Monthly Archives: November 2015

MajesticVoice Christmas concert Saturday

The 7th annual Christmas Music Celebration, will be presented by MajesticVoice Chorus on Saturday, December 5, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. in the beautiful state-of-the-art GlenOak Center for Performing Arts in Canton, Ohio. A Majestic Holiday Showcase featuring Traditional Carols and Inspirational Favorites that all ages will enjoy! This spectacular choral presentation will be filled with sights and sounds of the Christmas season, special lighting effects and guest artists. The MajesticVoice Chorus, under the direction of Kathleen Bell, will be joined by dancers from “A Time To Dance” from North Canton, OH. Special guests include “The Stockdale Family Band” – sure to entertain with a down-home style stage show of Bluegrass, Gospel and Comedy. They also will lead a Christmas sing-a-long. A portion of the proceeds from this concert will benefit the Amherst Elementary Choral Music Program. The Amherst Elementary “Bear Cubs” 110 voice choir will also perform.

MajesticVoice is a group of 40 enthusiastic singers, many of whom have been singing together for 20 years. The group recently recorded their third CD entitled “Americana”. Two previous recordings include Celebrate The Season with MajesticVoice “NOEL” and “Inspiration” at Kopperhead Compositions Inc. in North Canton, Ohio under the musical direction of Kathleen Bell. Many of the songs on the CD, and for this year’s show, were written and orchestrated by well-known composer and arranger, Hal Wright, who has 8 gold and 1 platinum records. CD’s will be available for purchase at the concert or online.

Mark your calendar for Saturday, December 5 at 6:30 p.m. for “concert only” or 5:00 p.m. for tickets which include dinner, concert, and dessert at GlenOak Center for Performing Arts in Canton, Ohio. The theatre provides ample seating for over 900 attendees featuring upper and lower balcony seating and is handicap accessible. All seating is reserved. DINNER AND CONCERT TICKETS: $32 per person include: Baked Swiss Steak AND Baked Chicken, salad, rolls, pasta, vegetable medley, coffee, tea, punch. Immediately following the concert, an elegant “meet and greet” dessert buffet with mini cheesecakes, mini chocolate mousse and sugar cookie with fresh fruit. (Dinner Deadline is November 28)

CONCERT ONLY TICKETS: $20 and $15 can be purchased online at or by Phone 330-854-5061 or at the door, if available.

Elf Jr. at the North Canton Playhouse

By Jara Anton

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!” Buddy, everyone’s favorite displaced elf is BACK! This time, he is being re-imagined through song and dance by a junior cast at North Canton Playhouse!

This is the story of a young orphan who mistakenly crawled into Santa’s sack of toys! Santa realizes once he returns to the North Pole, where Buddy is raised as an elf. But the secret’s out when Buddy’s enormous size and lack of toy making abilities force him to know the truth…with Santa’s blessing, he sets off to New York City to find his real father. But don’t think this is old hat just because you saw the movie—the group is incredibly excited to bring the community a fresh new holiday option by performing songs you haven’t heard yet. The story has been re-imagined for the stage, complete with all the heartwarming feelings and infectious laughter. This all translates to a perfect night out with the family, offering children a chance to see peers performing and perhaps even fostering a top secret singing talent.

This is the story that director Lisa Paynter and a cast of 52 juniors, ranging in age from 7-17, have been toiling away on for close to six weeks. The group bringing you this production is a group of truly dedicated, vibrant and clever young people. Colin Williams plays Buddy the elf in this production, has found that the line between himself and his character has been delightfully vague, as he has “random song moments, where I burst out singing – just like Buddy!” He also has been enjoying the challenge of working very hard on two productions at one time, requiring him to memorize both at the same time. He’s also been writing his own musical with friend, definitely one to watch for in the future. Megan Schlabach snatched the role as Buddy’s love interest, says that she works hard on homework while having a bite before practice. Who says the younger generations aren’t as committed?

Elf the Musical, Jr at the North Canton Playhouse, has dates through December 20! Tickets available on Eventbrite.

Canton Ballet celebrates 50 years of dance

Canton Ballet will host a 50th Anniversary Celebration Gala and honor its artistic and executive director Cassandra Crowley of 35 years on Friday, November 20, 2015, from 7:00 p.m. to midnight. The ballet’s largest fundraiser will be held in the Great Court of the Cultural Center for the Arts at 1001 Market Avenue North in downtown Canton.

The Gala agenda will offer a cash bar, food stations by chef John G. Bahas II of Waterloo Restaurant & Catering, silent and live auctions, and dancing to the music of The Chozen Few Band. Janet Weir Creighton will be master of ceremonies.

Alumni dancers and board members will be recognized during the evening. Special alumni reunion events are scheduled prior to the Gala and on the following day.

Crowley has led the Canton Ballet company and school since 1980. Many of the dancers she and her faculty have trained have gone on to dance professionally with New York City Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet and Colorado Ballet among others and on Broadway, London’s West End and national and international tours of Broadway shows. Her students also have competed in the Paris International Ballet Competition and placed in the Youth America Grand Prix in New York City. Crowley is a founder of Regional Dance America, vice-president of RDA/NE and on the board of directors for Young!Tanzsommer Austria. In addition to a Master’s Degree in Dance from Butler University, she has a strong international background. She spent five years dancing in England, France and Slovenia where she worked with traditional European masters and performed roles ranging from the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker to major roles in Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet and Sleeping Beauty.

Reservations are $100 per person and may be made online at or by calling or visiting the Canton Ballet office at 330-455-7220. Tables of eight are available. Cocktail attire is recommended.

The Gala co-chairs are Erin Szekeres and Amy Memmer assisted by fund development chair Lindsay Zimmerman. Proceeds will benefit School of Canton Ballet’s financial aid, student outreach and education programming.

Dancing Wheels joins the Canton Symphony Saturday

Imagine being in the audience the night a new Mozart, Beethoven or Tchaikovsky composition was performed for the very first time. How exciting that must have been! On November 21 at 8:00pm the Canton audience in Umstattd Performing Arts Hall will have the opportunity to witness the World Premiere of a musical work by composer Stephen Melillo performed by the Canton Symphony Orchestra with Music Director Gerhardt Zimmermann conducting.

Although it may be unfair to put Melillo in the same class as Mozart and the like just yet, he has had his fair share of musical success. An ASCAP Concert Awards recipient each year since 1992, Melillo has composed over 1118 works including 4 symphonies, several concerti, film scores, and game music for Nintendo and Sega-Genesis. In 2005, his Documentary in Music, “Kakehashi: That We Might Live” was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Music. The 70-minute work was inspired by and dedicated to the Survivors of the Bataan Death March and marked the 60th Anniversary of the end of World War II. The DVD version was also nominated in 2008 for a Best Long Form Documentary at the 50th Grammy Awards.

In 1992, Melillo’s premiere of S-MATRIX Symphony # Numberless was conducted by Gerhardt Zimmermann with the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra and received the first standing ovation in the 40-year history of the Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh. Zimmermann went on to commission Melillo’s Symphony 2: At Life’s Edge in 1996 and will again be on the podium November 21 for the premiere of Symphony IIII: Lightfall.

Melillo has also made an impact as an educator. In the early 1980’s, he created MIDIMAST (MIDI-Music, Mathematics & Science) sponsored by the Ford and Carnegie Foundations and the New York Academy of Science and quantifiably improved understanding of mathematics and science via music composition. He spent 17 years in public schools and 40 years as an international guest conductor thus working with a vast array of multinational students aged 4-87.

An added dimension to the premiere of Symphony IIII: Lightfall, will be the Cleveland-based Dancing Wheels Company and School. The professional dance company will premiere choreography by Akron’s Neos Dance Theatre Artistic Director and co-founder Bobby Wesner.

Tickets for the concert range from $25-$45. There are senior, student and group discounts available. Tickets and the full concert season schedule are available at, by calling (330) 452-2094, at the Zimmermann Symphony Center – 2331 17th Street NW in Canton – weekdays from 10am-5pm or at the Umstattd Performing Arts Hall box office beginning one hour and fifteen minutes before the performance.

Founded in 1937, the Canton Symphony Orchestra is a fully professional ensemble and organization dedicated to performing concerts that enrich, educate and entertain. Under the direction of Gerhardt Zimmermann, the orchestra performs classical, pops, holiday, and educational programs. Most performances are in Umstattd Performing Arts Hall, adjacent to the Zimmermann Symphony Center 2331 17th Street NW, Canton, Ohio. Parking at the Zimmermann Symphony Center is free. For more information, please visit

Telling the story of the Orphan Train through “DeRailed”

By Judi Christy

What would happen if everyone read the same book? No, I’m not talking about the Bible, the Harry Potter Series, or gag me, 50 Shades of Grey. But, a “real” book about real people and real life – and in the case of Orphan Train by Christina Baker Klein, a novel of historical fiction with a subject matter that was purposely omitted from the textbooks.

No one to whom I have asked, had ever before heard of the 75 year movement beginning in 1854 and leading to the (dis)placement of 300,000 children across the United States. This movement, the subject Orphan Train, was also the subject of “One Book One Community,” a program of the Stark County District Library involving several community activities and a one-act dramatization, written by me, stage managed by Leigh Ann Brunoni and (thankfully) directed by Linda Alexander Radak.

The play, that I titled, “DeRailed,” took about 10 hours to research and write, 2-3 weeks to rehearse and less than 30 minutes to watch. But, I have to believe that the impact of the story (not necessarily my words), will stick around a bit longer.

The plot is interesting. It involves a Methodist minister who believed that the only answer for the plight of poor children, primarily in New York, was to send them out west to be reared by good Christian families. These children, half of whom were not true orphans, were nonetheless victims of poverty and abandonment due to the sickness, drunkenness and other physical and mental afflictions that burdened their Irish, Italian, Polish and German parents who had come to Ellis Island in search of the American dream. But, like today, the dream was not alive.

At the time of Brace’s movement, thousands of what were often termed “street Arabs” – (How’s that for being politically correct?!) ran the streets in search of food and shelter, often stealing to survive only to be picked up for their crimes or for their vagrancy and thrown into adult prisons.

Of course, people were outraged. But, as history does often tell us, few people do anything to change its direction.

Enter Charles Brace, a Yale-trained Divinity scholar. A true crusader for social justice, he began the Children’s Aid Society and convinced the rail tycoons to exercise their “do-gooder” gene and put in place a foster program where the haves would help the have nots. The idea, in its purest form was to send the children from the big city to the big country to assist with farming and housekeeping duties in exchange for an education, hot meals, a warm bed and two new loving parents.

An odd concept. You bet. Trouble in the mix? No doubt. All bad. Not really.

In my play, DeRailed, performed last week at the Kathleen Howland Theatre, I tried to illustrate the good, the bad and the truly ugly through a series of monologues belonging to Reverend Brace, a mother, a train matron, various children and a character who I titled, “Sleazy Man.” Spoiler alert – this guy (played in expert smarminess by Chris Cipa) was looking for someone to do more than wash his soiled socks. The cast, assembled by Radak, did a tremendous job, bringing the words to life without the luxury of knowing any more of the back story that you do. None of them, including Radak, was familiar with this part of American history. Yet, they interpreted the characters and brought to life and light the emotions I can only assume to be felt by the actual participants in the orphan train movement. Manuel Halkais portrayed Brace: Zen Davis Vincent – an Irish mother who gave up her son; Alex Derlich – a young man with a bum leg who told the truth about the way things really were; and Paige Alyse, who finally found her way. Other cast members included Janie Davis, Kitty Burgett, Anna Richkowski and Jake Siegler. Every one of them made me proud as they spoke the words with the inflection and grit I so intended.

If you didn’t see the play, DeRailed, I’m sorry. It was a one night deal.

But, if you didn’t read the book, Orphan Train, the library has copies to borrow for free. It’s a compelling story well worth the two weeks you can take to read it. But, my guess is that you’ll finish it much sooner.

I also have a hunch that you will think about it for much longer.

Judi Christy 144w" sizes="(max-width: 150px) 100vw, 150px" />Judi Christy is the Special Events and Marketing Manager for Fieldcrest Estate and a blogger for ArtsinStark

Ahh Gallery Opens Its “Holiday Show” plus New Gift Shop

Thursday November 19 from 5:00 pm to 8 pm The Art and History Gallery (The Ahh Gallery) at 120 East Main Street in downtown Louisville hosts the opening of its “Holiday Art Show”, and the unveiling of its new Gift Shop. The “Holiday Show” features pottery by Judie Singer and Kris Marshall, hand-blown glass by Abi Yeagley,
paintings by Vivian Huff Geaghan, watercolors by Jack Fetzer, and much more. In addition the Historical Society will present an “Historical Moments in Time” exhibit featuring video on 20 years of Derry family’s two-acre holiday light display on Columbus Road. There will also be a special display of art by Louisville Middle School students, free refreshments, and blues music played by Louisville’s own Matt Basso. The Art and History Gallery is a project of the Louisville-Nimishillen Historical Society. The “Holiday Show” at the Ahh Gallery runs through January 8, 2016

The Ahh Gallery’s new Gift Shop will display pottery, blown glass, jewelry, coloring books, pencil art cards, paintings, drawings, and works by local authors. “It’s that time of the year,” says Betty Derry, Manager of the Ahh Gallery, “and we’ve got a complete range of art and history items at amazing prices that make great gifts.”

The Ahh Gallery is part of 20/20 Vision Louisville, an economic development project of ArtsinStark, the Louisville Area Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Louisville. 20/20 Vision Louisville is a plan for transforming three blocks on East Main Street downtown into “Constitution Place.”

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol opens Thursday at Mount Union

The University of Mount Union Department of Theater will present “Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol” at 7:30 p.m. on November 19, 20 and 21 and at 2 p.m. on November 22 in Brush Performance Hall of the Giese Center for the Performing Arts.

Directed by Kevin P. Kern, assistant professor and chair of the Department of Theatre at Mount Union, “Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol” will feature Dan Wilson Davis as Ebenezer Scrooge. Davis will be Mount Union’s Eckler lecturer at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 19 in the Gallaher Black Box Theatre in the Giese Center for the Performing Arts. Davis will give a short lecture and guests are encouraged to stay for his performance as Scrooge following the lecture in Brush Performance Hall.

For more than 30 years, Davis has been a professional actor, writer and director. Some of Davis’ appearances include Groucho Marx in “It’s Top Secret,” a musical written by Davis and his writing partner Stephen Muro; Harry MacAfee in “Bye-Bye Birdie directed by Kevin P. Kern, Mayor Shinn in “The Music Man” and Herman in “Sweet Charity.”His work in feature films includes “The Westing Game,” “Lying in Wait” and “Hidalgo.” Also a television actor, Davis’ guest appearances include “Suite Life of Zack and Cody,” “18 Wheels of Justice,” “Pacific Blue” and “Recipe for Disaster.” In addition, Davis been featured in more than 100 television commercials including Big Lots and Little Caesars and Toyota. Davis’ career highlights include guest directing at Yale University and writing a book for “I Got Merman” at the Rich Forum Theatre. As a writer, Davis has been honored with a Daytime Emmy Award; a Telly Award and a Los Angeles Artistic Directors Award. He has also been a staff writer on the Fox Network.

The Eckler Lecture is free and open to the public. Tickets for the production of “Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol” are $12 general admission; $10 for seniors and veterans; free for students, faculty and staff and $3 for children 12 and under. To purchase tickets, visit

Studio Arts and Glass Open House through November 25th

by Maranda Saling

Many of us may be guilty of driving by Studio Arts and Glass as we travel North on Route 77 heading to Akron or Cleveland and think “Hmm, I’ve heard such great things about that place! I have to get over there!” But life is hectic. Tommy has swimming, Grandma has card club and you forgot. Listen, we all make mistakes and we forgive you  But now is your chance!

Studio Arts & Glass will be hosting their Annual Holiday Open House November 6-25th; and with a 20% off savings on all gifts, jewelry and Christmas purchases you have no excuse. Just read what Studio Arts & Glass customer Lisa Ferret had to say about her experience shopping and taking a class with them:

“I have had a lot of fun learning to make different stained glass projects. Staff is wonderful! Love being greeted by the dogs! They are beautiful! Thanks for all the fun!”
Visit or call 330-494-9779 for more information

Now go call your favorite shopping buddy, artsy friend or neighbor who just loves spending time with you and make Studio Arts & Glass a part of your Holiday tradition!

Rimke’s Realistic Retrospective at the Art Spot

By Laurie Fife Harbert

The Market Street Art Spot welcomes all to an opening reception tonight (Friday, November 13) from 5-9 p.m. The exhibited work by Lynda Rimke is a must-see for fans of traditional landscapes. Entitled ‘Lynda Rimke: RetroSpective,’ the show features mostly plein air (painted outdoors on sight) watercolors, with a few drawings and oil paintings thrown in for good measure. The art featured in her retrospective was completed during the 10-year period of 2005 to 2015.

Two dozen framed works grace the front gallery walls, while smaller unframed, matted originals by Rimke are also available for perusal. The landscapes feature deserts, mountains, sea scenes, and traditional landscapes dotted with flowers, streams, trees, and architecture. True-to-life color choices and well-chosen framing lend an air of cohesion to the overall display. A few realistic black and white portraits complete the exhibit.

Rimke Old Corn Planter 144w" sizes="(max-width: 150px) 100vw, 150px" />Rimke, of Waynesburg, has been an artist for most of her life. She holds a BFA from Kent State University, where her direct painting methods were instilled by renowned northeast Ohio artist Joseph O’Sickey. Her traditional, painterly-yet-realistic style is well honed and she has fully mastered the challenges of plein air painting. Apparently talent runs in the family, as Lynda’s husband, Patrick Rimke, will be performing live music during the reception. The exhibit will be on view through December 5.

Art Spot Art 144w" sizes="(max-width: 150px) 100vw, 150px" />The Market Street Art Spot is a co-operative gallery space nestled in the heart of charming, historic downtown Minerva. Founded in February of 2011, the arts organization has earned a fine reputation for its eclectic exhibits and enthusiastic support by the community. In addition to monthly shows, the space features the work of the five resident artists and up to 25 display artists on a rotating basis. A great selection of 3-D works, jewelry, pottery and framed originals in a variety of price ranges are available. Located at 291 North Market Street, it is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and for special events. Appointments may be made to visit during other times by calling 330-868-7900 or emailing

LaurieHarbert_Headshot 144w" sizes="(max-width: 150px) 100vw, 150px" />Laurie Fife Harbert is a writer, a Canton native, an ailurophile, a visual artist, a bibliophile, a mother of two, and an oenophile—not necessarily in that order.

Christkindl Markt opens Friday at the Cultural Center for the Arts

by Maranda Saling

I know what you’re thinking…. Another craft show? Thanks, but no thanks. But hear me out! This is not your average craft show! Featuring artisans from across the United States, this show brings to our downtown, the highest quality creations in glass, painting, ceramics, photography, jewelry, textiles, floral arrangements, woodworks, holiday items and more. What could be better than getting the perfect gift from an artist passionate about what they do? How about the fact that all proceeds from Christkindl Markt benefit exhibition and education programming of the Canton Museum of Art! Such a deserving organization! There have been many exciting changes, exhibits and hiring at the museum that these funds will only continue to support. According to the Canton Museum of Art website:

“Christkindl Markt, a cherished Canton holiday tradition, celebrates its 44th year, November 13, 14 and 15. Presented by Canton Fine Arts Associates, an affiliate group of the Canton Museum of Art, Christkindl Markt is Northeast Ohio’s premier juried, holiday-inspired fine arts and fine crafts show which attracts visitors from across the state.”

Chriskindl 1 144w, 178w" sizes="(max-width: 150px) 100vw, 150px" />Worried about shopping till you drop and needed to refuel? The Canton Fine Arts Associates have thought of everything! Christkindl Markt includes the Christkindl Café and Markt Bistro, offering delicious snacks, lunch and dinner fare on-site. Visitors will also find an array of homemade candies in the Sweet Shoppe, (including Buckeyes, fudge, bark, holiday cookies and more). A used book sale, a shopping spree raffle and silent auction are also popular Markt attractions. Something that excites me and my toes… no strollers! This is a once a year event is THIS weekend, be sure to check below for details and visit for all the information.

Cultural Center for the Arts / Canton Museum of Art 1001 Market Avenue North, Canton, Ohio, 44702Chriskindl 2 144w, 178w" sizes="(max-width: 150px) 100vw, 150px" />

November 13: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
November 14: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
November 15: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

$6 – Pre-Sale Tickets … Order Now & Save!
CLICK HERE: to order online or Call 330.453.7666 and Pick Up Your Tickets at the Door

$7 – General Admission at the Door • Children 12 and Younger – Free! (Note: Strollers Not Permitted.)
Free Parking • Security-Patrolled Parking Deck & Surrounding Lots