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'House wake' will help victim of mudslide

| Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2005

Friends of a woman who lost a home in a mudslide Jan. 7 will hold a "house wake" to raise money for her tonight at Mullany's Harp & Fiddle in the Strip District.

When told that a "house wake" had a strong Irish ring to it, Lynne Figgins-Smith , one of the organizers, said, "Well, it was a Fogarty who lost her house."

Lee Fogarty , a psychologist and executive coach, lost her Penn Hills home when mud pushed if 20 feet off its foundation and nearly into Allegheny River Boulevard, Figgins-Smith said.

Her insurance did not have any earth-movement coverage, she adds, so friends have rallied to help her with a loss that totals about $150,000.

Fogarty said she is "really touched that these people are just willing to give so much."

This event will feature music by the band Guaranteed Irish , as well as other Celtic performers, along with live and silent auctions. Some of the items available are the use of a home in Phoenix for a week, and vacation weekends at the Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Somerset County, or Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa, Fayette County, Figgins-Smith said.

Figgins-Smith, a McCandless woman who works at Testa Consulting Services in the Strip, said a previous benefit at the Rivers Club, Downtown, raised about $12,000.

Fogarty said she is continuing to investigate other areas of financial rescue and hopes to be able to find a new house -- "nowhere near a hill."

The event starts at 5:30 p.m. Admission of $20 "would be nice," Figgins-Smith said, "but we will take what we can get."

Details: (412) 697-2000.

-- Bob Karlovits

Croatian guitarist to give master class, concert

Croatian guitarist Ana Vidovic will conduct a master class Friday and perform a solo concert Saturday at Duquesne University, Uptown.

The events are sponsored by the Guitar Society of Fine Art, a group that promotes the variety of uses of the instrument.

Vidovic, 23, has been playing since she was 5, performing since 7 and playing internationally since she was 11. At 13, she became the youngest student to attend the National Musical Academy in Zagreb and now studies at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.

She has won prizes and competitions all over the world.

The concert will be at 8 p.m. at Duquesne's PNC Recital Hall. Tickets are $20. The free master class will be at 6 p.m. in the Mary Pappert School of Music.

Details: (412) 281-1910.

-- Bob Karlovits

Point Park student wins state acting competition

Missy Moreno , a resident of Homestead and a senior acting major at Point Park University, has won the Pennsylvania 2005 National Society of Arts and Letters Drama Career Awards Acting for Comedy competition.

As first-place winner, Moreno received $3,000 and will represent the NSAL Pittsburgh Chapter at the National Career Awards Competition in Hawaii from May 18 through 21, where 26 first-place winners from across the United States will vie for a top award of $10,000.

In all, 18 competitors presented two audition monologues or soliloquies, one classical selection and one contemporary selection in the competition hosted by the Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters on Saturday at City Theatre on the South Side.

The competition was open to any U.S. citizen between the ages of 18 and 29 living or studying in Pennsylvania.

Also receiving awards were Allison Hawkins , a University of Pittsburgh student, who won the $2,000 second-place award, and Demetrius Grosse , from Carnegie Mellon University, who received the third-place award of $1,000.

Erin Krom , from Point Park University, and Sean Hamrin , from Carnegie Mellon University, received honorable mention prizes plus $250 each.

-- Alice T. Carter

Singer hits right chord with lawmakers

Faith Hill can add lawmakers in her native Mississippi to her legion of fans.

Legislators on Monday commended Hill's successful music career after she spoke at the state Capitol to promote a Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center in Meridian.

"Today I stand here before you with my heart filled with pride and a sense of accomplishment," the 37-year-old singer told members of the state House and Senate.

Hill left Mississippi at 19 to pursue a music career in Nashville, Tenn. In 1993, her debut single, "Wild One," spent four weeks at No. 1 on the country music charts. Hill, a native of Star, outside Jackson, has sold nearly 30 million records worldwide.

The proposed arts and entertainment center is expected to cost about $55 million. Plans include an interactive Hall of Fame, a museum, a theater, a conference center, an outdoor amphitheater, an artist-in-residence village and a cultural center devoted to the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

-- Associated Press

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