society and The American Society of Botanical Artists. Donna currently resides with her husband in Parker, PA.

“It’s a gift to share my creative wanderings with others at the Red Brick Gallery and a privilege to participate in an exhibit with other artists whom I respect,”  Edmonds said.

Angela Hardwick

Wisteria Tree

Wisteria Tree

Watercolor artist, Angela Hardwick has traveled and painted beautiful garden scenes, landscapes and lovely vignettes of her travels throughout the British Isles, Europe and western Pennsylvania.  Sometimes feline friends make an appearance!

A native Londoner, Angela had a thriving career in the music business. She spent much of her free time singing and touring with the London Symphony Orchestra Chorus. Also, she managed international conductors. Her work as Assistant to the Pittsburgh Symphony’s Music Director, Andre Previn, brought her to Western Pennsylvania, where she met her husband, Charles, a violinist with the Pittsburgh Symphony.

After retiring, Angela has had the time to indulge in her love of painting. She produced a watercolor series including the four seasons of the Frick Cafe and the Frick Greenhouse, which were on sale at the Frick.  She has been commissioned to create watercolor paintings of homes and estates.  She and her husband live with their three cats in Wexford, PA.


“I’m delighted to be part of this quartet of artists. My fellow exhibitors are indeed gifted artists in their fields and it will, I’m sure, be a most interesting show.   For my part, I spent numerous happy hours on my new watercolours!   I do hope many guests will visit the Red Brick and enjoy this exhibit.”

Cheri Lee Anderton-Yarnell

Frog Teapot

For potter Cheri Lee Anderton-Yarnell, playing in the mud as a child began her lifelong passion for clay. Today her work is both a reflection of her concern for our planet and fellow humans as well as a celebration of earth and of a spiritual path.

“I enjoy weaving images in a variety of clay vessels.  I am particularly drawn to the plight of amphibians and endangered and threatened species,” said Anderton-Yarnell. “These have become the signature images in my work. From the playful to the profound, I intend for each vessel to evoke a sense of the beauty and peril of our world.”

Her work is primarily high fired porcelain or stoneware. Cheri creates each piece individually, from wedging the clay, forming each vessel on the potter’s wheel or hand building.  Some pieces receive surface treatment using handmade stamps, pieces of crochet or tatting for texture. Much of the work involves alteration through manipulating and through sculpting.

Green bowl

Cheri’s work is in several galleries and she participates in a few juried shows each year.  A juried member of the Pittsburgh Guild of Craftsmen, she has taught ceramics for 25 years and has had her work published in two Lark Books, 500 Teapots and 500 Animals.

Kathleen Chovit

The Summit by K. Chovit, Oil on Linen, 20 x 16 Inches

The Summit

For over 20 years, Kathleen Chovit’s paintings have been inspired by the landscape of Central Pennsylvania she encountered while hiking countless miles over hill and dale with her dog. Alas, as her dog aged and she suffered an ankle injury, so Kathleen has had to slow down and observe of nature from a different angle.

“I became captivated by the richness of color, texture and shadows,” Chovit stated. “Straddling the line between impressionism and realism, my subjects are realistic looking from a distance, however, closer inspection reveals loose strokes. I move beyond painting just the visual qualities of a landscape to painting the invisible pulses and rhythms of our planet. Whether I paint a landscape, animals or fruit, I want them to reverberate with life. For me, painting is the language of the soul.”

Winter Blues by K. Chovit, Oil on Cradled Museum Board, 16 x 20 Inches

Winter Blues

Kathleen’s paintings have been featured in many juried, solo, and group exhibitions over 17 years.  Her work was published in Landscapes of Central PA in 2015 (Timeless Art Productions). She is a member of the Oil Painters of America and included in the Artist Registry at the Bellefonte Museum.  She currently resides in State College, PA.

Red Brick Gallery is located at 17 Main Street in historic Foxburg, PA. Gallery hours are Fridays, 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM, Saturdays, 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM and Sundays, Noon to 4:00 PM.





Nick J Karellas – Realistic Masterworks

Karellas Postcard

Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts is proud to announce the Red Brick Gallery Exhibit: “Realistic Masterworks”  by Nick J. Karellas, RBG Member artist, from Friday, June 3 to Sunday, July 10. A Meet the Artist Reception will be held on Sunday, June 26 from 4:00 – 6:00 PM, immediately after ARCA’s 2:00 PM concert in Lincoln Hall featuring the Clarion University Chamber Singers.  The Red Brick Gallery is located at 17 Main Street in historic Foxburg, PA. Gallery hours are Fridays, 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Saturdays, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Sundays, 12 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

If you’ve visited the Gallery in the last year, you will definitely remember the size, scope and impeccable realistic detail of paintings by RBG Member artist Nick Karellas. His artworks in oil, pen, ink and watercolor are truly Realistic Masterworks.


Ranging from a glorious sacred mountain valley in Greece to a view from the vault of a Gothic cathedral bringing sunshine into the church and the lives of the people below, each of his works tell a story and convey the richness of having lived in both Europe and the United States. Even more, Nick’s artworks give the viewer an experience that all is well in the world – a sense of awe and wonder that life’s smallest, most precise details are simply part of a harmonious, divine order.

Karellas, who describes himself as a man of few words, lets his canvases do the talking. While he believes that everything we do should have a purpose, he modestly said that he hopes his artwork does “tell a story and make a difference.”

An oil painting of an inner city street in Strasbourg used in the poster for this exhibit, where numerous wars have been fought on the border of France and Germany, exemplifies this perspective; the French architecture on one side of the street peacefully coexists with the German on the other side. A painting of a seacoast with sailing ships from a by-gone era and a storm beginning to rage overhead is the beach at Normandy where D-Day would take the lives of thousands centuries later.

About the Artist

Nick Karellas came from a family of artists. His mother was a dress designer working for Caroline Herrera and his father, John, was a famous dramatic tenor opera singer who performed at La Scala in Milan and at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Nick came to the Allegheny River Valley when his father bought a church in Parker. During the last years of his father’s life, the church was visited by monks, bringing treasured icons from the Greek Orthodox Church.

Nick J Karellas - Normandy coastFortunately for us, Nick continued to use the Parker church as an art studio and became affiliated with ARCA’s Red Brick Gallery. He has a rich and diverse artistic resume. Born in Milan, Italy in 1960, he lived in Italy, then Greece, during his childhood.  While in Italy, Nick had the opportunity to work in commercials.  His acting career included having the lead child role in a movie, the Italian version of ‘The Prodigal Son’.  Nick is accomplished in classical piano, having performed at New York’s Carnegie Recital Hall at the age of twelve.

Nick started drawing at the age of five, with his first commissioned work at twelve years of age painting portraits of the bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church.  After moving to the United States he attended Art and Design High School in New York City and studied portraiture, under famed portrait artist Daniel Greene at The Art Students League. Daniel Greene is well known to Pittsburghers for his portrait of former Pittsburgh Symphony Music Director William Steinberg displayed in the lobby of Heinz Hall. Local residents will be able to experience and purchase Nick’s portraiture artistry for themselves during the Red Brick Gallery Day on Saturday, August 27, when Nick will be doing quick portraits for hire as a benefit to raise money for the Red Brick Gallery and ARCA.

Nick J Karellas cathedralWhile continuing to display in galleries, for twenty-three years Nick served as an architectural illustrator for a major New York City architectural firm, working with architects and engineers designing campus buildings for universities around the country. Nick was able to telecommute when he moved to Pittsburgh with his wife, who is the Senior Vice President of Finance for a Pittsburgh PR firm. They have a 17 year-old son.

A prolific artist who has sold more than eighty works in recent years, Nick Karellas has produced a total of eighteen new artworks for this exhibit. New to this exhibit will be a series on Pittsburgh architecture in the early twentieth century, during a time, according to Karellas, “when life was simple and beautiful.” Also unique to this exhibition, is that Nick’s new works will be brought in progressively throughout the exhibit, beginning with eleven new works when the exhibit opens and including the remaining seven as the exhibit progresses – all leading up the Meet the Artist Reception on Sunday, June 26 from 4 – 6:00 PM.

The Red Brick Gallery is located at 17 Main Street in historic Foxburg, PA
. Gallery hours are Fridays, 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Saturdays, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Sundays, 12 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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INSIDE the H-Barn Arena at RiverStone Farm
352 Foxview Road, Foxburg, PA 16036

Sunday, August 14

From the Grand Ole Opry to RiverStone Farm



Gates Open at 4 PM

Black Lillies-riverstone barn

YES – It’s RAIN OR SHINE!  SO with the forecast for rain, appearing INDOORS at beautiful RiverStone Farm in the H-Barn Arena on Sunday, August 14, at 6:00 PM is the only group to have graced the stage of the Grand Ole Opry more than any other independent band – THE BLACK LILLIES.  And opening for them at 5 PM is the young country singer from the Emlenton area who was a finalist on American Idol this year – ISAAC COLE. 

Lillies & Cole

You do not want to miss this opportunity to hear The Black Lillies right here in FOXBURG. This band is world-class FANTASTIC – performing more than 300 shows each year to tens of thousands of people all across the country! Don’t let the weather deter you tomorrow.  The concert will be taking place INDOORS – in the  H-Barn arena, a perfect place for a country music celebration.  

Gates open at 4:00 PM.  Bring your lawn chairs, a cooler and your dancing shoes. RiverStone Farm is located at 352 Foxview Road, Foxburg, PA  16036.  Once in the area, follow the signs to the turn onto Foxview Road off of Route 58 (Foxview Road on one side and Metz Road on the other).

Adults $20, Students $5 and Children Under 6 Free. Three ways to purchase or reserve tickets: You may buy tickets with a credit card online here, buy tickets at the gate tomorrow with a cash or check, or call 724 659-3153 to reserve and pay cash/check at the gate.

These Knoxville recording artists and national touring Country and Roots Band have been lauded by Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair for their blend of Appalachian folk, California folk-rock, country & genre-smashing Americana music which blends Bluegrass, R&B, and Jazz. Their music – which has established the BLACK LILLIES as one most significant bands to rise out of the American Roots music circuit – will please ALL the generations grooving and get them up dancing in one of the most scenic places in western Pennsylvania!

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These are really good people… BRING THE WHOLE FAMILY.  Children under 6 are FREE and Students are $5.  Adults $20.  Gates open at 4:00 PM.  Bring your lawn chairs and a cooler and your dancing shoes to the H Barn arena… the perfect place for country music!

And did we say wear your cowboy boots OR dancing shoes… you will definitely want to slow dance with your sweetheart to this soulful, sexy ballad, “Mercy”, recorded at the Texas Music Scene.  Hear Cruz Contreras and Trisha Gene Brady speak about their new album, “Hard to Please”, featuring this song.

Isaac Cole, “American Idol” Finalist, 5:00 PM

The Opening Act for the Black Lillies at 5:00 PM will be ISAAC COLE, Allegheny River Valley’s rising young  singer-song writer and country music star.  Isaac has multiple recordings produced in Nashville and recently was a finalist on “American Idol”.  Come early at 5:00 PM to enjoy Emlenton’s pride, Isaac Cole, as ARCA presents a true COUNTRY HOE-DOWN CONCERT right here in the beautiful Allegheny-Clarion River Valley!!



Adults $20, Students $5 and Children Under 6 Free. Three ways to purchase or reserve tickets:  You may buy tickets online here paying by credit card, buy tickets at the gate on the day-of-the-event paying cash or check or call 724 659-3153 to reserve.  (352 Foxview Road, Foxburg, PA 16036).  Even inside – bring your lawn chair and a picnic basket.


ARCA’s annual Membership Pig Roast Picnic precedes the concert this year at 3:00 PM for ARCA Members.  Click here to become an ARCA member and reserve by August 7 to attend the picnic, making a full day of it at scenic RiverStone Farm.  For more information call 724-659-3153.

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Black Lillie’s Concert

This national touring Country and Roots band, praised by Rolling Stone, CMT and Entertainment Weekly, brings its original charts to the beauty of RiverStone Farm in Foxburg on Sunday, August 14 at 6 PM.

Hailed as “buzzworthy, genre-mashing roots music” by Rolling Stone Country and praised everywhere from Vanity Fair and The Wall Street Journal have established themselves as one of the hardest-working and most dynamic bands touring today. The Black Lillies made their debut performance on the Grand Ole Opry on June 17, 2011. The band was the first independent artist from the Knoxville area to be featured on the Grand Ole Opry, and made history again by being invited back multiple times, appearing five times in just four months. They have since appeared on the show more than 35 times, a record for an independent act.

Screenshot 2016-04-27 11.32.30In early 2015, the Black Lillies (Cruz Contreras, Bowman Townsend, and Trisha Gene Brady) headed into Nashville’s House of Blues Studios in February to record their fourth album with producer Ryan Hewitt. They were joined by bass player Bill Reynolds from Band of Horses, pedal steel player Matt Smith (Amy Ray, The Honeycutters) and then-19-year-old Nashville guitar phenom Daniel Donato,

“Hard to Please” was released October 2, 2015 to immediate critical and fan acclaim. It debuted at #12 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart and #30 on Billboard’s Top 200 Country Albums Chart. It hit Roots Music Report’s radio charts at #1, Relix/Jambands radio chart at #3 and #4 on the Americana Music Association’s radio chart, where it currently remains in the top ten.

The touring band was expanded to a six piece, with players Mike Seal (Jeff Sipe Trio, Larkin Poe) on electric guitar, Sam Quinn (the everybodyfields) on bass, and Jonathan Keeney (Robinella) on pedal steel.

Capturing the energy and spontaneity of a live show on a recording is next to impossible, but on their album, Hard to Please, Americana band the Black Lillies come really, really close. From the sultry, foot-stomping title track to the dreamy heart stabber “Fade” and each song in between, the Tennessee natives stretched their country bones with a noticeable soulful evolution—“our jukebox record,” as front man Cruz Contreras calls it.

“Our Appalachian roots are always the heart of what we do, but we went for it on this one,” adds vocalist and guitarist Trisha Gene Brady. Their sound continues to cross generations and musical genres—country, folk, blues, and add in a touch of the Dead, for good measure. On this album, fans will notice more deep funk and R&B sounds, a smattering of brass on a few tracks, and Brady singing lead vocals on the aptly titled “The First Time.”

Hard to Please, their fourth album, marked another first: unlike the down-home, self-produced recordings of the past, this time they brought in Grammy-award-winning producer Ryan Hewitt (the Avett Brothers, Johnny Cash, Red Hot Chili Peppers) and recorded at the famed House of Blues Studio D, which was relocated from Memphis to Nashville in 2009. “The history of that place is amazing, a traveling sound board in a traveling studio—Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding—I’m getting chills just thinking about it,” says Brady.

The band consistently plays more than 300 shows a year, coast to coast, from the Stagecoach Festival to the Grand Ole Opry.

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About Black Lillies

Black Lillies on blue

Why You Should Pay Attention: No independent band has played the Grand Ole Opry more often than the Black Lillies, a co-ed, ragtag group of Knoxville-based pickers whose songs bridge the gap between Appalachian folk, California folk-rock, bluegrass and jazz. “The blessing and the curse of this band,” says leader Cruz Contreras, “is the fact that we don’t like to repeat ourselves. I’ll write a soul tune, then a rock tune, then a country tune. Every day, people ask us what kind of music we play, and we still don’t have a one-word answer for them.” That hasn’t stopped the group from sending its last album, Runaway Freeway Blues, into the upper half of the Billboard Country Albums chart — even without the assistance of a record label.

They Say: “One thing you can’t evade is your voice,” Cruz Contreras says. “I grew up singing country and bluegrass in Eastern Tennessee, and my voice is steeped in this region. Even if I envision a song as a rock song, I still sound like myself, which brings it back to the country world. I think that’s a unifying thread.

Cruz Contreras

Press About Black Lillies

From Vanity Fair:

Despite playing music for most of his three decades of life, in 2008, multi-instrumentalist Cruz Contreras was ready to give it all up. At the same time, visual artist Trisha Gene Brady was finding her voice and unlocking a secret dream. It was around a campfire, singing old gospel songs that the two Tennessee natives found their harmony. With one foot planted firmly in Appalachian music culture and the other always expanding and evolving, the Black Lillies have created a unique sound embraced by fans old and young. The lyrics are measured and familiar, bittersweet but not jaded, reassuring—you’re not alone.


In a few short years, the Knoxville-based band has played Bonnaroo and the legendary Grand Ole Opry, has been featured on PBS and NPR, won an Independent Music Award, and is gearing up to release its third album, Runaway Freeway Blues, in March. I caught up with the band on the final night of a 50-day tour at the historic Purple Fiddle in Thomas, West Virginia, to talk about starting over, the perks of doing it yourself, and building your house, brick by brick.

Contreras: [Laughs.] No looking back, having a good time, and making people happy. Growing up south of Nashville, I fell in love with bluegrass and country music and knew at 15 that music was what I wanted to do as a career. I went to University of Tennessee and studied jazz piano. I got married while I was still in college and started a band [Robinella and the CCstringband] with my now ex-wife. We made a couple of records on our own . . . we got signed by Columbia records. We went through all that, and after about 10 years they both came to a sudden halt. Relationships are tough, business is tough, having a band is tough, and we have a son, and it all just took its toll. In the end, everything was neglected, specifically the marriage. So, when that ended, I quit the band. I didn’t really have a backup plan—it was a very comprehensive, life-changing event. I was instantly jobless and homeless.

How did you pull yourself together?

Contreras: I was tempted to split, but I wasn’t going to leave my son. I got a job driving truck and had a year to regroup and think about everything—from “Oh, God, music has ruined my life” to “No, I do love it” and, learning how to sing and write, and really just doing it for fun.

What was the first song you wrote?

Contreras: “See Right Through.” Don’t ever write a song that you’re not willing to sing every day for the rest of your life—that was my mentality, go to the wall, give it everything you’ve got, write the best song you can, and get the best players with the best chemistry. [Filling out the band are Tom Pryor on pedal steel and guitar, Jamie Cook on drums, and Robert Richards on bass.]

Trisha, what’s your musical background?

Brady:I didn’t really play music growing up. I always knew I wanted to sing, but it was a secret-dream kind of thing. I went to school for media art. I sang on my thesis film and that’s what it took—me hearing myself and, all of my teachers saying, “Why aren’t you singing?” I taught myself how to play guitar between undergrad and grad school. After grad school, I had an amazing job offer in San Antonio and was really close to moving. I had my trailer packed and was ready to go, but I decided I needed to stick around and see what music was doing for me. Cruz and I had hung out together at campfires in Knoxville, picking and singing old-school Bill Monroe, Jimmy Martin, gospel songs, and Carter family songs.

Contreras: To me, that’s the essence of it. There are a lot of ingredients to what we do as a band, but that was the spark of it, that type of music, that feeling. It’s a regional, east-Tennessee, mountain, and Appalachia music culture—there’s a wild energy to it.

Black Lillies-building

About Isaac Cole

Isaac Cole - Just a KidIsaac Cole’s last CD may be called “Just a Kid” but his resume says otherwise! Isaac Cole is a 16 year old Country and Inspirational Country Music singer/songwriter and accomplished guitar, banjo, mandolin and fiddle player. Isaac started singing in churches when he was four, and has been performing full concerts at churches, festivals, fairs, benefits, and rodeos since he was ten. He became a Nashville recording artist at eleven with his debut CD “Country Boy”. His second CD, “Just a Kid”, was released in February 2014. His third and newest album “I’m Your Huckleberry” was released in May 2016 just in time for his 16th birthday.

Isaac Cole

Isaac’s biggest and most recent accomplishment is making it into the top 51 of the current American Idol Season XV. He also has been invited to join the historic Wheeling Jamboree as the second youngest person ever to be invited as an official member. Isaac was the 2014 Inspirational Country Music “New Artist of the Year”, and is the youngest person ever to have received that title. Isaac was the 2012 ICM “Youth in Music”, AMG “New Artist of the Year”, Agapefest “Rising Star” and has been nominated for many other awards. He has had three song releases break into the top ten of the PowerSource Inspirational Country radio charts, and “Just a Kid” hit number one on Christian Music Weekly.

Isaac Cole Farm

UnknownIsaac was born and raised in Northwestern Pennsylvania on a 140 acre farm near Emlenton, and enjoys everything about country living. He is an avid outdoorsman that enjoys hunting, fishing, camping and riding ATV’s. It was through his country living that he gained an appreciation for the Classic Country Music sound that he tries to incorporate into his own music.

Isaac’s mainstream musical influences include Brad Paisley, Josh Turner, Keith Urban, and Garth Brooks. Isaac loves singing and performing, and sharing his God given gift of music. For general information and bookings, email Please visit his website at to connect with him on social media. CD’s can be purchased through his website or on iTunes and CDBaby.

Isaac Cole

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Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts is proud to present the Clarion University Chamber Singers in Lincoln Hall in Foxburg on Sunday, June 26, at 2:00 PM on the eve of their departure to compete in The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in North Wales, UK (from July 5 – 10, 2016).  Help ARCA showcase musical excellence in our region as we celebrate Clarion University’s premier vocal ensemble in a concert of choral works in diverse styles, from songs of faith and African-American spirituals to folk and popular music.

Tickets are $10 for Adults, $5 for Students and Children under 6 are free.   Buy tickets online here or you may call to reserve at (724) 659-3153.

The musical excellence of the Clarion University Chamber Singers has been recognized by their competitive selection to participate and compete in The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales, sponsored by the Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) and running since 1947.  2016 marks the 70th Eisteddfod.Bridge-e1410525057379

Singers and dancers from around the world are invited to participate in the Festival based on an auditioned selection process.  Over 20 high quality artistic competitions are followed each evening by concerts, where the best and most colorful competitors share the stage with professional artists. Singers, dancers and instrumentalists from around 50 countries will be performing to audiences of more than 50,000 over the 6 days of the international music festival.  While in the UK, the Chamber Singers will be performing additional concerts in churches in England and Ireland: Southwark Cathedral in London and Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon; and St. Mary’s Church in Killarney and Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin.

Clarion U Chamber Singers

“This is the first time in the university’s history that any of Clarion University’s musical ensembles has been invited through an audition process to perform at an international competition, and we are incredibly proud of our students for having achieved that milestone,” says Dr. Stephen Johnson, Chamber Singers director. “Our students now realize that with hard work and dedication, Clarion University is competitive on the world stage.”

Clarion University Chamber Singers

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Participation in The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in North Wales, UK is a significant achievement for the Clarion University Chamber Singers, which for more than 50 years has been the premier vocal ensemble at Clarion University. Membership into the group is through a competitive audition process; dedicated students rehearse many hours beyond normally scheduled rehearsal times. For most of its musical history, this extraordinary choral ensemble has been primarily an a cappella group, performing Renaissance motets and madrigals. For many years, the ensemble presented an annual Madrigal Dinner that was greatly anticipated and highly acclaimed in the Clarion community.

Screenshot 2016-05-04 09.33.16Beginning two years ago with new conductor Dr. Stephen Johnson, the ensemble continued not only to perform motets and madrigals but also to expand its repertoire, spanning a broad range of musical periods and genres, including Jazz, popular music, traditional folk music, Spirituals and 20th Century music. The ensemble has replaced the traditional madrigal dinner with an annual benefit dinner, which raises funds for local charities and people in need in the Clarion community.

The Chamber Singers also has expanded its performance schedule to include special events on the Clarion University Campus and concerts in western Pennsylvania communities. In Spring 2015, the Chamber Singers performed community concerts and school assemblies in north central Pennsylvania, including West Forest High School, Smethport High School, Coudersport High School, Ridgway High School and a community concert at Christ Episcopal Church in Coudersport.

In April 2016, the Chamber Singers shared the beauty of their voices on tour, bringing the arts to schools and communities in western Pennsylvania. These included evening community concerts at Heritage United Methodist Church in Ligonier, Anne Ashley United Methodist church in Homestead, and In-school assembly concerts at Greenville High School, Latrobe High School, and Kittanning High School. On June 26, the Chamber Singers are performing in Lincoln Hall in Foxburg, presented by Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts, in advance of their departure on their European tour.

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Concert Program


Ave Maria (Angelus Domini)……………………………….………..Franz Biebl (1906-2001)

Soloists: Ellen Bossert and Jared Stack

Daemon Irrepit Callidus………………………………………..…Gyorgy Orban (1947-   )

Bogoroditse Devo, No. 6 from All-Night Vigil—Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)



Baba Yetu……………………………………………..……………….Christopher Tin (1976-         )

Soloists: Jared Stack Ben Blinn, Megan Blashford, Ellen Bossert, Jason Poor

Tshepa Thapelo…………………………………..Sotho Folk Song arr. By Ruth Morris Gray

I’m Seventeen Come Sunday………..……………………Percy A. Grainger (1882-1961)



Il est bel et bon……………………………Pierre Passereau (1509-1547) arr. John Leavitt

Nyon Nyon……………………………………………………………..…..Jake Runestad (1986-   )





Plenty Good Room……………………………………………….……..Kirby Shaw (1942- )

Spiritual………………………………………………..……………Ysaye Barnwell (1946-   )



Good Time……………………………………………………..…..Matthew Thiessen (1980-   )

Soloist: Jared Stack

Embraceable You…………………………………………..…George Gershwin (1898-1937)

Words……………………………………………………………………Anders Edenroth (1963-   )



White Winter Hymnal……………………………… ……………Anders Edenroth (1963-   )

Even When He Is Silent………………………………………Kim Andre’ Arnesen (1980-   )

Bridge Over Troubled Water…………………….Paul Simon (1941-   ) arr. Kirby Shaw

About the Artists

Dr. Stephen Johnson

Dr. Stephen JohnsonStephen Johnson is the director of the Clarion University Chamber Singers and Director of University Choirs.  He holds a baccalaureate degree in Music Education from Mansfield University and a Master of Music in Musical Performance from Arizona State University. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland with concentrations in music curriculum and instruction, performance, conducting, music theory, and statistical analysis.

Currently Director of University Choirs at Clarion University, he is the music director of the Clarion University Concert Choir and the Clarion University Chamber Singers. In addition to directing the university choirs, he teaches courses in elementary and vocal methods, and voice. He is also the faculty advisor for an all-female acapella group, the CUP-ellas.

Some of the highlights from Dr. Johnson’s musical career include a summer of performing and study at the Tanglewood Institute in Tanglewood, Mass. At Tanglewood, he studied privately with Sam Pilafian, tubist for the Boston Pops Orchestra and Empire Brass Quintet, and performed on stage with the Boston Symphony brass section. He also studied privately with Donald Stanley at Mansfield University, Ray Nutaitis at Arizona State University, and Washington Air Force Band euphonium soloist Dr. Brian Bowman at the University of Maryland. Over a four-year period, he co-directed half-time shows for the World Football League throughout Europe including a World Football League Championship Game in Edinboro, Scotland.

Before assuming his current duties as Director of University Choirs, Dr. Johnson served as Chair of the Department of Music for four years and also as Associate Dean and Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Clarion University for eleven years. He taught instrumental music at Sullivan County High School in Laporte, Pennsylvania for three years and taught K-12 vocal and instrumental music for six years at New Covenant Academy in Mansfield, Pennsylvania.

Clarion University Chamber Singers

Chamber Singers 3+

SOPRANO                                                   MAJOR                                                         HOMETOWN

Megan Bettwy                                           Speech Pathology                                    Holidaysburg, PA

Kiah Harrington-Wimer                           Theatre                                                       Brookville, PA

Brana Hill                                                   Communication                                        Pittsburgh, PA

Katie Gannon                                            Speech Pathology                                     Saxonburg, PA

Tori Heckert                                               Theatre                                                         York, PA

Marina Meholick                                       Rehabilitative Sciences                           Reynoldsville, PA

Anna Mae Pastorok                                  Early Childhood/Special Education     Hamburg, NY

Hanna Reed                                               Speech Pathology                                     Mertztown, PA



Amanda Betts                                            Communication                                         Warren, PA

Megan Blashford                                       Speech Pathology                                     Pittsburgh, PA

Ellen Bossert                                              Speech Pathology                                     Portville, PA

Emily Cooper                                              Rehabilitative Sciences                           Hawley, PA

Jennifer Grenus                                          Music Education                                        Woodland, PA

Katie Kohlenburg                                       Music Education                                        Knox, PA

Allison Oknefski                                         Nursing                                                         Ridgeway, PA

Rachel Raybuck                                          Nursing                                                         Sligo, PA

Carrie Rugh                                                 Social Studies/Special Education         Butler, PA



Brian E. Miller                                             Music Education                                        Beaver Falls, PA

Andrew Ortega                                           Music Education                                        Titusville, PA

Jared Stack                                                  Finance/Economics                                  Kittanning, PA



Ben Blinn                                                     Mathematics Education                         Pittsburgh, PA

Quincy Nolan                                              Strategic Communication                       Warren, PA

Jason Poor                                                   Accounting/Finance                                 Jersey Shore, PA

Jordan Weeter                                             Chemistry                                                    Knox, PA

Chamber Singers men




Midsummer Serenade – Pianist Alec Chien

Alec Chien web graphic

Enjoy a refreshing midsummer afternoon in the air-conditioned comfort of Lincoln Hall on Sunday, July 17 at 2:00 PM as renowned Steinway artist and international competition winner, Alec Chien, performs a delightful program of powerful piano classics on the newly refurbished Steinway.  His program will feature major works for the piano –  Robert Schumann’s Fantasy in C Major, the Transcendental Etude “Harmonies du Soir”, the virtuosic Hungarian Rhapsody, No. 12 by Franz Liszt, and the iconic Pictures at an Exhibition  by Modest Mussorgsky.

The audience is invited to view Red Brick Gallery’s own ‘pictures at an exhibition’ and attend the opening reception for a multimedia Exhibit “Impressions of Nature:  An Artistic Quartet” featuring watercolorists Donna Edmonds and Angela Taylor Hardwick, potter Cheri Lee Anderton-Yarnell, and oil painter Kathleen G. Chovit from 4 – 6:00 PM immediately after the concert.

Tickets are $25 for Adults, $20 for Members and $5 for Students.

Since winning first prize in the prestigious Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, Chien has concertized throughout the world, performing in solo and chamber recitals and as soloist with orchestras in countries on four continents, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Utah Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, New Zealand Symphony, American Symphony and Hong Kong Philharmonic.

Western Pennsylvania is blessed to have claimed Alec Chien as its artistic native son, as he served as Artist-in-Residence and Professor of Music chairing the Music Department at the Allegheny College in Meadville, PA from which he retired in 2015.  Since 2013, Chien has served on the piano faculty of Carnegie Mellon University School of Music, where he teaches Piano Literature & Repertoire for graduate piano majors.  Chien also is a frequent chamber music collaborator with groups such as the Alexander String Quarter and has recorded with violinist Sergiu Schwartz works by Alexander von Zemlinsky and as well 24 Preludes of Ruth Schonthal for the piano.

The Program

Fantasy in C Major, Op.17 ………………………………………….. Robert Schumann

Sempre fantasticamente ed appassionatamente
Moderato. Sempre energico
Lento sostenuto e sempre piano

Transcendental Etude, No.11, “Harmonies du Soir” …….Franz Liszt

Hungarian Rhapsody No.12 …………………………………………Franz Liszt


Pictures at an Exhibition ……………………………………………..Modest Mussorgsky

Il Vecchio Castello
Tuileries (Children Quarreling After Play)
Ballet of the Chicks in Their Shells
Two Jews, One Rich, the Other Poor
Limoges, The Market Place
Catacomb (Sepulcrum Romanum)
Con Mortuis in Lingua Mortua
The Hut on Fowl’s Legs (Baba-Yaga)
The Great Gate of Kiev

About the Artist


Pianist Alec Chien received his Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral of Musical Arts degrees from the Juilliard School of Music, studying under Adele Marcus. Grand Prize Winner of the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition and prize winner of the Sydney International Piano Competition, the Paloma O’Shea International Piano Competition, and the Affiliate Artists Xerox Piano Program, he has performed in solo and chamber recitals and as soloist with orchestras in countries on four continents, including Australia, Austria, People’s Republic of China, Greece, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Poland, Spain and Taiwan.

Among the major symphony orchestras which he has been featured as soloist are the Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Utah Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, New Zealand Symphony, American Symphony and Hong Kong Philharmonic. He was one of the 25 Steinway artists performing at the Gala Concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City to celebrate the piano company’s 135th anniversary as well as its 500,000th piano. That commemorative piano has been brought to Allegheny twice for his solo recitals. Chien is also actively performing in chamber music, having appeared with members of the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra as well as the Alexander String Quartet, the Cavani String Quartet and an upcoming performance with the Ariel Woodwinds Quintet.

Chien is Artist-in-Residence and Professor of Music chairing the Music Department at the Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania where he was declared “adopted native son” by the mayor of Meadville. Having concluded a seven-concert series performing all 32 Ludwig van Beethoven Piano Sonatas, he endeavors to present an eight-concert series devoting to the major works of Franz Schubert and Frederic Chopin. A firm believer in bringing music to Meadville and its surrounding communities, where he was honored as the city’s “adopted native son,” Chien has brought his music to the Crawford County school districts, performing and speaking to students in both the high school and elementary school levels. His recitals have also been part of the Bicentennial Celebrations of the cities of Meadville and Erie as well as currently, Allegheny College in 2015.

In the Fall of 2013, Alec joined the piano faculty of Carnegie Mellon University School of Music teaching Piano Literature & Repertoire for graduate piano majors. While he continuing at Carnegie Mellon, Professor Chien has retired from his post at Allegheny College. Since then, he has been chair of the Board of Directors of the Meadville Neighborhood Center, a non-profit organization that strives to provide opportunities in engaging the Meadville community in the success of its students and neighbors. Active in his community, Chien is involved in local efforts such as Partner-in-Education, the Neighborhood Family Centre and Grief-Relief and Other Workshops (GROW). He and his wife, Brenda, have three daughters – Brianna, Mikayla Trousdale with her husband Joel and Bethany Fields with her husband Michael.

Bernie CunninghamLead Singer & Guitarist
Keith BeaverBanjo Player
Bob ArtisMandolinist
Karen ArtisString Bass

Allegheny Drifters Banner

It’s a Bluegrass Jamboree in Foxburg – Back by popular demand! The stunning vocal harmony, blazing instrumentals and soulful singing and good old-fashioned bluegrass energy of western Pennsylvania’s finest blue grass ensemble will set your down-home toes a tapping!  Come on down and gather by the river as Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts brings back to the beautiful Allegheny River Valley the exciting and energetic bluegrass of the Allegheny Drifters in concert in Lincoln Hall on Saturday, July 30 at 7:30 PM!  It’s musical fun for the whole family that will remind you what country living is all about.

Bring the whole family! Tickets are $15 for Adults and $5 for students.  Children under 6 Free.

index_image3From the western foothills of the Alleghenies, Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Drifters have presented their exciting style of bluegrass to audiences across the country for over a decade. Their engaging, fast-paced show with bluegrass instrumental fireworks and heartfelt vocals appeals to all ages.

Take a break from the summer heat in Lincoln Hall’s air conditioned comfort and have a whoopin’ good time kickin’ up your musical-loving heels enjoying Bluegrass at its Best.   Bring ALL the generations of your family and your friends to this concert of joyous, toe-tapping, and soulful bluegrass music performed by western Pennsylvania’s own ALLEGHENY DRIFTERS.  

allegheny drifters

Internationally acclaimed Bluegrass recording artists, The Allegheny Drifters have earned a reputation with their superb song selection and good old-fashioned blue grass energy and drive – and they have a huge following and are audience favorites right here in western Pennsylvania, as seen in this performance at the Three Rivers Arts Festival in Pittsburgh in June of 2014.

Bob Artis and Bernie Cunningham’s natural duet blend echoes the sound and feeling of the golden age of bluegrass. When joined by the high harmony of bassist Karen Artis, this band presents a warm, authentic sound that touches the heart. Add Bob’s soulful retro-Monroe mandolin and Keith Beaver’s innovative rock-solid bluegrass banjo, and you have an unbeatable bluegrass sound straight from the heart of the old Keystone State!

In response to their CD, Can’t Wait, Canadian disc jockey Howard Bonner wrote, this is “a regional group who belongs on the national scene … a smooth but steadfast adherence to bluegrass music. Great CD release!”

The Allegheny Drifters are known and loved for their… “Tremendous talent and deep respect for the soul of the music they perform.”  Make a night of it –  Join the toe-tapping fun on Saturday, July 18 and experience their soulful music making in Lincoln Hall at 7:00 PM – and Bring the whole family.


About the Musicians

bernie-bioLead singer & guitarist Bernie Cunningham has one of the finest voices in traditional bluegrass today.  A born bluegrass singer, Bernie is the product of a West Virginia coal mining family, raised on traditional music. He and Bob have performed together for over 30 years. Bernie’s talents are in high demand; he’s recorded with several regional bands, released a solo CD and is a gifted and versatile multi-instrumentalist. The Allegheny Drifters is the first band in which he takes center stage as lead singer and guitarist. Bernie makes his home in rural Fombell, Pennsylvania.

AllegDrifters_BIn this concert Keith Beaver, a banjo picker from Leetonia Ohio, who joined the band in 2005, and remained a popular member for nearly a decade will be reunited with the Drifters for their performance in Lincoln Hall.  When Beaver departed at the end of 2013, young med school student and Banjo player Gregg Welty joined the band in 2014, leaving in the summer of 2015 to resume his medical career.  He has been replaced by the talented multi-instrumentalist Jim Scott in 2015.

karen-bioBassist Karen Artis drives the beat with her rock solid rhythm on the upright bass and is an excellent singer whose high harmonies add warmth and depth to the band’s vocals. Also a talented songwriter, she contributed the title song for the “Climb Heaven’s Ladder” CD project. An award-winning designer, she handles all the graphics for the band. Karen’s outgoing personality and enthusiasm both on and off stage continue to win new friends and fans for the Allegheny Drifters. A native Pittsburgher, she and husband Bob live in suburban Forest Hills.

bob-bioMandolinist Bob Artis is a veteran of the western Pennsylvania bluegrass scene. Playing professionally since the early 1960s, he began a tenure with Mac Martin and the Dixie Travelers in 1968, recording nearly 80 songs for the Rural Rhythm and County labels. Bob’s deep feeling for the music is reflected in his book Bluegrass, the first-ever history of the music, and in his classic modern song, “Blue Ridge”. He’s appeared on PBS’s “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and over his long career, has played or recorded with bluegrass legends Red Allen, Hylo Brown, Clyde Moody and Larry Sparks.

About the Allegheny Drifters

In 2002, veteran western Pennsylvania bluegrass mandolinist Bob Artis was invited to put together a one-show-only bluegrass band to perform with the Pittsburgh Mandolin Orchestra at their debut concert to be held in April 2003. Bob’s wife Karen Artis was the obvious choice to play bass, and friend and former bandmate Bernie Cunningham was called in to sing and play guitar. With the addition of Alabama transplant Jake Abrams on banjo, the Allegheny Drifters were born and were an instant hit.

At the time, Jake and his wife Lisa were busy with their own band, but Jake continued to help out on banjo when he could. In 2005, Keith Beaver, banjo picker from Leetonia Ohio was invited to join the band, and remained a popular member for nearly a decade until his departure at the end of 2013. Young med school student and Banjo player Gregg Welty joined the band in 2014, leaving in the summer of 2015 to resume his medical career.  He has been replaced by the talented multi-instrumentalist, Jim Scott, in 2015.

Hallmarks of the Allegheny Drifters are their stunning vocal harmony and their total commitment to professionalism. Through their many years of performing they’ve learned what audiences enjoy seeing and hearing, and work hard to please and entertain. They are a traditional bluegrass band without being overly bound to convention or restrained by the past. Bob, Bernie and Karen, all talented songwriters, add fresh material to the band’s catalog and continue to seek new ways of reaching out to audiences with their heartfelt message of real bluegrass.

The Allegheny Drifters released their first CD, Out of the Woods, in the spring of 2006. It was produced by David Mayfield and included guest fiddler Jeremy Abshire, who later went on to play with the Grascals. The project received great reviews – County Sales said “good songs, good singing, excellent listening” while Bluegrass Unlimited described it as “refined and well produced… traditional in the best possible way”.

In 2008, the band released Can’t Wait, featuring the outstanding fiddling of internationally acclaimed Michael Cleveland. WYEP’s Bruce Mountjoy referred to the material as “great original additions to the bluegrass songbook…tasteful arrangements that make each song come alive”. With a nod to Bob’s catchy title tune, Bluegrass Music Profiles enthusiastically declared, “Can’t Wait? Don’t wait! Get it!”

Their latest project, an all gospel CD, Climb Heaven’s Ladder finally debuted in 2014, delayed by a series of family losses and band members’ health issues. The titel cut was penned by Karen, and once again guest Michael Cleveland provided his blazing fiddle. All three projects have been well-received by national and international audiences worldwide via broadcast radio and streaming audio.

Over the past decade, the Allegheny Drifters have earned a solid reputation as one of their region’s most popular and hard-working bluegrass bands, performing at festivals, county fairs, corporate events, community day celebrations, universities, weddings, arts and crafts fairs, churches, rural grange halls and urban summer concerts.

Exciting to hear…fun to watch…the Allegheny Drifters enjoy what they do, and that joy is shared by their audiences and growing number of followers and fans.



Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts