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Irwin's Lamp Theatre celebrates the Spirit of Ireland Gala

Shirley McMarlin
| Sunday, March 18, 2018, 11:00 p.m.
(left) Denise Caralli, gala committee member, Mary Benko, theatre board and gala committee member, Terri Yurcisin, gala committee member and theatre board vice president, and John Cassandra, theatre manager, gather during the third annual Lamp Theatre Gala, 'The Spirit of Ireland', held at the Antonelli Event Center in Irwin, Saturday evening, March 17, 2018.
Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune-Review
(left) Denise Caralli, gala committee member, Mary Benko, theatre board and gala committee member, Terri Yurcisin, gala committee member and theatre board vice president, and John Cassandra, theatre manager, gather during the third annual Lamp Theatre Gala, 'The Spirit of Ireland', held at the Antonelli Event Center in Irwin, Saturday evening, March 17, 2018.
(left) Casey and Cheryl Harper of Irwin pose for a photo during the thrid annual Lamp Theatre Gala, 'The Spirit of Ireland', held at the Antonelli Event Center in Irwin, Saturday evening, March 17, 2018.
Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune-Review
(left) Casey and Cheryl Harper of Irwin pose for a photo during the thrid annual Lamp Theatre Gala, 'The Spirit of Ireland', held at the Antonelli Event Center in Irwin, Saturday evening, March 17, 2018.
(left) John Gdula, theatre board president, Michael Caralli, theatre board member, William Elder, theatre operations manager, and Lucien Bove, theatre board member, gather during the third annual Lamp Theatre Gala, 'The Spirit of Ireland', held at the Antonelli Event Center in Irwin, Saturday evening, March 17, 2018.
Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune-Review
(left) John Gdula, theatre board president, Michael Caralli, theatre board member, William Elder, theatre operations manager, and Lucien Bove, theatre board member, gather during the third annual Lamp Theatre Gala, 'The Spirit of Ireland', held at the Antonelli Event Center in Irwin, Saturday evening, March 17, 2018.
(left) Troy and Diane Shasko of Irwin pose for a photo at the Lamp Theatre third annual gala, 'The Spirit of Ireland'.
Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune-Review
(left) Troy and Diane Shasko of Irwin pose for a photo at the Lamp Theatre third annual gala, 'The Spirit of Ireland'.
(left) Lamp Theatre volunteers, Dave Plecenik of Jeannette, Shirley Darby of North Huntingdon, and Melanie Baden of White Oak, greet guests.
Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune-Review
(left) Lamp Theatre volunteers, Dave Plecenik of Jeannette, Shirley Darby of North Huntingdon, and Melanie Baden of White Oak, greet guests.
(left) Samantha McGowan, and Madelynne Caralli, both of Manor, entertained guests with a tap dance and Matthew Hommel of Monroeville, provided bagpipe music during the gala.
Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune-Review
(left) Samantha McGowan, and Madelynne Caralli, both of Manor, entertained guests with a tap dance and Matthew Hommel of Monroeville, provided bagpipe music during the gala.
(left) Stage Right founders, Renata and Tony Marino of Greensburg pose for a photo during the gala.
Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune-Review
(left) Stage Right founders, Renata and Tony Marino of Greensburg pose for a photo during the gala.
Pat Septak of Zelienople provided musical entertainment at the beginning of the gala.
Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune-Review
Pat Septak of Zelienople provided musical entertainment at the beginning of the gala.
(left) Emcee, Megs Yunn of Irwin, joins Amy McDaniel, Lamp Theatre vocal director, and her husband, Scott McDaniel of Plum Borough, for a photo.
Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune-Review
(left) Emcee, Megs Yunn of Irwin, joins Amy McDaniel, Lamp Theatre vocal director, and her husband, Scott McDaniel of Plum Borough, for a photo.
(left) Mayor of Irwin, William Hawley and wife, Tracey pose for a photo during the third annual Lamp Theatre Gala, 'The Spirit of Ireland', held at the Antonelli Event Center in Irwin, Saturday evening, March 17, 2018.
Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune-Review
(left) Mayor of Irwin, William Hawley and wife, Tracey pose for a photo during the third annual Lamp Theatre Gala, 'The Spirit of Ireland', held at the Antonelli Event Center in Irwin, Saturday evening, March 17, 2018.
(left) Gala committee members, Shari Halfhill and Karen Chapman sell 50/50 tickets.
Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune-Review
(left) Gala committee members, Shari Halfhill and Karen Chapman sell 50/50 tickets.

While planning their third annual gala, supporters of the Lamp Theatre in Irwin were skeptical about having it on St. Patrick's Day. Would people have other celebrations going on and skip it?

“Then we said, ‘there's a built-in theme,” theater manager John Cassandra said, and it was full speed ahead with the Spirit of Ireland Gala on March 17 at Antonelli Event Center in Irwin.

The luck of the Irish held, and about 250 green-clad attendees filled a banquet room decked with shamrocks and other emerald-hued embellishments.

Gala committee member Denise Caralli spied many theater regulars in the crowd, along with friends, family members, community supporters and a dedicated cadre of volunteers.

“The volunteers are so important,” she said. “If not for volunteers, the Lamp would not be.”

In a pre-dinner welcome, board President John Gdula said that attendance last year at the Lamp topped 20,000.

Post-dinner entertainment gave a peek at the quality entertainment the theater provides (while also giving a nod to the holiday), with accordionist Pat Septak, bagpiper Matthew Hommel, vocalist (and theater manager) Bill Elder and Irish tap dancers Madelynne Caralli and Samantha McGowen. Emcees were Megan Yunn and Bud Geissler.

Seen: Jim and Shari Halfhill, Mary Benko, Chris Cassandra, Mike Caralli, Larry Cole, Don and Laura Albensi, Bill and Beverly Scalise, Larry Albensi, Tony andRenata Marino, Bruce andChris Parfitt, Marty Adams, John andKaren Luffe, Paul Vargo, Rebecca Bradley, Richard andLinda Novak, Al andShelley Bouvy, Amy Novak, Bruno and Gina Mediate, Bonnie Gillen, Pat McManus and Michelle Taylor McManus and Irwin MayorWilliam Hawley with Tracy Hawley.

To see what's happening at the Lamp, visit lamptheatre.org.

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750, smcmarlin@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shirley_trib.

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