Friends, we have received information about an upcoming concert being performed by Klezlectic, to benefit the Pittsburgh School for the Choral Arts (PSCA). This program supports the nearly 100 members of the PSCA, children from first through twenfth grade from all around Pittsburgh. Some of you may have heard one of their choirs performing at the Jewish Music Festival this past spring at Rodef Shalom, and this benefit concert by Klezlectic will support their continued music education and performances. For details, click HERE.
Category Archives: Social functions
Last month, Bob Adler celebrated his 94th birthday by leading almost the entire Shabbos morning service, including the Preliminary, Shachris, and Mussaf services. May we all be so fortunate to live to such an age and be so capable. Bob also volunteers one day a week at St. Clair Hospital and another day each week at a nursing home near the Galleria.
Bob is a long time fixture at the Carnegie Shul. Although he’s been to a lot of shuls in the Pittsburgh area, he likes Carnegie the best. Bob first came to America in the 1930s; his parents sent him to live with relatives in NYC because things were getting worse in his native Germany. He would never see his parents again. He spent most of his adult years in NYC with his dear wife Ethel; may her memory be for a blessing. There, he became a big NY Rangers hockey fan. Eventually, he and Ethel retired to Pittsburgh to be closer to his daughter Ronni, her husband Carl, and their kids. We are very fortunate to have him.
This coming Saturday, Carl Schiffman will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his bar mitzvah. Carl will lead most of the morning services just as his father-in-law did last month. And he will hope to do as well as his mentor. For those who don’t know Carl, he and Ronni are attorneys and have a practice in Pittsburgh near Mercy Hospital. Carl’s peers have voted him one of Pittsburgh’s “super lawyers”. But sometimes I think he finds his antique cars more interesting. We’re all looking forward to a joyous Shabbos morning.
Last week I sent out an email message informing everyone about some problems that we are having with this blog. It appears that not everyone is receiving the notices; and at this point we haven’t solved it. About 30 people out of 78 subscribers responded that they received that recent message. The messages may be going into be people’s junk mail folders or there may be a problem with the mail server. We will continue to investigate.
We have a saying, “may you live to be a hundred and twenty”. This was the age of Moshe Rabbenu (our Master Moses) when God took him. Despite his advanced years, he was clear of sight and full of vigor. We should all be so fortunate! Well, it was 120 years ago that our borough was founded. And that brings us to a celebration on Thursday, March 27. A benefit concert will be held at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall (in Carnegie of course) and features a performance by Joe Negri and his Trio. Joe has been a regular performer at our music hall. He is always a welcome treat. In addition to celebrating 120 years of Carnegie, we honor Marcella McGrogan for creating and leading the Historical Society of Carnegie for the past 20 years.
So, you must be thinking that surely Carnegie is older than 120! Our own congregation was started 118 years ago, and we weren’t exactly the first people to move into town. Well, the fact is that Carnegie began as two separate towns. On the east side of Chartiers Creek was the town of Mansfield (our congregation has always been located on the Mansfield side). And on the west side of the creek was the town of Chartiers. In a referendum held on February 20, 1894, the voters of Chartiers and Mansfield voted in favor of merging to become one borough. Carnegie Borough legally incorporated on March 1, 1894. Over the ensuing 120 years, the resilient Carnegie has known its share of ups and downs. Through it all it is a community that holds a special place in the hearts of those who have lived here, worked here and those who have just visited.
Our music hall holds 425. We expect this event to sell out, so don’t delay in getting tickets. To reserve tickets, $30 each, call Maggie Forbes at 412-276-3456, ext. 13.
For further details, click on the following invitation. Borough Birthday Benefit
When I was growing up in Carnegie there were regular concerts at the Library Music Hall in Carnegie. Unfortunately they were attended only by a small, yet committed, group of seniors. On those occasions when I attended concerts of the Pittsburgh Civic Symphony, I was the rare young person in attendance. But things have changed. Recent productions of Broadway plays have drawn SRO crowds to the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, including a lot of young people. As a borough councilman I cannot be more pleased by the transformation. But this transition didn’t happen by accident. Just like in the old days, it took a small, committed group of citizens to make the impossible happen. I admit that when the Chartiers Valley Partnership was formed and declared that it was going to raise $7.5M to renovate the facility, I was numbered among the skeptics. But here we are, 12 years later. Although delayed by the recession, the facility rehab is mostly done. The event calendar for the music hall is full. Our nationally recognized Civil War Veterans Post is fully renovated. And most importantly, we have an attitude— an absolute confidence in the future of this facility as a centerpiece of our community. That confidence is bolstered by the return of Maggie Forbes as executive director of ACFL&MH.
Each year, ACFL&MH hosts a benefit concert: this year on the evening of December 28. Tickets are already selling briskly, and the event will certainly sell out. Benefit events are always an important fundraising tool, but they are also good fun. An after-show party will span all three floors of the building, with various degrees of formality, food, and music. It would be nice to see a group of Carnegie Shul members in attendance. Who doesn’t like to dress up and go to a party? For more information and tickets, call Maggie at 412-276-3456, ext. 13, or call me. Even if you think this performance may not be your “cup of tea”, always remember that the health of our shul is partly dependent on the health of our town. I am looking forward to a group picture of our members during the after party. See you there.
If you are going to make a blog entry about live theater in Carnegie, what a better way to lead off than with a story about The Producers, a play about live theater! The Producers debuts on Thursday, Nov 8. Come see Mel Brooks’ famous story of Max Bialystock, the producer of the smash hit (?) Springtime for Hitler. Stage 62 is one of three live theater companies based in Carnegie. I saw their recent production of the Sondheim play Merrily We Roll Along and it was done with the usual high standards that Stage 62 is known for. Earlier this year, Twelve Angry Men played to sold out audiences, and the recent Sweeney Todd received national attention. All shows are performed at the Carnegie Carnegie (The Andrew Carnegie Library and Music Hall in Carnegie).
On the more whimsical side, Pittsburgh Savoyards has been producing Gilbert and Sullivan operettas for decades. They are the longest operating theatre company in Pittsburgh, having been founded in 1938. The group is based at the Carnegie Carnegie and performs classics like Pirates of Penzance and Ruddigore. You just missed Yeoman of the Guard which ended its recent production on October 21. Now you have to wait until spring for H.M.S. Pinafore! I will certainly be there. It’s my favorite G&S show. The songs get stuck in my head, like “three cheers and one cheer more for the captain of the Pinafore” or “little buttercup”. Watch this clip from the Madison Savoyards a couple years ago.
Lastly, we have a new group in town— Off the Wall Productions. This group was formerly based in Washington, PA and has moved to Carnegie. This allows them better access to their Pittsburgh customers, and yet gives them the freedom of not being downtown. Owner Hans Gruenert says Carnegie is the place to be. Easy access from all directions, ample free parking in the evenings, and an assortment of restaurants and taverns. Hans bought an office building on Main St and remodeled it into a beautiful 95-seat theater. I admit that I was skeptical but it turned out very nicely. Debbie and I recently attended The Other Place, a story about how dementia destroys a woman’s family. The unique thing about the play was that it jumped around between the present and the past, between reality and illusion causing the audience to be disoriented, but that was exactly the intent— to show how confused a person with dementia can be. And in a small venue like this, the actors are literally right in front of you. The Post Gazette said, “The Other Place” is a sobering experience, given capable life as directed by Melissa Hill Grande. A new theater in Carnegie, though — that’s exhilarating”.
The plays performed at Off the Wall are rarely performed elsewhere. For example, The Other Place is being performed only in Carnegie and NYC.
And still further, you know that live theater requires lots of preparation and rehearsal. Typical theater companies do 3 or 4 shows a year. Hans knows that you can’t pay the bills with so few performances. So, while Off the Wall is preparing for their next show, he has invited other Pittsburgh theater companies to rent his facility. That means that you will be able to see something fresh almost every month at Off the Wall.
So much going on in Carnegie! If you are interested in getting notification about upcoming productions, each of these theater groups has a website where you can add yourself to their mailing lists. Here are the links:
Off the Wall Productions