CHAMBERSBURG - Five area musical groups will join their vocal and instrumental talents to present a free Encore Musicians Concert on Saturday, April 9, at the First United Methodist Church, 225 S. 2nd St., Chambersburg.
Open to the public, the concert will run from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Off-street parking is available in the church parking lot.
Sponsor of the event is the local Cumberland Valley School of Music. It will be the second Encore Concert sponsored by the school since the event’s debut in 2015. The concert is geared to showcasing the efforts of mature musicians in the area. Performers will range in age from around 40 to 94 years of age.
Each group will present a few selections, and then all of the musicians will join together for the final number of the afternoon, “God Bless America.”
Golden Age Pickers
A newly formed bluegrass group will give its first presentation during the concert under the name of the Golden Age Pickers. In addition, the Penn National Harmony Singers, an established choir, will join the Encore event for the first time. Other Chambersburg-based groups returning for the 2016 program include the CVSM New Horizons Band, the Corpus Christi Brenda’s Angels and the First United Methodist’s Merry Methodist Choir.
Introducing the Golden Age Pickers will be Carl Fahnestock. In a press release announcing the event, he said that the group formed specifically for the Encore Musicians Concert. About six people “with an average age of 70” and a “passion to perform music” will play an assortment of bluegrass tunes.
Golden Age Pickers know each other from participating in several “jam and open mic” sessions publicly available throughout Southcentral Pennsylvania. The sessions typically have audiences numbering up to about 100 persons, according to Fahnestock. Each performer plays at least one instrument, and several play multiple instruments as well as sing. Typical instrument choices for the jam sessions are acoustic guitars, bass guitars, banjos, fiddles, mandolins, harmonicas and dobros.
Fahnestock was originally contacted by Heather McEndree, CVSM program director, and asked if he might like to participate in the upcoming concert. McEndree was put in contact with Fahnestock after speaking with Ken Pugh, a Waynesboro resident who handcrafts and repairs instruments. Fahnestock said he was pleased to be asked and said that he knew a few friends who might like to join the fun.
Other groups performing will contribute popular standard, classical and contemporary selections.
Penn National Harmony Singers
The Penn National Harmony Singers will be directed by Sharon Rost, who began conducting the men and women vocalists in 2001. She said the group formed in 1997 with an emphasis on “outreach.”
“We bring the joy of music through song to people who live in retirement communities. We also provide an opportunity for Penn National residents to sing and learn a varied repertoire of music in a neighborhood chorus,” Rost said.
New Horizons Band
Keith Smith is directing the New Horizons Band, which now has about 25 full time and 15 part-time members. He began working with the CVSM group in fall 2013 after original director, Carl Sponenberg, retired.
Smith said that the band played for various senior citizen communities, the annual CVSM Performathon fund-raiser, the National Area Retired Federal Employee Association and the Institute for Retired Persons in Chambersburg. Also, the band performed with the local Sweet Adelines vocal group.
“Our New Horizons Band has been able to promote itself and its mission to be a source of ‘music for life,'” Smith said.
Brenda Wolf will conduct Brenda’s Angels, a vocal group she encouraged to form around 2001. At that time, Wolf, as a pianist and singer, was providing music therapy at the Menno Haven Elderday Center. She became fatigued while performing solo for hour-long performances.
She asked friends from Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Chambersburg to sing along with her, saying that they were like “angels sent to help.” The name of “Brenda’s Angels” was adopted.
Wolf said her vocalists are known for entertaining at the local nursing homes, but that they will accept calls to perform elsewhere. Often the Angels perform shows with holiday themes. She invites the audience to join in with the singers and the Angels add some religious music at the end of every show “because the residents love it.”
Shari Ewing became an accompanist for the Merry Methodist Choir in 2002 at the First United Methodist Church in Chambersburg. In 2012, Ewing became director. She replaced a retiring Elizabeth “Bunny” Parson. She said that the choir has about 30 members and is assisted by piano accompanist Terea Stevens.
Ewing said that the choir, which formed in 1997, sings regularly once a month at church services between October and May. She said that the group also enjoys entertaining at area nursing homes during the Christmas season.
For further information about the Encore Musicians Concert, please visit the CVSM website, www.cvsmusic.org or call the school at 717-261-1220.