Renfrew Institute’s 27th annual Jazz Festival is scheduled for Sunday, August 26, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on the lawn behind the Renfrew Museum house in Waynesboro, Pa. The concert features world-renowned musicians and is offered free to the public.
This year’s concert will feature legendary jazz trumpeter Randy Brecker, pianist Richard Sussman, saxophonist Ada Rovatti, bassist Drew Gress, and drummer Clarence Penn.
“Each one of these artists is an internationally renowned jazz musician,” said event organizer, Andrew Sussman. “The concert is a unique opportunity to hear them play together—and it’s all free in beautiful Renfrew Park!”
Lead sponsor, FirstEnergy Foundation on behalf of West Penn Power, is returning this year to support the event. “We are proud to help sponsor this marvelous concert that brings extraordinarily talented jazz musicians and vocalists to our backyard for our customers and others to enjoy,” said David McDonald, president of West Penn Power.
Jazz trumpeter and composer, Randy Brecker has helped shape the sound of jazz, R&B and rock for more than four decades. His performances have graced hundreds of albums by a wide range of artists from James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen and Parliament/Funkadelic to Frank Sinatra, Steely Dan, and Frank Zappa. In 1967, Brecker ventured into jazz-rock with the band Blood, Sweat and Tears, but left to join the Horace Silver Quintet. He recorded his first solo album, “Score,” in 1968. After Horace Silver, Brecker joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers before teaming up with brother Michael, Barry Rogers, Billy Cobham, and John Abercrombie to form the seminal fusion group Dreams.
The group recorded two adventurous and widely-acclaimed albums before they disbanded in 1971. In the early 1970s, Brecker performed live with many prominent artists including Larry Coryell’s Eleventh House, Stevie Wonder and Billy Cobham. By 1975, Brecker and his brother Michael were ready to front their own group, the Brecker Brothers Band. A band of immeasurable impact and influence, they released six albums on Arista and garnered seven Grammy nominations between 1975 and 1981. Since then, his credits and awards are far too numerous to list here. Over the years, Brecker has received 18 Grammy Award nominations and won a total of six, and remains one of the most celebrated and highly respected jazz musicians in the world.
Richard Sussman is an accomplished jazz pianist, composer, music technologist, educator, and author. He has performed with many jazz and pop greats including Lionel Hampton, Lee Konitz, Houston Person, Buddy Rich, Randy Brecker, Blood Sweat & Tears, David Sanborn, Marty Balin, Country Joe McDonald, and Donna Summer. As a leader, Sussman has recorded five critically-acclaimed albums of original music, including the classic “Free Fall” and his most recent, “The Evolution Suite” for jazz quintet, string quartet, and electronics. His large ensemble arrangements have been performed by the Village Vanguard Orchestra, Metropole Orchestra of Holland, and the American Composers Orchestra in New York. Sussman has been a member of the jazz faculty at the Manhattan School of Music since 1986, where his responsibilities have included teaching and developing curriculum for jazz arranging and composition classes and managing all aspects of the Electronic Music Technology Studios. His book, Jazz Composition and Arranging in the Digital Age (Oxford University Press), has been hailed as a comprehensive and trend-setting text for jazz composers in the 21st century. Sussman has received numerous awards including two NEA grants in Jazz Composition, an ASCAP Jazz Composition Award, and a Chamber Music America New Jazz Works grant. His extensive work in the field of film and TV has included projects for ABC, NBC, CBS, Disney, and Nickelodeon.
Italian native Ada Rovatti started playing saxophone in high school after years of classical piano training. She won a scholarship from Berklee College of Music in Italy, and divided her time between Boston—where she studied with Joe Viola and George Garzone—and Italy, where she worked in big bands with guest artists such as Phil Woods, Lee Konitz, Bob Mintzer, Randy Brecker.
After a year touring Europe and Africa she moved to New York City. She has performed in important festivals such as JVC in NYC, Rochester Jazz Festival, IAJE, Detroit Jazz Fest and Montreal Jazz Fest, performing with an impressive list of artists and bands such as Mike Stern, Randy Brecker, Miroslav Vitous, John McLaughlin, James Moody, Bob Mintzer, Joanne Brackeen, Aretha Franklin, Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Heath, Patti Austin, and many more. In addition to her musical expertise Rovatti appeared in the movie, “Mona Lisa Smile” featuring Julia Roberts.
In 2003 Rovatti released her first two CDs as a bandleader with the Elephunk Band and with guests Randy Brecker, Mike Stern and Don Alias. Her latest album, “Green Factor” is a unique recording with a melting pot of Irish/Celtic/jazz/fusion influences with strong harmonies and sophisticated arrangements. She has been touring with the Brecker Brothers Reunion Band and just released with the same band a double CD/DVD.
Bassist/composer Drew Gress performs extensively with artists on the cutting edge of contemporary improvised music. His latest project, “The Irrational Numbers,” features Gress’s original compositions for quintet. Earlier releases include the critically acclaimed “7 Black Butterflies” (2005), “Spin & Drift” (2001), and “Heyday” (1997). Gress can also be heard within the ensembles of John Abercrombie, Ralph Alessi, Tim Berne, Don Byron, Uri Caine, Ravi Coltrane, Marc Copland, Mark Feldman, Fred Hersch, John Hollenbeck, and John Surman. He has also grounded the performances of Buddy Hackett, Phyllis Diller, Zoot Sims, Cab Calloway, and Pia Zadora. Gress has toured North and South America, Europe, and Asia, and has served as Artist-in-Residence at St. Petersburg Conservatory in Russia and at the Paris Conservatoire. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, and Chamber Music America, and currently resides in New York.
Clarence Penn is one of the busiest jazz drummers in the world, a leader of multiple bands, a composer, a prolific producer, and an educator. Since he arrived in New York City in 1991, Penn has played with Ellis and Wynton Marsalis, Betty Carter, Stanley Clarke, Steps Ahead, Makoto Ozone, Michael Brecker, Dave Douglas, Maria Schneider, Luciana Souza, Richard Galliano, and Fourplay. His discography includes several hundred studio albums (including the Grammy-winning recordings by Randy Brecker and Maria Schneider) and he has toured extensively throughout the world. Penn has also composed music for films and produced tracks for numerous singers in the pop and alternative arenas. He earned a “Ten Best of 1997” accolade from the New York Times for his first leader recording, “Penn’s Landing.” Penn is also active as an educator and drum clinician and has taught on the faculty of the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music, the Stanford Jazz Workshop, the Saint Louis College of Music in Rome, Italy, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Intensive Jazz Institute. His most recent recording is “Monk: The Lost Files” which features modern arrangements of the music of Thelonious Monk.
Support for this event was provided by lead sponsor, FirstEnergy Foundation on behalf of West Penn Power. In addition, Renfrew Institute receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Further sponsors include Franklin County Visitors Bureau, Stephen D. Fisher, and Renfrew Institute’s Today’s Horizon Fund contributors: The Nora Roberts Foundation; APX Enclosures, Inc.; The Carolyn Terry Eddy Family: Carolyn, with daughters Connie Fleagle & Kim Larkin; and the John R. Hershey Jr. and Anna L. Hershey Family Foundation. Facility support is provided courtesy of Renfrew Museum and Park.
Parking is available behind the visitors center, with additional parking in the lower lot off Welty Road. Those attending are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets, and picnics are welcome. Rain site: Waynesboro Area Middle School auditorium.
For more information call Renfrew Institute at 717-762-0373, or visit www.renfrewinstitute.org.
The Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce is pleased to welcome Samuel J. Thrush as the newest member of the Chamber of Commerce team to lead Downtown Chambersburg Inc. (DCI).
Thrush joined the Chamber staff in mid-July as president of DCI and has spent the past five years serving on DCI’s Board of Directors as well as volunteering at events and participating on committees. He formerly served Franklin County as a Planner III and has over seven years of experience in land use planning and community development.
“I have always seen downtown as the heart and core of our greater community, and I’m eager to capitalize on my experience for this new position,” said Sam Thrush, president of DCI. “Our downtown offers people a sense of place, a crossroads of culture and transportation as well as opportunities for mixed use development, city living and traditional store fronts. I look forward to this new opportunity to work with the community and its stakeholders.”
Thrush recently graduated from Leadership Franklin County Community and in 2018 achieved the premier planning certification from the American Institute of Certified Planning. In 2016, Thrush received the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year Award for his outstanding service in the community.
“We are excited to have Sam on board to focus on business development in the downtown region as the leader of DCI,” said Stephen Christian, president of the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce. “His work ethic, enthusiasm and dedication to downtown is exceptional, and we are fortunate to have such a strong leader join our team to facilitate growth in our community.”
In addition to serving with DCI, Thrush has spent time volunteering with the Borough of Chambersburg, Franklin County Cyclists, North Square Farmers Market, United Way’s Stream Cleanups and Healthy Franklin County. Prior to serving Franklin County, Thrush worked for Bradford County, Pa. He is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a degree in Geography-Land Use and a certificate in Geographic Information Systems. He is a native of Chambersburg and prior to graduating from Chambersburg Area Senior High School, Thrush earned the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.
In his spare time, you can find Thrush with his family and friends, at the Chambersburg YMCA, cycling throughout the countryside and in-town, hiking, watching baseball or playing his musical instruments. He and his wife, Jeana, have two children.
ABOUT DOWNTOWN CHAMBERSBURG, INC.
DCI is a non-profit focused on downtown revitalization through implementing the four points of the Main Street Approach: Design, Economic Vitality, Promotion and Organization. An affiliate of the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce, DCI recently completed a downtown visioning and master planning process that provides a framework for DCI and its partners to leverage the existing cultural, historical, retail and natural assets located in the downtown. For more information, visit DowntownCburg.com. To contact Thrush, please call 717-264-7101 ext. 204 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Totem Pole Playhouse, America’s beloved summer theatre, located in Caledonia State Park between Chambersburg and Gettysburg, PA, has announced that the Playhouse’s production of the mega-hit Broadway musical Mamma Mia! set a new box office record for advance ticket sales in the Playhouse’s 68-year history. To date, over $280,000.00 in tickets have been sold putting the show on track to surpass last season’s box office record-breaking production of Million Dollar Quartet. Due to the high demand for tickets, Totem Pole is reopening the 42-seat Club Section in the rear of the historic theatre which was removed several seasons ago. Mamma Mia! will begin performances this Friday at 8PM and Saturday at 2PM and 8PM with three low cost $20.00 general admission previews followed by the official Opening Sunday afternoon at 2PM. The production is scheduled to run through August 19th, a week longer than the previous three shows in the summer season.
Set on a colorful Greek island, the plot centers on a 20-year old bride-to-be, Sophie, who while reading her mother’s diary discovers the names of three of her mother’s former partners, Sam, Harry, and Bill. She decides to invite all three to the wedding without telling her mother, Donna. Sophie is convinced that she will recognize which one of the men is her father once she meets them. Donna, who was once the lead singer of a musical group, “Donna and the Dynamos,” invites her two former back-up singers, Rosie and Tanya. They all descend on the quaint rustic hotel Donna operates only to end up at a wedding that none of them could have expected.
Emily Ashton Meredith, who starred in Totem Pole’s 2015 production of Shenandoah, returns as Sophie. Playing her mother, Donna, will be Amy Decker who previously appeared at the Playhouse in several shows, most recently last season’s The Drowsy Chaperone. The three fathers will be played by Gil Brady as Sam, Ken Allen Neely as Harry, and Shawn Martin, who starred in last season’s Irving Berlin Revue, I Love a Piano, as Bill. Alexandra Melrose and Erica Hanrahan-Ball will appear as Donna’s former back-up singers, Rosie and Tanya. Playing Sophie’s fiancé, Sky, will be Max Falls with Breanna Ogaldez playing Lisa and Camila Paquet playing Ali, Sophie’s best friends. Taylor Kellas Warren, who played the Pharaoh in the season opener, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, returns as Pepper, and Stavros Koumbaros, who starred in the 2016 production of Forever Plaid, will play Eddie. Rounding out the ensemble are: Leah Hassett, Mary Beth Donahoe, Morgan Southwell, Alison Rose Munn, Hank von Kolnitz, Elijah King, Nathan Richardson, and Cody Parson.
The production is staged and directed by veteran Totem Pole director, David Caldwell, and choreographed by Christine O’Grady, her fifth consecutive summer choreographing shows at the Playhouse. Darren Server, Totem Pole’s perennial musical director, serves in the same capacity for this final production in the Playhouse’s four-show summer season. Jim Fouchard, who has designed sets at the Playhouse since 1982, is the set designer, Stephanie Jones is designing costumes, Kate Wecker is the show’s sound designer, and Jonathan Dunkle is designing the lighting, with Ryan Gibbs serving as the show’s stage manager for the three-week run.
Mamma Mia! is based on the songs of ABBA, one of the most popular musical groups of all time, who topped the international pop charts during the 1970s and early 80s. The musical includes such well-known hits as “Super Trouper,” “Lay All Your Love on Me,” “Dancing Queen,” “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” “Take a Chance on Me,” “Money, Money, Money,” “The Winner Takes It All,” “Voulez-Vous,” “SOS,” and the title track. Over 60 million people have seen the show, which has grossed $2 billion worldwide since its 1999 debut in London. The film version of the musical starring Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan was released in 2008 and a prequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, opened in movie theatres nationwide last weekend.
Single ticket reserved seat prices are $50.00 with $35.00 tickets available for groups of 10 or more. Groups of 30 or more pay half-price at just $25.00 a ticket.
Club section tickets are only available by calling the Totem Pole Playhouse Box Office Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at (717) 352-2164; all other seats may be purchased on line at www.totempoleplayhouse.org.
The Downtown Business Council (DBC) and Council for the Arts of Chambersburg will present their annual “Back to School” First Friday on Friday August 3 from 5-8pm, sponsored by Noelker & Hull Associates, Inc. Architects. For more details, call 717-658-4372 or check the Facebook page of the Downtown Business Council. Artists interested in participating should call 717-816-7568.
Activities for First Friday will center on Chambersburg’s Square, with local musician Tresa Paul and her interactive drum circle providing entertainment: the public is welcome to join in! Other participating groups will include Chambersburg Rotary, Franklin County Literacy Council and Franklin County Domestic Relations. Refreshments will be offered by Pap’s Dog Stop, and Boy Scout Troop 128 will be selling jerky!
For more details, call 717-658-4372 or check the Facebook page of the Downtown Business Council.
The new Capitol Theatre season starts September 14. The 2018-2019 season include some great tributes, comedy, blues, bluegrass, with a few ghosts here and there, Here is a sneak preview:
OLDIES BUT GOLDIES
October 13 – Neil Diamond Tribute starring Tom Sadge on stage WATCH VIDEO OF NEIL DIAMOND TRIBUTE ARTIST TOM SADGE
December 29 – Hank Williams Tribute on stage
April 6 – Fleetwood Mac Tribute starring Rumours ATL on stage
COMEDY AT THE CAPITOL
September 14 – Seven time Emmy Award Winner Ed Asner on stage in A Man and his Prostate WATCH VIDEO OF ED ASNER IN A MAN AND HIS PROSTATE
Nov. 1 & Jan. 10 – Stand-up Comedy Nights in the Wood Center
February 8 – Improvisation Comedy Night in the Wood Center
February 16 – Robin Williams Comedy Tribute on stage starring Roger Kabler WATCH VIDEO OF ROBIN WILLIAMS COMEDY TRIBUTE WITH ROGER KABLER
March 10 – George Burns Comedy Tribute w/ Duffy Hudson on stage
Feb. 10 – Jerusalem Jones & The Mystery of the Dead Sea Scrolls
CABIN FEVER BUSTERS
March 8 – Houdini! starring Duffy Hudson on stage
March 15 – Irish Happy Hour in the Wood Center
April 12 – 5th Annual Ladies Night /Wood Center hosted by Decorating Den Interiors
BLUES & BLUEGRASS BASHES
January 19 – Big Bill Morganfield Blues Concert
WATCH VIDEO OF BIG BILL MORGANFIELD BLUES SHOW
February 22 – Mountain Music & Moonshine w/ two Bluegrass Bands
May 4 – Blues, Brews & Barbecue Back Lot Party
ELVIS IS IN THE BUILDING…TWICE
December 1 – A Graceland Family Christmas w/David King
& The Spin-Outs on stage
June 7,8 – Elvis Convention including a David King concert
and much, much more!
Sept. 17 – Dec. 15: K-12 Online Play Submissions/Young Playwrights Festival
March 9 – Dr. Seuss Show & Celebration starring Duffy Hudson
April 7 – Young Playwrights Festival
CHRISTMAS AT THE CAPITOL
December 1 – A Graceland Family Christmas w/ David King & The Spin-Outs on stage
December 20 – White Christmas Movie & Holiday Social Hour
September 9, Jan. 27, Feb. 24, Apr. 28 – Paranormal Investigations
Halloween & New Year’s Eve – Special Paranormal Investigations
October 26, 27 – Paranormal Fair
MOVIES Tickets at the Door
Oct. – May $5 Classic Movie Matinee – first Tuesday of the month/ no movie Jan.
Oct. 21 – Keystones/A Bryan Wade free Film about local African American Vets
May 30/June 6,20,27/July 11,18/Aug.1,8,15,22 $5 Summer Movies
From August 1 – 10 TICKETS ARE ON SALE first to our CURRENT DONORS for the NEW 2018-2019 Season of Shows by phone (717) 263-0202. Starting August 13, tickets will go on sale to the general public online and by phone. Capitol Theatre Center is a non-profit 501(c)3 and donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Contact Jon Meyer, Executive Director (717) 263-0202 x203, to make a donation.
The Council for the Arts, 81 North Main Street, Chambersburg, proudly presents “FCAA Winners”, sponsored by Gartenberg Jewelry. The show will be on view June 29-August 24, Tuesday through Friday from 10 am – 2 pm, or by appointment. The public is invited to meet the artists July 6th, from 5-7pm. For more information, call 717-264-6883 or visit www.councilforthearts.net .
“FCAA Winners” will feature over 30 award-winning works of art from the 47th Annual Membership Exhibition of the Franklin County Art Alliance held earlier this summer. Chosen by judges Ry Fryar and Troy Patterson of the York College of Pennsylvania, the show is an eclectic collection of oils, watercolors, pastels, prints and sculpture by both adult and high school student artists. The public is invited to visit the gallery Tuesday through Friday 10am-2pm, or by appointment, by calling the Council at 717-284-6883.
The Council for the Arts conducts classes and displays the work of local artists at 81 North Main Street, Chambersburg. For more information, visit www.councilforthearts.net or call 717-264-6883.
Photo is: “Dean”, by Kent Roberts, winner of the FCAA’s Rossman Award