ShareThis Page

Musically gifted Plum grad receives recognition for work with children

| Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Josh Verbanets sings a comedic anti-bullying song set 'Behind the Jack Rabbit' at Kennywood Park.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
Josh Verbanets sings a comedic anti-bullying song set 'Behind the Jack Rabbit' at Kennywood Park.

Laura Kelly returned home from last year's Pittsburgh Magazine's 40 Under 40 awards ceremony with a mission in mind.

Kelly, 26, of Pittsburgh's Shadyside neighborhood, was inspired by the accomplishments of the awardees, and she sought to nominate her friend, Josh Verbanets, 30, a 2001 graduate of Plum High School.

“When I got home, I sent Josh a message asking him if it was OK for me to nominate him,” said Kelly, who works in marketing. “He fits it perfectly. They are people who are doing great things for the Pittsburgh region.”

Verbanets, 30, of Shaler Township gave Kelly the go-ahead, and Verbanets was selected for this year's 40 Under 40 in the 15th year of the program, which recognizes 40 individuals under the age of 40 whose creativity, vision and passion enrich the Pittsburgh region, according to the Pittsburgh Magazine website.

“It is such an honor,” Verbanets said last week. “There are some heavy hitters on the list.”

Verbanets and his partner, Gab Bonesso of the Montour area, developed the “Josh & Gab Show,” a live anti-bullying musical-comedy program they perform in local schools.

Verbanets is an award-winning songwriter, singer and musician. Bonesso is a comedienne, performer and comedic writer.

In addition to comedy, music and dancing, Verbanets and Bonesso encourage a continued dialogue with children who might have concerns about bullying in their respective schools.

“(The program) has grown so much,” Verbanets said. “The business has tripled this fall. We have done 75 shows this fall.”

Verbanets said he and Bonesso combine the anti-bullying program with the message of positive behavior.

“It is the second year we are doing the programs,” Verbanets said. “We are seeing incredible results.”

Verbanets said students remember the messages when he and Bonesso return to the schools to conduct follow-up programs.

Kelly credits Verbanets and Bonesso with providing good behavior examples to students.

“So much of who we become as people is based upon what we learn as children,” Kelly said. “They try to make sure the children learn how to be good people.”

Verbanets aims to expand the “Josh & Gab Show.”

“We are hoping to develop the Josh & Gab project into a national outlet with live performances and web/television media,” Verbanets said.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.