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Music festival planned Saturday at Sewickley Heights nature center

| Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
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Leap of Faith, a Sewickley-based group formed in 2008 as the Praise Band at Sewickley United Methodist Church, will perform for the fourth time at Fall Music Festival. Members of the band are (from left) Alisa Lenhardt, vocals; Pamela Mayo, keyboard; Mike Swaney, vocals; Kelly Herman, vocals; Scott Spencer, guitar and vocals; Jack Moffett, drums; Susie Moffett, vocals; Hurst Bartley-guitar, vocals; Joe Boward, saxophone; and Joe Bollman, bass guitar and vocals.
The Honeyriders will appear as part of Fern Hollow Music Festival.

Sam Capezzuto, Fern Hollow Nature Center executive director, said the center has accomplished what it set out to do 12 years ago, when the Fall Music Festival began.

Originally called Bluegrass for Greenspace, the festival — to be held Saturday — was sponsored by the center and Allegheny Land Trust.

“We started it with the intent of getting people outside to enjoy the beauty of Fern Hollow and raise money for both organizations' missions,” she said.

When Allegheny Land Trust moved out of Fern Hollow in Sewickley Heights about 10 years ago, the name was changed to Fall Music Festival, other music genres were offered, and funds were raised for nature-center programs.

“The event has really become a great community event in the past couple of years.

“Last year, we had over 350 people attend,” she said.

Members from various organizations who sponsor the celebration often bring a potluck meal to spread out on their own tables.

“We also have families that come solo and kick back on a blanket and chairs and enjoy the different food vendors that we have,” Capezutto said.

Some of the money raised is used to pay for free play dates in the center's Natural Outdoor Classroom and environmental programming for the 14 local schools.

This year, the festival will offer a variety of music, including bluegrass, blues, folk and rock, along with children's activities, including a climbing wall, scavenger hunt and face-painting.

Food items from the BRGR food truck will include gourmet burgers and homemade chips. Other vendors will include regulars such as Sewickley Confectionery, Shearer's kettle corn and fresh-squeezed lemonade.

Picnic items and coolers are permitted.

Scheduled to perform are local musicians David Lesondak and Matthew Constantine, during open mic, followed by Leap of Faith.

The Honeyriders will be headlining.

For the fourth year, Leap of Faith, a Sewickley-based group formed in 2008 as the praise band at Sewickley United Methodist Church, will perform with the addition of the trombone, played by band member Susie Moffett.

Other members include Hurst Bartley, Joe Bollman, Chris Bartley, Pam Mayo, Joe Boward, Jack Moffett and Kelly Herman.

Moffett said the band, which plays every Sunday for the church's 9 a.m. contemporary service and for other church events, will perform a variety of music such as “Valerie,” a jazz tune; “What's Going On,” an R&B song, and some classic rock pieces.

“I just love being outside and playing music for a different crowd. Members of our congregation come to support us and get to meet different people in the community. It's the kind of family event you don't see much of, where people can go and just and relax and have a good time.”

The music of Pittsburgh-based Honeyriders is considered alternative rock and pop.

Band members include Chris Thomas, Mark Fern, Justin Brown, Carlos Barba and Matt Ferrante.

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or jbarron@tribweb.com.

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