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$200K donation a boon for Greensburg-based youth theater group

| Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, 10:08 a.m.
Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
A sign is unveiled at the David Mateer Center for the Performing Arts during a ceremony in Greensburg on November 22, 2013. Mateer, who died unexpectedly last year, was a supporter of Stage Right!, which is now operating out of the building on West Fourth Street.

The late David Mateer loved Stage Right! and enjoyed watching performances of the children's performing-arts group in Greensburg, his family said.

On Friday, the Donald Mateer Foundation pledged $200,000 to Stage Right! in memory of Mateer, who died last year.

Stage Right! unveiled the David Mateer Center for the Performing Arts, Home to Stage Right! during a ceremony at the theater group's new home in a former school at 105 W. Fourth St. in Greensburg.

Westmoreland County Commissioner Chuck Anderson, Greensburg Mayor Ron Silvis and Stage Right! board members were among about 35 people who attended the ceremony on Friday.

“He loved Stage Right!” said Mateer's sister, Christine Dowhan-Bailey of Gross Ile, Mich. “He came to the performances and was a big supporter.

“We wanted to honor his memory in some way, and we thought Stage Right! was the right thing because he loved it so much.”

The donation will be used to help with costs associated with the group's recent purchase of the West Fourth Street building from Adelphoi Inc. for $575,000, said Christine Orosz, Stage Right! executive director.

“We're so thrilled they thought enough of this organization to put David's name on the building,” she said.

“David had a real passion for kids and theater and was an avid supporter,” said his sister, Charlotte Stephenson of Mt. Lebanon. “The family felt this was one of the best ways to honor him, to carry on the torch.”

Stage Right! provides instruction in voice, acting, dance and musical theater for children ages 4 to 18 from Westmoreland, Allegheny and Fayette counties.

About 450 students participate each year in classes and workshops offered at the theater institute.

In May, Stage Right! moved to the West Fourth Street site from the Westmoreland Cultural Trust-owned Union Trust Building on North Main Street.

Tony Marino, Stage Right! artistic director, said he views the donation as an endorsement of Stage Right!

“Your organization needs to be here,” he said. “There's not a greater support than that.”

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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