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To celebrate the conclusion of the fifth annual festival, the Gettysburg Festival is giving away FIVE (5) buy-one-get-one tickets free to the “Then Sings My Soul: Songs & Spirituals from the American Experience” performance.

Sunday, June 17
2:00 – 4:00 pm
Majestic Theater

Cheryse McLeod Lewis, an award-winning mezzo-soprano, presents the rich musical history of America through the notes of deeply-moving spirituals rooted in the Civil War era, as well as inspirational Broadway favorites. By sharing entertaining, historical narration between songs, she transports audiences on a musical journey sure to satisfy the soul. A special highlight of the afternoon’s concert is the assembling of a community choir comprised of members representing Gettysburg area churches, accompanying McLeod Lewis for three numbers including the spiritual “Wade in the Water.”

The Details:

To enter to win a free ticket, write a comment here describing why you want to attend Then Sings My Soul before 9:00 am on Friday, June 15, 2012.

At that time, an online random number generator will be used to select five commenters as winners. Each winner will be entitled to a free ticket of the same value of a new ticket purchased to the concert. Tickets are available at all price levels.

Return tomorrow to learn if you’re a winner!

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In celebration of the kickoff of the fifth annual festival, the Gettysburg Festival has developed a first-of-its-kind promotion. The Festival is giving away FIVE (5) buy-one-get-one tickets free to the Robert Cray Band concert.

Friday, June 8
6:00 – 10:00 pm
Gettysburg Festival Main Stage

A five-time Grammy Award winner, Robert Cray is credited with carrying America’s blues tradition into the 21st century. Inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2011, Cray has based a successful career spanning 35 years upon his soulful voice, creative guitar work and songs bridging the gaps between blues, rock, soul, gospel and jazz.

The Details:

To enter to win a free ticket, write a comment here describing why you want to attend the Robert Cray Band concert before 9:00 am on Tuesday, June 5, 2012.

At that time, an online random number generator will be used to select five commenters as winners. Each winner will be entitled to a free ticket of the same value of a new ticket purchased to the concert. This offer applies to tiers 2, 3 or 4 only.

Return tomorrow to learn if you’re a winner!

Gettysburg Festival’s All-American Brass Picnic on Saturday, June 16 will offer a “picnic in the park” setting at the Festival Main Stage at Gettysburg College. The full afternoon lineup will spotlight some of the best brass groups from the mid-Atlantic region as part of the 10-day Gettysburg Festival celebrating American arts, culture and cuisine.

“The brass picnic is truly a slice of Americana and a great way for the community to come together,” said Beth Kirby, Executive Director of the Festival. “Gettysburg Festival is pleased to offer free admission to this fantastic event, meeting our goal of making the arts accessible and available to all.”

The lineup includes:

12 pm: Spires Brass Band of Frederick, MD
1 pm: Athena Brass, representing 13 states across the USA plus Canada
2 pm: No BS! Brass Band of Richmond, VA
4 pm: Rodney Mack Philadelphia Big Brass of Philadelphia, PA

This project is partially supported by a grant from Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour, a program developed and funded by The Heinz Endowments, the William Penn Foundation, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and The Pew Charitable Trusts, and administered by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. Media sponsors for the All American Brass Picnic include Celebrate Gettysburg Magazine and Susquehanna Style Magazine.

A Dream Team Gives Back

The Rodney Mack Philadelphia Big Brass (RMPBB) is composed of some of America’s top brass musicians dedicated to bringing the joyous experience of great music to a wide range of audiences. A veritable “dream team” of virtuoso brass players, members of the group have appeared on the world’s most prominent stages.

RMPBB is dedicated to the notion that music is a gift to be enjoyed by everyone, and its members are especially committed to reaching out to the world’s youth and inspiring them to reach for their dreams. To share this commitment in Gettysburg, the Rodney Mack Philadelphia Big Brass will offer a free workshop; open to brass musicians of all ages and levels.

This unique opportunity, partially supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, will take place on June 16th from 11am -12pm at The Junction in the College Union Building (CUB) of Gettysburg College. The workshop is free but reservations are required and can be made by calling the Festival office at (717)334-0853.

New to the Festival Stage

Named after the Greek Goddess of wisdom, the Athena Brass Band is the first all-female brass band in the United States. Formed in 2003, with members from across the country and Canada, Athena musicians include current or former members of the U.S. Army Band, the U.S. Coast Guard Band, Brass Band of Battle Creek and the New Sousa Band.

If You Decide to Go…

The Festival Main Stage is shifting to a new, larger location on the Gettysburg College campus for 2012. It will be located on Memorial Field, behind the College Union Building, with free on-campus parking nearby at Stadium Lot. This more spacious location allows for better visibility of the stage, without trees in the line of sight; however portions of the day have the potential for direct sunlight so attendees are encouraged to wear hats and bring sunscreen as desired.

A wide selection of classic American picnic fare by outstanding regional vendors, along with beer, wine and other beverages, will be available. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs, and may bring sun umbrellas to set around the edges of the seating area.

A Brass-tastic Weekend

Additional Gettysburg Festival brass performances include:

  • Brass on the Square, 6-8pm, June 15 in front of the Gettysburg Hotel in Lincoln Square. Enjoy the music, while strolling through the Square watching downtown scenes come to life on artists’ canvases, as part of the Quick Draw a new Festival event, taking place simultaneously. The Quick Draw is a timed competition, after which work is judged, prizes awarded, and work will be immediately included in a “wet sale.” Prizes for this event were generously donated by ACNB and Blick Art Materials.
  • Wildcat Regiment Band, a Civil War period band, performs on June 16 at 2 pm at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center and at the Pennsylvania Monument at 6 pm.

Support for Brass Music

Generous support for the 2012 All American Brass Picnic is provided by Dr Pepper Snapple and by Gen On, and by the Ben Jones’ Tuba Open Golf Brass Benefit. This golf tournament, organized to support brass programming, will be played Thursday, June 14 at Mountain View Golf Club. For more information and registration contact Ben Jones at jonesbl@embarqmail.com or 334 7719.

All 2012 Festival brass performances are free and open to the public; however, tickets to the All-American Brass Picnic are required for entry. Visit GettysburgFestival.org to obtain your free ticket. Donations are graciously accepted at the Picnic, so that this free, quality programming may continue.

Bev Grazulewicz (center) enjoys a night at the Cabaret, with her daughter and friends, June 2009

By Beverly Grazulewicz, Festival Office Manager

My daughter called me recently from college and told me her professor asked her to start a blog about her experience in graduate school.  She asked me for my advice (not sure why) but I hope I gave her some thoughts on what a blog was intended to do which is basically to share information and start conversations.  Apparently her blog is off and running and hopefully she will enjoy the process. 

Well just imagine my surprise a few days later when my co-worker Karen Hendricks, the most masterful wordsmith I know, asked me if I would write a blog for our Festival website.  My first thought was to call my daughter for advice.  But then I decided I could handle this on my own.  After all, the topic she asked me to write about was one I was very familiar with – Friends!  More specifically, Friends of the Festival.   What a delightful topic. 

Friends of the Festival, Bob and Kim Krummerich, May 2009

Well, here you go.  My thoughts on the Gettysburg Festival and what our “Friends” mean to us. 

I began my career at the Gettysburg Festival quite innocently.  A good friend, Donna Nicholson, knew I was looking for something new to become involved with.  She suggested I come with her to volunteer at the office of the Gettysburg Festival.  While I had heard about the plans for this Festival, I wasn’t quite sure what it was all about but it certainly intrigued me.  What couldn’t be fun about a Festival?  So in I went to volunteer my services a few hours a week.  And what fun it was – crazy fun.  People coming and going in every direction and a schedule of events that I couldn’t believe.  Before I knew it I was “employed” by the Gettysburg Festival and the craziness became a part of my life. 

Soon it was July of 2008 and the inaugural ten-day festival was over.  The small staff was all relieved but this relief was short lived, because we knew that almost immediately we had to start planning for 2009.  One of the big things in the back of our mind was how to sustain a quality festival of this magnitude.  Many of our events are free and we wanted to maintain that.  During one of our brainstorming sessions about this, everyone started to mention that we recognized a lot of people at multiple events, some staying all day at the brass day, others at multiple theater events, many at both a dance event and also a children’s event.  These were obviously people who believed in what we were doing.  From this came the idea that they could become our “Friends” and the first Friend of the Festival campaign was launched in the fall of 2008.

Fun Times with Friends: "An American Culinary Adventure," May 2009

We were pleasantly surprised by the reaction to our first Friends of the Festival Campaign.  The financial support AND the very personal, supportive comments many people sent encouraged us that this Festival was indeed appreciated and wanted in our community. 

The 2009 Festival again surpassed our expectations, with over 100 events and a majority of them free thanks to the support of our generous sponsors and our “Friends.”  We enjoyed meeting many of our “Friends” at a special event held at the beginning of our Festival just for them and then seeing them throughout the Festival.  Each time we see them, we enjoy hearing what they like (and even what they don’t like) about the Festival.  After all, without these loyal attendees there would be no Festival. 

So now we are planning the 2010 Festival and again we are seeking the support of  Friends,” both new and “old.”  As a Friend of the Festival you are not only letting us know you enjoy the arts, you are also letting the community know you are aware of the benefits the arts play in our community’s economic structure.  I encourage you to take a look at the names on our 2009 Friends List (on our website).  You are sure to recognize many of them.  As we are now seeking our Friends for the 2010 Festival, we’d love to count you among our “Friends.”

Click on the “Support” page of the Festival website to become a Friend of the Festival today! 

karen croppedBy Karen Hendricks, Festival PR/Marketing Director

August 24, 2009

June’s exciting flurry of activity has mellowed into a leisurely pace of life at the Gettysburg Festival office (thank goodness!).  No, the entire staff has not disappeared, although we’ve all taken our turns at enjoying “down time” and re-charging our batteries with summer vacations and family time.  While we continue to tabulate and analyze valuable data collected at the Festival, we are excited to announce that 2009 Festival attendance grew by 20% over last year, as we welcomed 20,000 attendees from 22 states plus the District of Columbia.  Kudos and accolades continue to pour into our office, along with completed surveys, reports based upon intercept surveys, and notes taken during feedback meetings with all Festival Artistic Directors.  It’s almost as exciting as the actual Festival! 

While the statistics and data are concrete proof that the 2009 Festival was a success on many levels, the emotive aspects of the Festival also linger for me:  the memories from countless, excellent performances; wonderful conversations with both performers and attendees alike; and the out-pouring of support from volunteers and community members.  I was fortunate to enjoy many behind-the-scenes moments with performers such as James Earl Jones, and I’d like to share a few highlights here.

IMG_6595

James Earl Jones, following rehearsal with the Gettysburg Festival Orchestra, granted several media interviews and as a former reporter myself, I jotted down a number of Jones’ very moving and profound answers to the reporters’ questions:

What do you feel is the significance or legacy of Abraham Lincoln, whose words you will deliver, during Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait?  Jones:  “I don’t feel there were as many horrible times in history as our American Civil War and I question his assassination.  That set up his importance.  Booth’s aim was to set up the man who wanted to give my ancestors the right to vote.  It is perhaps because Lincoln was assassinated and taken from us that left his shadow so heavy on us…. he was the supreme common man… I think we all owe it to ourselves to ask what we would have done if we were Lincoln.”

What are your thoughts on the Civil War?  Jones:  “No one should ever understand war.  The men who fought it don’t often understand war.  What keeps men moving forward?  That the men beside you could be your brother or friend – that’s why they pressed on….  The Civil War took more lives than the sum of all the wars America fought.  That’s why we have to honor that war.”

You’ve performed A Lincoln Portrait before – it must be a piece that you enjoy.  Jones:  “There aren’t many of Lincoln’s words included in the work.  They are carefully selected – every word that Lincoln spoke is important.  I love the language of Lincoln and I love the grandeur of the music.  The maestro often has to bang on the podium to get my attention because I’m lost in the orchestra.  The Gettysburg Festival Orchestra is a beautiful orchestra.  The music is perfect and it’s a piece that works all over the world, but to do it here in Gettysburg – it’s special.”

IMG_6550The Festival’s June 19th performance of A Lincoln Portrait garnered positive reviews from the media and attendees:

“The performance was fantastic.  Getting to hear and see James Earl Jones perform in Gettysburg was simply inspiring.”  – Pat Crowner

“As usual, the Gettysburg Festival Orchestra is AMAZING!  I wish they played regular concerts in the park, on the college lawn, at the Majestic… anywhere.”  – Evangelina Rubalcava

“I’m really not one to get starstruck. But let me tell you, sitting 10 feet away from James Earl Jones last Friday at the Majestic Theatre in Gettysburg changed all of that. When Jones walked out onto the stage, all I could write in my notebook was ‘AAAAAAAA!’  If you’re wondering what it was that made me turn into a total tween, it was the main event of the Gettysburg Festival, an extravaganza of history, food and the arts, that kicked off last Thursday and runs through Sunday. This is only the festival’s second year, but when you’re there it’s hard to believe this thing hasn’t been going on since the days of Lincoln. It’s run THAT efficiently.”  -Alexis Dow, Harrisburg Patriot-News, June 25, 2009

Well, I don’t know about the last part of Ms. Dow’s quote, about the Festival running so efficiently, but I suppose we had our moments!  Case in point, one final memory that one of our volunteers shared in her post-Festival survey:

Share one highlight or standout Festival memory with us:  “Unquestionably, while I was working at the Festival office, tidying up the room in readiness for opening, attempting to hang several pictures on the wall.  A stranger came in and offered his help in hanging the photos and very expertly hung all of them, very well.  Was I surprised when I learned the “stranger” was actually our celebrity chef Walter Scheib!  Go figure!”  – Lolly O’Dea Polvinale

The fun memories linger… feel free to share yours by e-mailing them to me at pr@gettysburgfestival.org.

 

 

Festival Volunteer Lolly Polvinale always had a smile on her face!

Festival Volunteer Lolly Polvinale always had a smile on her face!

By Miriam B. Grinberg, Intern

When asked to write a blog about my observations of volunteers and their work during the Festival this morning, my first thought was: “How can I possibly summarize everything I want to say about these remarkable people in one little blog entry?!” An intimidating task, no doubt!

However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there was one word that could perfectly describe all the volunteers: generous. Many of them were returning “veterans” to the volunteer force, as Festival PR Director Karen Hendricks told me; they knew the ins and outs of the Festival, who to talk to, where to go, and, most importantly of all, the right attitude to have. New volunteers were just as enthusiastic as they learned all they could about the Festival, taking to heart everything that the Festival staff had gone over with them at volunteer orientations.

Volunteer Sue Currans staffs the Festival Information Tent at the Main Stage

Volunteer Sue Currans staffs the Festival Information Tent at the Main Stage

I got the chance to meet and talk to many of the volunteers myself, especially at the Festival Main Stage, where many of my surveying activities took place. Despite the sometimes stifling heat of June afternoons during the Festival, they really were some of the most pleasant and amiable people you could be with, and they often asked me about myself and what I was studying at Gettysburg College. Often times I found myself staying after my surveying duties were completed, continuing our conversations and helping out at the main information tent. Duties there mainly consisted of helping attendees who asked for directions to various Festival venues and events, selling merchandise, handing out programs and explaining them, and, of course, that all-important task of giving away free Musselman’s Applesauce to children and adults alike that happened to pass by the tent on their way to the Main Stage.

Volunteer Carolyn Greaney shared her wonderful talents as a professional researcher

Volunteer Carolyn Greaney shared her wonderful talents as a professional researcher

While I did not always get the chance to see the variety of other volunteer work going on at other venues and events during the Festival, I know from meeting them at the Festival office that they have done a fine job. Feedback has been nothing but positive so far from them; one volunteer, in response to the question “What is one stand-out memory or Festival highlight for you personally?”, replied: “Being at the Main Stage, hearing Stars & Stripes Forever played and the American flag flying on top of Penn Hall gave me the chills.”

 Another volunteer added her kudos for Philadanco’s performance at the Festival: “I loved the variety of repertoire they presented which really brought out the athleticism and sheer energy of the dancers. What a fun group!”

Thoughts and comments from our volunteers are still coming in all the time, and given the feedback that we’ve received already, there’s a good feeling that these same volunteers would be more than happy to return for next year’s Festival.

By Karen Hendricks, Festival PR/Marketing Director

Although the preparation and planning has been a year in the making, the first weekend of the Festival has gone by in the blink of an eye. It’s been a wonderful kaleidoscope of events – from Thursday night’s powerful River City Brass concert, to thoughtful conversations with Festival artists at Sunday afternoon’s reception at the Sewing Factory Gallery. The highlight, of course, was the beautifully moving Gettysburg Festival Orchestra concert which concluded with the one and only James Earl Jones narrating A Lincoln Portrait. Rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the hundreds of attendees at the Festival Main Stage throughout the day Saturday. The brass played on!  One of the most powerful and moving pieces of music was the National Anthem as performed by the Lancers Senior Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps of Hanover, PA.  WOW!

You can enjoy images of the first weekend by Gettysburg Times photographer Darryl Wheeler:  http://gettysburgtimes.mycapture.com/mycapture/folder.asp?event=781521&CategoryID=45246&ListSubAlbums=0

Performances aside, there are so many amazing, behind-the-scenes stories unfolding that it’s impossible to capture and write about them all!  But I will share just a few that have stuck with me.

Friday evening, I was coordinating with a local television crew doing a live shot from Gettysburg’s Lincoln Square, where Festival brass concerts were taking place.  The reporter was interviewing the Festival’s Artistic Director for Culinary Arts, Walter Scheib, who, as a former White House chef, was wearing his chef coat emblazoned with his name, the American flag and U.S. seal.  As the interview wrapped up, a couple came walking past, staring at his chef’s coat which evidently had made quite an impression on them.  I was sure they were gawking at the fact that they were seeing a former White House chef directly on the town square in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  Then they approached him, asking Walter if his name was truly “Scheib.”  Coincidentally, this couple, visiting from Philadelphia, shared his surname of “Scheib.”  (Walter later told me he had never met anyone with the German name of Scheib outside of his family!)  So Mr. and Mrs. Scheib of Philadelphia shared a few minutes of conversation with Chef Walter Scheib, formerly of the White House, for a few minutes on Lincoln Square in the midst of the Gettysburg Festival. 

Another fun behind-the-scenes event took place Friday evening following the Festival’s signature event for 2009, the performance by the Gettysburg Festival Orchestra featuring James Earl Jones.  My dear friend, Fred Snyder of Gettysburg’s WGET Radio, experienced one of the biggest thrills of his life, and I was so happy to share in it alongside him.  Fred, an avid baseball fan (although I refuse to mention his favorite team!) as well as a James Earl Jones fan, has a favorite movie that combines these two passions:  Field of Dreams.  Fred actually had the foresight to slip a brand-new baseball into his pocket on the way to the theater that night.  As we were standing at the Dessert Reception held in James Earl Jones’ honor following the performance, Fred caught sight of our honored guest slipping away from the reception.  Fred, who is not exactly young or physically fit (sorry, Fred!), dashed after his idol.  A minute later, a flushed Fred came dashing back to the reception with the excitement of a little leaguer who had just caught a fly baseball in right field.  His fingers gripped a baseball bearing the signature of non other than James Earl Jones.  And his grin literally went from ear-to-ear.  His voice, normally deep and resonant through the radio airwaves, hit octaves it probably hadn’t reached since 1955.  “He signed my baseball!  Look!  James Earl Jones signed my baseball!” 

And as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. 

James Earl Jones himself signed it!

James Earl Jones himself signed it!

Fred Snyder of WGET Radio holding his signed baseball.
Fred Snyder of WGET Radio holding his signed baseball.
The Festival logo on display in Lincoln Square

The Festival logo on display in Lincoln Square

By Miriam B. Grinberg, Gettysburg Festival Intern

With the Festival just TWO days away now from its kickoff on the 18th, one of the biggest goals of the staff here at the Festival is getting the word out to as many people as possible to come and enjoy the amazing events offered in Gettysburg. And what better way to “spread the gospel,” so to speak, than three enormous, multi-colored banners hanging on the flagpole smackdab in the center of Lincoln Square?

These banners, however, are more than just a brilliant PR move – they also symbolize the culmination of a year’s hard work on the part of the staff here at the Festival office, and will no doubt draw even more attention to the Festival. Even against the lately grey skies overhanging the town, the banners seem to light up the square with the promise of an exciting Festival schedule (and sunnier days) ahead.

Gettysburg Festival Interns Rebecca Buxton and Leslie Lindemann prepare for the Festival

Gettysburg Festival Interns Rebecca Buxton and Leslie Lindemann prepare for the Festival

Festival Public Relations:  by Festival Intern Christianna Giordano, Gettysburg College Class of 2010

 My role in the 2009 Gettysburg Festival has been both challenging and rewarding.  I hope to offer some insight, through this blog, into the many tasks that paved the way for the creation of this year’s Gettysburg Festival.

I began looking for an internship as soon as I got back to school after Christmas break. After spending a few days searching, I came across the Gettysburg Festival’s posting in the Gettysburg College Career Center and the opportunity seemed too good to pass up. I emailed the Festival’s PR/Marketing Director Karen Hendricks, inquiring if this position for a PR/marketing intern was still available and quickly received a warm response from her saying it was. We emailed back and forth and set up an interview time. I came in, was welcomed by the Office Manager Bev Grazulewicz, and after one of the most comfortable and anxiety-calming interviews with Karen I got the job!

I started working shortly thereafter, and Karen had me immediately jumping into projects, writing biographies and website entries for Festival artists, which I gladly accepted, loving the challenge. I attended my first staff meeting the next week and was amazed when I saw the meeting agenda which was five pages long!  Executive Director Alice Estrada led the meeting, which lasted several hours.  After this meeting, when five pages of notes were covered and all the departments accomplished what they needed to, I realized the Gettysburg Festival was no simple organization. Since then, this realization has been reconfirmed daily.   

A typical day for me begins with a meeting with Karen and we lay out my duties for the day.  My responsibilities evolved from researching and writing about Festival artists, to writing press releases, and coordinating community participation in a culinary event. My first press release was one about the Festival’s brass lineup in which I condensed and combined all the performance information into a concise and clear press release to send out to brass publications, newspapers, and other media.  My last press release was a call for volunteers in which I urged members of the Gettysburg community to help the festival with their time and skills.

Another project I began was an event called “Friday Night Festivities” in which I met with local restaurants and venues asking them to participate in the Festival’s June 19th brass concerts on Lincoln Square by creating specials to compliment the evening’s festivities. 

I hope everyone who attends this year’s Festival has a wonderful experience!

alice-estradaBy Alice Estrada, Gettysburg Festival Executive Vice-President

April 7, 2009

 

If you like exceptional cuisine in surroundings beyond description, then look no further to this one of a kind, extraordinary fundraiser brought to you by the Gettysburg Festival.  “An American Culinary Adventure” on May 30, 3009 will  be prepared by the master of all chefs, Walter Scheib (White House Executive Chef 1994-2005).  This exclusive event will feature multiple dining stations showcasing the best Pennsylvania has to offer, incorporated into delicious White House recipes.  As you wander around the magnificent estate of Utz potato chip magnets Jane and Mike Rice, not only will you enjoy fabulous food, but beautiful art and gardens, as well as enchanting entertainment.

 

This will truly be an amazing evening.  You will enjoy every moment, and we intentionally designed it so that you will be able to fully appreciate this one-of-a-kind home and socialize all evening with a variety of guests as you definitely will plunge into sensory overload.

 

Call our offices for ticketing information, 717-334-0853.  Hope to see you on May 30th for an adventure like no other!