Slavic Sacred Music at St. John’s this Friday evening

The Theoria Chamber Choir presents

Slavic Sacred Music
Hymns & Liturgical Songs of the Eastern Church

August 23rd, 2013
7:00 pm

Free Admission

(free will offerings will be accepted)

St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Church
301 Cherry Street
Pottstown, Pennsylvania

News of this free event comes to us from the founder of Theoria Chamber Choir, Andrew Skitko, a Pottstown resident and Hill School grad.

Greek for contemplation, “theoria” refers to a stage of spiritual illumination in Eastern Christian theology. Theoria Chamber Choir seeks to lead others in spiritual contemplation through a cappella choral music.

Theoria was founded by Andrew Skitko in 2010. Having grown up in the Byzantine-Ruthenian Church, his passion for the Eastern-European choral repertoire inspired the formation of an ensemble that could explore this music with other professionally trained singers, and share the repertoire of the Slavic sacred choral tradition. Theoria Chamber Choir consists of students and alumni of Westminster Choir College.

In addition to concert performances, Theoria Chamber Choir serves as the primary liturgical choir at The Assumption of The Virgin Mary Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic Church in Trenton, New Jersey (

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.

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:

Remembering Don Seeley, longtime Mercury sports editor

For more than three decades, Don Seeley covered area sports in The Mercury, notably football and wrestling. He was the recipient of numerous awards and touched the lives of thousands of young athletes whose stories and accomplishments he chronicled. He himself beat the odds and was a survivor of Stage 4 throat cancer. Don passed away yesterday morning, at the age of 62, while golfing at Lederach Golf Club in Harleysville. Condolences and prayers go out to his family, friends, and all those who mourn his passing. May he rest in peace.

The Mercury’s coverage can be found here.

A Mercury article with tributes and remembrances can be found here.

Legendary Locals of Pottstown available for pre-order!

I am so excited to announce that the Legendary Locals of Pottstown is now available for pre-orders at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Arcadia Books. It will be released Oct. 14, 2013.

Arcadia Publishing, the largest publisher of local history books in the country was great to work with. They came across this blog about a year ago and asked if I’d be interested in profiling “legendary locals,” broadly defined, and things just took off from there.

This was an incredibly cool project. The photographer, Ed Berger, and I met so many amazing Pottstown people, who I can’t thank enough for taking the time to share their stories. This is my first book, so I have to keep pinching myself to make sure this is really happening.

I will keep you updated as book signings/events are held this fall so that the community can hear some of the stories of the people in the book and to get the book into your hands.


Steel River Playhouse to hold gala honoring Bentleys of VideoRay

Area businesses and community members are invited to celebrate another sensational season of educational and performance programming at Steel River Playhouse, during their Annual Gala on Friday, June 7th at 6:00 pm.

This year’s honorees are Susan and Scott Bentley, philanthropists and principal owners of VideoRay, recently relocated to Pottstown as part of the renaissance of this historic downtown. The celebration also includes recognition of Deborah Stimson-Snow, Steel River’s Artistic Director and recipient of the 2013 Advocacy for Equal Opportunity Award from the PA Human Rights Commission.

Gala highlights include live music, prizes, and delectable treats from Clique Vodka, Lindt Chocolate, Sly Fox Brewery, Sakura Asian Cuisine, Chocolates on Bridge Street, McDougall’s Victory Cakes, Angry Monkey Bakery, Java’s Brewin’, Olde Gold Tavern, Penny’s Pizelle’s, Copperfield’s, Cutillo’s, Baird’s Catering, Moyer’s, Bellewood Golf Club, Grumpy’s, Enzo’s, Positively Pasta Plus, iCreate Café, and Turtle Creek Golf Course, among many other participating restaurants and caterers.

Attendees can choose to attend the Gala only, or pair the Gala with that evening’s performance of the well-loved Broadway hit musical, La Cage aux Folles (curtain 8:00 pm). The story of La Cage is probably most familiar to audiences as the feature film comedy, The Birdcage, starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. With popular, hummable melodies by composer Jerry Herman (Hello Dolly, Mame), this Broadway hit wraps contemporary themes in a funny and engaging plot, timeless love songs, and big chorus numbers. The evening concludes outside on the Playhouse plaza, with a building light show and joyful reprise of the La Cage finale with cast, crew and community.

La Cage aux Folles is being sponsored by Exelon. Sponsors for the Annual Gala include Sager & Sager Associates, The Hankin Group, Jackson Cross Partners, Maillie LLP, Andrew J. Monastra, PC, The Hill School, Keller Williams Realty, Main Line Financial Advisors, Neurosurgical Care, O’Donnell Weiss & Mattei, PC, Penn Liberty Bank, Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, PC, Bentley Systems, Inc., David G. Garner, Esquire, Diamond Credit Union, Down to Earth Landscaping, Express Data Systems, Frees Insurance, HMK Insurance, Independence Planning Group, Susan Storb and Michael Horn, Potty Queen, Pottstown Dance Theater, Royal Medical Supply, State Farm – Ricco Insurance, Tri-County Toyota, and Yergey, Daylor, Allebach, Sheffey and Picardi. For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Mary Beth Kerekes, Development Director, at or 610.970.1199.

Gala and La Cage aux Folles tickets are available at or by contacting or by calling 610.970.1199. Tickets are $75 for Gala paired with La Cage, or $50 for the Gala only. La Cage aux Folles runs for three weekends, June 6th through 23rd with performances on Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm, and Sundays at 3:00 pm. Tickets are $15 to $26, with special cabaret seating at $68 for a table for 2 (includes complimentary beverages and snacks). 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.

Ballroom on High offers $6 Saturday Zumba class

$6 Saturday weekly 10 am Zumba class with REMI!

  • Saturday, May 4, 2013, 10:00 AM

  • The Ballroom On High

    310 E High St, Pottstown, PA (map)

  • DITCH THE WORKOUT! JOIN THE PARTY! Join licensed ZUMBA instructor, Remi, for this weekly ZUMBA class at the Ballroom on High. Great big space with a full sized stage!

    NO dance experience needed.

    The ZUMBA movements you will learn will include steps from salsa, merengue, cumbia, quebradita, samba, hip hop, reggaeton, and more!

    ONLY $6 PER CLASS!  Plus we give you a punch card and after taking 10 classes you get the 11th free! Bring towel and water! (There is water at the ballroom in a cooler and bottled. The bottled is $1) Be prepared to sweat! Wear shoes that are snug move easily on a hardwood floor without sticking. Caution: If you have an allergy to smiles, laughter, fun and frolic, this will be a high exposure event.

    Returning students, if you bring a friend who has not attended a Zumba class with Remi or Star, you both get in for a total of $8. That’s four dollars a person! Sure, you can bring more than 1 new friend, and they will get the $4 price too.

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