The Johnstown Symphony Orchestra is going virtual with its entertainment.

Without leaving their homes, people can participate in “JSO Lifting Spirits: One Glass/Class at a Time” from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. June 13 via the Zoom video conferencing platform.

Participants will hear from J. Austin Bitner, a professional event executive who has gained knowledge about wine through his travels and interests, and also has advanced degrees in opera and vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory. 

Prior to the Zoom call, attendees will be sent a bottle of Segura Viudas Brut Reserva, a Spanish sparkling wine, so they can taste and experience and follow along with the class.

A question-and-answer session will follow Bitner’s remarks.

“Just like our audience, we are really missing the opportunity to spend time with our friends throughout the community,” said Maestro James Blachly. “Our team found a creative way to connect with each other, learn some new things about wine and enjoy it in a social setting.”

Jessica Satava, executive director of the JSO, said wine and music are often paired – it’s enjoyed during JSO concert intermissions at the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center.

“While we are not able to come together in a live performance setting right now, we’re not letting that stop us from offering some much-needed entertainment,” she said.

Proceeds will be used to provide music through digital media for a segment of the community uniquely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve heard from administration at residential living communities in the area that there is a need for musical entertainment for its seniors during this time and we’re honored and excited to be able to help,” Satava said. “While ‘Lifting Spirits’ is not intended to be a fundraiser, the money we receive above our costs will be used to pay musicians and other fees associated with the musical content that we will develop for our neighbors who are quarantined without the opportunity to enjoy visits from friends and family.”

Attendees must be 21 years old to participate.

Cost is $50 per Zoom connection and includes a bottle of wine, which will be delivered if within the area or shipped if not.

Deadline to register is June 5 by calling 814-535-6738 or online at

Kelly Urban is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at (814) 532-5073. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.

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