Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Having Launch with the Sistahs

On a seasonally warm Summer day, a celebration was held on Saturday July 26th to launch The Sistah Chat Radio Show which airs on 90.3 WESS FM as well as on a number of additional internet platforms. The event was held at the residence of P. K. Middleton and his wife Alicia LaRaine Jenkins Middleton (aka Madame Raine) who, along with Aixa Teendeen Reina (aka ASK AIXA), Deborah M. Cofer (aka Mama C), and Karlene Ferron (aka Queen Karlene), co hosts the program. A gathering of friends, neighbors, and family members filled the day with an overwhelming sensation of loving support which touched the soul of each person who shared a thoughtful conversation upon the home’s lawn and/or deck.

The day began for many of us with a tour conducted by Ms. Middleton of her family home’s interiors. The building proved to be a spacious one with a number of rooms elegantly adorned with a beauty reflecting the attributes of its occupants. It was during this visitation that a great love was felt by those who explored its halls and the rooms that where connected by them. It was soon sensed by the company that this love originated from a Divine Architect whose loving hands had made not only furnished the home with the love shared by those who live in it, but now had re arranged our hearts so we could be at home within them.

It was after this tour did the company moved outdoors to enjoy sharing an ongoing meal consisting of foods their fellow guests had bought along with the delicious Barbequed cuisine that was offered from the grill. Children joyfully dove into the above ground swimming pool and many were delighted by the sounds of their splashes and laughter. Music played throughout the day by DJ Darren Bam Bam Butler enhanced the conversation and moved many to communicate with one another and their spirits through the art of dance.

The event also served to celebrate Ms. Middleton’s son Ray Jenkins (aka Yung Shredda) www.facebook.com/YungShredda1 receiving a USA Student Ambassador Scholarship. He will be studying abroad in the Netherlands in the very near future. There were also floral arrangements provided by Soulful Touch Roses www.facebook.com/pages/Soulful-Touch-Roses/431682500116 as well as Tee Shirts with the letters “TWIM” on them which represented the words “The Wiz In Me” whose meaning reflect the recognition of the individual Divine nature and his/her ability Conceive, Believe, and Achieve wondrous and life changing things though love.

As the day progressed, the time grew near to commence the celebratory live recording of a segment of The Sistah Chat Radio Program titled, “A Healthier You.....Mind, Body, Soul.” The show began with some welcoming words given by Ms. Middleton followed by those filled with wisdom that was shared by Deborah M. Cofer (aka Mama C). Her words encouraged all who were fortunate enough to hear them to take care of themselves even when life demands more and more from us. She furthered reassured her listeners that one can live one day at a time and life is best lived if it isn’t lived all at once. “And,” she continued, “we must listen to our bodies to learn who we are.” It was during her talk when members of the audience came upon the deck to share their thoughts on the topic.

Ms. Cofer was followed by a musical performance given by a woman known as Substance www.facebook.com/hforr. The Rapper presented her song titled, “The Wiz In Me” from which to slogan found on the plentiful Tee Shirts were based upon. During her set, she invited those who were seated to dance to the music. A number of young people readily began to move their forms along with signs whose words encouraged those who read them to live their lives to the fullest. They were soon joined by a number of older audience members who shook it. It was after this performance concluded did Aixa Teendeen Reina (aka ASK AIXA) take the stage.

Ms. Reina shared her perceptions of the topic which included how one can take care of oneself by expanding their understanding of the world and those they share it with. She also talked at length about the nature of stress and how stress in itself doesn’t normally cause harm to our physical form but it is our interpretation of it that determines its effects. As Ms. Reina concluded her thoughts, Substance was then re introduced so she could speak of her life and how it was transformed when she rediscovered the power to change it.

 As Substance concluded her thoughts, Ms. Middleton took the stage to introduce Tracey Hanton to the gathering. She serves as a career counselor at the Community College of Philadelphia, PA and had been Ms. Middleton’s mentor. She spoke at length on the show’s topic as it reflected on her areas of expertise. She was followed by Karlene Ferron (aka Queen Karlene) who began to share her perceptions.

Ms. Ferron spoke of taking care of oneself by seeking support and having the courage to ask for help. She then introduced Sharone Glasco who spoke on the opportunities for women in the Monroe County area although the area isn’t very progressive in regards to recognizing what women can achieve. She also shared information on events regarding promoting the empowerment of women that will be happening soon and invited all to be a part of them. As her words concluded, Ms. Ferron took the stage to encourage those who listened to know their worth in all aspects in their life. Her words were followed by more motivational music provided by Substance in which a number of dancers came upon the deck to share their talents. Some members of the audience who were upon the lawn danced as well.

This was followed by a song sung by Alicia LaRaine Jenkins Middleton and her daughter Lema Jenkins. Its profound message touched the hearts of all who heard it. It was after this time did Ms. Middleton introduce Apostle Isaiah Lewis, Jr. to the gathering who shared his closing remarks. He spoke of how one can restore the soul by feeding it with the love of the Divine. He concluded his talk with a powerful song of faith.

It was at this time did Ms. Middleton conclude the show and shared her appreciation with all who were involved and supported it through their presence. She then invited all to extend the celebratory mood of the day by dancing to their heart’s content upon deck and to partake of the cake commemorating the launching of the show. This is something everyone was happy to do as the feelings created by the day enhanced each individual’s desire to live life to the fullest with the affirming tools given to them through the love demonstrated by the radio show and those who participated in it. You’ll find more photographs taken during the day’s event in The Special Events 2014 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152230295395421.1073741876.636000420&type=1.

The Sistah Chat Radio Show is presented every Wednesday at 5pm on 90.3 WESS FM www.facebook.com/WESSradio which is a student run radio station that broadcasts out of The East Stroudsburg University of PA. The show has its origins in Deborah M. Cofer’s self-help book titled, “Sistah Power” which serves women and men who want to grow in positive ways in all areas of their lives. The show’s hosts are Alicia LaRaine Jenkins Middleton (aka Madame Raine) who has a Masters in Education Degree and is, along with her husband P. K. Middleton, Founder of A New Life Ministry, Inc. www.facebook.com/anewlifeministry located in Stroudsburg, PA, Deborah M. Cofer (aka Mama C) www.facebook.com/deborah.cofer who is Women’s Empowerment Specialist and an Author of a number of books which can be purchased through www.amazon.com, Aixa Teendeen Reina (aka ASK AIXA), and Dr. Karlene Ferron (aka Queen Karlene) who has a Ph. d and is a Psychotherapist, Educator, and Behavior Specialist Consultant. The program discusses a variety of topics focusing on those designed to educate, encourage, promote, and support women’s ability to live their lives with greater passion, purpose, power, and wisdom.

In addition to the broadcasts aired on 90.3 FM WESS, The Sistah Chat Radio Show can be accessed from the internet from the station’s streaming services at www.tunein.com/radio/WESS-903-s28605. The show can also be heard on Sunday mornings at 8am on www.blogtalkradio.com/sistahpowertalkradio. In addition to this, the show has a Youtube Channel which can be accessed from www.youtube.com/user/sistahchatchannel/feed. You can learn more about the show, how to listen to it, and all it has to offer by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/SistahChat90.3.

Zydeco and Rock N Roll at The Bookhouse

The Eastern Monroe Public Library in Stroudsburg, PA presented Peter Gumbo and The Hot Peppers on Friday July 25th as part of their 2014 Bookhouse Season. A sizable gathering filled the library’s community room as the instruments the musician would employ to bring a joy to their hearts stood patiently in the performance area for them. Conversations were heard throughout the room reflecting an excited anticipation of the evening’s offerings until a quietness fell upon them as the Library’s host, Linnae Cintron, took the stage to share her introductory remarks relating to the event and the library itself.

It was soon after her words concluded did Peter Gumbo and The Hot Peppers take the stage to express their appreciation to the Library and all who had come to hear them play. The trio who performed that evening were a part of a larger six person band titled, “Zydeco-a-Go-Go” www.facebook.com/pages/Zydeco-a-Go-Go/91226005977 and consisted of Pete Gumbo on accordion, piano, and vocals, Bob Holden on Drums and Vocals, and Bobby Michaels on Tenor Saxophone. The group began with their rendition of the Fats Domino’s Classic “Blueberry Hill” which brought an appreciative smile to many in the audience as the fond memories the song inspired could be seen in their eyes.

The performance moved onto more classic rock n roll and blues standards centering around those written by New Orleans composers from the 1950s and 60s. The trio spun each song like a 45rpm with their voices and musical phrasings which many had played upon their favorite record player. The repertoire of songs they presented from this era included a number of sing-along compositions which included an impromptu performance by an audience member who sang the song titled, “Chapel of Love” made famous by the group known as The Dixie Cups in 1964.

Those who joined in the singing of this and other songs found that the recollection of their lyrics brought a reclamation of youth whose sing song memories reflected upon the times they lived when they first heard the tune. Their voices were carried by the emotions they were touched by the joy and the bygone thoughts they seemed to had shared. Some were of the first car they ever drove while others were of the time they shared an ice cream soda with so long ago. Regardless of what memories were brought to the fore, their lingerings were heard in the thoughtful pauses they uttered between each note they sang.

In addition to the memorable tunes they performed from the 50s and 60s, Peter Gumbo and The Hot Peppers also rendered a number of lively Zydeco compositions. These inspired a great deal of toe tapping and hand clapping among the gathering. There were also a number of waltzes in keeping with the musical style that inspired some couples to move from their chairs so they could share a dance with one another. The concert concluded with the Bill Haley and the Comets’ classic “See You later, Alligator.”

However, the audience requested an encore which inspired the musicians to move among the audience who followed them in a joyous parade as they danced and clapped toward the song’s conclusion. A great deal of laughter and memories were shared during the concert whose effect lingered with many long after the very enjoyable performance ended. You’ll find more photographs taken during the concert in The EMPL 2014 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152258038885421.1073741878.636000420&type=1.

The Eastern Monroe Public Library (aka The Hughes Library) Bookhouse Series takes place in the Edinger Community Room which is located on N. 9th Street (aka route 611) in Stroudsburg, PA. The Hughes Library is the main branch of the Monroe County, PA library system which includes their Pocono Township Branch in Tannersville, PA and their Smithfield’s Branch in Marshalls Creek, PA. The library offers access to numerous books, DVDs, Audio Recordings, and cultural programs free to the public. The library’s BookHouse series is part of its cultural programming designed to provide a venue for literary and musical events which are outside of the commercial and literary mainstream.

The next program in The Eastern Monroe Public Library 2014 Bookhouse Series will feature Mustard’s Retreat www.facebook.com/mustardsretreat on Friday September 19th beginning at 7:30pm with the doors opening at 7pm. Admission to the event is free, but donations would be gratefully accepted. Refreshments will also be available for a small charge. Please Contact Linnae Cintron at 570-421-0800 x28 or explore The Eastern Monroe Public Library Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/EasternMonroePublicLibrary?ref=ts&fref=ts to learn more information about the library, their Bookhouse series, and all the institution has to offer the community.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Panty of Sax, Glitterus, Baby Names, and Jerry Fels at 84

On Friday July 18th, a porch full of friends were gathered outside the Stroudsburg, PA apartment (numbered 84) inhabited by Rebekah La Loi and Bobby Propst who, along with their pets, books, and an everlasting love for music and each other, presented a house concert. I entered the home and traveled up through its stairway corridor to found another gathering of friends relaxing in conversation with Rebekah in their living room as they awaited the arrival of other guests who shared a desire to partake of the evening’s festivities. These festivities included performances given by Jerry Fels and the Jerry Fels www.facebook.com/jerryfelsandthejerryfels, Emily Elizabeth, Baby Names (aka Andy Brooks) www.facebook.com/BabyNamesMusical, and the newly formed group known as “Glitterus” www.facebook.com/glitterusband. The passage of time filled the apartment with a sizable audience whose love for the camaraderie they immediately experienced collectively beckoned the musicians to share their talents with them.

The first to answer this clarion call was Jerry Fels of Jerry Fels and the Jerry Fels whose keyboard, guitar, and ankle tambourine lent their musical qualities to a series of compositions that filled the minds of all who listened to their nuances. An ocean of subconscious dewdrops whose ephemeral connections led to the creation of everlasting currents which flowed throughout the room on a tide of delightfully bemused laughter. While many were content to have their perceptions expanded by the music the solo performer as they were comfortably seated upon the furnishings and floor the apartment afforded them, some were spontaneously moved to manifest the internal truths they found within the songs he sang through the art of dance. This sight delighted the audience as evident in the numerous conversations that were shared about that and the intricacies of Mr. Fels’ performance during the break which occurred after its completion.

After the break, Jazz Saxophonist Emily Elizabeth took the stage and proceeded to share a number of Jazz standards with the gathering. Their melodies soothed the company with their vibrational charm as they flowed through the spirit of the instrument. Although the dreams of each composition originated with the composer, their soulful manifestations were brought to the fore through the deft musical skill of Ms. Elizabeth whose gentle phrasing and interpretation of each piece inspired a conversation to take place between each listener and the musical imaginings he/she experienced. This conversation was evolved to a more animated state as the performance concluded and many sought to explore their new found love for the art of Saxophonic Jazz and all of its nuanced qualities.

It was after this break filled with questions and discoveries did Baby Names (aka Andy Brooks) take the stage. After it was revealed Mr. Brooks had traveled from Boston, MA to share his talents with the gathering, he took his guitar in hand and began his set with a series of songs whose simple qualities soon lured the audience deeper into their essential elements through their hypnotic complexities until they joyfully found themselves in synch within each song’s communicative lyrics, chords, and rhythms. Mr. Brooks then changed the direction of his performance as he introduced his laptop computer to the session which contained a number of songs giving the later part of his set a karaoke fragrance to it. This pleased the crowd as the hip hop melodies flowed among the company leading to a number of rhythmic sways of delighted heads. After the conclusion of Mr. Brook’s performance and a break, the newly formed group known as “Glitterus” made their debut upon the stage.

On their Facebook Page, Glitterus claims to be “an all girl band from the planet glamtron” who occasionally lands on planets such as Earth to have fun. No qualified astronomers were present to dispute such assertions so their validity remained unquestioned. This was, however, until the music began and all doubt was removed. The group consists of Adolf Glittler (aka Zeke Cats) on vocals, guitar, ukulele, violin, and other forms of technology, Ambrosia Salad (aka Jamber Ade) on vocals, trumpet, keyboard, and theremin, Kitty Kitty Bang Bang (aka Katherine Freeman) on vocals, bass, accordion, and whistles, and zsa zsa BOOM unit (aka Renee Dee Moonunit) on vocals and percussion. They immediately conquered the inhabitants of the planet as represented in the room through their endearing attire which embodied an eclectic array of adornments including pirate hats, multidimensional eye wear, and feathered boas along with a clothes line filled with panties with the word, “Glitterus” printed upon them in glitter which served as their back drop.

After opening the cerebral centers of the interpretive mind through a series of conscious altering sounds reflecting the culture of their home planet, Glitterus soon moved into the musical realm of performance art that engaged and challenged the senses like a Russ Meyer Beach Party film starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello as produced at Andy Warhol’s Factory. The performance fascinated and delighted the audience as the multiplicity of allusions to popular culture and their transformative perceptions of it proved to be beyond entertaining. The performance concluded with an invitation to those present to be fitted with the panties that hung upon the line and have their photograph taken. Many accepted the invitation and gladly became models in order to enhance intergalactic relations.

A series of farewells spread throughout the apartment after the modeling session. The company of friends created throughout the evening made their way through the halls, down the stairs, and onto the outside porch where numerous conversations filled the night air. However, within the kitchen area of the abode, Bobby and Rebekah was found exploring a song together. The manner in which the individual creative approaches of the two artists combined to discover the intricacies of a song proved to be very insightful to the musicians who were present to witness the collaboration. However, as a non musician, all I saw was love. You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during the Friday July 18th house concert in The House Music 2014 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152300688790421.1073741887.636000420&type=1.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

COTA Begins to Begin

The Celebration of the Arts (COTA) held its general meeting at The Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap, PA www.facebook.com/deerhead.inn on Monday July 14th to plan their 37th Annual Jazz and Arts Festival which is scheduled to be held September 5th - 7th. The day of the meeting proved to be a meteorological dreary one filled with rain and dark clouds. However, this did not dissuade the sizable gathering of friends to leave their abodes and venture out so they may partake of an opportunity to share their love for the festival and in the friendships they developed during its many years with one another.

As those in attendance began to take their seats prior to the meeting commencing, Board member, Christine Trembly, presented the company with several large bags of snacks to be shared and enjoyed. She gave me a bag of “Himalayan Popcorn” to open which I found difficult to do so. Throughout the process I asked myself if my attempts to open the bag was destined to become an Abominable failure to which I resiliently responded “Not Yeti.” Once I did open the bag, I felt a certain sense of machismo in accomplishing the task. Yeah.

It was shortly after I had discreetly flexed my flabby muscles for my own gratification did Ms. Trembly bring the meeting to order. A great many topics were discussed which were very important ones to address. However, many of them didn’t seem as significant to me as the fact that many of the issues address signified the time to end the planning stage for the festival had begun and the final preparation which will lead to the event creating new memories for those who are fortunate enough to attend it in September will soon begin. This observation was supported by the fact of the monthly meetings will begin their bi monthly schedule later in July which indicates even more time will be dedicated in assuring the 2014 festival will be a memorable one.

Beyond those topics relating to the near final completion ones, sharings regarding COTA collaborative endeavors with Main Street Jukebox www.facebook.com/mainstjukebox?ref=br_tf which is located in Stroudsburg, PA and the encouraging results of having a presence at the recent Delaware Water Gap’s Founder’s Day Celebration were offered to an enthusiastic crowd. The announcement of the upcoming Camp Jazz brought about further excitement from the gathering as it is scheduled to begin Monday July 21st with numerous workshops and opportunities for the young people who will attend it to explore and enhance their love for the musical form. There will also be opportunities for those who would enjoy experiencing these Jazz Campers newly found proficiencies in the art through a series of free noontime concerts held at The Deer Head Inn during the week along with a special concert given at The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain www.facebook.com/pages/Presbyterian-Church-of-the-Mountain/234593743269661 as part of the church’s Summer Gazebo Concert Series on the last day of the camp which is Sunday July 27th.

Many more topics were shared and discussed until the meeting came to its conclusion. However, the adjournment did not vacate the Inn as many lingered in order to share more conversations about the festival and how their lives were in general. The next general meeting scheduled to be held at The Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap will be on Monday July 28th beginning at 6:30pm. The public is invited and encouraged to attend this and all future meetings as all ideas are welcomed and opportunities to participate as volunteers are provided. You’ll find more photographs taken during the Monday July 14th meeting at The COTA Meetings 2014 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152423759645421.1073741897.636000420&type=1.

The mission of The Celebration of the Arts (COTA) is to present and to support the art of jazz in all its forms and historical breadth through youth education, performing arts presentations, scholarship opportunities, and community outreach throughout the Pocono area. Please Explore The Celebration of the Arts Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/COTA-Celebration-Of-The-Arts/234094683405815, their Website at www.cotajazz.org, or by calling 570-424-2210 to learn how you can become a volunteer and to learn for more information all about COTA has to offer.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Cirque d'art et burlesque

Upon entering the town of Stroudsburg, PA on Saturday July 5th, I began following an hypnotic eye which was extended from the shoulder of a scantily clad woman whose rhythmic movements beckoned me on in a mystified daze as her twirling hula hoop sang to me its siren song. My odyssey led me to The Living Room Gallery allowing me to discovers that the streets outside the venue were filled with the art lovers who sought to enter its halls in order to experience the enticing qualities it is known to offer. The exhibit titled, “Art Under The Big Top” featured the work of area artists whose endeavors reflected the show’s circusy theme. The exhibit also welcomed Steampunk creations which are objects derived from a sub-genre of science fiction that utilizes 19th century steam-powered technology to either operate machinery developed much later or to power apparatuses invented during an alternative time period.

The artists’ reception for the exhibit offered music presented by electronic virtuoso Wilbium, foresights and explorations through the #ancient arts of cartomancy (tarot card reading) and chiromancy (palmistry) as rendered unto visitors to the realms of mystery by Cheryl Yost and Ashley Catherine Fontones, a color wheel in which prizes of uniqueness were offered to those who correctly predicted which color would appear after the wheel had completed its spin, and a dance designed to entice and beautify a desirous soul was given by the seductively superb Striptease artist known as Molly Mass Acre of Aerialgypsyburlesque www.facebook.com/pages/Aerialgypsyburlesque/573748552722070 who was accompanied by Brandon Meles (aka Brutus Lee). In addition to this, Danny’s Big Top Oddities offered steampunk treasures and other creations, Raw Earth Fabrications www.facebook.com/RawEarthFabrications presented unique pieces of cruelty free jewelry designed with naturally found materials, and the gallery’s iconic art raffle in which those who visit the event could partake of a chance to obtain a work of art donated by some of the participating artist for the price of a one dollar ticket was also featured.

The sizable gathering of artists and art lovers who filled the living room was almost as overwhelming to those who entered the gallery as the qualities of the 50 plus art objects that were placed upon the walls and in other areas with many instilling a profound curiosity within those who viewed the works as their wonderments spoke to the imagination. The festivities of the evening began as host and co curator, Keyaira Lynn Von Dred, shared her welcoming words with the crowd who heard her voice within their own awe inspired murmurs which were induced by the atmosphere that encircled them. She concluded her remarks by introducing the Wilbium who, donned in his iconic pilot’s helmet which has gained a welcomed familiarity among those who have seen him perform during the weekly Open Mic Nites held at the venue, began to transfix the gathering through the mesmerizing music he released from his computerized apparatus, guitar, and voice. Dancing filled the floor as forms moved as the enlivened spirits who possessed their beings guided their bodies while delight filled laughter emanated from their divinely secular throats.

While the majority of the company partook of the pleasures of the music presented by Wilbium, a number of denizens took advantage of the beautiful weather found outside the venue to engage in conversations relating to the art. During these conversments, other experiences which may be considered  as improvised sideshow attractions seduced their attentions such as the subtle or not too subtle skill of pop corn catching and the titillating antics of a trained beetle. It was quite a delightful distraction as many marveled as the unplanned (sometimes unintentional) feats were employed along with the uncanny dexterity of those who presented them.

However, as the resonance from Wilbium’s performance came to an end, those who partook of the games and foresights offered within the venue as well as the sidewalk entertainments soon found themselves re focusing their attentions upon The Living Room stage. Keyaira took the stage to express her appreciation for the performance that found itself lingering in the subconscious realms of its audience and took that time to share news relating to the future exhibits that will take place at the gallery. These included a show in August with four featured artists whose artists’ reception will include an auction from which its proceeds will benefit the local chapter of the American Red Cross. It was also announced that the next group show in September will be titled, “Art is Activism” offering members of the art community to share their creative endeavors in order to express their views on the political and social topics they feel needs to be addressed and explored. It was at the completion of her statements and announcements did Keyaira introduce Molly Mass Acre to the crowd.

An excitement filled the room as the music began to play and the sight of the enticing burlesque dancer known as Molly Mass Acre adorned her spectacular beauty in patriotic attire filled the eyes of all who saw her with star spangled banner delight. The poetic movements of her form and the deft articulations of her limbs spoke to the longing depths of those who visually listened with all of their intensity to every utterance of her symmetric vocabulary. Ms. Mass Acre was joined on the on stage by Brandon Meles (aka Brutus Lee) whose contortionist maneuvers enhanced the experience of the joyful performance. Yet, as well presented Mr. Meles’ contribution to the experience was, the focus of attention remained on Ms. Mass Acre as successions of rapid and lingering touches revealed the beauty of her physical form to the delight of the gathering whose crescendo of intoxicating excitement was built upon by one breathtaking sigh after another until the climactic conclusion of her performance had arrived. Wow.

A recuperative quiet touched the room for a number of moments after Ms. Mass Acre left the stage until the sounds of applause filled the air. It was after some composure regaining time following the incredible experience presented by Molly Mass Acre and Brandon Meles (aka Brutus Lee) were collectively received did the evening’s art raffle take place. It was a challenge for the unparalleled excitement of the burlesque performance to be matched but the emotions roused by the ever popular raffle had its way with the audience which was filled with eager ticket holders. Keyaira and a number of the artists who donated their work to the raffle chose a winning ticket from the cup that corresponded with the pieces offered as Andrew Oldfield and Amanda-Jean Frisella shared an elevated view of them.

The air thickened with anticipation as each digit appearing on a raffle ticket was read until the atmosphere’s molecular density was sliced with the excited squeal of the owner of the final number in the coveted sequence. This breathless ritual continued until the final item was retrieved which led to some sentiments of farewell and gratitude to be shared by Keyaira along with an invitation to return for the August exhibition that were immediately accepted by the enchanted crowd. The work presented in Art Under The Big Top exhibit reflected the theme quite nicely with a number of pieces demonstrating a very imaginative interpretation of the topic. While some pieces were better constructed than other, the overall quality of the exhibit allows visiting the gallery during it’s regularly scheduled hours a very well worthwhile endeavor and is highly recommended. You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during the Art Under The Big Top Artists’ Reception in The Living Room 2014 Gallery Part 4 at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152489839930421.1073741902.636000420&type=1.

The Sherman Theater’s Living Room Gallery Art Under The Big Top exhibition featuring the work of local artists will be on display until July 30th. The Gallery’s next exhibit will feature four selected artist whose names are yet to be revealed. The Artists’ Reception will be held on Saturday August 2nd beginning at 6pm and will continue to be on display until August 30th. Please contact the gallery’s Directors and Curators, Keyaira Lynn Von Dred and Andrew Ozkenel, at 570-421-2808 for more information.

The Sherman Theater’s Living Room is located on Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA next to The Sherman Theater who owns the building. The venue is a non-profit artspace and community hub featuring live music, performances, and other events in an intimate setting at affordable prices. Please Explore The Living Room Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Living-Room/123978921059378 for more information on The Living Room, all they have to offer, and how to be a part of it all.

In addition to their exhibitions, The Sherman Theater’s Living Room presents a weekly Open Mic Nite which occurs every Sunday Evening beginning at 7pm. Musicians, Poets, Writers, and anyone who would like to share their talents with an eagerly accepting audience are welcomed to participate. There is occasionally a featured band or performer scheduled that enhances the enjoyment of the event. You can learn more about The Living Room Open Mic Nite Series on it’s Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/OpenMicAtTheLivingRoom?ref=ts&fref=ts.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

The Trinity Centennial at The Park

The Stroud Township in PA presented The Trinity Centennial Band in the Jay Albertson Park (named after retired Township Supervisor Jay Albertson) on Sunday June 29th as part of their 2014 Summer Concert Series. Many gathered to set up their folding chairs in order to take their place under or around the tents the township had set up for the occasion while others sat comfortably upon the park’s gazebo or just outside their neighboring homes. It was during this time did those who would perform in the 55 piece ensemble prepare to do so with the delightful sound of final tuning of the many instruments taking place.

The concert began with the playing of the National Anthem of the United States that was followed by some welcoming words expressed by The Trinity Centennial Band’s primary conductor, Tom Salmon who also announced the ensemble was celebrating its 23rd year. The concert continued with several varied selections ranging from patriotic tunes to classical compositions with many performed under the direction of different conductors who each demonstrated a slight variation in their musical approach which enhanced the enjoyable aspects of the overall concert. The music performed throughout the concert flowed like a gentle breeze filling the air with the refreshing essence of each composition.

The conductors who presented their offerings to the audience were Marta Oberlin, Karl McDannell, Jenny Galunic, Andrea Stiff, Gene Bartz, and Floyd Frisbie. Michael Yasenchok performed as a soloist and whose powerful voice resonated throughout the park adding depth to the composition he presented. The concert was an enjoyable one with a wide variety of songs as well as manners in presenting them that proved to be enough to satisfy anyone’s musical taste. You’ll find more photographs taken during The Trinity Centennial Band concert in The Concerts in the Park 2014 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152535822295421.1073741907.636000420&type=1.

The Trinity Centennial Band is a Community Band for the Poconos who presents outdoor concerts during the summer season at a variety of locations throughout the area. The sizable ensemble consists of amateur and professional musicians who live locally. Their next performance will take place at The Grace Park Senior Living Establishment located in Stroudsburg, PA on Saturday July 12th beginning at 2pm. You can learn more about The Trinity Centennial Band  and their schedule by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/Trinity-Centennial-Band/173643312684061.

The Summer Concert Series is presented by municipality of Stroud Township which is located in the heart of the Pocono Mountains in Northeastern PA. In addition to its outdoor Summer concerts, the Township offers scenic areas such as the Appalachian Trail and many local parks. The Next installment of The Stroud Township Summer Concert Series will feature Riverside Rhythm www.facebook.com/pages/Riverside-Rhythm/106347689423155 beginning at 6pm in the Jay Albertson Park on Sunday July 20th. Please Explore The Stroud Township, PA Website at www.township.stroud.pa.us to learn more about the concert series and all the township has to offer its community and visitors.

Paul Talks

Since this article is about a talk I gave at The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Poconos in Stroudsburg, PA about The Forwardian Arts Society, I hope you’ll forgive me if I write most of this from a first person perspective which may or not be completely an objective one. Whether you can forgive me or not, here is my account of the talk I gave before the fellowship on Sunday June 29th during their weekly service. So there. Smiles. It was titled, “Moving Forwardian” and, as I’ve mentioned earlier in the paragraph, it was about The Forwardian Arts Society which began in its present state in October 2001.

Not only was I scheduled to give the talk, I also selected the hymns and readings that would occur during the service as well as keeping the congregation abreast of what the order of service was as it happened. In other words, I not only gave the “Sermon” but I was running the service as well. It was an interesting situation I found myself in but, it was one of the options placed before me (others included that I just give my little talk and that would be it) but I accepted the one I wound up doing. As you’ll soon read, it proved to be a complication that I might have been better off not embracing.

I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts (BA) degree in Speech Communications Studies from The East Stroudsburg University of PA in 1988. A great deal of my studies involved writing and making speeches. So, in my misguided thinking, I didn’t feel it was necessary to spend a great deal of planning on what I would say especially since about The Forwardian Arts Society is a subject that I should know intimately. Did I mention my thinking was misguided?

Well, when the morning arrived, I took my place at the front of the sanctuary and, as the service began, an unexpected nervousness came to the fore and I began to mess up the order of service with great immensity. A great deal of the familiar items in service were transpositioned and even skipped over. However, many among the congregation knew what should happen when and they set me on the right course. I appreciate their patience.

What also helped me to regain my composure was the musical meditation titled, “Remembering the Light” performed by the choir director, Ruth Kochera, which was composed by Kevin Kern. I found myself much more relaxed as the melody led me to what it’s titled suggested; to remember the light. The remainder of the service went more smoothly and occurred in pretty much the same orderly fashion as it usually does.

And then, it was time for me to speak about The Forwardian Arts Society. I began to share my history and how it led to my desire to publish a newspaper righting all the wrongs that society had placed upon me and how that all changed to where the fellowship for people who love the arts is today. Thank goodness we don’t get everything we want. I was approached afterwards by those who shared with me that they enjoyed and appreciated my talk and what I shared during it. I am thankful to the members who provided me with not only the opportunity to speak about The Forwardian Arts Society but to remember the light that guided my words.

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Poconos (UUFP) is presently located on Ann St. in Stroudsburg, PA consisting of a congregation who (according to their Facebook Page) “strives to create a place where people feel inspired to see, hear, and think in ways that deepen their understanding of each other.” UUFP began serving the area in 1990 and holds services every Sunday morning beginning at 10am. The fellowship’s minister is the Reverent Kim D. Wilson. You can learn more about The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Poconos and all it has to offer by exploring their Website at www.uupoconos.org, their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/UnitarianUniversalistFellowshipOfThePoconos, or by calling them at 570-420-0580.

The Forwardian Arts Society is a fellowship for people who love the arts. If you want to know more about it, feel free to check out our website at www.theforwardianartssociety.com, our Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Forwardian-Arts-Society/91146283760, or email us at Forwardian@hotmail.com. There are no photographs as there were none taken during the service. Please feel free to share your thoughts on the arts and/or how your love for the arts effects your life. I look forward to learning about and from you. Thank you for reading this article.

A Celebration in the Gap

The sun shone upon the little town of Delaware Water Gap, PA as it celebrated its existence on Saturday June 28th. The town’s annual Founder’s Day marks the arrival of the first settlers into the area which is located within Monroe county, PA who were led by a French plantation owner named Antoine Dutot in 1793 who fled Santa Domingo during a slave uprising. He purchased some land and began building a town he named, “Dutotsburg.” As time went on, Dutotsburg became known as the borough of Delaware Water Gap, PA to take commercial advantage of its geographical surroundings. However, Antoine Dutot’s French influence is still present throughout the town which is considered by many to be the “New Orleans of the Poconos” as its architecture, prevalence of Jazz, Sycamore trees, and a relaxed atmosphere is found within the fabric of the Delaware Water Gap and its citizens.

A great number of artists, artisans, merchants, and musicians filled the town with their creativity and love for the community during the day. When I arrived to town for the festivities, I walked from the place where the car I traveled in was parked and encountered The Village Farmer and Bakery www.facebook.com/pages/Village-Farmer-and-Bakery/114465741911673 whose usually aromatic enticements of freshly baked cookies and pies were scrumptiously overshadowed by the BBQ cuisine they were cooking outside their establishment. As tempting as it was to stop and partake of the food, my attentions that were fueled by the desire to explore the celebratory offerings of the day were captured by activities presented at The Water Gap Trolley www.watergaptrolley.com who offers motorized tours throughout the town and it’s surrounding areas. It was there where I began my tour of the day as music presented by The Gerry Gessie “duo” Show ggessie@embarqmail.com filled the air with joyous classics as their jovial spirits infected those who were drawn near to their performances causing them to break out in laughter and smiles.

As I walked around the area, I was fortunate enough to visit a number of merchants and organizations that populated The Water Gap Trolley grounds. The Christmas Factory www.TheChristmasFactory.com, Carol’s Customized Creations crs4@ptd.net, The Monroe Animal League www.facebook.com/MCALWV, were among those present to share their wares and conversation with visitors. Pony rides were offered to children by Horses 4 Hope www.facebook.com/horses4hopepa who assist Individuals with Special Needs in Reaching their Full Potential through Interaction with Horses.

After a while I ventured from the Water Gap Trolley in order to travel up the streets that reflected the hilly terrains characteristic to the area. I explored many of the stores that inhabit the town including Hobo Chic www.facebook.com/pages/Hobo-Chic/342920202477562?ref=stream which is filled with vintage Curios, Collectibles, Clothing, and a lot of cool stuff and The Zen Fusion Restaurant www.facebook.com/ZenFusiondwg which serves a Haitian cuisine that brings the island’s delectable flavors to the area. I eventually wound up at The Antoine Dutot Museum and Gallery www.facebook.com/DutotMuseumAndGallery?fref=ts whose parking lot was full of vendors. They included Milkweed and Poppyseed www.facebook.com/MilkweedAndPoppyseed, For The Birds gailgrant2074@yahoo.com, Nova’s Visions novachan@yahoo.com, Angels of Light Work angelsoflightwork@yahoo.com which is located within the Castle Inn, Dirt Ware by Adon www.facebook.com/dirtwares, Mudworks Pottery www.facebook.com/pages/MudWorks-Pottery/83060320662, Anita Bondi Designs www.facebook.com/AnitaBondiDesigns who shared her Hula Hooping talents with some children who were present, and Ice Scream www.facebook.com/IceScreamVegan who offers Vegan Ice Cream which is Gluten and GMO Free.

I then ventured inside the gallery to partake of the splendid work that hung upon its walls. The Riv11 - The Delaware River - A Big Picture exhibition features the work of numerous artists exploring all aspects related to the Delaware River and it’s surrounding areas. An Artists’ Reception was held on Friday June 13th and the exhibit ran until June 29th. The Gallery’s next exhibition will be their Women’s Show beginning with an Artists’ Reception on Friday July 4th and will continue to be displayed until July 20th. An addition exhibit titled, “The Riv-Kids Art Show” was on display at The Historic Castle Inn as part of the Town’s Founder’s Day Celebration. You can read our article about The Riv11 exhibit titled, “Let’s Dutot by The River” at www.facebook.com/notes/paul-adam-smeltz/lets-dutot-by-the-river/10152177984101232.

Outside the gallery, the joy of the day was enhanced by music performed by The Hawk Owls www.facebook.com/TheHawkOwls who consisted of Bradley White and Mandolin, Guitar, and Vocals, Peter Lister on Guitar and Vocals, James Lashway on Bass and Vocals, and Mike Alexander on Banjo and Vocals. Their rendition of the bluegrass and folk tunes they performed filled the Dutot’s Parking lot with the joyous sounds of the musical genre as evident in the several people seen moving their head rhythmically side to side in keeping with the beats while they were sharing conversations with the merchants and artisans. My friends from The Juggernaut String Band www.facebook.com/JuggernautStringBand were in the process of setting up but an overwhelming desire moved me to continue my adventures of the day.

This desire led me to The Historic Castle Inn www.facebook.com/historiccastleinn whose shopping complex offers a variety of items to those who visit it. These shoppes included ENZA’s Subs who shared her delicious sandwiches to those fortunate enough to purchase one. It is also the home of The Castle Inn Art Gallery www.facebook.com/pages/Castle-Inn-Art-Gallery/159174520808670 who was showing the work of Nelida Lexine Valentin www.facebook.com/pages/Pocket-Photoz-Photography/557529224298706 in an exhibit titled, “The City Charms Collection.” Their next exhibition is yet to be announced.

Outside the Castle Inn was a huge car show featuring a multitude of classic cars from many eras. It was a delight to view the vehicles and to reflect upon the loving care they were given by the owners who sought not only to preserve the mechanical aspects of the cars but its aesthetic qualities as well. Awards were given out by The Delaware Water Gap Classic Car  Club www.facebook.com/DelawareWaterGapClassicCarClub in honor of these car owners and the love they manifested in their cars.

The day was also filled with a great many activities and events which I, unfortunately, was unable to experience. These included The Fire House Pancake Breakfast, the arrival of an Excursion Train from The Steamtown National Historic Site, a Rubber-Duck Race, and a ceremony involving the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and leaders from Delaware Water Gap commemorating the official designation of the town as the newest Appalachian Trail Community. You’ll find more photographs I took during the festival in The DWG Founder’s Day 2014 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152531595080421.1073741906.636000420&type=1.

The Delaware Water Gap, PA 2014 Founder’s Day Celebration was organized by The Delaware Water Gap Chamber of Commerce. The town sits in the very heart of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area with access to The Appalachian Trail and (in addition to their annual Founder’s Day Celebration) is home to the Annual Celebration of the Arts Jazz and Arts Festival. Please Explore The Delaware Water Gap Chamber of Commerce Website at www.delawarewatergap.com to learn more information about the town and all it has to offer those who come visit it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Moving in the School of Arts

The School of Visual and Performing Arts (SVPA) in Stroudsburg, PA celebrated a Grand Reopening of their Gallery facilities with an Artists’ Reception on Saturday June 21st featuring an exhibition the incredible talents of local artists titled, “An Artistic Movement.” The evening included multicultural music performed to enhance the mood, a performance of dance along with a communal dance improvisation, and an art raffle. A large gathering filled the spacious school with the excitement of rediscovering a renewed venue to explore the arts.

A joyous vitality filled the air as the wonders inherent in the pieces presented throughout the school inspired words of adoration and delightful amazement to be shared during the numerous conversations that transpired during the course of the evening. The sounds of drumming and flute emanating from the instruments of musicians Michael G. Williams and Babakeino Anderson enhanced the mood and nature of these social intercourses. Their lively hypnotic rhythms entreated each converser to move their words gently along the concepts they sought to convey until their spoken words desired to become transcended through the communicative form of dance as evident in the swaying to and fro seen among the denizens throughout the night.

It was in the midst of the dancing chats did the gallery’s director Jody Singer take a microphone in hand in order to verbalize the school’s appreciative welcome to the multitude of art lovers who were present. He concluded his remarks with an introduction of Emiko Okamoto of The Galumpha Dance Company who performed a piece along with John Laguio titled, “Floating” which was Choreographed by one of The School of Visual and Performing Arts’ founders, Kathy Kroll. The performance was exquisite as the dancers moved their forms upon the air with the aide of draperies attached to the studio’s ceiling. The work gave each experiencer of it the sensation of flight not only inducing the physical dimensions of their forms to become uplifted but their spirits and souls as well.

The Galumpha Dance Company was formed by Andy Horowitz and Greg O’Brien in 2002 bringing to life a world of imagination, beauty, muscle, and merriment. Many of their performances include the elements of the acrobatic, physical comedy, and inventive choreography with all creating a sensory feast of images ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime. The company has received a number of awards including The Edinburgh Festival Critics’ Choice Award and The Moers International Comedy Arts Prize. Their work has been seen on a number of television shows including The Late Show with David Letterman. You can learn more about The Galumpha Dance Company by exploring their website at www.galumpha.com.

The performance concluded as conversations inspired by it consumed the studio. The effects of the performance led many to take another look at the nearly 100 pieces presented throughout the school in order to see them afresh through their newly opened eyes. The music performed by Michael G. Williams and Babakeino Anderson resumed and a deeper resonance was felt in the heart of each listener. Some time had passed until Mr. Singer took to the microphone once again to introduce Kathy Kroll who shared her welcoming sentiments with the gathering.

 It was at this point did Ms. Kroll invite those who wished to participate in the Improvised Dance Demonstration to do so. It began as one participant moved onto the floor in a manner he/she felt expressive of their present state of being and to stop thus allowing another participant to follow in their aesthetic footsteps until the were moved to become motionless and thereby inspiring another participant to follow him/her. This continued until the nearly 30 participants who consisted of those among the gathering who proved to be slightly more adventurous than the rest took their creative place upon the floor. They were then guided to movements by Ms. Kroll of which they did so by incorporating their own individualized interpretation to the suggestion. The entirety of the demonstration brought both an outer and inner smile to those who witnessed it enhancing the perception of their own creative abilities.

It was some time after the demonstration did the evening’s raffle take place. Shane Izykowski took the microphone to echo the sentiments expressed through the conversations that permeated the evening regarding the high caliber of quality and creativity found in the work presented upon the school’s walls as well as the thoroughly inspiring performances shared throughout the evening. It was then when members of the gathering were invited to come forth in order to pick numbered ticket from the cups that were placed before the creative endeavors some of the artists who participated in the exhibit donated for the raffle whose proceeds benefited the school and all it has to offer the community. An anticipatory excitement rose to fever pitch as each number was called until the final digit ignited a cry of ecstasy from the individual who held the winning ticket.

It was after the final number of the final ticket was called and the corresponding piece collected did the evening begin its journey toward its conclusion. However, the journey’s end led to another beginning as those who slowly left the school shared the desire to return in order to explore the work during its business hours and to explore their creativity by enrolling in the educational opportunities the facility has offer. The evening proved to be a wonderful Grand Reopening event as it not only re introduced the school to the creative community but it also reopened the hearts of those who love the arts so they could experience it through even wider horizons. You’ll find more photographs taken during the Artists’ Reception in The SVPA 2014 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152519973960421.1073741905.636000420&type=1.

The School of Visual and Performing Arts is located in Stroudsburg, PA and has been instrumental in the creative development of its students for over 20 years. The facility holds classes in dance, ballet, and movement led by Diane Verdi, Paul Heeschen, and Kathy Kroll as well as classes in the theater arts led by Jazmin Ospa and Shelie Bransford. The school also offers a number of workshops with each focusing on a number of creative disciplines. You can learn more about The School of Visual and Performing Arts by exploring their Website at www.schoolofvisualandperformingarts.org.

The exhibition titled, “An Artistic Movement” will be on display in The School of Visual and Performing Arts until July 12th. Their next exhibit is titled, “Loops and Hoops” and an Artists’ Reception is scheduled for Saturday July 19th beginning at 6pm. All area artists are welcomed to participate by placing their work related to the theme in the exhibit.  The drop off dates are July 10th and 11th. Please contact Jody Singer at mountainsidearts@hotmail.com for more information.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Let’s Dutot by The River

The Antoine Dutot Museum and Gallery in Delaware Water Gap, PA held an Artists’ Reception on Friday June 13th for “The Riv11 - The Delaware River - A Big Picture” Exhibition featuring the work of a variety of artists. The exhibition is an annual event inviting area artists to share their unique vision and interpretation of the Delaware River which runs from the town of Jefferson, NY into the Delaware Bay near Philadelphia, PA before entering the Atlantic ocean. It is the largest river near the eastern coastline of the United States.

A gentle flow of art lovers trickled into the gallery like the rain drops that fell from the day’s sky. A sizable pool of concentrated thoughts was created as each work and its qualities were awash in their explorations. The aesthetically enhanced nature of the inspired conversations reflected the joy one feels while experiencing the intricacies of a babbling brook as each piece presented in the show revealed the artist’s love for the river while immersing the viewer in its beauty and profundity. These aquatic elements enticed the imagination as the stories they conveyed could become keepsakes in the everlasting realms of memory.

Yet, as captivating as these depictions of the mighty Delaware River were, a great deal of attention was given to the very young artists whose work created under the instruction of Jill Swersie were on display. The already astounding exhibit was enhanced by their creative injections of youthful exuberance that were emitted through the uncanny nature of their newly discovered abilities. There were a number of innovatively inventive aspects embodied in some of the pieces which indicated the list of things one can not do as an artist had not as yet been fully developed. A special exhibit featuring the work of children ages 6 - 16 titled, “The Riv-Kids Art Show” will be on display at The Historic Castle Inn in Delaware Water Gap, PA www.facebook.com/historiccastleinn on June 28th and 29th during the town’s Founder’s Day Celebration.

As was with the work presented, the Artists’ Reception for The Riv11 - The Delaware River - A Big Picture exhibition filled the souls of those who came to experience it with a variety of sensations ranging from a deep reverence for the life changing qualities of the river to a exploratory frivolity of getting one’s feet wet just to see what the water is like. The work presented in the exhibition reflected the many variant tides of the Delaware River as well as those found throughout our lives thus making it an enjoyable and meaningful one to visit. The exhibition will be on display at the gallery until June 29th. You’ll find more photographs taken during the Reception in The Dutot 2014 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152447565060421.1073741899.636000420&type=1.

The Riv11 - The Delaware River - A Big Picture exhibition is part of an annual event created by the Delaware River Project who encourages attendees to the exhibit to explore the Delaware River through multiple artistic perspectives. Since its beginning in 2003, The Delaware River - A Big Picture has showcased the works of local and regional fine artists, poets, and musicians through a series of events dedicated to the river. You can learn more about the Delaware River Project and view images presented in previous exhibitions by visiting their website at www.iriv.wordpress.com/riv-show.

A book titled, “So the River flows…. Voices from the Delaware” is inspired by the exhibition. It is an anthology of the history, art, science, and recreation associated with the Delaware River. The book will be available during the 2014 Christmas season at www.worldoneriver.org where one can sign up to be notified of its availability.

The Antoine Dutot Museum and Gallery originated as a brick school house built c. 1850 by Antoine Dutot who founded the town of Dutotsville before it was renamed to Delaware Water Gap, PA. In addition to the exhibitions presented at the gallery, the museum offers tours and educational opportunities for those who would like to learn more about the area. Their next exhibition will be for their Women’s Show beginning with an Artists’ Reception on Friday July 4th and will continue to be displayed until July 20th. Please Explore The Antoine Dutot Museum and Gallery Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/DutotMuseumAndGallery?fref=ts for more information.

COTA is a Many Splendored Thing

The Celebration of the Arts (COTA) held its general meeting at The Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap, PA www.facebook.com/deerhead.inn on Monday June 9th to plan their 37th Annual Jazz and Arts Festival which is scheduled to be held September 5th - 7th. A sizable gathering of friends who shared the love for the musical form and the camaraderie it inspired slowly began to form as the commencement of the meeting grew nearer with every minute that past. The din of reacquainting conversations filled the room until a gavel was enthusiastically struck so news and thoughts regarding this years festival could be explored.

The first item on the agenda was the official revealing of the new COTA Poster created by Tim Helman. The remaining detailed work which was discussed during the meeting in May was now completed and it was announced some preliminary distribution of the poster can now begin. Several members of the company eagerly approached those who were in charge of the task of mapping out areas where posters would be placed so they could participate in the process of sharing the word about COTA with others.

Other announcements made during the meeting included information for those who would like to support the festival by purchasing advertising space in the event’s program so one can share one’s information with the many who will read it of the online availability to do so. It was also announced advanced tickets to the festival are available to be bought online at a discount. Those who wish purchase advertising space and/or discounted tickets are encouraged to visit the www.cotajazz.org website which has been recently redesigned and contains a great deal of information relating to the festival.

As if this exciting news wasn’t plentiful enough, there were still more announcements to greet the ears of those who eagerly awaited to hear them. They included an $18,000 Grant that was received by the Hughes Foundation, endeavors to create an enhanced presence in the realm of internet social mediums, the ability for those who wish to support COTA through their purchase of non festival items through www.smile.amazon.com, and a spot in the food court that is currently is open for a non profit organization who would like to share their culinary skills with festival goers.

However, the grandest of all of the news that was shared was that of COTA obtaining an official office space which is located in The Castle Inn in Delaware Water Gap, PA. The office (at the time of the meeting) consisted of a number of unpacked boxes filled with items awaiting to be placed upon shelves and other areas so they could be viewed in awe by those who would visit and/or perform the administrative functions needed to bring another wonderful festival year about. A great deal of excitement filled the room as desires to visit the space once it was “moved into” was shared in exuberant whispers.

Many more topics were shared and discussed until the meeting came to its conclusion. However, the adjournment did not vacate the Inn as many lingered in order to share more conversations about the festival and how their lives were in general. The next general meeting scheduled to be held at The Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap will be on Monday July 14th beginning at 6:30pm. The public is invited and encouraged to attend this and all future meetings as all ideas are welcomed and opportunities to participate as volunteers are provided. You’ll find more photographs taken during the Monday June 9th meeting at The COTA Meetings 2014 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152423759645421.1073741897.636000420&type=1.

The mission of The Celebration of the Arts (COTA) is to present and to support the art of jazz in all its forms and historical breadth through youth education, performing arts presentations, scholarship opportunities, and community outreach throughout the Pocono area. Please Explore The Celebration of the Arts Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/COTA-Celebration-Of-The-Arts/234094683405815, their Website at www.cotajazz.org, or by calling 570-424-2210 to learn how you can become a volunteer and to learn for more information all about COTA has to offer.

Partying at The OMN

The Sherman Theater’s Living Room Stroudsburg, PA held their weekly Open Mic Nite event on Sunday June 8th offering an opportunity to the numerous talented individuals and groups to share their gifts with an accepting audience. I arrived late to the event as C’ Rock One Thirteen www.facebook.com/crock113officialmusic was preparing to perform. Many who have witnessed the musician’s expertise with the electric guitar discovered a new dimension to his considerable talents as he strummed song after song on an acoustic guitar. The instrument provided each song he rendered upon the audience with a more subtle quality allowing the composition to be felt as well as heard on a profound level.

C’ Rock One Thirteen was followed to the stage by a newcomer to the event named, Krystal Waltz. The young woman bravely shared her comedy routine with an audience who encouraged her through every utterance and gesture during her first attempt in the genre. She was followed by Guitarist Vinnie Huevos who was accompanied by the event’s co host AP www.facebook.com/APbboxes4u on vocal percussions, Nicholas Desouza on Bass guitar, and Tyler Hartle who sat upon a box he utilized as a percussion instrument. Together, they rocked the house inspiring a great deal of dancing especially during their performance of a bubblegum pop song titled, “Sugar Sugar” which was written by Jeff Barry and Andy Kim in 1969 and performed originally by The Archies who were a virtual band consisting of characters from an animated TV series titled, “The Archie Show” which aired Saturday mornings on The Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) in 1968.

As Vinnie Huevos and company completed their set, the evening’s co host announced a break would soon be taking place. But first, a moment was given to celebrate the birth of Paul Adam Smeltz (yeah that’s me) whose birthday was that day. A cupcake from a pack of Hostess cupcakes was lovingly delivered with a candle atop of it by a poet known as The Carlton as the company of friends sang the happy birthday song which was written by Kindergarten teachers, Mildred and Patty Hill, in 1893. And no, I was not one of their students.

The break was filled with conversations inspired by the evening’s performances that took place up to that point. These verbal exchanges concluded as the poet known as The Carlton took the stage and shared some comedy along with a number of thoughtful poetic pieces as he built an everlasting rapport with the audience. He was followed by Kevin “Tails” Moucha whose a cappella renderings entertained the crowd as the delivery of the songs he sang focus upon the deeper meaning of the words they enveloped. He was followed by a poetic duet known as “Day and Tilly” whose profound and moving poetry expressed a meaning that was embodied in a realm where words are yet to be born. They were followed by Benjamin Ordonez whose commanding voice echoed the poetry’s beat reflecting the pulse of life. He was followed by Melissa Johnson who was joined by co host AP. Together, they sang and danced while bopping the house fantastic with songs ranging from those originating from Imagine Dragons to the Jackson Five.

The official list of performances came to it’s end as electronic music artist Wilbium manned his keyboard and guitar readying the audience for their flight into the netherworlds of the imagination. Trancelike dancing filled the room as each hypnotic note created a melody of translucent dreams. As the music and the experience it inspired came to its conclusion, it was announced there was more time available for the event so those whose names were on the waiting list could share their talents.

The first of these performers was a duet known as “Ryan and Cory” who enlivened the crowd with their tunes. They were followed by a Guitarist known as “James” whose deep lyrics and voice brought a haunting element to the songs he played inspiring their essential qualities to become manifested in the thoughts of those who were touched by them. The evening concluded by a very brief performance given by a Guitarist known as “Geo” who blasted his song upon an audience who soon yearned for another week to pass so they could experience another Open Mic Nite Session. You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during the Sunday June 8th Open Mic Nite Session in The Living Room 2014 Gallery Part 3 at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152343904050421.1073741890.636000420&type=1 and Part 4 at www.facebook.com/forwardian.dude/media_set?set=a.10152489839930421.1073741902.636000420&type=3.

The next installment of the Living Room Open Mic Nite Series will take place on Sunday June 22nd beginning at 7pm with sign ins beginning at 6:30pm. The featured band for the evening will be Kill The Red Queen www.facebook.com/pages/Kill-The-Red-Queen/262246083884298. Musicians, poets, writers, and anyone who would like to share something with a receptive audience are welcomed to do so. You can learn more about The Living Room Open Mic Nite Series by Exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/OpenMicAtTheLivingRoom.

In addition to the Open Mic Nites presented at The Living Room, the venue also holds a Gallery which presents the work of visual artists from around the area. Their current exhibition features the works of Kelly Ann Klee (aka Girl from Mars), Laurinda Faye Rubin, James Chesnick, and Jeff Echevarria and will be on display until June 30th. Their gallery’s next exhibit will be a group show inviting local artists to utilize a steam punk technology theme titled, “1850’s Carnivale.” The work can be presented in any medium and/or style the artist wished to explore. The Artists’ Reception will be held on Saturday July 5th beginning at 6pm and will continue to be on display until July 30th. Submissions of work will be accepted on Thursday July 3rd from 6 until 9pm. Please contact the gallery’s Directors and Curators, Keyaira Lynn Von Dred and Andrew Ozkenel, at 570-421-2808 for more information.

The Living Room is located on Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA next to The Sherman Theater who owns the building. The Living Room is a non-profit artspace and community hub featuring live music, performance, and other events in an intimate setting at affordable prices. Please Explore The Living Room Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Living-Room/123978921059378 for more information on The Living Room, all they have to offer, and how to be a part of it all.

Rambling Upon The Gazebo Blue Grass

A gentle day touched the hearts of the music lovers who gathered upon the grounds of The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain in Delaware Water Gap, PA on Sunday June 8th as they prepared to enjoy another segment of their Summer Gazebo Concert Series. The warm weather and the smell of Hot Dogs cooking on a grill combined with the congenial nature of the greetings shared among members of the sizable crowd as they placed their chairs and blankets upon the freshly mowed lawn. The conversations inspired by the day quieted as the evening’s host, Jim Dellaria, stepped upon the stage in order to share his welcoming words and to introduce the eagerly awaited musicians to their audience.

The Lost Ramblers is often seen by the many who have come to enjoy their performances strolling around festival sites while playing their renditions of Bluegrass compositions. It is a rare occurrence to see the group of musicians who consists of Neil Armstrong on Vocals and Guitar, John Updike on Banjo and Vocals, Jim Schaefer on Upright Bass, and Dave Husic on Fiddle standing stationary upon a stage but such a sight enhanced the enjoyable nature of their performance. However, what is not rare is the groups ability to softly touch the deep wells of the earthy aspects of the listener’s soul through songs originating from eras that transcend the times they were written. A contemplative gaze could be seen upon many of the faces in the audience only to be interrupted by the demonstrated desire to engage in toe tapping, hand clapping, and their voices as they sang along during several of the songs that inspired a communal response. What a great way to spend an afternoon.

The Summer Gazebo Concert Series at The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain (PCOM) began in 1990 and is presented every Sunday evening throughout the Summer months until the end of August in order to support the local musicians and provide a venue where all ages could learn to appreciate Jazz and acoustic music. In reflection of Delaware Water Gap, PA being considered a Mecca for the Jazz community, the concerts has a great number of Jazz performances in their schedule. However, all musical styles are showcased during the summer which includes Blue Grass and Classical Music. The next installment in The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain Summer Gazebo Concert Series for 2014 is scheduled for Sunday June 22nd and will feature Vinny Bianchi and Jazz Juice (It’s Good for You). The concert is free to the public and begins at 6pm. You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during The Lost Ramblers concert in The PCOM 2014 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152489811720421.1073741901.636000420&type=1.

According to their website, The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain is “… a community of disciples illuminated by God’s love who care for others spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially as we explore new avenues of grace and grow in faith through worship and service.” In an endeavor to manifest the goals of this statement, they hold weekly services every Sunday beginning at 10am, provide a hostel for those hikers who travel along the Appalachian Trail as well as holding a Hikers’ Dinner every Thursday evening throughout the Summer Months to replenish their energies. They also support the Kenyan village of Amilo by providing a school feeding program for 15 orphans, a well, housing, and simple medical care and information to the villagers and the church shares a partnership with the Reformed Church located in Cardenaz, Cuba. In addition to all this, they support the local Fire Company and Women’s Resources Center as well as provide community aid funds for residents who are suffering economic burdens. The size of the congregation is approximately 200 people. Please Explore The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/Presbyterian-Church-of-the-Mountain/234593743269661 for more information.

A Living Room as Sweet as Candy

The Sherman Theater’s The Living Room Gallery in Stroudsburg, PA celebrated National candy month with an Artists’ Reception on Saturday June 7th for their June Exhibition featuring the work of Kelly Ann Klee (aka Girl from Mars), Laurinda Faye Rubin, James Chesnick, and Jeff Echevarria. The confectionary colors of the exhibit immediately overwhelmed the senses as the sizable gathering who had come to partake of the evening’s wonders were inspired to utter a number of oooos and ahhhhhs upon their entry into the delectable lair. These verbal expressions of amazement echoed throughout the room until the were slightly quelled by the eager consumption of sweet culinary delights provided by Earthlight Natural Foods www.facebook.com/earthlightnatural, Kitchen Chemistry www.facebook.com/pages/kitchen-chemistry/245276232196, and friends of the gallery who wished to share their sweet baking skills.

The celebration was enhanced by the Willy Wonka theme which was derived from the children’s book titled, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” written by Roald Dahl around 1964. It was followed by a sequel “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator” and the books became known for their unexpected endings filled with some dark humor. The books inspired two film adaptations. The first of these films was titled, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” which was directed by Mel Stuart in 1971 and starred Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. The second film was titled, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” which was directed by Tim Burton in 2005 and starred Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka. Although the stylings of both films were well represented, the cinematic atmosphere created in the 1971 interpretation of the books seemed to hold a slight dominance to The Living Room’s furnishings for the evening.

To enhance the celebratory mood and the theme for the evening, three Golden Tickets (in reference to the plot of the Roald Dahl book) were concealed inside the wrappers of the many Willie Wonka Chocolate Bars that were on sale.  Those who had bought the three bars with the winning tickets inside were awarded with admission to a concert titled, “An Evening with Moe www.moe.org” which is scheduled to take place at The Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg, PA on Friday July 28th. A frantic candy grab took place throughout the evening until nearly all of the bars were purchased and delighted yelps were heard from those who found the coveted item.

The sweetness of the evening included the sounds emanating from a guitarist known as SunnyShady who has become a favorite among those who frequent The Living Room’s Open Mic Nite Series held every Sunday evening. The thoughtful and joyous contrasts embodied in his renditions of well established compositions as well as original pieces he shared with the crowd moved skillfully among their waiting ears. The artistic flexibility of the musician was further demonstrated as two unscheduled performers joined him on stage in song. The camaraderie between the three proved to be infectious as the scene as well as the congenial qualities of the songs they performed touched the conversations of the room’s population.

Among the sounds, confectionary delights, and the contestial excitement, the art that was featured in the exhibit flowed together like a syrupy elixir of a concoction filled with dreams. Yet, this flow did not diminished the nuanced qualities found in each artist’s individualized approach to his/her creative endeavors. Instead, it inspired those who became enamored by the entirety of the exhibition to delve deeper into each piece in order to discover its special treats.

The photographic work and digital prints placed on varying surfaces by Laurinda Faye Rubin processes the vibrant sensuality of the flora she captures as each work touches the eye with their visual fragrances. The abstract designs created in the mediums of paint and photography by James Chesnick www.carzwellco.com entreats the mind through their meandering shapes and textures whose bright vibrancy reflects the fullness of life. Although there were only three penciled prints (with two of them included in the raffle drawing) presented by Jeff Echevarria www.facebook.com/echevarria.art.studio, their mythical essence reached into the imagination of all who peered into the figure’s depths only to find a reflection of their own soul within the depiction’s eyes. The exquisite photographic pieces rendered by Kelly Ann Klee (aka Girl from Mars) offered memories that were held gently in their contrasting hues moving our thoughtful dreams through their ever present nostalgia. Ahhh.

As the art and the contemplative conversations it inspired filled the room, the time had come to hold the eagerly awaited Art Raffle which has become an iconic aspect of The Living Room Gallery’s Receptions. All of the artists featured in the exhibit had a number of their creative endeavors available as prizes for the event and all of them drew the tickets indicating who would win these pieces except for Jeff Echevarria who could not be in attendance as his immediate family experienced a profound sadness prior to the reception. A quietness touched the gathering as sympathetic wishes were silently expressed. Still, an exuberant excitement erupted as each winner of the work offered was revealed which celebrated not only the event and the confectioned holiday but life itself. The final prizes in the art raffle were given out and it was this point were concert tickets to those who found the Golden Tickets were awarded.

It was at this time did the gallery’s Directors and Curators, Keyaira Lynn Von Dred and Andrew Ozkenel, share some final sentiments of appreciations and farewells while inviting those who were still present to come to the next Artists’ Reception exploring the fantastical world of steam punk technology. The imaginations of those who learned the preliminary details of the exhibition and were familiar with the term were visibly impressed with the conceptual possibilities. You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during the June Artists’ Reception in The Living Room 2014 Gallery Part 3 at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152343904050421.1073741890.636000420&type=1.

The Sherman Theater’s Living Room Gallery February exhibition featuring the work of Kelly Ann Klee (aka Girl from Mars), Laurinda Faye Rubin, James Chesnick, and Jeff Echevarria will be on display until June 30th. Their next exhibit which will be a group show inviting local artists to utilize a steam punk technology theme titled, “1850’s Carnivale.” The work can be presented in any medium and/or style the artist wished to explore. The Artists’ Reception will be held on Saturday July 5th beginning at 6pm and will continue to be on display until July 30th. Submissions of work will be accepted on Thursday July 3rd from 6 until 9pm. Please contact the gallery’s Directors and Curators, Keyaira Lynn Von Dred and Andrew Ozkenel, at 570-421-2808 for more information.

The Living Room is located on Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA next to The Sherman Theater who owns the building. The Living Room is a non-profit artspace and community hub featuring live music, performance, and other events in an intimate setting at affordable prices. Please Explore The Living Room Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Living-Room/123978921059378 for more information on The Living Room, all they have to offer, and how to be a part of it all.

In addition to their exhibitions, The Living Room presents a weekly Open Mic Nite which occurs every Sunday Evening beginning at 7pm. Musicians, Poets, Writers, and anyone who would like to share their talents with an eagerly accepting audience are welcomed to participate. There is occasionally a featured band or performer scheduled that enhances the enjoyment of the event. You can learn more about The Living Room Open Mic Nite Series on it’s Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/OpenMicAtTheLivingRoom?ref=ts&fref=ts.

The 2014 Pocono Raceway Festival

The Sherman Theater www.facebook.com/ShermanTheater?ref=ts&fref=ts held their 6th Annual Pocono Raceway Festival throughout the town of Stroudsburg, PA on Saturday June 7th to celebrate the approach of the upcoming Pocono 400 NASCAR Race which is part of their Sprint Cup Series.  The event was sponsored by Kalahari Resorts and Conventions of the Poconos www.facebook.com/kalahariresorts which is a resort designed to reflect the flavor of African Plains that will be locating their operation in the Monroe County, PA area in 2015. Activities were plentiful throughout the day and were focused throughout the Main Street area of the town which was blocked off from automobile traffic and was filled with pedestrians, vendors, musicians, and a carnival that included a Ferris wheel and other rides.

I arrived in town an hour or two before the festival began and gained the opportunity to explore the wonders found in the produce and other offerings presented at the weekly Farmers’ market held around the Courthouse Square area of the town. The market is operational every Saturday morning featuring items from local farmers, bakeries, and businesses including The Daily Bakeshop from Mountainhome, PA www.dailybreadbakeshop.com, Pocono Limited Winery from Stroudsburg, PA www.poconolimitedwineryonline.com, and The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resorts in Shawnee on Delaware, PA www.facebook.com/shawneeinnresort who were there to share their wares and provide delicious samplings of their culinary delights while children played among the statuesque cannons created to memorialize the citizens of the area who have fallen in wars past.

After my visit to the market, I spotted Airbrush Artist Peter Ambush who was standing outside The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center www.facebook.com/poconoartscouncil creating an image upon a canvas. He was one of the center’s featured artists for the month of June and the Artists’ Reception focusing upon their work was scheduled to take place later that day. The artists sharing the galley with Mr. Ambush for its June exhibition  are Christine Medley and Ralph White and the winners of the 2014 PoconoArts Members’ Exhibition. I wasn’t sure if the plentiful events of the day would allow me to attend the reception so I ventured inside the gallery to view the work. The work proved to be as captivating as it was varied and I recommend visiting the center to experience the work as many of the pieces presented touches the soul of those who peer into its depth. The exhibition will continue to be on display until June 30th.

I eventually left The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center and made my way to the festival. I didn’t have far to walk as I was immediately met with a plethora of sound coming from the abundance of bands preparing to perform their sets upon the many stages placed throughout Stroudsburg, PA’s Main Street area. While I saw few of what might be considered “Race cars,” I did manage to spy a number of cars whose sporty featured created an interest from those who peeked through their windshields to imagine themselves in their interiors. I, myself, envisioned an excursion along a scenic vista somewhere along the Californian coast with a decadent woman indigenous to the region’s hedonistic culture moving auspiciously toward me while seated wantonly by my side. But, I digress.

I moved from the cars that were on display to partake the sight of sculpted Elephants stationarily roaming the streets as passerbys stopped to have their picture taken by staff members from Kalahari Resorts who were dressed in safari gear. The Pachydermian pleasure embodied in the countenance of those who posed for images to be shared with their friends and family members whom they could relay tales of their jungle adventures with some photographic validity brought a smile to many of the faces belonging to the spectators who viewed the joyful stampede of dreamers. I reluctantly moved from the spot to explore the many offerings presented by the merchants who had set up shop for the day.

These merchants included Dead Head Gifts from Luzerne, PA www.facebook.com/DeadAheadGifts who offered a variety of Tie Dyed apparel along with incense and jewelry reminiscent of the 1960s. Beside their tent, Jazz Saxophonist Adam Neiwood and Percussionist Blake Flemming set up their instruments and began to play an extended improvised composition that flooded the thoughts of those who passed by with a series of extraneous measures filled with notes designed to heighten their perceptions of reality through their confused associations. It was one of those wow experiences that proved to be prevalent during the day.

Other merchants who were present that day included Zuzu Confectionery www.facebook.com/zuzu.confectionery?fref=ts whose prize winning chocolate and fruitful delight pleased the palates of all who partook of their delectable morsels, The Saw Creek Soap Company www.facebook.com/sawcreeksoap who offer a variety of scented soaps made with natural ingredients, and Master’s Gutter Shield Systems www.facebook.com/BestGutterGuard who offers ways to make maintaining a home easier. While many more merchants set up booths throughout the festival grounds, other partook of a certain mobility in order to gain more contact with festival goers. These businesses included Ahh…Sheri Empanadas www.ahhsheri.com whose stuffed pastries are made from Artisan Flours with no GMO, Servo’s Computer Doctors www.facebook.com/pages/Servos-Computer-Doctors/131044033655475 who offer a number of services in repairing or maintaining computers to they’ll operation at their maximum capacity.

Art groups also shared their endeavors during the festival. These included The Theater Studio who are associated with The School of Visual and Performing Arts www.schoolofvisualandperformingarts.org who will premier their new art gallery on Saturday June 21st with their exhibition titled, “An Artistic Movement,” The Pocono Black Box Theater www.facebook.com/thepoconoblackboxtheater who presents a variety of concerts and theatrical productions, The Altar www.facebook.com/TheAltarStudios who provide those who are seeking to enhance their for with body art an opportunity to do so, and Rockn Willys’ Tea and Hookah Lounge (aka The Happy Pipe) www.facebook.com/pages/Rockn-Willys-Tea-Hookah-Lounge/272837069403557 who provides those who enters their domain an opportunity to enjoy the art of relaxation. There were also a number of non profit organizations who encouraged those who attended the festival to reveal their better natures in providing aid in their worth while endeavors.

These non profit organizations included The Pocono Parents of Down Syndrome (PPODS) who serves as a support group for families and intervals who are living with the condition. They also work to reveal the abilities individuals with Down Syndrome have and how they can contribute their skills in ways that are meaningful to both the community and themselves. Their 6th Annual Buddy Walk/Family Fun Day is scheduled to take place on Saturday September 27th during the 2nd Annual Buddy Ride at The Dansburry park in East Stroudsburg, PA.  The group meets at The DES office the 4th Thursday of the month. Please explore their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/ThePPODS for more information.

Along with the offerings from merchants, artists, and non profit organizations, there was music. The festival provided three stages upon which musicians filled every conceivable musical need a festivalgoer could have. The first stage was located near the corner of the town’s 6th and Main Street. It featured Randy Bigness www.randybigness.com and Friends which included Forbidden Dreams www.facebook.com/Forbiddendreammusic. Except for the hard core earth shaking sounds of Forbidden Dreams that moved their audience deeper into the multilayered echoes embodied in every note they played, the majority of the performances reflected the bluesy ballsiness commonly associated with the qualities found in Mr. Bigness’ performances. This kick ass I don’t give a shit style delighted the crowd who lived each day to share the sentiments Mr. Bigness and his friends emanated throughout the day.

The second stage of the festival was located between the town’s 6th and 7th Streets in the alley where the Music in The Park Series takes place. A number of bands and musicians performed throughout the day but, unfortunately, I was unable to experience them all. These included The Juggernaut String Band www.facebook.com/JuggernautStringBand and Brian Xander www.reverbnation.com/brianxander. However, I did manage to catch the straight forward performance given by Kenny Scharlett www.facebook.com/KennyScharlattMusic of some simple country songs, the superbly crafted compositions rendered by the extraordinary Christian Porter www.facebook.com/christianportermusic, and Woodrow www.facebook.com/wearewoodrow who is a duet consisting of Theresa Ratliff on vocals and Brian Bramkamp on vocals and guitar and has performed in a variety of venues include The Sherman Theater’s Living Room during their weekly Open Mic Nites www.facebook.com/OpenMicAtTheLivingRoom which are held on Sunday evenings.

The third stage was located in Front of the Sherman Theater near the 5th street intersection. Again, I was unable to catch all of the performances that day which included Mike Miz and High Strung but I did experience The Ryan Alan Band www.facebook.com/theryanalanband whose kick ass country music pleased the crowd, The Quimby Mountain Band www.facebook.com/quimbymtnband who also thrilled the audience with their no nonsense approach to their straight forward tunes, Joey and the T-Birds www.facebook.com/pages/Joey-and-the-T-Birds/154428035574 whose memorable melodies brought a newness to the nostalgic elements of the songs they composed so long ago, and Bruce in The USA who is a Bruce Springsteen tribute band that capture all the magic the famous musician and his E Street band became loved for.

In addition to the music and other happenings taking place during the festival, a carnival offering rides to children of all ages was present throughout the day. Many screams were heard as thrill seekers grew closer to their hysterical destinations while being swung into the air or being placed in horizontal orbits at dizzying speeds. Damn, it was fun. You’ll find more photographs taken during my day at the festival in the Pocono Raceway Festival 2014 Gallery at  www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152489653940421.1073741900.636000420&type=1.

The 2014 Annual Pocono Raceway Festival was presented as a tribute to the late Doctor Joseph Mattioli who was the founder of The Pocono Raceway which is located in Long Pond, PA.  The Raceway began in 1968 as a three-quarter mile track and later expanded in 1971 to a two and one-half mile track which accommodated 500 mile races such as the one presently presented by NASCAR. Due to many mistakes in its construction which led to some very serious financial difficulties, the raceway was closed but was later reconstructed during the 1990s. In spite of the current energy crisis in which oil and gasoline continues to be depleted at alarming levels, the Raceway continues to entreat automobile racing fans throughout the area and beyond. You can learn more about The Pocono Raceway by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/poconoraceway.