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Entertainment briefs: Local students picked for national orchestra; Lawford to discuss book

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Two students from Western Pennsylvania have been selected to be members of the National Youth Orchestra, a new organization created by the Weill Music Institute of Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Wilmerding bassist Ahmer'e Blackman and Bethel Park oboist Mark Debski will join 113 other young musicians, chosen by audition, for the National Youth Orchestra's first season, which runs from June 20 to July 23.

The program begins with a tuition-free, two-week intensive residency at the State University of New York, Purchase, in Westchester County north of North York City, where top professional musicians will work with the students.

The residency will be followed by an international tour led by Valery Gergiev, one of the world's top conductors, to the Kennedy Center in Washington and concert halls in Moscow, St. Petersburg and London. Violinist Joshua Bell will be the tour soloist.

— Mark Kanny

Singers from the Pittsburgh School for the Choral Arts will present selections from “The Music Man” Saturday at a fundraiser in Oakland.

The school was founded in 2005 as the Oakland Girls Choir in a move to offer vocal performance opportunities. It now has the choir, a music outreach program and an early childhood music program.

The fundraiser will include silent and live auctions as well as the music. The event begins at 5 p.m. at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Oakland. Admission is $25 or $10 for children. Details: or

— Bob Karlovits

Author and actor Christopher Kennedy Lawford, who wrote the recent book “Recover to Live: Conversations with 100 of the World's Top Treatment Experts,” will be signing his book on March 13 at the Waterfront Barnes & Noble in Homestead. Lawford, son of actor Peter Lawford and Patricia Kennedy, in his book describes his journey in addiction recovery with scientific research and expert advice for readers who are struggling with their own behavior, whether substance abuse or another addiction. The event begins at 7 p.m. Details: 412-462-5743 or

— Kellie B. Gormly

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