As my friend and our passionate Johnstown Symphony Orchestra board member Karen Azer would say, “It takes a village to support an orchestra!”
Never was that statement more true than on Saturday, Sept. 21, for our concert “The Music of Queen” at JWF.
The evening was an incredible demonstration of community, requiring the hard work and financial support of dozens of individuals and companies to make it happen.
Without the generous sponsorship of our partners at the Sunnehanna Amateur Foundation, this Queen show and last year’s mill concert at GapVax could not have been possible.
Thank you, SAF, for your commitment to the unifying power of music to highlight the good in Johnstown’s history, present, and future. In addition, the Sunnehanna Country Club provided a themed celebratory dinner and transportation for its members to the show.
Thank you to our hosts, the staff and leadership of JWF Industries, led by President and CEO Bill Polacek, and coordination provided by the phenomenal JoAnn Trabold.
They went above and beyond to ensure that their guests were safe and well-cared for.
Additional sponsors included: Jennmar, CBRE Inc., Galaxy Sound and Communications Inc., Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, Rodgers Insurance Group, Wessel & Co., Forever Media Inc., Fox 8/ABC 23, The Tribune-Democrat, WJAC-TV, Family Dentistry Associates, 1st Summit Arena and Problem Solutions.
Many area businesses offered their parking lots. They included Flood City Flooring, Suppes Ford, Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, Fastenal, Johntown Hydraulics, and U-Haul Moving and Storage of Johnstown.
Hal Dues and his crew set up the stage and chairs for us, and Jason Blumenfeld and David Boring from 1st Summit Arena loaned them to us free of charge. Richland Area High School provided chairs and stands for the orchestra.
The Oakland Fire Police provided security and assistance at our parking locations.
Melissa Komar of Johnstown Redevelopment Authority added so much with her heartfelt speech to open the evening.
Stacy Polacek was fantastic in the second half – what a rock star!
Three city restaurants offered Queen-themed specials and discounts for attendees: Balance Restaurant, Harrigan’s Café and Wine Deck, and Press Bistro.
The JSO executive committee worked tirelessly to support and promote this event. The JSO staff, Kristina Marinkovich and Beth Pile, put in many 12-hour days in a row, and a few that were even longer.
Our brilliant music director, James Blachly, and his committed group of orchestral artists outdid themselves, providing another level of energy and excitement. We have such an accomplished group of musicians in Johnstown!
The breakout star of the evening was Jeffrey Webb, who provides visionary leadership for the Johnstown Symphony Chorus. He prepared his University of Pittsburgh at Johns-town students for the chorus, led the combined choruses and sang so beautifully in a solo turn with the band!
Three area music educators worked hard to prepare their students to give us the wonderful choral moments in the second half: Mari Grace Lingenfelter from Conemaugh Township, Eric Tedjeske from Richland and Jean Arcurio from Bishop McCort. Thanks to each and every singer from these schools as well as those from UPJ and the Johnstown Symphony Chorus.
Thank you to everyone who bought a raffle ticket or a chance for the 50/50 drawing. Thanks to everyone who answered the call for our annual fund.
And perhaps most of all, to the 40-plus volunteers from our Johnstown Symphony Chorus, Johnstown Symphony Youth Orchestra, Johnstown Symphony Auxiliary, and the Somerset Auxiliary of the Johnstown Symphony – Thank you!
A community with an orchestra is a community with a heart and soul.
Thank you, Johnstown, for coming together to make a spectacular event possible! I’m so proud to be one of you now.