Monthly Archives: March 2016

ArtsInStark Annual Arts Campaign: Art Changes Lives

by Todd Walburn

A month ago I attended the kick off to the ArtsInStark Annual Arts Campaign.  The room was filled with a lot of familiar faces; artists, executives, patrons and staff from many of the county’s arts organizations.  I entered the room a skeptic.  ArtsInStark had already been successful in reaching its fundraising goal ten years in a row.   This year’s goal of $1.7 million seemed enormous.  Had our community’s support for the arts found a limit?  Had we yet reached the peak of the bell curve of our artistic enthusiasm?  We all knew and understood the value of the arts in our communities, in our schools, for economic development but big goals also require an increase in the number of people who are willing to support your goals.  That clearly became this year’s challenge and it was clear that ArtsInStark had a plan to make that happen.

The impact that ArtsInStark has had in our county has been enormous.  Communities from Canton to Alliance to Minerva are witnessing the birth of new arts-related businesses; local artists are finding a place in the schools where they work with teachers of almost every subject to integrate the arts into their curriculum; area non-profits are finding unique and impactful ways to add arts programming to their services, affecting an entirely new group of clients in novel ways.  This year’s slogan “Art Changes Lives” is more than lip service: it is a statement of fact and we can all see the results.

This year we have been challenged to share our enthusiasm for these successes and bring new people on board as supporters of ArtsInStark and their county-wide outreach efforts.  “Arts1000” is an incentive in the workplace and through individual efforts to reach first-time donors to ArtsInStark while at the same time giving them a sample of the county’s artistic offerings by awarding each of these donors with an “Arts1000 Passport” with discounts and offers from a variety of local arts venues. New donors mean new investors in the growth of the arts in our communities.  It means new patrons to our venues and a new generation of arts professionals.  (New donors at the $40 or above levels also receive the traditional incentive of the ArtsInStark pARTiPass).

In a dozen years or so I can picture the room in which I sat filled with a whole new group of people who were helping ArtsInStark reach another seemingly impossible goal, excited about the future of our communities and our students and our economic growth.  If a lifetime career in the arts had taught me anything it’s that nothing is impossible if you are willing to push the boundaries, work hard and look at things in creative new ways.

ArtsInStark is slightly over 15% of its goal so there is a long way to go.  You can make a donation at If YOU would like to be an Arts1000! Ambassador, contact Cindy Kilduff at ArtsinStark:


Musical Story Time Returns

Listen at the Library, the collaboration between the Stark County District Library and Canton Symphony Orchestra, started March 29, 2016. The program pairs music with children’s literature and is sponsored in part by The Dominion Foundation and the Stark County District Library.

“Children will always enjoy colorful books and stories,” says Lisa Boyer, Director of Education and Community Engagement for the Canton Symphony Orchestra.  “They also love music.  This program entices them to start reading at an early age by adding a new dimension, music, to the process.”  A trio of musicians will travel to each of the 10 library branches where they will team up with a librarian to present the program.  This year, the trios will consist of Cynthia Warren on oboe, Thomas Pleban on viola, and Tom Pylinksi on trombone.

Julia Shaheen, Literacy Manager for the Stark County District Library has collaborated with Boyer in the development of this year’s programs which includes selecting the books to be read, working with librarians at each location and rehearsing with the musicians. “The library values its partnership with the Canton Symphony Orchestra and is excited to offer another year of our musical storytimes.  Music is a powerful early literacy tool, and what a fun way in which to teach them!” she stated.

The remaining schedule is:

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

10:00am – DeHoff Memorial Branch

11:30am – Sandy Valley Branch

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

10:00am – Plain Community Branch

11:30am – Lake Community Branch

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

10:00am – East Canton Branch

11:30am – Main Library

Thursday, April 7, 2016

10:00am – Jackson Township Branch

11:30am – Perry Sippo Branch

In addition, musicians will present two Sunday at the Symphony programs on April 3 at 2:00pm at the Main Library and at 3:30pm at the Perry Sippo Branch.  This family-friendly program allows library patrons the opportunity to listen to light music followed by a question and answer period with the musicians.

As with everything at the library, the program is free.

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

Live Musician Profile : Pat Masalko

Live Musician Profile : Pat Masalko

By James Dennison

This week’s feature musician is a favorite and one of the most seen musicians in Downtown Canton. If you’ve been to George’s Lounge, Geisen Haus, or Gallery 121 in Massillon the odds are VERY good that you’ve seen Big Pat Masalko playing on his acoustic Guild F Series performing covers and originals and using a clever arrangement of foot pedals to accompany himself during solos. Pat is a musician for the people, he’s determined to deliver the best performance no matter what the crowd or venue, he’s got a lot of heart and he puts everything into every song he has.

Pat Masalko is a professional musician playing live around town about twenty hours a week and teaching at Canton Music. He teaches stringed instruments, vocals, as well as woodwind and brass. Pat plays fourteen instruments and is proficient in six. He’s been at it for a long time, starting music around 7th grade and playing for money as early as 16 years old. He’s been around Canton that entire time, cutting his teeth with local favorites Dan and Nate Monea from the band Hey Monea.

On stage, Masalko’s biggest asset is his voice. Every note is pitch perfect, every sustain is timed flawlessly. He has the soul and breath of a trained musician, but his voice is stained with the rust and patina of a hard-lived working musician like Tom Waits. His influences include early Genesis, Frank Zappa, Counting Crows and Gentle Giants and you can hear it in his flawless guitar work. Patrick likes progressive musicians, if he’s listening to music it needs to be the best. It needs to be work so good he’d wish that it was something he’d written.

Pat Masalko’s band named The Chemical Wonders is currently recording and mixing it’s first album of original music. Pat’s number of original songs is low for a seasoned musician. He claims to have only completed 25 original songs and some of those he’s written and performed exclusively for himself, but that’s the way of a true artist, spending his time growing and seeding the inspiring works while tossing the sketches and practice to the side.

Check out Big Pat playing live at George’s Lounge, Geisen Haus or Gallery 121 or look for his band The Chemical Wonders playing live in the future. You’ll never be sorry you checked him out.

Stardust Dinner Theatre Going Strong in its 5th Season

by Todd Walburn

Artists are often faced with the dilemma of whether to create art they love doing or art that will be commercially successful.  My advice always is that art which is created honestly, with care and love of the process will always be successful on some level, even if it’s just the feeling of satisfaction from its creator.  It is the fortunate artist who finds the two paths intersect and find a medium or a style that resonates with their audience that is also something that they love doing.

This is true of any kind of art, whether it’s painting or writing or theater.  While the processes are different, the desire to connect in a positive way with your audience is the same.  One group who seems to have found that right mix of the drive to create and positive connection with a large audience are the talented folks at Stardust Dinner Theater.  The combination of great theater and a great meal appear to be just what people in Stark County were longing for and that’s exactly what they provide.  The group’s founder and creative director, Kathy Lewis Snyder, who formed the group in 2011, believes that when it stops being something she enjoys doing it will time to stop doing it altogether.  Now starting their 5th season at Tozzi’s on 12th, with a busy schedule, sold out audiences and great reviews behind them, Kathy is ready to have even more fun this year with no signs of the end in sight.

When the group started doing a series of murder mysteries, using rented lights, borrowed costumes and projecting their voices without the aid of microphones, Kathy was determined to work with people who were talented, committed to putting on great shows and shared her enthusiasm for finding fun in their work.  Now, five years later, the group has expanded their repertoire to include tributes of popular TV shows including The Honeymooners, I Love Lucy and Alfred Hitchcock in addition to their popular murder mysteries.

Their season, which usually begins as the weather warms in March, is just getting started (they just wrapped The Cannoli Caper at Tozzi’s and are gearing up for Always Patsy Cline, opening at the end of May and a mash up of the TV show/murder mystery formats in an Andy Griffith Murder Mystery later this year.)  Now they have their own lights, their own costumes and headset mics but they still haven’t stopped having fun doing what they love doing….and it shows.  They continue to fill houses, provide great entertainment at a venue that serves terrific meals and bring classic TV and classic genres back to an audience that never seems to cease being curious what they will come up with next.

The Animal Kingdom Opens at Market Street Art Spot

Minerva’s Market Street Art Spot, celebrated its fifth anniversary recently and this month will hold its 63nd consecutive gala opening reception on Friday, April 8, 2016 from 5 to 9pm as we celebrate “ The Animal Kingdom”, a juried group show based on the theme of the animal world.

The Art Spot has invited artists from throughout Northeast Ohio to submit work on the theme of the Animal Kingdom and we will have over 40 pieces of new work to show and sell. Among the artists who will have work at the gallery are Steve Shonk, Sean Johnson, Lori Perry, Cheri Bell, Patricia Harper, Anna Rather, Donald Jeffrey, Judi Longacre and the Art Spot’s resident artists, Michelle Mulligan, Judie Singer, Marty Chapman and Laura Donnelly.

The Art Spot at 217 North Market Street, Minerva, is a collaborative gallery, and every monthly 2nd Friday for 63 consecutive months, the Spot has celebrated completely new work of area artists with an opening reception featuring free refreshments and live music. This month, Rock, Salt and Nails, an acoustic folk music group based in Alliance, will provide live musical entertainment.

This remarkable show of works from the Animal Kingdom will continue at the Art Spot through May 7, 2016.

As they have done for more than five years, The Art Spot’s local volunteers and Resident Artists will provide outstanding food, and refreshments.  As always, the reception, music and show are free and open to the public thanks to this month’s generous sponsor, the Village of Minerva.

In addition to the featured Resident Artists Michelle Mulligan, Laura Donnelly, Judith Singer and Marty Chapman, Market Street Art Spot’s more than 30 Display Artists will have new works on exhibit and for sale.

The Market Street art Spot is a collaborating partner with Arts in Stark and Carroll County Arts, the Village of Minerva, Minerva Local Schools and the Minerva Area Chamber of Commerce.

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Diversity Banner Exhibit: Stark State

by Todd Walburn

There’s a popular meme that says “No matter how big and bad you think you are, when a two-year-old hands you a toy phone, you answer it.” That was the thought that was going through my mind as I walked the second floor hallway of the Stark State Student Center yesterday to view the Diversity Banner Exhibit presented by Embracing Our Differences Ohio. Every day, we are inundated with messages through advertising, subjected to a barrage of imagery in the form of video, billboard, posters and flyers until we are almost numb to the messages they are trying to share. There is something about the pure and honest imagery of children, however, as they simultaneously try to share and understand things, that speaks to us and seems urgent and significant. Far more timely than a toy phone call, these images are both playful and powerful, a different kind of “call” but one that is important for all of us to answer.

The mission of Embracing Our Differences is “to demonstrate the concepts that diversity enriches our lives, that respect for differences in our thoughts and beliefs elevates the human experience and that active rejection of prejudice and hatred enhances our own freedoms.” Working with students in schools throughout Wayne County, from elementary through high school, Embracing Our Differences Ohio encourages the artistic expression of what diversity means to young people, how they celebrate it, how it impacts their daily lives and the consequences of intolerance and bullying. The banners range from playful and positive to powerful and poignant, each from the unique perspective of a young person who undoubtedly is still trying to figure out how they fit into the wildly diverse universe in which they live. Guests can view the banners from the first floor of the Student Center building and are also invited to go to the second level to view more banners and read some of the stories that go along with them.

This traveling exhibit has found its way to Stark State through outreach from the college and will be on display through April 8th. Stark State is located at 6200 Frank Ave. NW in North Canton. The gallery is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.

Wise About Eyes Opens at McKinley Museum

“Wise About Eyes,” an exhibit that educates Ohio’s children and their caretakers on how to keep their eyes healthy and safe, opens in the Keller Gallery on Friday April 1 with a free reception from 6:00 to 7:30 PM.  The event will include free preschool and adult vision screenings.

The exhibit is an interactive and fun way for families to learn by actually seeing the world as someone who has an eye disease would or by learning how eye safety wear protects our eyes while playing sports or working.

Vision problems affect one in four school-age children and one in twenty preschoolers.  Eighty percent of what a child learns is visual – good vision is critical to learning. Undetected vision problems can affect how well a child performs in the classroom. An estimated 47,300 Ohio preschool children (1 in 20) have a vision disorder including amblyopia (lazy eye) and strabismus (crossed eyes) that can lead to loss of vision.

Interactive kiosks provide high-tech activities and learning experiences to educate children and adults about how they can keep their eyes healthy and safe for a lifetime.  The exhibit explores:

  1. How to Be Safe. In this kiosk, children will learn about the importance of wearing eye protection when participating in sports, working at home, on the job, when out in the sun, and about fireworks safety.  Children will have the opportunity to “seek and find” what is wrong with a picture by identifying situations when people should be wearing eye protection.  Photos will lift up to reveal how to properly protect your eyes.  Play It Safe gives children the chance to pull back a lever with a baseball attached to see and hear the difference a baseball helmet with eye protection offers young players.  There are also actual eye safety glasses mounted on the kiosk, along with photos of children wearing the glasses to reinforce the eye safety message.  A push button matching game will challenge the children to match the appropriate safety wear with various day to day activities.  A video will highlight some personal stories from children and adults about their own experiences with an eye accident, and how this has affected their lives.
  2. Eye Disease.  Children will learn about some common eye diseases, and how individuals with these diseases see the world.  They will be able to experience what it is like having impaired vision caused by an eye disease by working through a maze with limited vision.
  3. Eye Health.   This kiosk stresses the importance of a continuum of eye care through life, from infancy to old age.  Information is provided on the recommended frequency of eye examinations throughout life and how our vision affects our emotional wellness.  A push button activity will educate children about how their health habits will affect their vision (i.e. eating healthy, protecting themselves from harmful UV rays, not smoking, diabetes management, etc.).  A video will highlight some personal stories from children and adults about their own experiences and struggles with their visual health, and how it has affected their lives.
  4. Eye Anatomy and the Process of Vision.  Information will be presented that explains the function of the eye, the process of sight (from the eye to the brain) and will demonstrate how our vision changes as we age.  Interactive activities include an animated computer program that allows the child to answer questions about the eye, a magnetic puzzle of the eye and a large spinning wheel that illustrates how a person sees at different ages.
  5. Why Some People Wear Glasses, Latest Developments in Vision Research and Optical Illusions.  This kiosk will highlight some of the latest vision research being conducted and how the results can help us keep our eyes healthy; an interactive eye model that has interchangeable lenses that simulate different eye problems, demonstrates how different focus points can affect our vision; and some optical illusion examples that reinforce that we really see with our brain, not our eyes.

“Wise About Eyes” is funded by the Ohio Department of Health, Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, Save Our Sight Services.  The Save Our Sight Program is supported by $1 donations at the time of vehicle registration to support eye health and safety programs for kids. For more information call (800) 301-2020 or visit

“Wise About Eyes” will be on view at the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum through June 28.  The Museum is located at 800 McKinley Monument Dr NW in Canton.


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Do the Mu!—Mini Butterfly Paperweights

Help celebrate The Big Read by creating a mini butterfly paperweight at the Massillon Museum’s “Do the Mu!” workshop on Saturday, April 2, from noon to 2:00 p.m. Open to participants of all ages, the monthly session is free and all materials are supplied. Guests are invited to drop in any time during the workshop. No reservations are required.
Instructor Gary Spangler holds bachelor’s degrees in visual art: fibers and art education: K through 12 from Kent State University and a master’s degree in education from The University of Akron. He has taught art at Massillon City Schools, The University of Akron, Malone University, and the Massillon Museum. His teaching spans all ages and innumerable art forms including handcrafted books, photography, fibers, jewelry, enameling, origami, and ceramics.
The art project complements The Big Read, which this year features In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez. Do the Mu participants can also visit a lower level lobby exhibit, Las Mariposas: The Mirabal Sisters, which features the main characters of the book. Using the codename “mariposas” (butterflies), the courageous sisters helped topple the despotic rule of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo. For a complete list of 40 events scheduled to enhance the reading experience, visit the Museum’s website,
The Big Read is a National Endowment for the Arts initiative to return leisure reading to America. The NEA presents The Big Read in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. The Big Read brings together partners across the country to encourage reading for pleasure and enlightenment. This is the ninth consecutive year the Massillon Museum has earned this prestigious grant.
Support for the local program is also provided by The Women’s Fund Endowment of Stark Community Foundation, Massillon/North Canton Elks #2029, and Rotary Club of Massillon.  Local organizations and individuals collaborating with the Massillon Museum include:  the Massillon Public Library; Stark Parks (Exploration Gateway); Massillon/North Canton Elks #2029; Immigrant Worker Project-Centro San Jose; All a Flutter Butterflies; Partners Against Trafficking of Humans–Stark, the Artful Living Program; Walsh University and Walsh University Museum Studies Club; AHEAD/SPARK Massillon, Washington High School Drama Department, Washington High School, R.G. Drage, Soroptimist International of Canton/Stark County, The Wilderness Center; Anderson’s in the City; North Canton Public Library; Kozmo’s Grille; The Inn at University Village; Stark County Lake Branch Library; Augsburg Lutheran Church-Nuestra Casa; Lincoln Theatre; Saint Joseph Catholic Church; Mo’ Joes Coffee House and Café Book Club; St. Ives Book Club; La Amistad at Dover Public Library; Ohio State University-ATI; Kent State University; Domestic Violence Project, Inc.; The Barrel Room; Massillon Woman’s Club; and many community volunteers.
The Massillon Museum receives operating support from the Ohio Arts Council and ArtsinStark to supplement its primary local funding.
The Massillon Museum is located at 121 Lincoln Way East in downtown Massillon.  Free parking is available on adjacent streets and in nearby city lots.  For more information, call the Museum at 330-833-4061 or visit A visit to the Massillon Museum is always free.

Live Musician Profile : Hey Monea

Live Musician Profile : Hey Monea

By James Dennison

One of the bright stars in the Canton music scene is the alt rock band Hey Monea. The band takes its name from the brothers Dan Monea who sings lead, plays guitar and piano and Nate Monea who plays drums and sings harmony. Joining them to complete the band is bassist Adam Orin. The group has been around more than ten years having started performing in 2005.

Hey Monea made a name for themselves by winning a Hard Rock cafe sponsored contest Hard Rock Rising (billed as the world’s largest battle of the bands) to win an opening spot for Bruce Springstein in London at the 2012 Hard Rock Calling festival concert but has sustained itself as a formidable force in NE Ohio music by playing shows and festivals and touring the world playing the Rombello Cruise and The Rock Boat, both being live music themed cruises.

The Trio fills the stage with hot guitar licks and smooth blended harmonies. Their songs have a bounce and groove to them that’s rare and desperately needed in rock today, but while they’ve obviously mastered fun pop music the trio can do somber and sometimes haunting tunes switching effortlessly from loud to quiet in a way reminiscent of Kings of Leon, Guster or 311.

When they are not chugging around the nation in their trusty Winnebago, the band remains good old Canton boys who love fishing in the creek, drinking local beer at Buzzbin and playing pinball at the local arcade. In the summers you can find the group playing some of the best acoustic singer / songwriter shows offered in the area.

The band is represented by Jealous Entertainment and has three albums available. The latest release The Fifty is one of the best efforts the band has put forward yet. Every song on the record is pure gold. The energy is high and the recording really captures the personality of the band in the way previous recordings came very close to. Hey Monea is a great live band and this studio recording feels like a live music experience.

Check out Hey Monea live at Pittsburgh Winery on March 18th, at Musica in Akron on March 25th and at The Back Room at Bells Eccentric Cafe, March 26th in Kalamazoo, Michigan. All three of Hey Monea’s albums can be purchased on Itunes and their future tour dates can be found on their website

Get Ready to Rock with the CSO!

Umstattd Performing Arts Hall may never be the same after the Canton Symphony Orchestra (CSO) along with musicians from Jeans ‘n Classics present The Music of Queen on April 7 at 8:00pm.  Sponsored in part by the W. Henry Hoover Foundation, News-Talk 1480 WHBC and Mix 94.1, the concert features many of the British rock band’s biggest hits.

Known for their flamboyant theatrical productions, Queen forever changed the American music scene with their original style.  Decades after the band invaded America, people continue to sing along to their hit songs like “We are the Champions”, “You’re My Best Friend”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, and of course the iconic “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

All of these songs and more will be performed by the orchestra along with the Jeans ‘n Classics band that includes vocals, guitar, piano, and drums and backed up by members of the Canton Symphony Chorus and Kent State University – Stark Chorale and Chorus.  Rachel L. Waddell will conduct, but this won’t be your typical orchestra concert.  This performance is designed to get you out of your seat singing and moving to the music!

To get you warmed up, Mix 94.1, News-Talk 1480 WHBC and the CSO are hosting a pre-concert Glam Rock Party in Foundation Hall of the Zimmermann Symphony Center (2331 17th Street NW – adjacent to Umstattd Performing Arts Hall).  The party will feature food, cash bar, 70s rock music and local personalities.

Tickets for the concert range from $18 to $28 per person. Senior and Student discounts are available.  Tickets for the Glam Rock Party are $15 per person.  Tickets are available online at, by phone 330-452-2094 (weekdays 9:00am – 5:00pm) or at the door beginning 1 hour before concert time the day of 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 residents of Stark County and beyond. The orchestra performs classical, holiday, and a variety of educational programs in Umstattd Performing Arts Hall, 2323 17th Street NW, Canton, Ohio, as well as other venues in Stark County. For more information, please visit or call (330) 452-2094. Administrative offices are located at the Zimmermann Symphony Center 2331 17th Street NW, Canton OH 44708.

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