Hamilton-Gibson Choirs Begin 20th Season of Community Choral Program for Youth
The Hamilton-Gibson Children and Youth Choirs will officially begin their 20th Season on August 14 at a special kick-off rehearsal at the Bogacyk Farm in Cherry Flats, announced Katherine Brennan and Thomas Putnam, directors of the community-based choirs. “We are excited to celebrate the 20th season of our community choral program,” said Ms. Brennan. “We've watched the program grow from just 18 singers in grades 4-8 back in 1996, to a full program for singers from all over the county in grades 2-12.”In celebration of the 20th Season, the music chosen for the year are favorites from past years. The season will conclude with a reunion concert with singers from past years joining together on the Memorial Day weekend in 2015.
Registration for the choirs is now open and all singers from grades 2-12 are encouraged to apply. Opportunities include the YOUNG MEN'S CHOIR which includes boys in grades 9-12 or younger boys who have changed voices. The YOUNG WOMEN'S CHOIR includes girls in grades 9-12. The CHILDREN'S CONCERT CHOIR features singers from grades 5-8. The CHOIR TOO is the training choir for children in grades 2-4 or those who are still working on their singing voice. Enrollment is open to all children and typically includes students from all three school districts, private and home-schooled children.
Each choir meets once a week and performs an autumn concert, a holiday concert at the Dickens of a Christmas Weekend, and a spring concert. The choirs also perform for local civic and church groups, and join with other choirs for joint concerts. Touring began early in the HG Choir history and since then the choirs have toured in Washington D.C., New York City (joining with the Newark Boy's Choir), Toronto (joining with the Hamilton, Ontario Children's Choir; who then came to Tioga County for a joint concert the following year.) The choirs also toured Prague in the Czech Republic, and Brazil. More recently the choirs embarked on a never-before-attempted plan to sing in all the counties in Pennsylvania. The choirs have toured every spring to different areas of Pennsylvania, singing in various counties. Highlights include singing National Anthem at a Phillies game in front of over 60,000 people; singing at the Flight Memorial near Shanksville, singing at Falling Waters, and in well over 50 schools throughout the state.
Since 2001, the choirs have performed the National Anthem at the Little League World Series in Williamsport. This year the date is Sunday, August 17th. Unfortunately the National Anthem is typically not televised. All singers in the choirs—including new singers—from grades 2-12 will perform the National Anthem.
The tuition cost for participation is kept to a minimum with the gifts from local citizens who are committed to offering a quality community choral experience for local students. Choir fundraisers (primarily the annual poinsettia sale) help to keep costs low. Scholarships of up to half of the total cost are often available to families who are in difficult financial situations. “The community choir program is one of the strongest aspects of our performing arts group,” said Deb Sawyer, HG board president. “The choral experience is a viable supplement to any school program and a wonderful way for student musicians from all over the county to meet new singers and like-minded young artists.”
Dr. Peggy Detwiler of the Mansfield University choral music department has worked with the choir program in a number of capacities. She has spent a number of individual rehearsals with the groups over the years. She invited the choirs to sing with the MU Festival Chorus for Carl Orff's magnificent Carmina Burana both at MU on two different occasions. Dr. Detwiler invited the choirs to perform at other MU choir concerts, and arranged for the children's choir to be the choir-in-residence at the 2002 Pennsylvania American Choral Directors' Conference at Penn State with the renowned Jean Ashworth Bartle as the clinician.
“The Hamilton-Gibson Children and Youth Choir is recognized as one of the finest children's choirs in the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania,” stated Dr. Detwiler. “They have sung for special events here at Mansfield University and have always presented themselves in a very professional manner. They sing great literature with beautiful choral tone. I recommend them wholeheartedly as musical ambassadors for Pennsylvania.”
The choirs also performed with the MU Symphony Orchestra and the Williamsport Youth orchestra singing Aaron Copland's AMERICAN SONGS.
For more information about the Hamilton-Gibson Choir program for children and youth, call the HG office at 570.724.2079. You may also download the 2014-2015 registration below.
DINING ROOM IN SEPTEMBER OFFERS ACTING CHALLENGES;
MIRACLE ON SOUTH DIVISION STREET IN NOVEMBER
BRINGS LAUGHS AND SURPRISES!
You have an invitation to eavesdrop on the action in THE DINING ROOM in the Warehouse Theatre on September 12, 13, 19, 20 at 7:30 and September 14 at 2:30. This brilliantly conceived and humorous theatrical tour de force (and Off-Broadway success) by A.C. Gurney is set in a dining room of a typical well-to-do household, the place where the family assembled daily for breakfast and dinner and for any and all special occasions. The action is comprised of a mosaic of interrelated scenes—some funny, some touching, some rueful—which, taken together, create an in-depth portrait of a vanishing species: the upper-middle-class WASP. The six actors change roles, personalities and ages as they portray a wide variety of characters, from little boys to stern grandfathers, and from giggling teenage girls to Irish housemaids.
THE DINING ROOM is the fifth of seven main-stage plays produced in 2014 by Hamilton-Gibson, Tioga County’s community performing arts organization. Now in its 24th season HG offers exciting theatre and music, providing opportunities for people of all ages to enrich and empower their lives through community performing arts. Information about times, venues, reservations, and ticket prices for shows and concerts occurs elsewhere in this article.
The fall season continues with concerts and more plays. On October 12 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, the HG Choirs present their AUTUMN CHORALE, sponsored by the Wellsboro Electric Company. And there’s “Music in the Gallery” in October, when SADIE GREEN SALES headlines HG’s Halloween party. This talented duo will make you laugh, sing, dance, and make you wonder how much fun you can stand. The costume-optional event is sponsored by Dr. Rick and Karen Doganiero. In November comes a warm, witty, and wonderful celebration of a family’s conflict with a secret from the past by playwright Tom Dudzick (of OVER THE TAVERN fame). It’s the story of the Nowak family, living amidst the urban rubble of Buffalo, NY’s East Side. Maybe the neighborhood is depressed, but not Clara, the family matriarch. She happily runs her soup kitchen and tends to the family heirloom—a twenty-foot shrine to the Blessed Mother which adjoins the house. This neighborhood beacon of faith commemorates the day in 1942 when the Blessed Virgin Mary materialized in her father’s barber shop! When the play opens, a family meeting is in progress. Daughter Ruth divulges her plan to finally “go public” with the family miracle by creating a one-woman play about the sacred event. But during the course of the meeting, the entire family’s faith is shaken to the very core when a deathbed confession causes the family legend to unravel. The results are heartfelt and hilarious. Sponsored by Indigo Wireless, MIRACLE ON SOUTH DIVISION STREET will be staged in the Warehouse Theatre November 7, 8, 14, 15 at 7:30; and also on November 9 at 2:30.
December promises more theatre and music. To kick off Wellsboro’s 31st annual Dickens of a Christmas Festival, singers from all over Tioga County continue to demonstrate their commitment to making music in HG’s annual Dickens of a Concert on December 5 at 7:30 in St. Peter’s Catholic Church. This celebration of holiday music is sponsored by Drs. Tina Tolins and Grady Gafford.
Wellsboro’s Dickens of a Christmas Festival is also the time for HG’s perennial Dickens holiday ghost tale. Two casts perform A CHRISTMAS CAROL throughout the Dickens weekend, bringing Scrooge and his Christmas Eve visitors to life for the whole family. Performances, again sponsored by The Fifth Season, are in the Black Box and Warehouse Theatre in the Deane Center December 6 and 7. And on the following Sunday you can enjoy the glorious sounds of the Christmas portion of Handel’s MESSIAH at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. HG’s MESSIAH COMMUNITY SING is sponsored by the Sherwood Motel. What better way to benefit the HG Choirs than joining together as a community to sing this powerful choral masterpiece at 2:30 on December 14!
But Hamilton-Gibson does more than produce plays and choral concerts. Throughout the year members and volunteers generate creative theatre programs in area schools; outreach programs for seniors, young adults, and children; drama camps; cabaret events; and group excursions to world-class theatres in Canada. Hamilton-Gibson is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating a stage where people of all ages enrich and empower their lives through community-based performing arts.
Admission to all regular HG plays in 2014 is by FlexPass or with single $18 Adult/Senior ticket and $7 Student/Child ticket. Significant savings are available with FlexPasses and on First Saturday and First Sunday performances. You can use the FlexPass individually for six different productions, or you can bring along five friends to one production (then buy another one for the next show)! The Adult FlexPass price is $90 and the Senior FlexPass price is $75. First Saturday Adult admission is $12 with accompanying children free. First Sunday admission is “Pay What You Can” or the donation of your choice.
You may reserve tickets by calling 570-724-2079 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets may be purchased at the door and also online at www.hamiltongibson.org, where you will find a BUY TICKETS icon on the homepage. (All productions have general seating.)
PLANS FOR HG FALL STRATFORD FESTIVAL TRIP ANNOUNCED
The iconic musical Man of La Mancha, The Beaux’ Stratagem, a comedy, and Crazy for You, a musical comedy add up to lots of laughs and excitement for those with valid passports lucky enough to sign up for the three plays scheduled for Hamilton-Gibson’s 15th annual theatre excursion to the Stratford Festival of Canada.
As part of its ongoing educational and cultural outreach mission, Hamilton-Gibson Productions is conducting the three-day, three-play theatre trip to Stratford, Ontario on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 3, 4 and 5.
Stratford is home to North America’s largest and most celebrated classical repertory theatre. The Stratford Festival of Canada offers world-class theatre in a comfortable, friendly small city atmosphere.
Although October is five months away, Larry Biddison, Hamilton-Gibson’s coordinator of theatre excursions and board secretary, insists that it isn’t too early to plan for this trip. “Right now people have the opportunity to juggle their work schedules, and those who don’t have current passports have time to apply.” He noted, “It takes four to six weeks to get a passport.”
Biddison, who retired after 30 years as an English professor at Mansfield University, has conducted excursions to Stratford for many years. “Since about 1980, many students, faculty, friends and family have enjoyed the Stratford experience with me. The fare is consistently stimulating and of high quality. In fact, seasoned playgoers regularly remark that the caliber of acting, costuming, and music equals that of top Broadway productions. And they always enjoy discovering interesting restaurants and shops as they explore Stratford’s streets and lanes.”
Crazy for You, a 1992 musical comedy based on a book written by Ken Ludwig, is the compelling story of banker Bobby Child who has gone to Deadrock, Nevada to foreclose on a derelict theatre and instead falls in love with the owner’s daughter, Polly Baker. Will he be able to reconcile the demands of duty and love and his own dreams of dancing? Among the gems in this dynamic musical’s dazzling score are “I Got Rhythm,” “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” “Someone to Watch Over Me” and other music written by George Gershwin who died in 1937 and/or lyrics by Ira Gershwin who died in 1983. The Gershwin tunes were adapted for Crazy for You from the Broadway shows, Girl Crazy, Treasure Girl, Oh, Kay and Ladies First, and films, A Damsel in Distress and Shall We Dance.
Written in 1707, The Beaux’ Stratagem is a late Restoration comedy that has become a classic in its genre. In a desperate bid to repair their ruined fortunes by pursuing wealthy women, Mr. Archer courts the unhappily married Mrs. Sullen while Mr. Aimwell dallies with her sister-in-law, Dorinda. But the two beaux aren’t the only ones with larcenous designs nor do they realize that their own hearts might be susceptible to ensnarement.
A hit on Broadway in 1965, Man of La Mancha has a plot and music that stirs the imagination. It is based on the seventeenth-century Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes. Awaiting trial by the Inquisition, poet and playwright Cervantes is assailed by his fellow prisoners, who try to seize the manuscript of his masterpiece, Don Quixote. His inspired response: a challenge to join him in staging his stirring tale of Quixote’s obsessive quest to attain an impossible dream.
H-G excursionists to the Stratford Festival will experience performances in two of Stratford’s main stage theatres. The Beaux’ Stratagem and Crazy for You will be staged in the Festival Theatre and Man of La Mancha in the Avon Theatre.
The Festival Theatre is in itself a spectacle and, for some, a shrine. Designed by Tanya Moiseiwitsch for the inaugural 1953 season, its unique thrust stage was first used for a production of Shakespeare’s Richard III, directed by Sir Tyrone Guthrie and starring Alex Guinness. Since then, many now famous actors of stage, film, and television have performed there.
The Avon Theatre, a restored vaudeville and movie house with a proscenium stage, is perfect for more conventionally produced plays. Entirely modernized, its traditional design, complete with orchestra pit, reminds audiences of the older Broadway theatres in New York City.
The small city of Stratford combines country charm with urban amenities, pleasing visitors not only with its hospitality but also with its picturesque setting. No one ever forgets the graceful swans on the Avon River, which flows past the Festival Theatre and into the downtown shopping district of quaint Victorian buildings. Information about the city and the plays are available on the web at www.stratfordshakespearefestival.com.
Benedict’s motorcoach departs from Whitneyville at 5:30 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 3, with pickups along the way, and returns around 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 5. Benedict’s provides shuttle service from the hotel to the Festival Theatre. The venerable Albert Street Inn, now offering elevator service, is within easy walking distance of the Avon Theatre, restaurants, and shopping.
The Stratford trip is open on a first-come basis to adults and to children accompanied by adults, all having valid passports adult $110; minor $80) or passport cards ($30; $15).
The per person package price of $460 per person includes Benedict’s motorcoach transportation, premium reserved seating for the three plays, and two nights’ accommodation (double occupancy) at a modest hotel catering to theatregoers. A reduced price is available for those wishing to see two shows. Single occupancy options are also available. Space can be reserved with a $125 per person deposit. “And the sooner the better,” according to Biddison. The balance is due by August 15.
Addition details can be found here.
For more information or to make reservations, contact Larry Biddison at 570-724-4586.
©2009 - 2014 Hamilton-Gibson Productions • All Rights Reserved