Classroom With No Walls

Classroom With No Walls

A recent sponsorship donation will underwrite a new series of Institute at Renfrew school programs, delivered by Institute faculty members to each elementary school campus in the Waynesboro Area School District (WASD).  

“To address pandemic concerns about bus transportation and to ease the way for families who may be suffering financial hardship, we are thrilled to announce that The Institute will provide customized 90-minute experiences for all K–5 grade students at Mowery, Fairview, Hooverville and Summitview elementary schools, delivered on site at each school,” said Tracy Holliday, The Institute’s executive director.  

“Thanks to a gift from Institute benefactress Alma Oyer, these programs will be offered free of charge to all students,” Holliday said. “Mrs. Oyer’s bighearted care for children motivated her gift, which has been transformative for The Institute’s ability to serve the young people in our community. We are deeply grateful for Mrs. Oyer’s care for our mission and activities with youth.” 

Education is the cornerstone of The Institute’s mission. The organization records 8,000–9,000 annual student visits during a typical year. 

The new programs, customized for each grade level and for each elementary campus, will including such offerings as …games that help illustrate natural concepts in a fun way, explorations of the school yard using observation and scientific inquiry, activities that focus on a feature of the property, like the stream at Hooverville and the Nature Trail Area at Mowrey. Each school has something unique to explore.

“We continue to value and honor our partnership with Waynesboro Area School District (WASD) and look forward to serving district students with programs that educate, inspire and delight,” Holliday said.

Dr. Rita Sterner-Hine, WASD assistant superintendent, commented, “WASD was committed to reopening this fall but fully understood the limitations of COVID-19.  Although field trips are a valuable part of our learners’ education, we were focused on making in school learning a success. 

“Our position was to hit ‘pause’ on field trips, but we are delighted that The Institute will bring the field trip experience to our schools. Our learners will truly benefit from this generous donation to bring Institute lessons for outdoor education to our elementary schools.”

All programs are delivered with full COVID-19 safety protocols in place. 

“Institute programs allow learning to take place outdoors, where the likelihood of transmission is reduced,” Holliday said. “Additionally, experiences in nature are proven to reduce stress, and to increase our physical and emotional wellbeing. We believe that children and families need such experiences, now more than ever during this challenging time.” 

Visit The Institute’s website at to learn more about program offerings for people of all ages.

Music Spotlight: Pyxus

Music Spotlight: Pyxus

There is a new group building a reputation in the area! This particular group was also one of 2020 A’Cappella Unplugged’s contestant groups.

Pyxus is brother-duo out of Mechanicsburg, PA. When it comes to singing, both brothers Jake and Robert Myers share the role of vocals. The difference between the two is their instrumental roles in the duo. Robert Myers utilizes the high-pitched, twangy, and folky sound of the Mandolin whereas his brother Jake plays a flat top acoustic guitar. Together, the brothers of Pyxus have begun developing their sound and style.

According to Robert, he says they are trying to carve out their spot in the world of Newgrass. Newgrass is a genre of bluegrass that acquires influence from crossing genres like rock and roll and blues music with a touch of jam-band for added flavor. Pyxus’ sound is also heavily defined by the progressive folk movement. Covers will sound familiar to the listener but tends to be slightly altered with style by the band. As they progress in defining their sound and branching out from their comfort zones, the two brothers also hope it will evolve ultimately evolve folk music and bluegrass collectively.

For the brothers of Pyxus, a variety of bands and musicians from the bluegrass and folk world play into the sculpting of their sound. Two soloist composers worth mentioning would be Chris Thile and Molly Tuttle. Chris Thile also played in a group named Punch Brothers who are a notable influence. Other notable groups would be the Kruger Brothers, The Arcadian Wild, Mumford and Sons, Porch Dawg Revival, and the Jeff Little Trio.

To the brothers of Pyxus, playing music is fulfilling. They love seeing the looks of appreciation on the faces of audience members. To them, the connection between musician and listener is pure satisfaction. It ignites the fire to their dedication and determination to their craft.

To learn more about Pyxus, consider checking them out on facebook and give them a like! Go to the desired search engine and search Most video posts and event updates are posted on that page. But for a little taste, here they are performing their tune “Beauty In The Eyes Of The Beholder” check it out here. 

Contributed by Evan Crider

Music Spotlight: Bekah Foster

Music Spotlight: Bekah Foster

Music Spotlight presents a unique Gettysburg-native musician and songwriter. Like so many of the previous features, music resonates with her on an emotional and sacred level. Introducing: Bekah Foster.

Bekah grew up in a musical family. The music that flowed from her family surrounded her and enthralled her. At a young age, watching live performances was commonplace. It awakened something in her. Amongst all of the instruments and parts making up the performance, the voice is what caught her attention. She fell in love with singing. She says, “I’ve always loved to sing, ever since I can remember.” However, it was not until she started performing in front of audiences that things changed. Performing live deeply resonated with her and truly began sculpting her voice and refining her songwriting.

Bekah Foster’s playing and writing style resides mostly in the world of jazz. She incorporates intricately voiced chords into her song composition. Her instrument of choice is a classical guitar as the nylon and nickel strings offer and project a more warm, ear-pleasing sound that pairs well with her soulful, soft, yet powerfully controlled voice. Finger picking also plays a large part in defining her style as it allows her to creatively pick through notes within her chords of choice. Bekah pulls influence Andy Mckee, The Reign of Kindo, Corinne Bailey Rae, Josh Groban, Melody Gardot, Bebel Gilberto, and Dario Marianell, all of which are worth a listen. Through all of these influences as well as her affinity for songwriting and performing live, Bekah Foster has quite literally developed her own individual sound and style.

Bekah does have a fully recording album. It can be listened to on her YouTube page. Simply search “Rebekah Foster” and it should be the first profile listed. The name of the album is “Empty Sky”. Here is a little taste of her music. This track is titled after the album name!



Contributed by Evan Crider

CTAs (Certified Tourism Ambassadors) Back in Action!

CTAs (Certified Tourism Ambassadors) Back in Action!

It’s been an interesting year for the Franklin County CTA Program which celebrated its 3rd birthday this past spring. In early 2020, new program coordinators Lauren Formosa and Evan Crider began their work to bring new life to the program and incorporate the visions of CTAs who had been a part of the program from the beginning, but just as things began to move forward, the world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was a quiet Summer as Franklin County navigated ways to safely host events and return to being out and about and the CTA program began ramping up, preparing CTAs for their triumphant return to supporting and serving the community. As Summer rounded off, the event and opportunity calendar began to fill again and without hesitation, several of the Franklin County CTAs jumped on opportunities to volunteer and support local business, tourism, and events. Most recently, a group of CTAs came together as committee members and volunteers for the 5th Annual Oktoberfest Celebration at Renfrew Museum and Park hosted on Saturday, September 19th.

Six CTAs brought their strengths and talents to the Oktoberfest committee, each holding their own role in bringing success to the event that would for the first time, be held on the farmstead at Renfrew. Although there were several bumps along the way, the event came together in a format that followed guidelines provided by the CDC and Pennsylvania Governor by hosting two, four-hour event times to support limited capacity, food vouchers included with ticket purchase to be taken to the Biergarten to enjoy with locally sourced cider, beer and wine, sanitization stations throughout the event, a vendor serving German fare along with two additional food trucks, eight artisan vendors, historic demos, free kids activities, museum tours and oral and silent auctions. The event was accompanied by the sound of traditional German style music and sold out at one point, during the second event time between 4pm and 8pm. Ten CTAs joined the event and jumped in where help was needed as volunteers; they were there to welcome guests, serve food, pour beverages, clean the tables, assist with the auctions and of course have fun!

Renfrew Museum & Park said, “This year’s Oktoberfest was one of our best yet thanks to the hard work of the Franklin County CTAs! Thank you for all you do to support Renfrew Museum and Park, and all that Franklin County has to offer.”

The Franklin County CTA coordinators and CTAs look forward to a strong end to 2020 with a variety of opportunities to volunteer and be involved both in-person and virtually! The program looks forward to welcoming 2021 with a fresh perspective and lots of new, dedicated CTAs!

To learn more about the Certified Tourism Ambassador Program visit


By Lauren Formosa

Tourism Partner Spotlight: Gallery 50

Tourism Partner Spotlight: Gallery 50

Located at 50 West Main St., Gallery 50 opened in 2013 and is one of seven galleries lining Mainstreet Waynesboro as part of Destination ARTS! and remains owned and operated by the Arts Alliance of Greater Waynesboro. Gallery 50 brings an initiative to make Waynesboro an arts destination through showcases of local artists, community revitalization projects and spotlights over 500 pieces of fine art and high-quality crafts from local artists and artisans. There’s always something new to discover at Gallery 50 with a vast variety of mediums and rotating exhibits, creativity radiates throughout the year including; fine art, photography, etchings, ceramics, fiber arts, handcrafted greeting cards, jewelry, books by local writers and more!

Currently, the featured exhibit is entitled, The Art of Healing which includes calming landscapes and colorful animals from artists Sharon Benner, Leslie McEntire, Linda Mosemann, and Geoffrey Thulin. Gallery 50 hopes that this exhibit will bring smiles and peace of mind during these times.

As part of the rotating exhibits, the young artists at Waynesboro Area Senior High School are also featured each year showcasing their work.

COVID-19 left Gallery 50 in a position where they had to, “get creative.” During the shutdown they took initiative to launch an online shop which currently features over 250 items that are also showcased in the gallery. These items are available for in-store or curbside pick-up. To shop online, click here.

As a non-profit organization, Gallery 50 welcomes volunteers to help run the gallery.

Galley 50 is open Fridays, 5pm – 8pm and Saturdays, 11:30am – 2pm, masks are required and please practice social distancing. You can also follow them on Facebook at or Instagram @destinationsarts_aagw for photos and videos of gallery items, bios of featured artists and more!

Contact 717-655-2500 // //


Contributed by Lauren Formosa

Music Spotlight: The Gregorys

Music Spotlight: The Gregorys

This week’s Music Spotlight focuses on a band primarily from the Carlisle area made up of some fathers and a mother. Introducing The Gregorys.

The Gregorys is Brett Rudder, Aaron Lepley, John Hope, and Colleen Hertzler. Like many other parents, these individuals don’t have much time at their disposal. Their lives are composed of the typical parental responsibilities: chauffeuring children around, feeding mouths, mowing lawns (when the season requires it), and fulfilling common home maintenance chores. But when their packed schedules have the slightest window of free time, they are hard at work practicing music and creating. Each member is a songwriter, bringing varying abilities in the to the table. The end result is a group with a truly collaborative nature. This is also supported by their band-held belief that humans were created to create.

The band’s influences vary greatly as well. Artist and band inspirations are spurred by acts like Townes Van Zandt, Blaze Foley, Jars of Clay, Beach Boys, Eagles, Creed, Hank Williams, Pink Floyd, and Hot Jam Factory. The folk and Americana movement, and the “Dad Rock” has been a driving force in shaping the harmony-driven, and acoustic-based sound of The Gregorys. Their music also captures their appreciation for God, love, and the motions of life. A live show will consist of originals with the occasional deep-cut cover with a twist.

In their eyes, they are not studied poets or accomplished musicians. However, for The Gregorys, connecting with the audience is number one. Music is something that affects each individual audience member differently. That connection between audience and creator is an added benefit to expressing themselves. In the words of front man, Brett Rudder, “We’re simple people, with simple lives, sharing our simple songs.” And sometimes, simple is more than enough to provide an excellent and entertaining listening experience.

To follow The Gregorys through their musical journey, like them on Facebook at Here is a music video to their song “The Pier”.

YouTube Video: “The Pier”

Spotlight contributed by: Evan Crider