September 30, 2010 News

Port Performers Wow Audience In “Moments to Remember” Revue    By Martha Knight



Friday night’s maiden effort by Port Allegany’s new Port Performers ensemble was aptly named “Moments to Remember.” And not just because the numbers included in the revue were well chosen for maximum nostalgia. The performances that writer-director Paul Herzig strung together and skillfully drew from local amateurs were memorable for their quality.


The Performers hardly put a foot or a tonsil wrong as they danced, sang and clowned their way through the nearly two-hour revue.


The revue was written by Herzig for a 2009 performance by a Coudersport-area troupe in the Coudersport Consistory. Herzig adapted the production in keeping with the change of venue and the special purpose behind the decision to do Moments in Port Allegany.


Some of the performers have worked together in the past, as members of various area groups. But the impetus for building a new, combined, enlarged ensemble sprang from the Class of 1960—that of Port Allegany High School, that is.


The 1960 alumni were coming up on their 50th anniversary this year, and would celebrate at the annual All-Alumni Dinner, traditionally the fourth Saturday night in September. Special-year classmates often get together Friday night or Saturday, for their own special festivities and reminiscences. This class wanted to broaden their celebration to include many other people, some other activities, and some sort of benefit for their home community.


Catalysts included local CPA and guitarist, whose musical activities have put him into collaboration with Herzig before. As Herzig wrote in program notes, “I was a little hesitant to put on another musical revue until I knew it would benefit the Port Allegany Library, and I was asked by Joel Anderson. I cannot turn down a request by Joel.”


Anderson and his wife Dottie have long been active in support of the Samuel W. Smith Memorial Public Library and Bookmobile. Dottie Anderson is a longtime library board member and officer, as well as a member of the Friends of the Library.


Program notes also state, “Much hard work has gone into producing this show with a two-fold goal of having fun and raising money for the new library building.”


The fun part was evident throughout the program: there was nothing forced about the broad smiles of the players, and the high energy level exhibited by all bespoke enthusiasm.


Earlier, in rehearsals that began months ago and intensified this past month, determination was evident too—the kind it takes to do it over and over, until an exacting producer-director, a musical director (bandleader Jack Krone) and choreographer (local dance instructor Sandy Johnson) say it’s right. Even with all the effort, and long, sometimes exhausting practice sessions, the players kept saying they were having a great time, and learning a lot, thanks to the caliber of direction they received.


Jack Krone’s band provided stellar support, as did sub-sets of the instrumental forces.


For some players as well as audience members, Moments brought back music they listened to on the radio, played on juke boxes, bought records (vinyl! 45s!) of, watched on American Bandstand, danced to, and maybe fell in love to, in the decades spotlighted by the revue. “Moments to Remember” is subtitled “Music from the 50s, 60s and 70s.”


For other ensemble members, previous knowledge of that music was from hearing oldies, and mentions by their elders—perhaps parents and grandparents. The age-range of the cast ran from teen-agers to those 40-, 50- and 60-year alumni.


The generational bridging brought Mary Rosenswie to the ensemble and to a soulful duet with Jacob Stehle, “Hey There.” Both are in their teens. Mary’s mother, Ursula Haskins Rosenswie, later belted out the Tina Turner version of “Proud Mary,” bringing the audience to its feet in one of several spontaneous “risings” of the evening.


Like the other players who did solo, duet and small-group turns, the Rosenswies did back-up singing in other numbers, and danced as needed.


Another female solo show stopper was Barbara Headley’s “I Will Survive.” Like all the performers, she had changed costumes repeatedly, displaying the attire typical of each era and type of song (thanks to Cheryl Brown and Anna Fair’s costume designs). But when tall, slender Headley strode from the wings in her long, clingy, blue sequined gown, there were loud whistles and yells of approval.


“That’s the pastor’s wife!” scolded Herzig, from his MC’s lectern. He referred to Randy Headley, another Port Performer, and pastor of the United Methodist Church.


There was no doubt of Barbara Headley’s survival, as she commanded the stage and belted out the woman’s liberation anthem.


A key element in the success of the production was the inclusion of locals whose usual roles in the community are in obvious contrast with their on-stage shenanigans. Thus Paula Moses, teacher, became a convincing teen-ager to sing “My Boyfriend’s Back.” As she warned another ensemble member, standing in front of the stage, he was “gonna be in trouble,” and he affected bravado, local bank exec Marty Moses strode onstage to join her, dressed in leather jacket and pants. The would-be swain retreated, to the mirth of the audience.


Local couple “of a certain age” Dawn and George Baxter did “Wild Thing,” looking for all the world like janitorial crew, passionately smitten with each other’s charms.


The ensemble rocked the house and filled the stage with superbly choreographed performances of the American Bandstand theme, “Dancin’ in the Street” and “Age of Aquarius.”


Herzig came front and center and led “What a Wonderful World,” joined by the ensemble and the audience.


No reunion tour by original groups from the cited eras, no reconstructed or impersonating groups of today’s young musicians and vocalists could have created the effect of the Port Performers, nor pleased this again! If not this show, other ones—but the Port Performers can’t stop now.”


As for the library building fund, beneficiary of the proceeds, the packed aud represented well over $5,000 in ticket sales.


PORT PERFORMERS GET STANDING O'S - The Port Performers received a standing ovation for their efforts Friday night when they presented "Moments to Remember" to a packed auditorium at Port Allegany High School Friday night.  The performance, sponsored by the Port Allegany High School Class of 1960 on the occasion of the 50-year class reunion, was also used as a fundraiser for the building fund for the new library.  In the photo to the left, Denny Bloss (with microphone) and members of the cast perform "Age of Aquarius".   Also pictured, Port's answer to the Blues Brothers are George Baxter, Pastor Randy Headley, Jerry Bailey and Marty Moses.  Pam Fischer Photos/Story

SURVIVOR AND CONQUEROR - Barbara Headley commanded the stage with her authoritative declaration, "I Will Survive," as part of the Port Performers "Moments to Remember" revue. The group played to a wildly enthusiastic crowd at the sold out performance Friday night in the Port Allegany High School auditorium, raising an estimated $5,000 or more for the building fund for the new library. The PAHS Class of 1960 helped sponsor the event, as part of their Alumni Weekend celebration and a gift to their hometown.      Martha Knight Photo/Story

Mary Rosenswie (you with the stars in your eyes) sang the wistful ballad, "Hey There" with poignant longing, but without the Rosemary Clooney malocclusion hiss. Not seen in this photo is her duet partner, Jacob Stehle, a perfect vocal foil for Mary.
Martha Knight Photo/Story

PORT PERFORMERS - Colorful in their tie dyes and muumuus, the Port Performers let the sunshine into the aud.    Martha Knight Photo/Story







Alvie Anderson of the class of 1934 enjoyed himself at the all-Alumni Dinner Saturday night.
Photo submitted






ALUMNA - Jean Lance of the Class of 1937 was on hand for the All-Alumni Dinner Saturday night, at the fire hall.  Photo submitted


VERSATILE PLANNER - Mike Roche, left, McKean County and Airport economic development director, and Sara Andrews, Bradford economic and community development director, presented community commission-ers Judy Church, Joe DeMott and Al Pingie, with reports concerning planned developments in their respective venues, Friday morning. Here commissioners are examining the planned Bradford west end streetscape and other improvements. Friday evening Roche, a Port Allegany resident, was on stage for the Port Performers' library building fund benefit, in another community development effort.    Martha Knight Photo/Story


MARCHING BAND TAKES FIRST PLACE - The Port Allegany Marching Band posed with their first place Class A trophy, Music caption award, and General Effect caption award.  The band won the awards through competition in the Autumn Classic held at Bradford High School Saturday evening.  Members of the ensemble include Row 1:  Adam Koehler, Garrett Talkington, Daniel Bishel, and Steven Maben.  Row 2:  Jordan Edgell, Anna Undercofler, Abbie Lowman, and Kellie HInchey.  Row 3:  Jefferson Stehle, Kayla Ford, Mary Rosenswie, Drew Rosenswie, and Charlie Kysor.  Row 4:  Logan Hutton, Derek Johnson, Jacob Stehle, and Ryan Michelitsch.  The band will be performing  this Saturday, October 1, during pregame at approximately 1:10 P.M. because of homecoming festivities.  The band is under the direction of Brad Stewart and the color guard advisor is Sara Bishel.  Pam Fischer Photo/ Story


HOMECOMING THIS WEEKEND -The Port Allegany Student Council, under the direction of Erin Moran, have announced Homecoming 2010 activities as follows:  the Homecoming Parade will line up at 5 p.m. by the Borough Building - parade time is 6 p.m. The parade will travel from the Borough Building to Main Street to Arnold Avenue to Oak and finally to Mill where the parade will end at the football parking lot.  Immediately following the parade, the Bonfire will be held.  The Junior High Homecoming Dance will be held from 7:30 - 10:30 in the Auxiliary Gym.  On Saturday, the Gators will host Otto-Eldred.  Pre-game activities will begin at 1:15 with kick-off at 1:30.  The introduction of the court and announcement of the King and Queen will take place during half-time of the game.  The Senior High Homecoming Dance will be held Saturday night from 7:30 - 10:30 in the Main Gym.

Crowning will be held at 9:00 p.m.  Those who wish to view the crowning are invited to arrive beginning at 8:45 and are asked to leave following the King/Queen Dance.  Members of the court are pictured above - (kneeling) Camrin Stuckey; (front row) Renee Edgell, Brock Bricker, Caryne Healy, Ryan Kio, Carli Johnston, Bryanna Evens; (back row) Seth Lowery, Colleen Hardes and Benn Baxter.  Theme for the 2010 Homecoming is Candyland.  Anyone interested in being in the parade or having any questions should contact Erin Moran at 642-2544, ext 139 or      Pam Fischer Photo/ Story

CANOE AND KAYAK CHAMPS - Jerry Patton and Jim Goochee recently returned from the 2010 USCA National Canoe and Kayak Championship in Peshtigo, WI.  Patton took first place in the KI Unlimited Man Grand Veteran I and KI Sea Kayak Man Grand Veteran I.  Goochee took first place KI Touring Man Master and third place in the KI Sea Kayak Man Master.  Both men are Port Allegany residents.

LUTHERAN DONATION - Denny Williams from the Gethsemane Lutheran Church presented Lynn Farber, President of the S. W. Smith Library Board with a pledge of $10,000 to the Library Building Fund.  The money will be given when ground is broken for the new library.  Preliminary drawings of a more practical library have been approved and the plan is currently being worked on by the architect.  Pam Fischer Photo/ Story

BLOCKED - Port Allegany blocks the PAT attempt following Elk County Catholic’s final score of the evening.  The Gators fell to the Crusaders 27-20 in a closely contested game.  The Gators will be back in action at home October 2 as they host the Terrors of Otto-Eldred for Homecoming weekend.  Pat Crants Photo/Story