Summer Music: Hollidaysburg Arts Council announces 25th season | News, Sports, Jobs



Photo courtesy/Stormy (pictured) will perform on August 11 as part of the Hollidaysburg Area Arts Council’s Music in the Burg series.

In 1999, Ricky Martin’s song “Livin’ la Vida Loca” dominated the music charts and Pokémon Pikachu entered every kid’s toy list, Hollidaysburg The Hollidaysburg Area Arts Council sponsored the first event, a concert in June by the Altoona Symphony Orchestra.

Commission Chair Marie Little praised her late husband, John, for recognizing that Hollidaysburg and surrounding communities would benefit from the Arts Council. Mary and John held a town meeting, “with a lot of interested people in attendance, and that’s when it all started,” Mary recalled. “We are an all-volunteer group and driven by the public.”

The organization will celebrate 25 years of free concerts, art camps, adult workshops and more with an open house on May 30 from 5 to 8 p.m., hosted by Picture Perfect Frame & Gallery II (309 Allegheny St., Hollidaysburg )host. Arts Council member and gallery owner Suzanne Pequignot will serve as emcee for the event. The gallery will feature work by regional and local artists, she said, including former Loretto residents Ron Donoughe, an oil painter who lives in Pittsburgh; Everett-based painter Robin Glass, Kevin Kutz of Bedford, sculptor Helen Gorsuch, illustrator/artist Joe Severo of Altoona, and many more.

Melanie Ramsey, director of community relations and events for the Hollidaysburg Borough, understands the value of the committee as a performer for the Symphony and Allegheny Ukulele Collective.

“They bring live, active, visible art to the community — from art walks, outdoor painting, art camps and support for local bands, musicians and artists,” Ramsay said.

Little serves as president of the Hollidaysburg Arts Council, assisted by Vice President Pat Gildea, Secretary Alice Richardson, Treasurer Helen Libar and Publicity Chair Jill Bulman. The organization welcomes new members and invites those interested in attending meetings held on the third Monday of each month at 1 p.m. (except June, July, August and December) in the second-floor conference room of the Hollidaysburg Municipal Building Monthly meetings, 401 Blair Street, Hollidaysburg.

Little said its members, donors and collaborative spirit are key to the organization’s 25-year success story.

“We had immediate strong support from the Hollidaysburg Borough, we had donors and we had success with the grant,” she said. “You have to work together to succeed.”

The Arts Council sponsors musical performers and groups to participate in community celebrations such as Blossom In the Burg, annual parades and seasonal festivals. All this in addition to the popular free summer concert series. (See related coverage for upcoming events.) Hollidaysburg Area High School provided a rainy field for the outdoor series in case of inclement weather.

The Altoona Symphony continues to perform each summer, with its annual concerts moving from early summer to late August.

C. David Kimmel, chairman of the orchestra’s board of directors, said the Arts Council has been “an outstanding partner” and congratulated the orchestra on its twentieth anniversary.

“Over the years, leadership has been steadfast in providing the Hollidaysburg area with outstanding arts and entertainment events that are appreciated by the community. Without the financial support of the Council and the efforts of the volunteers of both organizations, (Symphony Concerts) It’s impossible,” Kimmel said.

Little said the orchestra drew its largest audience this summer, estimating last year’s show drew about 800 music lovers of all ages.

One of the attendees was Steve Sloan, who serves as treasurer of the Wolf-Kuhn Foundation and is a donor to the Arts Council.

“The way the council promotes the arts is very impactful,” Sloan said. “This is important.”

The committee supports musicians of all ages, particularly many high school bands, by sponsoring numerous bands to participate in community events. “This is truly a community effort. It has brought a lot of happiness and joy to the people of the three counties.

The Arts Council is also proud of its partnership with Hollidaysburg businesses.

“They’re really community-driven,” Pequino said. “They really want to bring art and music into the community and bring people together. It’s a dynamic group of people on the Arts Council. It’s a great group. I feel like they’re very supportive of me. We’re hosting here Had several events.

When it comes to the future, Little said the organization “will continue to do what we are doing because the public is responding and supporting us. So we will continue to work on projects that the public wants,” she said.

Contact Mirror staff writer Patt Keith at 814-949-7030.



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