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New director Meyer opens Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra's season

Dawn Law
| Monday, Oct. 31, 2011

New artistic director Daniel Meyer picked up the baton to conduct the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra 's season-opening concert Saturday night in Greensburg's venerable Palace Theatre.

The concert theme, "Ode to Russia," seemed particularly prescient, considering the sudden cold snap and snow flurries earlier in the day.

Featured guest artist was Moscow native Konstantin Soukhovetski, who performed Sergei Rachmaninoff's "Piano Concerto N. 3." An alumn of the Juilliard School, Soukhovetski has performed extensively in Europe and will debut this season with the Houston Symphony and the Manchester (Vermont) Music Festival Orchestra.

Also on the bill was Modest Mussorgsky's signature piece, "Pictures at an Exhibition."

Following the concert, audience members were invited to a champagne reception with the musicians.

Seen at the Palace: Ray and Priscilla Richardson, Nancy Jamison, Gunnar Klinga, Morrie Brand, Pat Condo and J an Taylor, James Cook, Sande Hendricks, Mud and Phyllis Kluska, Paul and Diane Nickoloff, Rick Lang and Janie Belden, Barbara Kita, Bernie Swetz, Glenn and Jill Briercheck.

Also, Kevin and Judy O'Toole, Dr. Juan and Laura Mari, John and Anne Driscoll, Bobby Hineline, Joe and Paula Perry, Kim Goldstrohm, Mark and Francine Gibbon, Vivian Wilkins, Suzy Cannon, Jennifer Dail and Cheryl Cirelli.

-- Shirley McMarlin

Here She Comes ...

Miss Pennsylvania 2011 made a visit to Greensburg on Thursday, but it wasn't for a fun meet-and-greet with her constituents.

Juliann Sheldon, a Plum resident and Point Park University junior, who has made mental health awareness the platform issue of her reign, was in town to attend the Mental Health America of Westmoreland County annual dinner and awards presentation at the Four Points by Sheraton.

The organization's stated mission is to "transform lives by promoting mental health, wellness and recovery for individuals, families and communities through education, advocacy and services."

Traveling from New York City was keynote speaker Nathan Belyeu, community programs manager for The Trevor Project, a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, questioning and intersex youth.

Unity resident Ralph Liberatore received the Fred Funari Mental Health America Award of Distinction. He is founder of Three Rivers Orthopedic and Spine Products Inc. and serves on the boards of a number of nonprofits, including MHAWC, Adelphoi USA and Economic Growth of Westmoreland County.

Seen at dinner: MHAWC executive director Laurie Barnett Levine and Arnie Levine, Josie Funari, Dick and Barbara Flock, Richard Stillwagon, Bob and Phyllis Davis, Molly Robb Shimko, Judy Modecki, Don Lawry, Gayle Pamerleau, Paul Niemiec, Dr. Angela DeMezzo and Ray Grabowski.

Also, JoAnne Boyle, John Peck, Chris Vitale, Vikki Ridenour, Dr. Lisa Issac, George Shaner and Michael Philopena and Miss Pennsylvania's cousin Jessica Michal, who was acting as the chaperone required at all official appearances.

CASA costume ball

Ghouls, superheroes and royals mingled Friday at the third-annual CASA Costume Ball at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College in Unity.

Scott Turer was an elf, his wife, Kelly, was Santa, and his sister, Lisa Shearer, came as a Christmas tree.

Becky Myers wore an "86" jersey and latex bald cap and carried a tinfoil mirror ball trophy. Her husband, Gary, wore Brett Keisel 's beard.

Scott and Jan Wagner were Austin Powers and his "sexy babe," and the couple's daughter Laura was a mortician who brought corpse date Jason Strait.

Andy DeFazio and Meagan Bilik DeFazio were Popeye and Olive Oyl, Greg and Mary Ann Petrillo were a couple clowns, and Bob Walter and Judy Skatell were Batman and Catwoman.

Chris Feliciani was a Blues Brother, his wife, Kris , was a psychedelic 60s hipster with very large hair, and Keith and Gina Davis were a cowboy and Indian squaw.

Tom and Sharon Theis were gangsters armed with a Tommy gun, Pat Wallace and Kim Dickert-Wallace were Anthony and Cleopatra, and Michael and Megan Quatrini were Mardi Gras royalty Rex and Comus.

The ball is the largest fundraiser of the year for Court Appointed Special Advocates, an organization of volunteers who monitor and assist in the cases of abused and neglected children referred to authorities.

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