Thursday, May 30, 2013

Moe Jammin’ in May

As the unseasonably chilled temperatures engulfed a gathering eager to share their musical talents, “Moe'st Everything Muse” in Stroudsburg, PA opened its doors on Saturday May 25th to hold the fourth of their monthly series of Open Jam Nites. It was which began earlier this year and has thrived since then. The shop is owned by musician Moe Altamuro who served as host to the several musicians who have come to share their talents for the evening.

The warmth found in the words of Moe’s welcome to the sizable gathering was echoed in the loving d├ęcor of the venue. It’s intimacy and home like environment has a calming effect upon those whose hectic week often creates a overwhelming sensation of incompleteness. The interconnection shared throughout the evening between friendships newly formed or established over the years filled the holes of many lives.

The event contained a mixture of original compositions along with a number of songs created by established artists as musicians came to bless the mic with their talents. These musicians included the band named “Blind Men Driving” whose solid instrumentals complimented the lyrics they phrased and a young woman named Emily who nervously played “Carry On Wayward Son” upon her trombone. The song originated from the progressive rock group who is currently known as Kansas and was presented on their 1976 album titled, “Leftoverture.” The encouragement of the gathering enabled her to play a good portion of the song until the shyness of youth overwhelmed her endeavors. She was welcomed back to her place in the audience in the spirit of love the embodied the crowd.

Although there was a variety in the music presented, the overall flavor of the evening was related to the Christian faith. This was reinforced by Moe who has clearly dedicated his life and all his endeavors (including the Open Jam Nites) to the teachings found within the Judeo/Christian Scriptures known commonly as the Bible. Those members of the gathering who subscribe to another faith might have felt a bit out of place at first by what was shared so fervently but the love that transcends all faiths was very much prevalent in the event and by those who share in its opportunity to be enlivened by some very good music. You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during the Saturday May 25th Open Jam Nite in the Moe'st Everything Muse 2013 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151621584515421.1073741830.636000420&type=1.

Moe'st Everything Muse is located on Ann Street in Stroudsburg, PA near the Ribbon Factory outlet. Their Open Jam Nite is held the last Saturday of the month with the next event taking place on Saturday June 29th beginning at 8pm. All are welcomed to come and share their musical talents or to partake of the event as a member of the audience.

In addition to the Open Jam Nites, Moe'st Everything Muse offers a variety of musical instruments to be purchased or traded. They also buy musical instruments from those who wish to sell them. Moe'st Everything Muse also offers the music lovers in the community lessons, a rehearsal space, and repairs to broken instruments. You’ll be able to learn more about Moe'st Everything Muse and every thing they offer by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/moesteverything?ref=ts&fref=ts.

A Pallete in Bloom

A wise and wonderful woman recently wrote upon her face book wall, “Welcome to the land where you can get sunburn and frostbite in the same week.” The land she was referring to is that associated with the Pocono region that is located in Monroe County, PA. Her words proved their validity as the unseasonable chilled temperatures of the memorial day weekend lingered along the 50 degree mark inspiring those who had put away their winter garb to retrieve the restricting material and place them once again upon their form. It was under these meteorological conditions did The Gallery at Pocono Community Theater in East Stroudsburg, PA hold their Artists’ Receptions in the front and back galleries of the venue on Saturday May 25th.

However, as soon as one walked through the glass doors leading into the theatre’s lobby, a feeling of reassurance that Spring and even Summer will eventually become a consistent guest in our daily lives made itself know through the beautiful arrays of flowers depicted in the theatre’s photographic exhibitions. The exhibition presented in their lobby (front gallery) was titled, “A Pallete of Petals” featuring the works of James Chesnick. The exhibition presented in the hallway leading to their second and third screening rooms was titled “In Bloom” featuring the works of Cortney Torres. Both of the exhibitions were a welcomed site as more than a few of the many who arrived to experience the work eagerly removed their heavy coats in order to frolic freely among the fields of flora.

Although some may be quick to say a picture of a flower is, after all, a picture of a flower, a subtle difference of approach in presenting their horticultural subjects could be seen between the two photographers. Mr. Chesnick presents the boldest aspects of the specimens he captures within his camera by placing the majority of the images on large canvases demanding those who nonchalantly walk through the lobby toward the film of their choice to stop and consider their aroma even if it can’t be sensed through to conventional senses. In contrast, Ms. Torres entices those who venture down the hall to see their selected film into the smaller frames in order to minutely explore the intricate details of each aspect of the floral design. This is especially true of those images presented in black and white in which the absence of color highlights each strand and fiber of the plant to the point where the imagination ventures beyond the beginnings of its genesis. More work created by James Chesnick can be viewed at www.carzwellco.com while more images created by Courtney Torres can be found at www.facebook.com/corttphotog.

During the receptions, the images upon the theatre’s walls pollinated those who viewed them inspiring a great number of conversations to blossom forth. The true essence found in the warmth of the season made its way around the room and into the hearts of many who were present. This inner beauty was reciprocally reflected in the images not only within the photographs but also in one another as the afternoon progressed. It was good to feel it. You’ll find more photographs taken during the receptions in The Pocono Community Theater (PCT) 2013 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151611158600421.1073741828.636000420&type=1.

The Exhibitions continues until July 14th. Their next exhibitions will take place from July 14th and continue until September 8th. In addition to hosting art exhibits, The Pocono Community Theater presents a variety of films both popularly current as well revivals of those films released in the past. They also host special events such as their Book Club which explore novels that have been adapted to the screen and are currently being shown. Please Explore The Pocono Community Theater Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/PoconoCommunityTheater?ref=ts&fref=ts for more information.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Graduation for the Divine and Others

The Lancaster Theological Seminary held their 188th Anniversary Commencement Service at The Church of the Apostles United Church of Christ in Lancaster, PA on Saturday May 18th. A multitude of relatives and friends of the service’s participants gathered as the scholars who have earned their masters degrees in areas relating to the many theological dimensions of faith received their honors. Excitement and pride filled the sanctuary and the first notes of the organ prelude as performed by Daryl Hollinger (Dean of the Chapel and Seminary Organist) touched the air to signal the beginning of the ceremony was soon at hand.

When the long awaited processional hymn titled, “Praise My Soul” by Donald Paul Hustad was played, the congregation eagerly arose to not only honor the service but to catch a glimpse of the graduate whom they have loved for a significant portion of their lives as he or she walked the aisle to take their place before the church’s altar. Many held their breathes during those moments while others searched for the handkerchiefs and tissues they thought were placed in a easily accessible spot but have forgotten where they were as the emotions of the day overwhelmed them.

Once seated, Carol Lytch (the Seminary’s President) rose to the podium in order to welcome the gathering to the service. Her words were followed by an invocation given by Anabel Proffitt (Associate Professor of Educational Ministries) which was followed by a greeting from the board of trustees as represented by their Chair Dr. Richard Kratz. As he concluded his words, the hymn titled, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was sung.

However, due to some miscalculation, the entire hymn wasn’t included in the otherwise well designed program for the event. Many followed the suggestion to utilize the church’s hymnal where the entire composition was revealed. Some didn’t. So, in keeping with my practice whenever I’m in a religious gathering and I have difficulty following the lyrics of a hymn, I began to replace the unknown words with those written by Robert Plant for the song titled, “Stairway to Heaven.” One of the graduates heard me and gave me a smiling eye.

As the final note of the gathering hymn grew silent, a number of commencement prizes were distributed by Anne Thayer (Paul and Minnie Diefenderfer Professor of Mercersburg and Ecumenical Theology and Church History). They included The Raymond W. Albright Prize in History, the Unitarian Universalist Preaching Prize, and many others. This was followed by a presentation of the Class of 2013’s Gift to the Seminary which was presented by Class Gift Committee member John Folk who was among those receiving their Master in Divinity Degree that day. This was followed by a presentation honoring the seminary’s alumni who were represented by Paul Eyer of the class of 2006. When called upon to do so, those who have graduated throughout the years of the institution’s existence stood as the applause they received made the air they breathed while within the sanctuary a little bit sweeter.

It was soon after the applause ended that the speaker for the event was introduced by Frank Stalfa (Professor of Theology, Dean of Students, and a member of the class of 1983). This was followed by a scriptural reading read by Lee C. Barrett III (Mary B. and Henry P. Stager Chair in Theology, Professor of Systematic Theology). It was taken from verses 17 - 24 contained in the 11th chapter of a document known as “The Epistle to the Roman” written circa 55 CE in Roman Corinth by the Christian Saint named, “Paul.” The entire document is found in the Judeo/Christian collection of books known as the Bible #(a word translated from the Koine Greek meaning “The Books”) which contains the literature, history, and teachings relating the Hebrew Culture and its faith.

The Address for the event was given by Jill Edens of the United Church of Chapel Hill and was titled, “Having Faith in the Faith of Others.” In her talk, she related her times in upward bound when seemingly insurmountable obstacles stood before her but the faith of others in her ability to overcome such challenges encouraged her to believe in something that was beyond her beliefs and enabled her to accomplish wonderful things. Those who heard her words in their ears and hearts were also encouraged to go beyond what they know and trust in the faith of others when theirs are lacking so they can do even greater things throughout their lives and ministries.

The resonance of these words still echoed as the Litany/Prayer for the students were led by Lance Mullins with responses to his word given by the Graduates, the Faculty, Administrators, Staff, and Spiritual Guides along with the Friends and Family of the Graduates. This was followed by the presentation of Candidates and the Conferring of Degrees by Carol Lynch (the Seminary’s President), David Mellott (Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dean of the Seminary, and Assistant Professor of Practical Theology), Dr. Richard Kratz (Chair the Seminary’s Board of Trustees), and Valerie Bridgeman (Associate Professor of Hebrew Scriptures/Homiletics and worship and scholar of Theology and the arts). It was a time many have awaited for many years.

A number of students received the Master of Divinity Degree. Although the amount of names are too many to list, I shall mentioned that my nephew, Thomas D. Busteed (who also served in the Senior Skit Committee who performed during a separate event from the commencement service) was among the happy recipients. This was also true of his life partner, John Folks, who also received the Certificate in Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Along with the students who received their Master of Divinity Degree, there were others who received degrees in Master of Arts (Religion) and Doctor of Ministry. There were also honors bestowed upon students for Specialization in Spiritual Direction.

The grand ceremony ended and the Sending Hymn titled, Siyahmba (We are Marching in the Light of God) was sung and followed by a charge to the graduates and benediction given by Carol Lytch (the Seminary’s President). The Commence Service ended with the singing of the Recessional Hymn written by Michael Burkhardt titled, “Now We Thank We All Our God.” Many watched as their friends and family members moved up the aisle leaving one sanctuary in order to enter another filled with a renewed love for them as hugs were given and pictures were taken. You’ll find more of the pictures I took during the event in the Special Events Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151513384020421.546231.636000420&type=1.

The Lancaster Theological Seminary is located in Lancaster, PA and was formed in 1825. The graduate school offers to educate and strengthen Christian leaders for congregations and other vocations serving church and society. The institution seeks to maintain an environment in which students are both encouraged and challenged in their beliefs. Their programs are designed to integrate intellectual, spiritual, and vocational learning. The Lancaster Theological Seminary is affiliated with the United Church of Christ. You may learn more about The Lancaster Theological Seminary and all it has to offer by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/lancasterseminary.

Too Human at The Bookhouse

The Eastern Monroe Public Library in Stroudsburg, PA presented an installment of their BookHouse Concert Series on Friday May 17th featuring the musical duo of Ellen Schwartz and Rodger Bruno who are best known as “Too Human.” During the course of the evening, they were joined by Upright Bass Player Chris Conte who arrived some time after the concert began due to being stuck in traffic. Together, the trio created a night filled with musical delights with songs recalling nostalgic dreams as well as forming new memories for all to enjoy.

While the majority of the songs Too Human performed originated from other artists, their musical interpretation of them brought a new life into each piece. This was particularly true of the song titled, “Sentimental Journey” whose score was written by Les Brown and Ben Homer with lyrics written by Bud Green. The song was made popular in the 1940s by songstress Doris Day and became her first number one hit lasting 23 weeks on the Billboard’s charts. The group’s rendition of the familiar melody allowed those who have heard it numerous times before to travel down avenues exploring aspects of the work previously undiscovered.

Too Human also performed a number of pieces originating from Ms. Schwartz and Mr. Bruno. Each of these original compositions offered listeners a melody that embraced the memories yet to be formed and were sung with an earthy clarity allowing every nuance of the song to be partaken of in the here and now. The combination of the music and lyric embodied a harmonious balance so intrinsic one could not avoid becoming enhanced by it.

Throughout the concert, stories relating to the songs and the memories of how they touched the performers’ lives were seamlessly woven into their presentation. These verbal revelations mingled so well with those shared through the music and lyrics of a song one often found oneself thoughtfully wondering where a story ended and a song began. This further enhance the experiential journeys many were pleased to take while in the company of Too Human and their guest Chris Conte. You’ll find more photographs taken during the concert in the EMPL 2013 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151585206515421.1073741827.636000420&type=1.

Ellen Schwartz and Rodger Bruno of “Too Human” are from New York and have both been interested in music from a very early age exploring a variety of musical genres and instruments. They became professional songwriters while in Los Angeles and were members of the staff of Warner/Chappell Music. However, their experiences in the corporate world of music creation inspired them to explore different approaches to song writing and music which made them “Too Human” for the mainstream music industry. In addition to performing their original and well established compositions, Ellen Schwartz and Rodger Bruno creates music for independent films under their company name, “Boenel Productions.” You can learn more about Too Human, their music, and Boenel Productions by exploring their website at www.toohumanonline.com.

Too Human’s guest, Chris Conte, sites Nat "King" and Natalie Cole, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Chet Baker, and many other iconic performers considered to be part of “The Great American Song Book.” Chris has played with the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra, and has served as Acting Principal Bassist for the Altoona Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of the Alleghenies, and the Bedford Symphony Orchestra. He has also created The Chris Conte Trio along with Dan Brandl on piano and Chris Johnson on drums. You can learn more about Chris Conte and his musical endeavors by exploring his website at www.chriscontemusic.com.

The Eastern Monroe Public Library (aka The Hughes Library) Bookhouse Concert Series take 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 include 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 programs designed to provide a venue for literary and musical events which are outside of the commercial and literary mainstream.

The next BookHouse Concert will feature a solo theatrical performance given by Cedric Liqueur exploring the life of Leroy “Satchel” Page on Friday June 21st beginning at 7:30pm with the doors opening at 7pm. Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted. Refreshments will 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.

Poison Delivered in Four Drops

On Thursday May 16th, the student theatrical club of East Stroudsburg University of PA (ESU) known as Stage II and Shivering Fish Productions presented it’s first public showing of the film titled, “Four Drops Of Poison” in the Dale Snow Theatre located within the campus’ Fine Arts Building. The film contains a series of vignettes exploring the underground aspects of society. The film was written and directed by ESU alumni Albert Shivers and the screening included a “Talk Back” session in which the modest sized audience who attended event would have the opportunity learn more about the film and the creative processes it employed from the cast and director.

The first vignette was titled, “Poison Ivy” and dealt with prostitution aalong with the effects it has upon the women who participate in the profession. It starred Leanna Hines and featured Mary Dennis, Aaquilah Lewis, Brandon Cabrera, and William Heckler. The vignette began with a montage sequence depicting the seedier and dark side of prostitution.

The vignette continued with a conversation between two prostitutes sharing the woes of their profession. Unfortunately, I found the dialogue to be too well structured to be natural and this reminder that the words spoken were written down beforehand took away the believability of the characters and their experiences as portrayed in the film. This also diminished the thematic impact of the vignette making it resemble an unsuccessful hybrid of a Pam Grier Black Exploitation film and an ABC After School Special.

The second vignette was titled, “The Blister Sisters” which chronicled in documentary style the lives of two step sisters living in upstate NY. The sisters were played by (I believe) Stephanie Carifi and Ashley Dunbar. This portion of Four Drops Of Poison proved to be the best of the vignettes as the dialogue and monologues flowed naturally from the two principle characters as well as the other actors appearing on film. This made the words they uttered and the stories they told captivating and poignant.

The third vignette was titled, “Snot-Grove” which was a dark comedy exploring the lives of a couple consisting of a young Jewish woman as portrayed by Ellyse Burnett and an African American man as portrayed by Gabryal Rabinowitz and their mutual love for cocaine. The film also featured an on screen debut of Bernie Driller as the woman’s father. The beginning of the film succeeded in capturing the attention of the audience through the one sided dialogue Ms. Burnette had with a paper bag. However, the dialogue which ensued between her and the other characters (like in the first vignette) seemed too scripted to be believed as natural. Still, it had its funny moments and was somewhat enjoyable to view.

The final vignette was titled, “Li Ouanga” and presented a love story centered around a cult or tribe who practice human sacrifice and cannibalism. It starred Anissa Smith and featured Gillian Nichole and Andrew Confiar. The story evolved around the love between a male member of the tribe and it’s priestess queen who becomes impregnated by her lover. Following the example of the Praying Mantis, the lover is sacrificed in order to be eaten. Although she carries out the ritual, her love for him lingers after his demise.

The dialogue in this portion of “Four Drops Of Poison” also felt scripted but, given the fact much of it pertained to the ritualistic ceremonies of the cult or tribe, the words spoken could be considered a bit more natural than the first and third segments of the film. Also, although some of narrative in this vignette may be considered a bit convoluted, it does have it’s touching aspects which makes it worthwhile viewing.

In fact, in spite of the flaws I found in the dialogue mentioned in many of the film’s vignettes, the film is worth seeing as it is an early creative attempt by some very talented individuals to explore the art of filmmaking. It is hoped these individuals will continue making films and grow in their experiences. I, personally, look forward to viewing Stage II and Shivering Fish Productions’ next collaborative endeavors. The running time if the film “Four Drops of Poison” is 78 minutes.

After the screening of “Four Drops of Poison” concluded, a “Talk Back” session took place in which the audience could share their thoughts and questions regarding the film. Many avenues of inquiry were explored as revelations such as how the filming of the “Poison Ivy” section of the film had to be done clandestinely as the ESU campus police were very suspicious of the legality of their actions. You’ll find more Photographs taken during the screening of “Four Drops of Poison” and the “Talk Back” Session that followed in the ESU 2013 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151583225905421.1073741826.636000420&type=1.

Shivering Fish Productions is a production company which began on February 16th, 2010. The company constantly seeks to explore new creative avenues yet undiscovered in the performing arts which include Cinema, Theatre, and Music. You can learn more about Shivering Fish Productions, the film “Four Drops of Poison,” and all they have to offer the creative community by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/shiveringfishproductions.

Stage II is a student theatre organization found on the campus of the East Stroudsburg University (ESU) of PA. The organization presents a number of productions to be enjoyed by the campus and surrounding communities including their student directed productions of one act plays. All students of ESU who have an interest in the art of theatre are welcomed to join regardless of their selected major. You can learn more about Stage II, it’s contributions the ESU theatrical community, and all it has to offer theatre lovers in general by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/ESU-Stage-II/219702471419778?fref=ts.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Roll em Forwardian

A gathering of community members interested in presenting The 2nd Forwardian Film Festival met at The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Poconos (UUFP) in Stroudsburg, PA on May 15th to explore all the possibilities of how the event could best serve those who love the art of film. Although the attendance of the gathering was minimal, it proved to be a step forward toward a great adventure. A small step, but a step forward nonetheless.

Ideas and thoughts were shared between Jody Singer of Mountainside Arts, Paul Adam Smeltz of The Forwardian Arts Society, and Marylou Tomlinson of The UUFP who just happened by. Arline M. Smeltz was also present. It was the first gathering with several more to take place prior to the event which is scheduled to occur on Saturday August 31st, 2013 showcasing the talents of local film makers with art, music, and other festival related events taking place throughout the day. The Forwardian Arts Society is presenting the Festival in collaboration with The UUFP.

The next gathering is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday May 29th at 7pm. The location of the gathering is yet to be determined. The gathering invites and welcomes all film lovers to attend. Those who would like to help plan the festival but are unable to attend our scheduled gatherings may contact The Forwardian Arts Society at Forwardian@hotmail.com to meet individually. You’ll find more photographs taken during the first gathering for The 2nd Forwardian Film Festival in The Forwardian Arts Society 2013 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151421648390421.539635.636000420&type=1

The Forwardian Arts Society is a fellowship for people who love the arts seeking to support and encourage creative individuals and groups as they go forward toward their dreams. The group does this through their website and popular social networks by posting articles and images of the art related events they experience, sharing information about art related events, opportunities, and educational experiences with the public, and inviting art lovers to participate in events they create such as their Forwardian Film Festival, Forwardian Music and Art festivals, and their literary and arts magazine titled, “Forwardian.” You can learn more about The Forwardian Arts Society, its literary and arts magazine, its festivals, and all they offer to the creative community by exploring their website at www.theforwardianartssociety.com or by visiting their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Forwardian-Arts-Society/91146283760.

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Poconos (UUFP) is located at 940A Ann St. in Stroudsburg, PA is a liberal congregation who (as Unitarian Universalists) encompasses many faith traditions which include Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Paganism, and others encouraging individuals to freely to search for truth which could be found upon many spiritual paths. Services are held every Sunday at 10am with a hospitality hour providing an opportunity for attendees to share thoughts and food with one another following the service. You can learn more about The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Poconos (UUFP) and what they have to offer by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/UnitarianUniversalistFellowshipOfThePoconos?fref=ts.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Springing in COTA

The Celebration of the Arts (COTA) held its general meeting at The Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap, PA on Monday May 13th to plan their 36th Annual Jazz and Arts Festival scheduled to be held September 6th - 8th. Those who arrived at the Inn prior to its doors being opened were met by an unseasonably chilly day. However, the inner warmth one felt as friends made throughout the many years the festival has been in existence comforted the shivering bodies until entry to the beloved building was gained.

Once inside, the warmth between friends increased as reflections of past festivals became part of many conversations. These intercourses gently led to the monthly meeting’s commencement as thoughts of how to allow the festival to become even better were shared and new additions making allowing the festival to remain a vibrant event for jazz and art lovers to enjoy were announced and explored. One of these additions included the announcement that COTA is presently searching for an artist to utilize their creative gifts in designing this year’s poster. A sense of excitement filled the room as many imagined how the festival would be reflected in the wonderful variety of designs inspired by how the event is seen through an artist’s eye.

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 June 10th 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 a volunteer are provided. You’ll find more photographs taken during the Monday May 13th meeting in The COTA Meetings 2013 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151647484515421.1073741833.636000420&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/groups/cotajazz/?fref=ts or call 570-424-2210 to learn how you can become a volunteer and to learn for more information all about COTA has to offer.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Castle with Jasmine Delights

During the early evening hours of a beautiful Spring day, one could not help but to be captivated by the array of freshly bloomed flowers one comes across as the climate becomes more conducive to the colorful displays found throughout the natural world. This sense of wonder and appreciation extended itself on Saturday May 11th as The Castle Inn Gallery in Delaware Water Gap, PA opened its doors to greet the numerous visitors who partook of a collection of paintings created by Jasmine Abrams. The mixture of still life images of fruit and flowers embraced by the mediums of oil, acrylic, and water added to the Spring like flavor of the day while creating a bouquet for the soul.

There are many artists whose works moves one to delve within the darkest recesses of their essence to discover the quantum arrays of their most basic truths. Yet, there are other artists who simply seek to capture the beauty of the every day world while reminding us how easy it is to smile at the life we are part of. Ms. Abrams seems to be very comfortable being counted as an artist among those described in the later category of these artistic approaches and the comforting touches of colors she places upon the canvases soothes those who view them while bringing a sensation of peace within the heart.

These are primarily quiet works with some containing an underlining vibrancy which subtly excites the viewer in such a way it’s hardly noticed until the duration of one’s visit to the gallery has expired. It lingers with one until an unexpected moment arrives when one realizes a stirring in a memory holding a image of a flower as interpreted by the artist lovingly in the palm of an imaginary hand. One can almost whiff the fragrances as we spend the day end falling asleep allowing their scent to permeate a dream. At least, this was my experience. You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during the reception in The Castle Inn 2013 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150811988690421.470255.636000420&type=1.

Jasmine Abrams was born and raised in New York City, NY and showed an interest in the art at an early age. She was known to draw for hours the many objects she discovered throughout her days. Although she has received some formal training in the arts, Ms. Abrams considers herself a self taught artist who has been awarded for her talents in a number of competitions throughout the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In addition to demonstrating her considerable creative talents upon canvases, Ms. Abrams utilizes her love for the art by teaching others to unleash their dreams through a brush or crayon or whatever tickles their fancies in her studio. You can learn more about Jasmine Abrams and her love for the arts by exploring her Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/Art-by-Jasmine-Abrams/224830047530851.

The exhibition featuring the work of Jasmine Abrams will be on display at The Castle Inn Gallery until May 30th. The next exhibit will feature the works of Susan Bradford and many of her friends. An Artists Reception is scheduled for Friday June 7th beginning at 5pm and will continue to be displayed at the gallery until June 30th. Please Explore The Castle Inn Gallery Facebook Page for more information at www.facebook.com/pages/Castle-Inn-Gallery/159174520808670.

The Castle Inn Gallery is found within The Castle Inn located in Delaware Water Gap, PA. It was built in 1906 and was the last of the great hotels to be built in area. It housed an ice cream parlor, a mosaic floor, bowling alleys, a pool, and a billiard parlor. Performances were presented which included those given by Opera legend Enrico Caruso, Marching Band Leader John Phillip Sousa, and Big Band Leader Fred Waring along with the Pennsylvanians. This all came to an abrupt end when fire touched the Inn during the 1970s and it laid dormant until 2005 when it was purchased by Theresa Veltri and Frank Paccione who continues their endeavors to bring the Inn back as an asset to the community and all who visit it. You’ll be able to learn more about The Shoppes at The Castle Inn and all they have to offer by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/historiccastleinn?ref=ts&fref=ts.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The 2013 ESU Spring Choral Concert

The East Stroudsburg University (ESU) of PA Music Department presented their Spring Choral Concert in The Cecilia S. Cohen Recital Hall which is located within the Fine and Performing Arts Center on Wednesday May 8th. The concert consisted of performances of a variety musical offerings presented by the university’s A Cappella Ensemble and its Concert Choir. Both presentations were pleasing to the ear as beautifully blended voices enhanced each piece.

The A Cappella Ensemble began the concert and was led under the direction of Associate Professor James Maroney. A quite hush filled the hall as the first utterances created by this group of talented singers began to emerge. The selections included “Te Quiero” composed by Alberto Favero as arranged by Liliano Cangiano and featured the voices of Marcus Howard, Shaun Coleman, Rebecca Lausch, and Paula Dixon who served as the work’s soloists.

Ms. Dixon also lent her profoundly beautiful voice to two additional selections which were performed. The first was a French Folk Song arranged by Frances Poilenc titled, “Margoton va t’a l’au.” The second selection was an American Folk Song arranged by Parker/Shaw titled, “Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier.” As the final selection to be performed by the A Cappella Ensemble approached, a pause in the concert ensued in order to present a number of students with some special awards and scholarships in recognition for their outstanding talents and contributions to the choral arts. After the ensemble’s performance concluded, a brief intermission took place.

The East Stroudsburg University’s Concert Choir consisting of students, faculty members, and those who dwell in the university’s surrounding  entered the hall. They were led under the direction of Associate Professor James Maroney and were accompanied by Pauline Fox who performed on piano and organ. From the first notes of the piece titled, “Hard Times Come Again No More” composed by Stephen Foster as arranged by Mark Keller to the lingering echoes heard as the final selection titled, “Make Our Garden Grow” from the Operetta titled “Candide” composed by Leonard Bernstein in 1956 and based upon the novella written in 1759 by Voltaire titled, “Candide, ou l’Optimisme (Candide or All for the Best) filled the auditory senses with its adieu, the recital hall’s capacity audience embraced the resonance of each musical offering with their soul.

Throughout the concert, there were a number of pieces which demonstrated the outstanding proficiency of the assembled singers. This included “Dulaman” composed by Michael McGlynn featuring Howard Marcus and David Yablonski who served as the composition’s soloists. A particularly challenging piece to vocalize was written by Australian Composer Sarah Hopkins titled, “Past Life Melodies” which she wrote to honor her departed father.

The later work was performed a cappella and utilized a number of vocal overtones interacting with one another creating a sacred quality transcending the ordinary sense of spiritual awareness. It’s intricate beauty entranced the audience who is more likely to feel the composition than to hear it. A few moments passed before the audience came back from the beyond and were able to express its appreciation for the journey the choir took them upon through their applause. You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during the East Stroudsburg University’s Spring Choral Concert in The ESU 2013 Gallery at  www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151583225905421.1073741826.636000420&type=1.

The East Stroudsburg University of PA Music Department next musical presentation will include their 26th Annual Spring Band Concert on Sunday May 12th featuring the University/Community Concert Band and the University Percussion Ensemble under the direction of Otis French and a Student Voice Recital on Tuesday May 14th. The next Choral Concert will be the Winter Choral Concert scheduled to take place on Wednesday December 4th at The Cecilia S. Cohen Recital Hall. Students and faculty along with members of the community are invited to participate. Rehearsals take place every Tuesday evening from 7:15pm until 9:15pm beginning Tuesday August 27th. Please Explore The ESU Vocal Performing Arts Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/ESU-Vocal-Performing-Arts/103816162994926 for more information.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Merry Merry OMN of May

On a beauteous Spring Day, the Living Room in Stroudsburg, PA once again opened its doors to present their weekly Open Mic Nite Series on Sunday May 5th. Crowds were gathered outside the venue. Not because they were waiting for its doors to be open, but because warmth of the day bade them to remain in it a while longer. Also, the chairs and couches which usually aligned the walls were misplaced and risers from the Artists’ Reception for the “Human Form” exhibition were there in their stead as the images from the exhibit remained hung so those who experienced the open mic could freely enjoy.

The mood prior to the signing in was a bit more relaxed than usual which could have been due to the desire of many to soak in the calming rays of an evening sun. Yet, as the signing up ceremony began, the eagerness to share a talent returned to the gathering in earnest as signature upon signature filled the spaces on the list in short measure. It was like a wisp of a breeze.

While waiting for the Open Mic Nite event to begin, several musicians took to the stage in order to practice their upcoming set. This preview was enjoyed by many who awaited the commencement of the event. The hour of 7pm arrived and the creative adventures begun.

Billy Mack (the evening’s long time host) was absent from this week’s event as he was out on the road sharing his newest CD with the many friends he has met in other areas of the country. However, Jessie Roth and the rapper known as A. J. served as host bringing their particular talents to the fore. A. J. introduced the evening by sharing his vocal magic while Jessie share poetry that saves us like a lover who makes it possible to love.

As their introductory talents help set the mood for the event concluded, A. J. and Jessie were followed by the first signed in performer of the evening. Christian Diana took the stage to bless the mic first with his poetry and then with some incredible songs played upon his Steel Guitar. He was followed by Brad B. who shared his vocal talents a cappella. He was followed by guitarist Kess who shared some songs with the gathering. Kess was followed by the poet Chicken Nuggex (aka Amy Swagg, Swag Amy, or Amy Burowski) who shared her words. Chicken Nuggex (aka etc. etc.) was followed by Guitarist Patrick who has been away from the Open Mics for a while and many rejoiced at his return to the venue.

Patrick was followed by the High Octane energy of Jesse Morales whose vocal vibrancy and Ukulele worked their magic of an inside job on the heart. Jesse was followed by Vid Larrison and A. J. who shared some Hip Hop magic as one improvised riff lead to another. They were followed by Guitarist Theo (aka Sunny Delight) who hasn’t performed during the Living Room Open Mic for a while but was soon welcomed back with open ears. After his performance, the guitarist Dee came on stage accompanied by A. J. who shared their talents with the audience.

Dee and A. J. were followed by Vinnie on Guitar and Vid on Drums. Together they presented another Kick Ass song from Johnny Cash reminiscent of the one they shared the previous week along with a version of the Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song “Free Bird” which was accompanied by the sounds of cats crying in the audience. Vinnie, Vid, and the free bird in a cathouse were followed by a poet named Brad who shared his words. Brad was followed Wilbium whose electronic musicalities enlivened the room as the assertion he won’t do what we tell him to do fed the rebellious nature of many in the audience. Wilbium was followed by the event’s co host Jessie Roth (aka J. R.) who performed an a cappella rendition of the song “Black Velvet” which was written by #Christopher Ward and David Tyson and originally sung and made popular by Alannah Myles. However, Ms. Roth’s version transcended the original as her inflections gave the song a deeper meaning.

Jessie was followed by a vocalist known as Liz who rarely appeared before the Living Room Open Mic gathering. Her performance echoed the affection many have for the rarities of life. Yet, those who have heard her in the past along with those who had experienced her talents that night felt a desire to transform the rareness of her visitations to a frequent familiarity. Liz was followed by a guitarist new to the gathering named Leah whose voice resonated among those who heard her in the most delightful of ways. Leah was followed by a guitarist named Nick whose songs touched a chord embodied in each ear and heart. The evening came to a conclusion with a poetic reading from a new comer to the venue named, “Connie” who explored the state of modern day Christianity and if the initiator of the faith would be welcomed to it. You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during the Sunday May 5th Open Mic Nite  in The Living Room 2013 Gallery Part 3 at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151625325480421.1073741831.636000420&type=1.

As many pondered the thoughts Connie raised while sharing their fond adieus with one another, the reflections of the night led the entire company to eagerly await the arrival of another installment of the Open Mic Series. The next installment of the Living Room Open Mic Nite series will take place on Sunday May 12th beginning at 7pm. Musicians, poets, writers, and anyone who would like to share something with an audience are welcomed to do so. The featured performer for the evening is yet to be announced. 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 is currently presenting their May exhibition titled, “The Human Form” featuring the work of local artists. The exhibition will be on display at The Living Room Gallery until May 30th. The Living Room is located on Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA next to The Sherman Theater who owns the building. 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.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

A Soho Coexistence

The Backstreet Studio and Art Gallerie (aka Soho in the Burg) held an Artists’ Reception on Saturday May 4th for their exhibition titled, “Coexist” featuring the work of Jean Benfante in their facilities at the Newberry’s building located in Stroudsburg, PA. Since my last visit to the gallery, a number of architectural and decorating changes had been made to the large space making it even more vast then before. These modifications served to enhance not only the venue but also served to bring validity to their claim of being Soho in the Burg as it did recreate the feel of the well known art district found in the lower Manhattan neighborhood of New York City, NY.

A large number of art lovers attended the Reception and were soon struck by the intricate beauty and depth of the work created by Ms. Benfante as a variety of styles and techniques of her endeavors intrigued many. One of these techniques consisted of presenting an image on paper utilizing oil crayons in which the texture of the paper used contributed to the manner in which the colors and other aspects of the image it contained were applied. In some cases, the application of colors upon the papered surfaces allowed for a certain ease in creating the image thus allowing its intrinsic beauty to come forth organically.

This process brought to mind how a sense of oneness can be developed between the artist and his/her work allowing the process of creativity to flow more smoothly from the soul and beyond. This approach not only enhances the ability of the artist but also those who experience the work as an internal communication takes place allowing one to see not only the image presented but to see a beauty within oneself more clearly than ever before. This sensation was keenly felt while being present in each of the pieces created by Ms. Benfante.

In addition to Ms. Benfante’s work, the creative endeavors of other artists could be found throughout the gallery. Those included pieces created by Steven Washington, Susan Molina-Washington, Andrei Protsouk, James Chesnick, Jim Smeltz, and many more. There were also a number of deftly crafted sculpted and photographic works created by the Gallery’s Owner and Curator Andrea Robbins Rimberg. Ms Rimberg was present throughout  the reception as was her well known effervescent energies which created an atmosphere of joy and delight in which those who attend the reception could breath in while allowing the qualities of the work they explored to create a place in their heart.

In addition to the stunning work surrounding those who entered the Gallery, a sense of calmness conducive to the reception were provided by artists in the creative disciplines of the musical and culinary arts. These individuals were Don Slepian whose gentle tone emanating from the instruments he utilized provided an echo of all the eye could see in the work presented in the gallery and Chef Guarino Cortese of Chef II Go whose masterfully created cuisine purposely reflected the work found throughout the gallery and were prepared while those who subtly drooled watched and waited until their palate could be adored with the flavors contained in each sampling of his art. Together, these two artists brought a taste and sound to the gallery experience which enhanced the memories of all who were there.

The “Coexist” Exhibition featuring the work of Jean Benfante continues at The Backstreet Studio and Art Gallerie in the Newberry’s Building in Stroudsburg, PA until May 28th. Their next exhibition will feature the work of Patricia A Griffin with an Artist’s Reception scheduled for Saturday June 1st beginning at 4pm. The exhibition will continued to be displayed until July 21st. You’ll find more photographs taken during the “Coexist” Artist’s Reception in The Stroudsburg Art District 2013 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151420282390421.539464.636000420&type=3.

The Backstreet Studio and Art Gallerie opened its doors to the public in April of 2012 and is owned by Andrea Robbins Rimberg. Prior to the establishment’s opening, Ms. Rimberg became well known for her creativity as many of her pieces were and continues to be presented in prestigious museums throughout the United States. She is also know for her undying dedication to the arts which she utilizes her exuberant energies to promote at every opportunity. Among her many positions serving in organizations and groups relating to the arts, she is the president of the Pocono Arts Council and the Arts and Photography Director of The Forwardian Arts Society literary and Art magazine titled, “Forwardian.”

The Backstreet Studio and Art Gallerie currently has facilities at the Newberry’s (aka J. J. Newberry’s) Building which was a national five and dime store chain which originated in Stroudsburg, PA in 1911 and closed during the 1990s. In addition to their exhibitions, the gallery provide art lovers an opportunity to discover and/or enhance their creative skills through a series of classes and workshops. The next of these workshops to be held at the gallery will be their Oil Painting Workshop led by Jim
Smeltz scheduled to be held on Tuesday May 7th. You can learn more about The Backstreet Studio and Art Gallerie, their facilities at The Newberry’s Building, and all it offers by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/BackstreetStudioAndArtGallerie.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

A Friday in a Castle

The Shoppes at The Castle Inn in Delaware Water Gap, PA presented the second installment of their monthly Indie First Fridays event on Friday May 3rd. The series, which began in April of 2013, consists of a variety of art, crafts, and music presented in an inviting atmosphere of which the venue has become well known for. Conversations filled the air echoing those that may have been shared long ago among the souls who walked through the majestic grandeur of the Inn’s halls throughout it’s historic presence in the area.

Music presented by Stan Stewart on guitar and vocals along with Matt Nonnemacher on percussion filled the gentle pauses found between the words shared among the sizable number of people in attendance. The songs they performed were well known to many and were considered very cool as they were remembered but hearing them played acoustically made them even cooler. All in all the sounds created by Stan and Matt allowed many to experience the ambiance of the event in its fullness.

The conversation and music shared throughout the evening was enhanced by the presence of the many artists and crafters whose love for their skills were on display upon tables and walls. The Castle Inn Gallery presented work created by a number of talents artists whose combined beauty made the space a haven for the heart. The Castle Inn Gallery will hold an Artist’s Reception featuring the work of Jasmine Abrams on Saturday May 11th beginning at 5pm. You’ll be able to learn more about the upcoming exhibit and the gallery  by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/Castle-Inn-Gallery/159174520808670.

Other artists and crafters participating in the event included Mandela designer Anita Bondi, Artist Susan Bradford, Jeweler Kim of Cups of Peace, Jeweler Joseph Zaky, Steve Wootton of True North Farm PA, and Pottery by Bahereh. There were many shoppes within the Castle Inn offering merchandize of fine qualities. One of which was Dirt Wares by Adon presenting pottery, jewelry, and clothing of a very earthy nature of which any old hippie or hippie wanna be (like me) would be happy to be adorned with.

In addition to the offerings shared by the artists and crafters, opportunities for the children who ventured in with their parents to explore their creative sides were provided. Watching the little ones taking crayon or marker in hand in order to manifest their imaginations Upon paper proved to be an enjoyable sight. This, combined with the conversation, artistry, culinary treats, and wine made the event a delightful one. You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during the May 3rd Indie First Friday in The Castle Inn 2013 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151630970105421.1073741832.636000420&type=1.

As mentioned earlier, the May 3rd Indie First Friday is presented within The Shoppes at The Castle Inn in Delaware Water Gap, PA the first Friday of the month. The next Indie First Friday scheduled to take place Friday June 7th beginning at 5pm. You’ll be able to learn more about The Indie First Fridays by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/IndieFirstFridays?ref=ts&fref=ts.

The Castle Inn in Delaware Water Gap, PA was built in 1906 and was the last of the great hotels to be built in area. It housed an ice cream parlor, a mosaic floor, bowling alleys, a pool, and a billiard parlor. Performances were presented which included those given by Opera legend Enrico Caruso, Marching Band Leader John Phillip Sousa, and Big Band Leader Fred Waring along with the Pennsylvanians. This all came to an abrupt end when fire touched the Inn in the 1970s and it laid dormant until 2005 when it was purchased by Theresa Veltri and Frank Paccione who continues their endeavors to bring the Inn back as an asset to the community and all who visit it. You’ll be able to learn more about The Shoppes at The Castle Inn and all they have to offer by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/historiccastleinn?ref=ts&fref=ts.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

You Say Banana and I Say…..

On Sunday April 28th, a (what people over the age of 50 would call) rambunctious gathering formed at The Living Room in Stroudsburg, PA who once again opened its doors to present their weekly Open Mic Nite Series. The mood of the gathering soon proved to be contagious as their collective excitement in participating filled the air effecting anyone who has the capability to breathe. And, what a wild night it became.

Laughter and music filled the venue as musicians and poets lined up to place their name upon the sign in sheet. The tempo of their songs and words peaked as the time arrived to make their participatory desires officially known. The list, as it frequently does, filled up in a matter of minutes leading to many tunings and practicing their performances.

Billy Mack (the evening’s host) took his customary spot behind the mic to welcome everyone to the event. The event distinguished itself from previous ones with the presence of a stage which was placed there from an event held at the venue the night before. No one bothered to take it down so it remained for the denizens of the Open Mic Nite to use. Billy sung some recently written songs from his recently released CD to the enjoyment of the group.

Billy was followed by a poet named, “Mike” who was new to the event. He shared the stage with his little sister Madison. The reading proved to be a meaningful beginning of the night as their mother looked on. As his reading concluded and the siblings left the stage, their mother had tears in her eyes and a quivering smile upon her lips.

Mike was followed by guitarist Eric Funn who sang a number of songs he had written during the week since his most recent performance at The Living Room. His performance inspired many to share in a dance which enhanced the sense of fun inherent in the songs. He was followed by guitarist Pennsylvania Steve Ferrari who performed an mixture of original pieces along those written by other artists. He was followed by Rick and Frank Mittchell (aka BBQ and Batt Opry) who were joined by Jason DeLima performing some hip hop including a vocal riff centering around the instructions to “Talk to Arthur.” They were followed by Guitarist Dee with a friend named Hope joining her on stage as support. They were followed by a poet whose name I’ve forgotten but whose words of the single poem she shared still lingers in my thoughts.

She was followed by Jason DeLima who returned to the stage to sing a number of original songs including one dedicated to a girlfriend who couldn’t be there as she was stuck in the future. Jason was followed by Jesse Morales who has become a favorite among the gathering as his energetic approach to the music he plays never fails to delight. He began his set with a poem and, between his songs, it was mentioned he and Billy Mack will join each other for a three week performance tour. After Jesse completed his set, the stage was prepared for the evening’s featured performers, Dan and Rachel, who traveled from Brooklyn, NY to be a part of the festivities.

Dan and Rachel Costello performed at The Living Room several months ago and their return was a treat for those who have experienced their wondrous show before. Those who weren’t there when they captured the imagination and laughter the first time they were there soon discovered why those who frequent the Living Room’s Open Mic Nite were applauding so enthusiastically when they were introduced. From the very first moments they took the stage their love in sharing the songs they were about to perform shown its light upon the entire community of friends.

The twisted melodies and lyrics blended together as their slightly off perspective of life and all its oddities were revealed. Smiles came upon the faces of those who embraced the humorous aspects of the performance while others shared a hearty laugh at the absurdities they encountered. They sang a number of songs from their most recent CD titled, “Damn Monsters” recorded on Kale Records as well as earlier works which included a song reciting a history of the Banana. You can learn more about the duo by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/danandrachelmusic?fref=ts.

Dan and Rachel were followed by Steel Guitarist Christian Diana who ended his enjoyable set with a poem. He was followed by a return of Rick Mitchell (aka BBQ) who performed alone on guitar with a voice illuminating the essence of each song he presented. He was followed by Poet Amy Burawski whose words flowed through the audience as she shared many connected with her memories which were added to those who heard them. She was followed Guitarist Vinnie who presents an Open Mic Nites at The Milford Borough Hall in Milford, PA. He was joined by Billy Mack on drums until Justin Rosario took over the sticks allowing Billy to add his voice to the songs. Some Kick Ass Johnny Cash was included in his repertoire. Yeah.

Vinnie was followed by Guitarist Keith Haynes (aka The Business Fairy) who was joined by Justin Rosario on Drums playing a set of soft songs with some of a faster tempo. He was followed by a duo new to the Living Room consisting of Mike on Guitar and Kate on vocals performing poetic screams and insightful murmurs from the heart. They were followed by Dave who sang a number of songs with Vinnie accompanying him on guitar. They were followed by Stan who shared some of his poetry.

Stan was followed by Justin Rosario who played a number of his songs on guitar while Sean Graham lent his vocal talents to them which allowed for a new interpretations of their essence to emerge allowing those familiar with Justin’s work to consider anew. Justin and Sean were followed by Brad who sang a cappella and he was followed by guitarist Liz Mills whose gentle voice brought an end to another installment of the Open Mic Series. You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during the Sunday April 28th Open Mic Nite  in The Living Room 2013 Gallery Part 2 at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151501176525421.545088.636000420&type=1 and in The Living Room 2013 Gallery Part 2 at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151625325480421.1073741831.636000420&type=1.

The next installment of the Living Room Open Mic Nite series will take place on Sunday May 5th beginning at 7pm. Musicians, poets, writers, and anyone who would like to share something with an audience are welcomed to do so. The featured performer for the evening is yet to be announced. 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 is currently presenting their April exhibition featuring the work of Amy Knopf, Marty Klotz, Gerald Kielpinski, and Joe Trovato. The exhibition will continue until April 30th. This exhibition will be followed by gallery’s first anniversary in which local artists are invited to participate in a group show which will have a theme of “The Human Form.” The exhibit’s Artists’ Reception will take place Saturday May 4th from 6pm until 10pm and will feature Nude Body Painting, music by The Current (formerly Dream of Fire), a Fashion Show, and a Drag Show. The exhibition will be on display at The Living Room Gallery until May 30th. The date designated for artists to drop off their work is Friday May3rd. The Living Room is located on Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA next to The Sherman Theater who owns the building. 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.

Play at Moe’s

In an area in what many consider to be the outskirts of Stroudsburg, PA, a music store named, “Moe'st Everything Muse” held an Open Mic Jam on Saturday April 27th. It was the third of a monthly series which began earlier this year and has thrived since then. The shop is owned by musician Moe Altamuro who served as host to the several musicians who have come to share their talents for the evening.

As one enters the shop and ascends the stairs leading the room where the event is held, one can’t help but take note how much like home it feels. The welcoming environment reminded me of times in my childhood when my mother, Grand Mother, sister, and I would travel to Philadelphia to visit my Great Grand Mother in her home. She had a huge staircase of which I was fascinated by. The stairs at Moe'st Everything Muse, although they were not as long as my Great Grand Mother’s (or perhaps the fact I’m a bit taller than I was at the age of 3 had something to do with my perspective regarding their size has changed) and their welcoming destination reminded me of them.

Anyways, the event began with Moe sharing a joyously cordial greeting with the gathering who filled the intimately sized room. He then introduced the first group of musicians to perform who were later named, “The Band with No Name.” It consisted of Tony and Robert on Guitar, and Sam on Keyboard. Moe served the group as its drummer until their regular drummer Dave arrived. The majority of the songs the group performed were written by Robert and Sam and were sewn together with a Christian theme. A number of pieces reflected the musical stylings found in rock music while others had the very profound sounds the genre known as soul music contains. I guess one could consider the gathering of musicians as a Rock and Soul Christian Band.

During the course of the evening, a camaraderie among music lovers was demonstrated as musicians supported other musicians as well as singers who came to bless the mic with their talents. These included vocalist Juan Marable who shared some songs relating to the Christian faith and a drummer known as Domenic. Moe returned to the mic several times to perform on guitar and lend his voice to the event. It all made for an enjoyable evening as meaningful words relating to the Christian faith were shared throughout the event by Moe and others who have dedicated their lives and all their endeavors to their beliefs. You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during the Saturday April 27th Open Mic Nite in the Moe'st Everything Muse 2013 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151621584515421.1073741830.636000420&type=1.

Moe'st Everything Muse is located on Ann Street in Stroudsburg, PA near the Ribbon Factory outlet. The Open Mic Jam is held the last Saturday of the month with the next event taking place on Saturday May 25th beginning at 8pm. All are welcomed to come and share their musical talents or to partake of the event as a member of the audience .

In addition to the Open Mic Jams, Moe'st Everything Muse offers a variety of musical instruments to be purchased or traded. They also buy musical instruments from those who wish to sell them. Moe'st Everything Muse also offers the music lovers in the community lessons, a rehearsal space, and repairs to broken instruments. You’ll be able to learn more about Moe'st Everything Muse and every thing they offer by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/moesteverything?ref=ts&fref=ts.