"Performance of Messiah for Sunday in Ellwood | Lifestyles | ncnewsonline.com – New Castle News | Team Cansler

The New Castle Music Club Choir will present their annual performance of Handel’s Messiah at 3pm on Sunday at Holy Redeemer Church in Ellwood City.

The performance will be conducted by Harry Cunningham, who is in his 30th and final season as choirmaster of the New Castle Music Club. He retired after 40 years as a music teacher and choirmaster in the Moniteau School District. A graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Cunningham received a Master of Music Education degree from Duquesne University in 1976.

vocal soloists

Joanne McFarland, soprano. She appears as the Messiah for the 21st time. She has had a diverse career as a performer, appearing in operas, oratorios and other musical productions. Having recently retired from Grove City College, where she was a singing teacher in the music department, the New Wilmington resident still runs a private singing studio.

Karen Campman Emmett, Alt. She has sung and studied singing for most of her life and has been an active soloist and concert singer in the tri-state area for many years. In 2008, Emmett retired from the West Middlesex Area School District as a junior/senior high school vocal music teacher and gifted student coordinator. She is now enjoying a second but equally serious career as a busy retiree, volunteering for many organizations in and around the Shenango Valley and singing with her church and the Shenango Valley Chorale.

Seth Gruber, tenor. Gruber, who is from Utah and originally from New Wilmington, was named a semifinalist at the Loren L. Zachary Vocal Competition in Los Angeles. He sang his first Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos, directed by the incomparable actor/tenor Anthony Laciura. In addition to this operatic engagement, he was a participant in the dramatic voice program of the Utah Vocal Arts Academy/Utah Lyric Opera Summer Festival. There, Gruber won first place and the audience award in the festival’s Death by Aria competition. In addition, Voigt himself presented him with the Deborah Voigt Award, an award that she bestows annually on a festival participant.

Anthony J Massetto, bass. Massetto is a 25-year-old operatic baritone from Murrysville. He started out in musical theater in his early days in high school and college, before finally making the move to opera after participating in the Bologna International Opera Academy and Vocal Competition in the summer of 2018. At this age he received an honorable mention in the competition of 21 and had the opportunity to perform at the Champions Gala in front of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna. After his endeavors in Bologna, he returned to complete his bachelor’s degree at Saint Vincent College before proceeding to graduate school at Shenandoah University.

Instrumental soloist

Andrew S. Erb, trumpet. Erb is a band director and music professor at Thiel College. He also serves part-time as a studio trumpet teacher at Westminster College. Erb is an active guest conductor, judge and clinician throughout the western Pennsylvania area and remains active within PMEA. Prior to his tenure at Thiel College, Erb managed bands and taught music in public schools in Allegheny and Mercer Counties for 14 years. As an active performer, Erb has played trumpet with acts such as Marie Osmond, Wayne Newton, Bobby Vinton, Lena Prima and Ben Vereen.

Kathy Miller, organist. Miller received her Bachelor of Music degree in organ from Ohio State University. She earned her Masters of Music degree in organ playing from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. Miller is an organist at Westminster College and teaches organ, piano, accompaniment and sacred music courses. She is on the associate faculty of Youngstown State University and works in the choral department. At Westminster Presbyterian Church in Boardman she is Music Director/Organist and directs the Adult Choir, Children’s Bell Choir and Adult Bell Choir. She also serves as Organist/Director of the Rodef Sholom Congregation in Youngstown.

Jonathon Landell, flute. Landell studied flute privately with Boston Symphony players and as an undergraduate flute student at the New England Conservatory, graduating in 1968, and played professionally with various orchestras. While studying at NEC, he worked for the Powell Flute Company for three years as an apprentice flute maker and began building flutes under his own name in 1972. Since then he has built over 165 precious metal flutes for professional flutists worldwide. In his workshop he has also trained hundreds of students to build and repair fine flutes. Last year he moved to Wampum to be closer to family members.

Jäger Karenbauer, drums. Karenbauer is a percussionist based on Butler. During his high school career, he earned high chair spots at district, regional, and state PMEA festivals in the band, orchestra, and jazz divisions. He is currently pursuing a degree in Music Education from Slippery Rock University, where he studied drums with Dr. David Glover studies and is a member of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and the Symphony Orchestra.

Larry Baumgartner, pianist. Baumgartner began taking piano lessons at the age of seven, learning a new song every week. He began his musical career as a junior church musician at the Pentecostal Holiness Church of Sharon. He attended Youngstown State University’s Dana School of Music as a vocal major. Baumgartner successfully combined his career as a church organist/pianist with a 30-year career as a road driver. He played the piano at the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Sharon for 30 years and was also the organist for five years. To continue using his talents in a traditional church service, he then transferred to Sharon First United Methodist Church, where he served as organist for five years.

He continues to represent various churches in the area, as well as Eagle River Presbyterian Church in Eagle River, Alaska during the summers.

Other key contributors

Michael Boston, interpreter in character. Boston has been studying sign language, deaf culture and interpreting since he was 13. He graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Deaf Education and a Certificate in Elementary Education. Boston has taught as part of Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV as a teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing, providing hearing assistance services to local school districts in Butler and Lawrence counties. He works for the Ellwood City School District, is a graduate student and assistant at Waynesburg University in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program and is working towards a specialty certification in addiction counseling.

Sarah DiFrischia, dance coordinator/teacher. DiFrischia has been teaching dance for 27 years. She opened Crossroads Dance Academy between Slippery Rock and Grove City in 2009 and for 14 years she has loved the beauty of dance, the dedication and determination it takes, and the excitement of the ever-changing art form. She studied dance and history at Palm Beach Atlantic University and Slippery Rock University. After graduating, DiFrischia continued to teach locally and honed her teaching and choreography skills, and pursued and received dance teacher certifications and certifications through the Cecchetti Council of America and USA Gymnastics.

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