Free Slavic sacred music concert to be presented in Pottstown

Due to the overwhelming success of the 2012 concert, voices from the Westminster Choir College return to Pottstown! I attended last year’s concert and it was outstanding.

A concert of sacred hymns and liturgical music of the Slavic tradition will be presented by the Theoria Chamber Choir at 7 p.m. on Friday, August 23rd, in St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Church, 301 Cherry Street, Pottstown, Pa.  The concert is free and open to the public; a free will offering will be accepted.  Please note that the church is air-conditioned and handicapped accessible via the ramp in the rear parking lot.

The Theoria Chamber Choir features students and alumni of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, N.J. Westminster is a four-year music college and graduate school that prepares men and women for careers as professional performers and as music leaders in schools, universities, churches, and professional and community music organizations.  Westminster choirs perform annually in venues including the Kimmel Center, Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall, and various groups are professionally recorded as they perform well-known composers’ new and other arrangements.

Drew Skitko, Theoria Chamber Choir Director
Drew Skitko, Theoria Chamber Choir Director

Theoria Chamber Choir is directed by Andrew Skitko, a native of Pottstown, and graduate of The Hill School.  Skitko also serves as the cantor and music director at The Assumption of The Virgin Mary Byzantine Catholic Church of Trenton, N.J., where Theoria Chamber Choir performs about once a month. Skitko also has been a cantor at St. John’s church.

In April 2012, the Westminster Slavic Choir, also under Skitko’s direction, performed at St. John’s church to a crowd that included many people who had never before heard the traditional Slavic music and asked Skitko to return to perform another concert.  Due to keen interest, Skitko was eager to return to Pottstown with the Theoria Chamber Choir, a four-part group of powerful, professionally trained voices.

“Performing in Pottstown allows us to share this beautiful music with my hometown and support Pottstown’s growing, diverse arts presence,” said Skitko.

Joining Skitko, a baritone, will be Liesl McPherrin, soprano, Lauren Delfing, alto, and Brett Avery-Lawyer, tenor.

The concert will feature sacred liturgical choral works by composers including Bortniansky, Tchaikovsky, Vedel, and Hurko. Selections will be performed in English as well as Old Church Slavonic.

The concert is expected to last about one hour.

For further information, please contact Andrew Skitko, choral director

Cell: 610-220-3479; E-mail:

CARES Project seeks resident input for spruce-up projects

The Pottstown CARES Project will debut on October 25th as a new kind of community cleanup day in Pottstown’s core neighborhood. CARES stands for Community, Awareness, Responsibility, Empowerment, and Sustainability. It is being organized by The Hill School, Pottstown Borough, and Pottstown School District, and will include participation by students and staff from all organizations. Right now the organizers are seeking input from residents in the form of concerns and suggestions for doable spruce-up projects that will, nevertheless, make a positive impact on the neighborhood bounded by High Street, Hanover Street, Beech Street, and Edgewood Street.

Requests can be e-mailed to

The types of projects that could be undertaken might include painting a fence, cleaning up alleys, getting pot holes filled in, or weeds pulled from gutters and along sidewalks. Even if all the suggestions cannot be completed on Oct. 25th, the plan is to follow up with other CARES project days and the building of collaborative relationships to strengthen neighborhood pride, safety and appearance.

Property owners and residents who would like work done on their property will have to sign a waiver to allow volunteers to come onto their property. For more details, see Evan Brandt’s post here on The Digital Notebook.


This comes to us from Genesis Housing

There has never been a better time to make the most of your money and to “clean-up” your credit.  Learn the best ways to reduce your debts. Learn how to improve your credit scores. Make good decisions with your money. Learn what they never covered when you were in high school!

Genesis Housing Corporation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit community development corporation, is bringing the FREE class series back to Pottstown on Tuesday evenings, July 30th, August 13th  and September 17th from 7:00 to 9:00 PM, at the Mosaic Community Land Trusts Offices, 10 South Hanover Street, Pottstown, PA 19464.  The classes are offered every month in Norristown. This will be the second time this year to have the classes in Pottstown.

The classes are designed to help to:

  • Understand Credit — Information on credit scores, improving your scores, re-establishing credit, dealing with debt.  Class participants can obtain a free credit report with scores from the three major credit reporting services (Tuesday, July 30, 2013).
  • Money Management – Information on preparing realistic budgets that are more than just monthly bills, prioritizing spending in tough times and understanding how current spending impacts your future financial options (Tuesday, August 13, 2013).
  • Home Buying Basics — Information the home buying process — finding a realtor, home inspections, Agreements of Sale, mortgages and first-time homebuyer grant programs (Tuesday, September 17, 2013).

Nikki Holcroft, an award winning and certified housing counselor, will teach the classes. Ms. Holcroft has more than twenty-five years experience working as a housing counselor, mortgage banker and community lender. Ms. Holcroft has worked with Genesis Housing Corporation since 2001 and teaches monthly classes on credit, money management and the home buying process. Ms. Holcroft also provides individual housing counseling sessions to help clients achieve their financial goals.  Ms. Holcroft has worked with families to restructure their mortgages, avoid foreclosures and reduce their debts.

Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling Genesis Housing Corporation at 610-275-4357 or online at

The Pottstown classes are funded, in part, by National Penn Bank. Additional funding was provided by Montgomery County. National Penn Bank is a member FDIC. National Penn Bank and Genesis Housing Corporation are nonaffiliated entities.

Genesis Housing Corporation’s housing counseling programs provide free classes and individual counseling helping over 7,000 clients. Monthly classes focus on topics not taught in regular school including understanding credit, credit repair, money management, saving plans, grant programs and understanding the home buying process including selecting a realtor and finding the best mortgage.

Since 1994, Genesis Housing Corporation has served Montgomery County as a 501(c)(3) non-profit community development corporation and is dedicated to the development of affordable housing and educating consumers on housing and financial issues.  Genesis Housing Corporation has been certified as a FannieMae Counseling Agency and is approved by PA Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for housing counseling. Genesis Housing Corporation is also an approved agency for many programs including the Montgomery County First-time Home Buyers Program and the Norristown First-time Home Buyers Program.

In addition, Genesis Housing Corporation has developed affordable housing by rehabilitating vacant homes and by building new homes for income eligible homebuyers. Renovated homes are currently available in Norristown and Pottstown. Genesis Housing Corporation also renovates existing owner-occupied homes for eligible families for the Montgomery County Homeowner Rehab Program and the Pottstown Homeowner Rehab Program.

Visit us on Facebook (www.facebook/GenesisHousing). For more information on Genesis Housing Corporation programs, please call 610-275-4357 or visit our web site at

Pottstown’s Annual Sidewalk Sale this Saturday

Please check out The Mercury’s recent article (partially re-printed below) about Pottstown’s Annual Sidewalk Sale, coming up this Saturday.

Summer is time for savings in downtown Pottstown, especially this Saturday, July 20th,

when the annual Sidewalk Sale takes to the streets from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

According to Main Street Manager Sheila Dugan, the day will include offers from more than 40 downtown merchants, as well as face painting, a visit from Rainbow the Clown and collections of Pottstown School uniforms.

Demonstrations will be provided by CrossFit at 21 N. Hanover St. at 12:45, 2:45 and again at 4 p.m.

Also providing demonstrations at 307 E. High St. will be Red Cloud Kung Fu at 12, 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.

Read more here:

More National Night Out activities on tap – August 6th!

The Pottstown National Night Out celebration will be held on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 starting at 6:30 pm at the Washington/Chestnut Street Park in Pottstown. 

Please join us for an evening of fun that includes:

Moon bounce

Popcorn machine

Rita’s Italian Ice


Hot dogs and refreshments will be provided, first come first served!

Representatives of several local non-profits and Law Enforcement will be in attendance.

The NNO is an annual community event showing solidarity against drugs and crime, and celebrating the partnership between the community and local police, fire and emergency services. 

The celebration is being coordinated by Genesis Housing Corporation, National Penn Bank and MOSAIC Community Land Trust.

Questions? Comments?

Contact Anna Johnson (


Youth Mission Week — Pottstown Helping Pottstown

Area churches are planning a Youth Mission Week. Read on to learn more and find out how to get in touch to participate

On Sunday, July 28 at 7 pm to Friday, August 2 at 4 pm, Trinity Reformed United Church of Christ, Zion’s United Church of Christ, and St. Paul’s United Church of Christ will be working together to make Pottstown neighborhoods a better place.

Youth, who range from those entering sixth grade through those who just graduated high school, live at church for a week. Each day they go to a private home or an agency around town and do yard work, simple repairs, painting, cleaning out basements or garages, etc. Some groups also work at an agency. In the past this has included the Cluster Outreach Center and the Ministries at Main Street Homeless Shelter. In the evening, after showering, swimming, and dinner, they discuss what they have seen and done during the day and contemplate how they can carry forward a life of service to their community. Many youth use this event to complete graduation requirements for service projects.

We are looking for:

Homes where we can work. Most homeowners who we help are elderly, disabled, or have some reason why they cannot do the painting/repairs/clean-up themselves. If you, or someone you know could use a little bit of help around your home, please contact us as soon as possible to arrange for our coordinator to make a site visit.

Youth participants. We can take up to 30 youth and accept youth on a first-come, basis. We do not charge for participation.

Adult Volunteers. Volunteers are needed on-site between the hours of 9 to 3 on Monday July 29 through Thursday August 1. Volunteers must complete an application and comply with our “Safe Church” practices for children and youth.

Donations and Loaned Equipment. Donations of food and beverage for the workers, paint, garden plants, etc. for the homes we are working on are very much needed. We also borrow and return equipment such as rakes, spades, ladders, etc. A complete list of what we need will be posted on the website July 21, a week before Mission Week begins. And of course monetary donations give us the freedom to buy what we need.

Download applications and see what donations are still needed at

Contact Rev. Lisa Martin, Trinity Reformed United Church of Christ, 60 N. Hanover St. Pottstown, PA 19464 610-326-2243

Call for Crafters for Christmas Bazaar

Well, it would be nice if just the thought of a Christmas Bazaar was enough to drop the thermostat. Alas, it is not… but if you’re a crafter….

Immaculate Conception Academy in Douglassville holds several annual fundraisers to raise money for their technology department. They are looking for looking for crafters for their Annual Christmas Bazaar to be held at:

Immaculate Conception Church
905 Chestnut Street (Route 345)
Douglassville, PA  19518
on Saturday, November 16, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
$30 per space; $5 additional for electric

Contact Karen at 610-689-3833 or

Harris Family Ministries to hold annual Stop the Drugs, Stop the Violence Crusade


Living Water Outreach Worship Center

Riverfront Park

140 College Drive

Pottstown, PA 19464

Saturday, July 27, 2013

12pm – 4pm

 Free food!

Lots of fun & family entertainment!

 Teen Challenge Philadelphia will perform!

Resources will be available for all who attend.

Harris Family Ministries, Inc.

P.O. Box 3001

Stowe, PA 19464

(610) 764 – 4984

Courtesy of Harris Family Ministries
Courtesy of Harris Family Ministries

Aug. 6th: Mark calendar now for National Night Out

There will be a variety of neighborhood-friendly activities on tap for National Night Out, America’s Night Against Crime, being held this year on August 6th.

First United Methodist Church at 414 E. High Street in Pottstown is participating and inviting the whole community to join them. They are sponsoring a “Fire and Ice” event, serving Pastor Will’s chili and Rita’s water ice to friends and neighbors from 6 – 8:30 pm that evening. There will be a Goodwill firetruck, firemen, dalmatians, and a craft for small children. Come on out to meet your neighbors, the first step in building a strong, safe community!

Job and Volunteer Fair at Steel River Playhouse

If you’re interested in a paid or volunteer position in the performing arts, read on. Steel River Playhouse is looking for folks to fill a variety of positions. This is a great opportunity for middle and high school students to explore the performing arts and perhaps build their resumes for college!

Steel River Playhouse, a nonprofit performing arts education and performance facility located in the heart of Pottstown’s historic district, is holding a Job and Volunteer Fair on Sunday, July 28th from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and Monday, July 29th from 4:30 PM to 9:00 PM.  Interested candidates will have the opportunity to learn about open positions, meet with Steel River’s leadership, and tour the facility.

Paid and stipend positions include Education Coordinator, Music Coordinator, Tech Director, Concessions/Retail Manager, Stage and Music Directors, Production Designers (e.g., sets, costumes, lighting, sound, props, hair and makeup), and Stage Managers. Instructors of music, voice, and acting are also encouraged to apply for future positions that are expected to become available.

Adults and students from middle school age on up can explore a host of volunteer learning and social opportunities in virtually every area of the performing arts center. High school and college students are also eligible to sign up for internship opportunities to satisfy their volunteer or external learning requirements. Some examples of volunteer opportunities include:

·         Technical theater (set construction and painting, costuming, lighting and sound operation, props, hair and make-up)

·         Stage management and backstage run crew

·         Production Assistants

·         House management and ushers

·         Music support, especially piano accompaniment

·         Riser moves, maintenance and repairs

·         Administrative support (such as receptionist, phone support, filing, photocopying)

·         Software and data entry/utilization

·         Concession and retail sales

·         Box office

·         Education support/teacher aides

·         Event planning and hosting

·         Fundraising

·         Marketing and public relations (including social media)

·         Graphic design

·         Literary analysis and dramaturgy

Candidates for paid and stipend positions may sign up for initial interview slots ahead of time by contacting or are welcome to request an interview slot on the day of their visit. Additional interviews may be scheduled at other times for those who are not available during the Job and Volunteer Fair. Department representatives will also be on hand to meet with volunteer candidates to provide information and answer questions.

Steel River also welcomes area performers to visit during the Job and Volunteer Fair to learn more about Steel River’s mission and facilities. A variety of audition opportunities and instrumental openings are available for the upcoming season. Come learn about sharing your talent with the community and region.

 For more information, please visit Steel River Playhouse is located at 245 E. High Street, Pottstown, PA 19464.

 About Steel River Playhouse

Steel River Playhouse, a nonprofit 501(c) (3) charitable education and performance facility, is a key component of the revitalization of downtown Historic Pottstown. Steel River seeks to strengthen community, inspire creative exploration, educate, and entertain, through the presentation of quality performing arts events and education for diverse audiences. Each year, Steel River Playhouse produces more than 90 performances and hosts more than 10,000 people as audiences, students, artists, donors and volunteers from the region and beyond., 610-970-1199.

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