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Mt. Gretna Newsletter

Mt. Gretna, Pa. "Not a place, but a spirit."   Marlin Seiders (1927-2008)

No. 117                                                                    April 1, 2011

  Anybody up yet? Pennsylvania Avenue's first 2011 visitors, checking in last week.          Dale Grundon photo

In Brigadoon, it's Time to Wake Up  

It's a miracle, annually recurring. A time when one of the smallest towns in America--one so small that many of its residents can't agree whether it's really a town or a village--stirs from its wintertime slumber.

What makes that otherwise ordinary event special is that this town, unlike others its size, annually bursts forth with unbridled energy. For most of its 119 years, in fact, Mt. Gretna has leaped into summer with an outpouring of creativity, culture and competitive pursuits that dwarf communities 10 times its size.

Yet, like Brigadoon, it sometimes seems almost hidden from view. And amid the flurry of everyday concerns that can distract busy suburbanites in Harrisburg, Lancaster and Lebanon, Mt. Gretna's abundant summertime offerings can sometimes slip by almost unnoticed.

"I always rediscover Mt. Gretna too late," lamented one woman walking down Pennsylvania Avenue and admiring the illuminated porches late one night last August, on her way to the Playhouse.  

It is a regret that this year's planners hope to dissolve. Those who hone Mt. Gretna's cultural, recreational and contemplative treasures are determined to help both visitors and locals alike get a jump on the 2011 season.

A wake-up call? You might call it that. They're hoping to alert folks to the fact that Mt. Gretna's triathlon will get started a full week earlier than last year, that Gretna Theatre's early-season fundraiser  May 21 will star Academy award winner Shirley Jones (stepping in for Mickey Rooney), and that there's a summer ahead filled with entertainment and events sufficient to satisfy nearly every palate.

...and a potluck supper

Previews at the Premiere... 


Then will come not one but two community-wide previews of what's in store this summer. One takes place at the grand Summer Premiere May 28, another the following Saturday, June 4, at the firehall, complete with a potluck supper as everyone enjoys an in-depth presentation of what's coming up at the Playhouse, in the Hall of Philosophy and at the Tabernacle this summer.

Along with Gretna Theatre and Music at Gretna offerings guaranteed to fill seats ("My Fair Lady" [June 9-19], "Funny Girl" [July 21-31], and "The New Christy Minstrels" [Aug. 25]) are also the budget-priced $12 tickets for Cicada Festival shows (including the already sold-out Phil Dirt performance Aug. 16).

Summer programs include a new TED lecture series, featuring online presentations in the Hall of Philosophy from the famed "ideas worth spreading" conference that brings together experts from the fields of technology, entertainment and design. There'll also be another University for a Day event and the continuation of the popular Great Migrations series, this year focusing on English settlers in America.  

And, stretching the Summer Programs modest $6,000 budget to its imaginative limits, organizer Kathy Snavely and her committee hope to launch a New York authors' series (coordinated by part-time Mt. Gretna resident and adventure writer Bill Gifford), a miniature Mummers parade to the Fairy Garden, and a bus trip to the Chagall exhibit at Philadelphia's Museum of Art.

All the while, she and others shaping the summer are mindful of the oft-expressed view that sometimes there's more on the summer schedule than most people can manage to take in. So it's a delicate balance: The trick is to offer something for everyone, but not too much at any one time. One way they hope to do that is by reducing the quantity of offerings at the start and at the end of each summer. Cutting back a bit on creative attractions and interesting things to see and do? That's a problem unknown in most places. But then, most places are unlike Mt. Gretna.



Blending century-old traditions   

An Independence Day Salute with a Distinctive Mt. Gretna Touch    

If you thought hot dogs, fireworks and John Philip Sousa marches were the only way to celebrate the Fourth of July, get ready for a new Mt. Gretna tradition this year.

It's coming this Independence Day. The reintroduction of an old idea: a Grand Illumination that will light up the whole town, from Mt. Gretna Heights to Timber Bridge.

Madelaine Gray photo.

With lights, Liberty Bells and the imaginative touches of individual homeowners, Mt. Gretna will set a new tradition in motion.

Dave Adams photo



 The idea is to illuminate porches, cottages, windows and even entire homes with a Liberty Bell theme, colored lights and lanterns to celebrate the nationís birthday.

Mat's design, with a little help from Gram

It's what planners hope will become a distinctive Mt. Gretna July 4th celebration and an enduring patriotic hallmark of the entire community for years to come.


Former Art Show chairman Karl Gettle heads a committee of volunteers in neighborhoods throughout Mt. Gretna to carry out the theme.

Paint-your-own bell shapes

Homeowners can use Liberty Bell shapes the committee will begin offering next month, he says. Or residents can come up with their own designs. "All we ask is that everyone adopt an Independence Day theme," says Karl. "And that doesn't necessarily mean they have to use red, white and blue lights," he adds.


The bell-shaped designs he plans to offer starting in May will be made of wood and tempered Masonite, so they'll hold up to weather in outdoor use. They can be painted to match the individual preferences of homeowners for the Independence Day celebration. Artist Barb Kleinfelter (inset, above right) will offer bell-painting classes at the Hall of Philosophy in June to help residents prepare their bells for display.


No, this isn't really a new idea. Grand Illuminations are long-standing traditions, not only in Mt. Gretna but across the country.

Historical references to illuminated celebrations date back to the 1890s in the annals of the Chautauqua Institution in New York State.

Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting Association photo

The largest single Grand Illumination Night in the country today is one that started a  century ago at Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting Association in Massachusetts. It's held every August, with cottages adorned with lights and colorful Chinese and Japanese lanterns.


Colonial Williamsburg has another huge  Grand Illumination display, held at the beginning of each Christmas season.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Many other communities--most tracing their origins to camp meeting associations or the Chautauqua movement--annually hold Grand Illuminations at various times of the year. Such events take place in dozens of locations across the country, from Colorado to Florida.

Indeed, even in the 1950s, Mt. Gretna cottage owners often strung paper lanterns across the porches, Karl recalls. And two years ago a group in Mt. Gretna's Campmeeting revived a long-standing tradition called "The Illumination of the Grove," when youngsters finishing their session at Church Camp strolled through the streets singing hymns they had learned each summer.   

Karl's committee includes members from neighborhoods throughout Mt. Gretna: Max Hunsicker in the Heights, Joyce Ebright in Timber Bridge, Evelyn Koppel in Timber Hills, Bruce Gettle in the Campmeeting, Laura Feather in Conewago Hill, and Bill and Barb Kleinfelter in the Chautauqua. He welcomes others and expects to begin displaying Liberty Bells outside the post office on Saturday mornings in May. His committee also plans to show Liberty Bell design ideas at the Summer Premiere and a community-wide potluck dinner at the firehall June 4.



Make-your-own sundaes for everyone April 10:  

Firefighters' Campaign Plans Grand Finale  

The Mt. Gretna Fire Company's "Dimes in a Bottle" campaign winds up this month in grand style.

Volunteers at the firehall Sunday, April 10 will have a Make Your Own Sundae spectacular set up between 2 and 4 p.m. for all who enter the hall.  

No coins in your water bottle? No problem. Stuff it with a check or folding money, just as Larry Roush did when he came to last month's fire company breakfast with a bottle and rolled-up $100 bill inside. Or bring a donation without a bottle. The firefighters aren't fussy.

They need your help

The big payoff? Drawings for gift certificates that fire company volunteers have rounded up for this event: They include certificates for Segway Tours from former

Avery Dowd, Maddy Allwein and Nicole Roberts are putting dimes in their fire company water bottles and urge you to do the same. 

Mt. Gretnans Bruce and Trish Myers, footbath treatments at Serenity Spa, treats a the Jigger Shop, admissions to the Lake this summer, art lessons from one of Mt. Gretna's legendary artists Barb Fishman, and more.*

Helping to everyone to stuff coins in their water bottles over the past several months: Cedar Crest High School co-eds Avery Dowd, Maddy Allewin and Nicole Roberts. They're now making a final appeal to return with your dimes in a bottle April 10, at the firehall, from 2 to 4 p.m. to turn in your bottle, make your own sundae, and win some nifty gift certificates.

It's the windup for one of the fire company's latest fundraisers. Another stab at putting a dent in the $400,000 goal to "burn the mortgage" on a new addition to the firehall and lay a firm financial footing for the engines and other equipment Mt. Gretna's firefighters will need to protect homes, lives and property here in the years ahead.

*Other Mt. Gretna-linked businesses pitching in with gift certificates: Gretna Computers, Janice Balmer's Zumba Classes, Kathleen Wall's Senior Caregiving Solutions, Stacey Pennington's (of Gretna Emporium) Resource Island, Ken Shertzer's Le Sorelle, the Cicada Festival, Gretna Theatre, Sue and Al Pera's Cornerstone Coffee House, Timbers Dinner Theater, Pam Willeman's New Day Yoga and Nancy and John Mitchell's La Cigale.   



When a star is needed, he knows how to find one  

Gretna Theatre's producing artistic director Larry Frenock may have just produced the biggest coup of his career.

When legendary entertainer Mickey Rooney suddenly dropped out of a planned fundraiser next month to get Gretna Theatre's 2011 season started, Larry pulled out the name of one of Hollywood's all-time bests.

"Why, yes, of course" 


Academy award-winning actress Shirley Jones agreed to fill the May 21 date at the Playhouse and help Larry's team fulfill a commitment as well as a key touchstone in the season's fundraising plans. "Being the gracious star that she is, Ms. Jones kindly came to the rescue," he says.

It could scarcely have been a better pick. Best known today for her starring role in the TV series "The Partridge Family," Ms. Jones is the only actress put under personal contract to Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein after she wowed them in her first audition. A Pennsylvania native, she starred in their film versions of "Oklahoma" and "Carousel," as well as "The Music Man," and appeared in more than a dozen other films including "April Love," "Elmer Gantry" and "The Courtship of Eddie's Father."

Larry says those who purchased tickets to see Rooney will be telephoned next week to receive a refund or switch to the Shirley Jones performance, "An Evening of Stories and Songs" at the Playhouse at 7:30 p.m.

Premium seat tickets (for the first nine rows, center) are $95 and include a reception to meet the star after the show. All other regular seats are $50 and may be purchased online at or by calling 717-964-3627.



Conewago Hill resident Val Sarabia, who has traveled to 58 different countries, just from a 17-day cargo delivery assignment for the U.S. in Haiti: "A year after the earthquake, people still live in the most deplorable conditions I've ever seen: More than a million still under tents and tarpaulins. People taking baths in polluted water from street gutters, with food stands just a few hundred feet away. Without choices, people do what they have to do. Those who donate their time and efforts have hope and faith. Their national cathedral in Port-au-Prince has collapsed, but they still gather there to worship." wall hangings by Vivian Narehood, an attorney who lives along Lakeview Drive, will be on display April 1-30 at the Weavings Ink Gallery 

in Wrightsville. The exhibit, "Fiber: 200 Years in the Making," also features works by frequent art show exhibitor Sylvia Lehman, designer of contemporary baskets, as well as other creators of tapestries, quilts and wall hangings. A reception to open the exhibit begins today (April 1), 5-8 p.m.



In a pivotal season, a preeminent role

For Mt. Gretna's only church, it is clearly the busiest of seasons. A time when Easter egg hunts blend with sunrise services, when solemn sacraments anchor a spirit of togetherness, when joyous celebrations resonate from a small building in the Campmeeting to echo throughout the community. Still to come are other fortifying bulwarks of Mt. Gretna's spiritual life, the summer services of the Chautauqua and Summer at the Tabernacle. So

as Easter dawns, a centering role falls to the church. Gretna UMC worshipers begin the Lenten season with a 7 p.m. service April 6 in Rexmont, part of a community series involving several local churches. The Lenten series shifts to Mt. Gretna April 13. 

Then comes the "egg dye" April 14 at 6:30 p.m. "Some of our kids get very egg-cited," says Pastor Mike Remel. "They end up dyeing themselves and their clothes, too. Then, no yoke," adds the minister, a specialist in the fun of puns, "it's the annual Easter egg hunt, Saturday, April 16 at 11 a.m." (Rain date: April 23).

Holy Week includes Palm Sunday services April 17, with special choir anthems at both 8:30 and 10:00 a.m. services. The Maundy Thursday April 21 communion service at 7:00 p.m. is open to all and includes a special "Service of Three Basins" in addition to Holy Communion.  

Good Friday's community service takes place at the Chapel of Cornwall Manor at 1 p.m., with Evangelical Seminary president Rev. Michael Sigman as guest speaker.

Easter Sunday's opening service begins at 7:00 a.m. on Soldiers' Field (bring folding chairs, suggests Pastor Mike), followed by two regular services at 8:30 and 10:00 a.m.  


When it comes to sustaining Mt. Gretna's organ recital
series, the single ingredient that tops the list is, undoubtedly, persistence.

Take, for example, the circuitous path that led to Peter Hewitt and Walter McAnney's opening recital this year, on Thursday, July 7.

They discovered the Julliard School's Raymond Nagem (inset, right) at a national convention of the American Guild of Organists in Minneapolis three years ago. The youthful performer was a featured soloist in the convention's Rising Stars concert.  

"We have always discovered great talent at these conventions," says Peter. "Often, they are happy to come to Mt. Gretna and concertize."

That's how Peter and Walter, founders of the Mt. Gretna recital series -- itself now a "rising star" in the realm of organ music -- also discovered (and booked) noted performers Chelsea Chen and Ahrum Han, AGO convention standouts who have also made guest appearances at an Allen R-400 Renaissance organ in the McAnney-Hewitt home.  

Nagem, who will launch the 2011 season, just completed a concert at the Allen Organ Company's Macungie, Pa., headquarters. "He is making a name for himself," says Peter, who inspired the series 14 years ago. Seating reservations for this year's recitals (at the Hewitt-McAnney residence, where approximately 80 persons may be accommodated), will be accepted starting Memorial Day weekend, tel. 717-964-1830, ext. 3. Free will donations are requested for the recitals, which have become another in the series of Chautauqua summer program offerings.



First, start with the judges 

Fresh Perspectives: How a 35-Year-Old Show Stays Crisp     

How to keep an outdoor art show fresh from year to year? Start with those who judge the artists and their works.   

"I always look for four different people each year whose background, training and experience qualify them to evaluate the work of other artists," says Mt. Gretna Art Show director Linda Bell. year she's drawn on suggestions from retired Millersville University art department head Gordon Wise, a Lakeview Drive resident who recommended a woman who serves on the MSU faculty and is herself a jeweler. Linda also profited from guidance by Elizabeth Hummer, a part-time Mt. Gretnan who also lives in Manhattan and won Pennsylvania State University's Integrative Arts and Graphic Design award last year. Elizabeth, design director at Harper's Bazaar magazine, not only volunteered to serve as a judge but also suggested a former designer for O Magazine who now works in Lancaster and another woman from the field of magazine design with experience in interior design, art history and photography.  

The judging, an all-day affair, takes place April 16 as judges review the entries of 400 to 500 artists who'll submit their applications electronically before today's (April 1) deadline has passed.


Edging Toward Retirement Living? Series Offers Tips    

As a retirement community, Cornwall Manor attracts its share of Mt. Gretnans.  

Jeanine Bitner, Willie Chase, Ethel Beittel, Doug and Dawn Bedell, Jeanne and Gerry Boltz and Morry and Miriam Albertson are among more than a dozen former Mt. Gretna residents who have there in recent years.

Located only about three miles east of the Playhouse, the retirement village now plans a series of seminars to answer questions for local residents, many of whom share historical ties to an estate once owned by the family of Mt. Gretna founder Robert H. Coleman.

Discussions in programs that start April 5 and continue into the spring and fall months include downsizing, selling a home, creating retirement plans, options for seniors and legal documents required to make the switch to a retirement home.  

For details, click here.

A Plan to Combine Emergency Communicators' Tasks     

Mt. Gretna may consolidate its emergency communications into a new western Lebanon County agency next month. The unit would coordinate emergency call responses but not take over police and fire departments.  

Fire company president Joe Shay said that under the Homeland Security Act,  each municipality now must have an EMA coordinator to deal with large-scale emergencies. He and borough manager Bill Care now have that assignment locally; Joe thinks combining that responsibility with three or four areas is a good idea. "When emergencies happen, I'm responding rather than doing the job of a coordinator and working with Lebanon County's EMA, " he says. 

The new plan would set up one person to oversee emergency communications for Mt. Gretna, Palmyra Borough and South Annville and South Londonderry townships . "It has nothing to do with the Mt. Gretna Fire Company," he says. "It's just a combining of three or four emergency coordinators into one."


Mt. Gretna artist Fred Swarr offers another "painting to music workshop" April at Patti Reichenbach's Summer Arts Studio in Stoberdale. The five-hour class, with the theme, "Picasso Guitars," costs $95 which includes canvas and use of brushes, with Chroma Atelier acrylic paints available for purchase.

A portion of the proceeds goes to Mt. Gretna's fire company, says Patti. Details: E-mail or call 964-3330.


Tennis begins at the Mt. Gretna Men's Club April 2. Club president William Brandt invites anyone interested in joining the club (with $50 resident and $100 non-resident initiation fees) to call him at 964-3436. tennis memberships are available for seniors ($80) and juniors ($15) as well as family (non-tennis, $15) memberships for those who wish to use  club facilities including a picnic pavilion and shuffleboard courts.    

Among the club's activities are a tennis clinic for 8- to 14-year-olds June 24, the annual Senior Men's Tournament which begins July 31 and continues into the evenings of early August (with volunteer-baked dishes including desserts -- as big a treat as the matches themselves, which traditionally attract top players from throughout the county) as well as the Art Show breakfast fundraiser Aug. 20-21. The courts will remain open until Oct. 29.


Events Coming to Governor Dick Park:

Saturday, April 2, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Beginner Orienteering (finding your way around the woods with a map. Now actually competitive sport).

Sunday, April 3, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Orienteering for all skill levels. Map fee. Large groups welcome.

Sunday, April 3, 1:30 p.m.: The first in a weekly series of walks to see how the forest changes as trees leaf out, flowers bloom, and tadpoles grow in a vernal pool. Learn to identify over 40 types of plants and trees. Follow-up walks set for April 10 and 17, at 1:30 p.m.

Sunday, April 10: A fast-paced four-mile hike for fitness buffs.

No admission fee. Registration required; officials cancel sessions with fewer than five registrants. Details:; tel. 964-3808."Pennsylvania German Barn Stars:  Celestial Symbolism in Folk Culture" is the next topic in the Cornwall Iron Furnace's monthly lecture series. Patrick Donmoyer of the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center will present the April 12 lecture at 7 p.m. in Cornwall Manor's Freeman Hall. No admission charge.

Miss the documentary "Chautauqua: An American Narrative" when it premiered on PBS earlier this year? It's now available on DVD from the Chautauqua Institution Bookstore in New York.

The program describes the Chautauqua movement's origins, traditions and contemporary activities. $24.95.



From a Provenance of Inspiration, a Wellspring of Output

For sheer volume of creative output, few towns match Mt. Gretna's reservoir of artistic

Of the exhibits that currently fill galleries around the area, one of the brightest is currently underway at Elizabethtown's Lynden Gallery. There you'll find works by Mt. Gretna resident Lou Schellenberg and Eva Bender (inset, right), a long-time Mt. Gretnan who was among the resident artists at the first Mt. Gretna Art Show 37 years ago.

Her latest exhibit, "Eva Stina Bender: Vessels" opened March 25 and continues

EVA BENDER: Roses and Birds 


through June.

In a blog posted last week, gallery director Lisa Clemens captured an illuminating glimpse into Eva's life and works:

The watercolor exhibition unveils containers both full and empty, yet all are repositories for "everyday tasks from minor practicalities to letting go of what was," says Ms. Clemens.

Following a visit with Eva, she quotes the artist's reflections on the works displayed:

"I am dealing with loss, aging, dispossession and re-orientation... I am not saying I have lived through anything out of the ordinary. I have lost my house and community, my family situation, my marriage and my mother. Grieving is involved in all these events. . . . I don't feel all empty vessels and containers are sad. Some hold air, some even joy, maybe just possibilities of change."

Works by Lou Schellenberg, an associate professor of art at Elizabethtown


College, are a Front Wall Feature at the gallery.

Ms. Schellenberg's other exhibits this year will include "Pennsylvania Landscape Artists" April 1 to May 2 at the Lancaster Museum of Art, "Women's Expressions" at the Lancaster Women and Babies Hospital April 15, "Doshi Gallery Artists" at the State Museum of Pennsylvania through June 20, and "The Maine Event: Three Painters" June 2-30 at the Orange, Va. Arts Center.

Her Mt. Gretna scenes at the Elizabethtown gallery include "Night Wind," a scene inspired on one of her solitary walks near her Campmeeting cottage. "My impulse to paint comes most often while walking outside," she says. "Ordinary subjects catch my eye: Shapes of sky framed by buildings, spaces between structures, forms defined by snow, cast shadows, real and artificial light. Most are night paintings of Mt. Gretna, done from memory and invention."



A Time, a Treasure, a Sense of Place  

Summertime memories can cast long shadows for youngsters who grew up in Mt. Gretna.

Nearly 80 years after Mike Moeslein (inset, age 10) had played with his pals near his grandparents' in the Campmeeting along Pinch Road, those fond memories may yet play a role in finding a home for one of his most prized possessions. Moeslein died last year in Harrisburg at the age of 85.  Yet his love of Mt. Gretna, together with a sense of history that guides his former personal assistant who now serves as of his estate, may help lead a 61-year-old gas-powered refrigerator to a home here.

The unlikely treasure is a BN800 Servel refrigerator that has performed flawlessly since it was installed in Moeslein's Harrisburg home in 1950.   

Karen Peiffer, who lives in New Cumberland but has, through her frequent visits here, come to love the area almost as much as he, thinks the appliance would be perfect for someone planning to remodel their Mt. Gretna kitchen with a 1950s theme.  

It's an idea she got by attending a cottage remodeling seminar held a few years ago at the Hall of Philosophy. Ms. Peiffer loves historic architecture and history, and wants the dependable refrigerator, which currently runs on natural gas but has an adapter for propane, "to find a happy home."  She thought first of Mt. Gretna "because there's a concentration of people who have a real appreciation of history," she says.  Their sense of history, she believes, may indeed match that of Moeslein, who kept the 1950 bill of sale and owner's manual. Ms. Peiffer intends to transfer both documents to the new owner.  

With no moving parts and a reputation for reliability, Servel refrigerators are often eagerly sought for campsites and other remote locations. 

The price? That's not as big an issue as finding a suitable home says Ms. Peiffer, who regularly attends events at Governor Dick Park, brings her niece and nephew to meet Santa at the firehall and sometimes takes part in summer programs at the Hall of Philosophy and Playhouse.  "I haven't set a price," she says. "I figured somebody would offer something. And whatever that was I would smile and reply, 'That would be lovely, a donation to the estate,'" she says.   She may be contacted by email or 717-315-7700.


Questions Readers Ask

[] I'd like to do some historical research in the Lebanon County area and, as part of my studies, would like to visit the Mt. Gretna Area Historical Society. Can you tell me when the museum is open?
<> The historical society, which looks like an ordinary Mt. Gretna cottage but is now a fully outfitted museum, complete with archival storage facilities and a fireproof cement vault, contains a fascinating collection of Mt. Gretna memorabilia and is normally open during the summer months on Saturdays and Sundays 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
And thanks to a recent announcement by the museum's committee chairman Jeff Hurst, researchers are in luck! Starting June 4, the society's headquarters at 206 Pennsylvania Avenue will be open on Saturday mornings exclusively for persons doing research studies. Deborah Hurst, who not only directs much of the Mt. Gretna Library's activities but also serves as the historical society's archivist, will be on hand from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m every Saturday (except on house tour and art show weekends) to assist researchers with their investigations. She'll help direct them to the materials that now make up an impressive collection of facts, photographs and publications concerning Mt. Gretna. tales lurk behind the 240-year-old estate today known as Cornwall Manor, which traces its lineage to William Penn, Peter Grubb and Mt. Gretna founder Robert H. Coleman? Public relations director Stacia Layser, who also coordinates development and volunteer activities for the retirement village, is the featured speaker at the Winterites' season-ending meeting April 5. She will describe the estate's notable buildings, including the Buckingham Mansion, Paymaster's Building, Bank Barn and Carriage House. The session starts at 1 p.m. at the Mt. Gretna firehall. All are welcome (guys, too).  


Think a two-night lineup of Bartok's intricate quartets might cause you to nod off? in the hands of the Calder Quartet, which -- as a zippy press release from Gretna Music points out -- has played "with some of the hippest bands that parents love to hate" (including Airborne Toxic Event and Vampire Weekend).

Yet this same group wins praise for their classical prowess from the New York Times ("superb") and London's Guardian ("insightful and moving").  

Coming April 8 and 9 to Gretna Music's winter venue at Elizabethtown College, the performance offers an optional buffet outside the concert hall. Details, click here.


Christmas? It's never too early to begin thinking about the holidays if you're raising money for needy families. Stephanie Burris, who runs Cornwall Police Department's Adopt-a-Family program, asks for your donations to the annual yard sale (Friday and Saturday, May 13-14). Clean and usable items, please, no clothing. Pickups begin May 1. Call (717) 274-2071.


Sorry, wrong number: Organizers of an April 29 get-together for residents of Timber and Valley roads say there was a misprint in the reservations phone number printed in a leaflet circulated this week. The number (for the Timbers Restaurant) should have been 964-3601 rather than the one shown, which reaches a private residence.


Bluegrass on the mountaintop. If you're in the mood for Bluegrass but missing

those Monday night sessions at La Cigale, head over to Pinch Road on the first Sundays of each month. You'll find zithers strumming, guitars picking and spirits soaring at the Governor Dick Nature Center from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. on May 1, June 5, July 2, August 7 and September 4. Details: 717-202-9423.

Guitar and mandolin instructor Patsy Kline, inset, says the "Pickin' on the Porch" sessions' first hour will be open to beginners (including kids), with Bluegrass-style sing-a-longs. She also plans to set up separate areas for bands, traditional, old-time, Celtic and Bluegrass groups.

Meanwhile, Bluegrass nights at La Cigale will likely resume next month. Organizer Dale Dourte is exploring format changes and may switch to a night other than Mondays to make the experience more enjoyable for players and listeners. He hopes to announce details shortly.


Why small town editors love deadlines. The request struck a familiar chord: "If it's not too late, here's an item for the April newsletter," said a note that arrived six hours before yesterday's deadline.
Complete with a photo of Mt. Gretnans Jane Mourer, Bobbie Warshaw, Linda Gettle, Kathy Wall and Barbara Hoffsommer, it was a press release for the next  Lebanon Sexual Assault and Counseling Center fund-raising walk on the Rail-Trail.
Madelaine Gray, of the Campmeeting, and Susan Wood, of the Heights, are team leaders. They hope to get 50 others to join them (9:00 a.m. Saturday, May 21, at Cornwall's Sacred Heart Catholic Church).
Madelaine says you can
e-mail or call her (964-3118) for details.
But if she's in charge of things, why isn't
she in this picture, taken at last year's SARCC fundraiser? 
For top photographers (
her fine art photography is world-acclaimed), anonymity is an occupational hazard. Madelaine was, as usual, behind the camera.


James J. Dwyer (1935-2011)  

Jim Dwyer, who lived on Third Street and had served as treasurer of the Mt. Gretna Campmeeting Association for seven years, died at Hospice of Lancaster County March 18. The husband of Constance Ehrhart Dwyer, to whom he had been married 14 years, he was an Ohio native and a graduate of Western Reserve Academy as well as the University of Rochester. Following an early career in retailing, in which he managed W. T. Grant stores in New York and Pennsylvania, he opted to enter the field of human services "to do something more meaningful for society," an obituary announcement stated. From 1970 to 1999, he served as rehabilitation services coordinator for Lebanon County Workshop, now Quest, Inc. Survivors also include four children in Texas, Maryland and Florida and two grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Lancaster County, or Chris 4 Life Colon Cancer Foundation.





This unofficial community newsletter has neither any attachment to a particular group or organization nor any political or commercial ax to grind. Mainly, it's a retirement hobby, much like woodworking, crossword puzzles or golfing might be for others.
We send it by e-mail to anyone who asks, without charge and with no expectation of anything other than friendship, conviviality and a gentle prodding when we err.
We don't cover everything. Some topics are better left to daily newspapers, TV and others with greater skills, resources and insights.
Generally speaking, we try to cover things that readers may not have already read elsewhere. Yet since the majority of our readers live outside of Mt. Gretna -- in other cities, states and countries -- we sometimes summarize local stories that appear in area newspapers.
In preparing each issue, we try to keep in mind the example set by the late Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas, who felt as if listeners had invited him into their homes. 

We also try to adhere to the practical wisdom of Rotary International's Four-Way Test of the Things We Think, Say or Do, one of the best standards of conduct we've ever come across: "Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?"
We've been writing this newsletter since January 2001, usually once a month unless we're traveling, ailing or attending to household duties that, in the interest of domestic tranquility, take a higher priority. 
We thank the many people who help us gather the news, take the photos, then edit, fact-check and proofread this newsletter. They include folks with special skills and knowledge of Mt. Gretna who live not only here but also in places like New York City, St. Paul, Minn. and Hilton Head, S.C. 
If you have difficulty reading or printing the newsletter, please click on the online version appearing at .
Thanks to our friends at Gretna Computers, you can always find
back issues of this newsletter on the Web. That online archive, we're told, occasionally proves helpful to people planning to move here and want to know more about what goes on in a community which, as the late Marlin Seiders once observed, "is not a place, but a spirit."
Kindest regards,

Roger Groce

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