The Mt. Gretna Newsletter
Mt. Gretna, PA "Not a place, but a spirit."
Marlin Seiders (1927-2008)
May 1, 2014
as we grow older, volunteers propel Mt. Gretna
marvelous engine runs on energies that larger
communities find scarce ,
couldn't prove it under the microscope of Mt.
Gretna, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics says
activities sagged to their lowest level in a decade last
applies to the USA, however, apparently doesn't
step up to the plate in Mt. Gretna," says
Rhoda Long, one of the area's busiest volunteers.
"When something needs doing, somebody
had better do it," she says.
That sums up in a nutshell why volunteerism works
better in small towns than big cities. The more
people there are, the easier it is to assume "somebody
else will do it."
Ms. Long is one of an estimated 1,300 volunteers
in this small village of 1,500 year 'rounders.
She and husband Chuck (inset) moved to
Mt. Gretna in 2003 from Campbelltown, where they
lived on a one-acre lot in a nice suburban development.
Yet the only people they knew well there were
their immediate neighbors. When they decided to
move to Mt. Gretna, they knew hardly anyone.
is probably one of the best things we've
ever done in our lives," says Rhoda
"We wanted to meet people, but we didn't
know where to begin," she says. Then she
and Chuck discovered a gold mine of opportunity:
the Concession Stand at the Mt. Gretna Playhouse.
Suddenly they had more friends in Mt. Gretna than
they ever had known in Campbelltown. "Now,
when I walk down the street, I know practically
everyone," she says.
An active Realtor, she has also spread her volunteer
activities to include organizing fundraising trips
to New York City for the Mt. Gretna Fire Company,
served punch at organ recitals, escorted visitors
on House Tours, helped out at the Cicada Festival,
and wound up coordinating finger food donations
each year at the annual Christmas Tree lighting.
she's only one of many volunteers, she's amazed
at how much they get done. "Look at other
communities our size. Even those with colleges
don't pull off as much as we do, and they have
a college backing them."
even with such enthusiastic participation, nobody
claims that Mt. Gretna's supply of volunteers
is endless, or that all jobs get filled immediately.
in this issue point to the need for a new Winterites
president, for example. The 64-year-old group
could collapse this year if no one steps forward
to fill the now-vacant position of president.
Also needed are volunteers to take over the Campmeeting
Butterfly Garden and someone to run the Summer
Premiere, a key fundraiser for the Arts Council.
Mt. Gretna's population is getting older.
2000 Census showed the mean age of Mt. Gretna's
citizens was a chipper 52. Ten years later, that
statistic had edged up to 59.8. Now in 2014, it's
likely that figure has already crept past 60 and
may even be approaching 70 when the next Census
comes up just six years from now.
those statistics, however, are several factors
maybe unique to Mt. Gretna.
"Mt. Gretna is a family-oriented community,"
says Ms. Long, "and that family expands into
making the community itself a family."
She also cites her own neighborhood of Timber
Bridge, where several new babies are on the way.
As a Realtor,
she sees young couples suddenly discovering that
"Mt. Gretna is a great place to raise children."
She estimates that 40% of those helping at the
Concession Stand are under 50. "We even have
two twins in their 20s working alongside us,"
There's also what might be called the "Mt.
Gretna attraction" factor: Volunteers who
live in other places enjoy coming here to help
out, people from Harrisburg, Lebanon, Elizabethtown
and Mt. Joy. "We just like the atmosphere
here," said one.
Volunteering doesn't require a passport and is
open to everyone young and old, says Ms. Long.
"All you need is a smile and a willingness
MEMO to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: For your
next volunteer study, carve out a special category
for Small American Towns like Mt. Gretna.
The Mt. Gretna Newsletter
Show (Aug. 16-17):
The No. 1 need this
year is Booth Sitters, says Art Show Director
Linda Bell (tel. 964-3270 or MtGretnaArt@comcast.net).
Barb Kleinfelter (firstname.lastname@example.org) has
now stepped in to coordinate these critical
assignments. "It's a great way to see the
show from a wholly new perspective," she
Other volunteer coordinators include,
at Saturday admission gates: Sam Bonacci 964-3111.
Sunday admission gates: Joe Shay, 964-2209; Office
staff: Doug Leiby, 272-8871. Kids' Art Show: Stacey
Pennington, email@example.com. Exhibitor
traffic: Barney Myer, 964-2384. Soldier's Field
and Philhaven area Parking: Bob Dowd, 964-1106.
note: This issue of the Mt. Gretna Newsletter
includes a PDF
attachment for the festival's 2014 season.
The Mt. Gretna
Bible Festival needs volunteers for duties that
include greeting and hospitality, ushering and
counting offerings. To sign up for volunteer assignments,
contact Dave Pierce, Tel. 964-2301; email
Or Bruce Gettle Tel. 813-5319; email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This year's festival includes 18 programs of religious
music and speakers scheduled from June 15 through
Aug. 24. Click here to
view the entire series.
You won't believe the birds you'll discover under
the expert guidance of Sid Hostetter and Evelyn
Koppel, 964-3412 (email@example.com).
The group meets Fridays at 9:00 am
at the Chautauqua parking lot, weather permitting.
It's usually a two-hour walk to observe birds,
flora and fauna -- often topped off by a late
breakfast at Le Sorelle.
The club sometimes has projects for volunteers,
and it's an enjoyable way to meet others and learn
more about nature in and around Mt. Gretna. Bring
binoculars if you have them.
Buzzard Busters: (Active November
"The few, the proud, the Buzzard Busters,"
Max Hunsicker calls them. Volunteers safely encourage
the migrating turkey vultures to choose to roost
elsewhere, rather than in Mt. Gretna's treetops.
He asks volunteers to keep noise to a minimum,
using aerial explosives only when necessary and
only just as dusk is settling in (before the vultures
thing is certain, he says: "If we stop, they'll
be back." The migratory patterns of the past
quarter century prove he's right. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteers needed to help with projects
including annual carnival Saturday, July
5, from 12 pm to 2 pm. Contact Robin May, 964-1372.
Chautauqua Summer Programs:
"We're happy to welcome volunteers
who'll serve as hosts and hostesses for those
who attend these programs," says coordinator
Kathy Snavely (Tel. 964-2191 or email@example.com).
The more than 170 programs offered in this series
appear in the Arts Council's 2014 Summer Calendar.
Rhoda Long coordinates usher assignments,
304-0248 or RhodaJLong@Gmail.com. Details of the
current season appear online: http://www.cicadafestival.com/
Concession Stand at Playhouse:
A haven for visitors attending plays,
concerts and other attractions at the Playhouse,
this spot offers a chance to greet audiences,
meet performers and neighbors who join you in
this summertime role. Gary Shrawder coordinates
volunteer activities at the stand. Contact: 272-2284
Who makes the grounds surrounding
Mt. Gretna dazzle with color each summer? A small
army of folks. Some are paid but most are volunteers.
To join those in your neighborhood,
contact any of the people mentioned in this article.
Chances are they'll tell you it's
the best of all assignments: make friends, make
a difference, and maybe change your life by the
difference you make.
In the Campmeeting, Deborah Hurst
long been instrumental in coordinating volunteer
gardening efforts at several locations.
Gardens include one at Bell Avenue
tended by photographer Madelaine Gray, who is
soon moving to Florida. Another is the Butterfly
Garden begun in the late 1990s by former resident
Edie Miller. That has been tended for the past
decade by Jane Zellers and Deb Barnhart, whose
work schedules force them to now surrender their
Who'll replace them? Volunteers are
being sought, says Campmeeting supervisor Merv
Lentz, now in his mid-80s. Until new volunteers
are found, "we'll work on it ourselves."
His indomitable spirit not only sets a standard,
it inspires many in their 60s and 70s to get up
and get going, a spirit quintessentially Mt. Gretnan.
Around the Playhouse, summertime
resident Betty Miller has
faithfully tended to the gardens for more years
than even she can count. It is a labor of love
that extends past the growing season and continues
until the last leaf has fallen.
Tending to plants around the Post
Office are Borough staffers Bill Care and Linda
Bell. Shirley Miller nurtures flower boxes at
the Information Center. Carol Morgan maintains
the Fairy Garden between the Jigger Shop and Playhouse.
In Mt. Gretna Heights, volunteers
interested in gardening projects should contact
the Heights Community Association or newsletter
editor Michelle Shay, firstname.lastname@example.org. Across
the highway, the individual
gardening efforts of
homeowners and well-managed enterprises such as
Mt. Gretna Lake and Beach, Timber Hills Apartments
and the Timbers Dinner Theatre are on display
for all to see. . . and enjoy .
Even with Mt. Gretna's natural beauty
-- its trees, hills and comforting embrace --
flowers tended by loving hands make a difference
that can be felt as well as seen. Take a bow,
Mt. Gretna gardeners, wherever you live.
Throughout the country, perhaps 30
Chautauqua and Campmeeting associations hold annual
Grand Illumination events.
Mt. Gretna, in fact, holds two.
The first takes place over three
days this year, July 3-5. It will celebrate Independence
Day throughout Mt. Gretna -- from Timber Bridge
and Timber Hills to the Heights, Campmeeting
and the Chautauqua.
"We're encouraging everyone
in the community to 'light up'," says co-ordinator
She and co-chairman Karl Gettle will have
samples of string lights, luminaries and Chinese
lanterns for orders at their booth outside the
Mt. Gretna Post Office on the first two Saturdays
of June. She'll also display them during the communitywide
porch sale Saturday, May 24.
The second Grand Illumination is a quiet and respectful
observance that takes place only in the Campmeeting,
Saturday, Aug. 16. It honors a long-established
tradition that traces to the 1950s. Youngsters
who had finished church camp strolled through
the historic grounds singing hymns. Campmeeting
residents listened from their porches, accented
with lights and lanterns for the occasion. Today's
Campmeeting Association invites everyone throughout
Mt. Gretna to walk through the grounds and enjoy
the lights starting around 9 pm.
How to volunteer for this event?
Decorate your home or cottage with illuminated
displays and designs of your choice. Honor the
nation's birthday in July or the Campmeeting's
venerable tradition in August.
A display of national pride and community
spirit? Yes, and both signature events that perhaps
also tell others a bit more about Mt. Gretna.
Sometimes it's better than a cash donation.
Open your private home to a talented musician
appearing at a Gretna Music concert. Each night's
stay saves $200 on hotel costs. "If all of
our artists stayed with generous local hosts,
we could add an extra concert to our season,"
says co-director Carl Kane.
Also needed: office help, writers
and ushers. Call 361-1508 or email email@example.com.
The best way to help Gretna Theatre
this year is to open a bedroom in your home to
actors. Hotel costs are among the biggest line
items in their budget. A week or two stay with
you could reduce those costs and add a big plus
sign to their season. To participate, you don't
have to feed, entertain or transport actors.
Needed are homes with shared kitchens but private
bedrooms and baths (for equity actors) as well
as homes offering private bedrooms but shared
baths and kitchens (for non-equity actors). Among
them may be future Bernadette Peters or Charlton
Hestons, both legendary alumni from Gretna Theatre's
hall of fame.
Chick and Karen Rhoads head the campaign
to find homes in and around Mt. Gretna.
In what other ways can you
help? Name your talent and coordinator Renee Krizan
has a need for it. Volunteer ushers, seamstresses,
carpenters, box office staffers, painters. "Any
skill you have, we can use," she says. Contact
her at (964-3322 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Governor Dick Park:
Outdoors or indoors, the park welcomes
If your tastes lean toward outdoor
activities, plenty of spots are open. With record
numbers of hikers and nature enthusiasts last
year, the park needs people to help with trail
maintenance, painting, garden and lawn care.
Indoors, volunteers can go to work
on light cleaning, office sitting or lead a program
tailored to their area of expertise. Audrey Wells
invites calls at 964-3808 or email Governordick@hotmail.com.
This popular "pay-what-you-want"
festival gets off to another rousing start June
28 with a fourth consecutive appearance of the
Lebanon Community Band. Then comes Stardust Memories
making its Tabernacle debut
with ballroom-era melodies July 5. The Shuey Brothers
follow with their familiar blend of country, modern
bluegrass and comedy July 12, and perennial Mt.
Gretna vacationer Larry McKenna returns July 19
with "Songs that Remind Me of Mt. Gretna."
Coordinators Pat and Mike Allwein
(964-2352) have picked the Lebanon Big Swing Band
to again close the season July 26. "It's
music guaranteed to make you want to dance,"
says Pat. She needs volunteers to help collect
donations midway through the show and post flyers
in spots outside Mt. Gretna.
It's a summertime library Mt. Gretna
calls its own, run by Deborah Hurst, a remarkable
volunteer of long-standing who welcomes help.
Contact her at email@example.com.
Mt. Gretna Area Historical Society:
Volunteer coordinator Pat Pinsler
welcomes those who can help with maintenance duties,
work in the library/research room Saturdays 10
am to noon, or serve as museum docents on Saturdays
and Sundays from 1 to 4 pm. Contact her at 964-3858
The Society's book sale will be held
this year on the porch of the Mt. Gretna Library
Saturday, May 24 from 8 to 11 am. Available
will be Jack Bitner's Mt. Gretna: A Coleman Legacy
as well as the Mt. Gretna Postcard Book, pamphlets
on the Mt. Gretna Prison and Narrow Gauge Railroad,
and the Jim Seltzer and Jack Bitner DVD "The
Military at Mt. Gretna." Fred Buch
is chairman of the Society: 717-466-6433, email:
Mt. Gretna Fire Company:
Topping the list again this year
is a need for fire police volunteers. In addition
to firefighters, of course, is also a special
request for folks who can help tend the fire company's
garden -- watering, weeding and filling bird feeders.
(All it takes is an hour or two, except for those
hot, dry spells when extra watering is called
Where to sign up? Joe Shay, 964-1106
or firstname.lastname@example.org, and
Karen Lynch, 964-3505 or email@example.com
Mt. Gretna Tour of Homes: (Aug.
by The New York Times as one of
the top tours in the Northeast, the Mt. Gretna
Tour of Homes is coordinated by Emi Snavely, firstname.lastname@example.org. Over
more than a quarter century it has become the
signature fundraising event for Music at Gretna,
one of the nation's premiere music festivals.
Suzanne Stewart, 361-1510, needs volunteers to
help greet visitors, distribute maps and answer
questions in morning or afternoon shifts on Saturday,
Aug. 2, from 10 am to 5 pm.
Homeowners chosen for the 2014 Tour
of Homes will receive a plaque to honor their
This Thursdays-in-July series begins July
here for details) at the Hewitt-McAnney residence opposite
the Post Office with a sparkling lineup. All recitals
begin at 7 pm.
Rhoda Long, 304-0248 or RhodaJLong@Gmail.com, coordinates
refreshments provided by volunteers. Contributions
Summer Premiere: (May 24)
Jessica Kosoff, email@example.com and
Debbie Clemens, 304-3915. This annual fundraiser
-- essential to the support of Mt. Gretna Arts
Council's Summer Calendar -- needs someone to
head this endeavor in future years. (See story
Already attracting thousands of hikers,
cyclists and other outdoors enthusiasts every
week, the rail-trail runs through Mt. Gretna and
when finished will stretch nearly 33 miles from
one end of Lebanon County to the other.
Coordinators of this well-conceived, well-managed
recreational attraction need volunteer help throughout
the year. Mike Dissinger, 949-2367, schedules
trail clean-up days; John Wengert (firstname.lastname@example.org) posts
e-mail bulletins for other volunteer tasks --
including public relations, fundraising, trail
development, and help with the LVRT Website.
Also needed are volunteers to staff
the Root Beer Barrel in Cornwall on weekends May
Lebanon Valley Rails-to-Trails meets
first Wednesdays of the month, Cornwall Borough
Hall, 7 pm.
The Mt. Gretna Triathlon:
Coming up May 17, the 11th annual
Got the Nerve? Triathlon sponsored by the IM ABLE
Foundation needs volunteers to help in all aspects
of the race Friday, May 16th from 9:00 am to 4:00
pm (for pre-race set ups) and Saturday, May 17th
from 6:00 am to noon (for race activities).
To register as a volunteer go to http://gotthenerve.org/volunteer/
Visitor Information Center:
for excuses to relax in a rocker on a shaded porch
this summer? Patty Gokey and Barb Kleinfelter
have what you're looking for. They need volunteers
greet folks at the Visitors Center and answer
questions that sometimes call for imaginative
responses: "Do people really live in these
houses?" and "I must have taken a wrong
turn. How the heck did I get here?"
Busiest days are weekends. Busiest
hours regardless of the day are 2 to 4 pm. They
welcome help at any time, however. Leave a message
at 964-5119 or sign up Saturday mornings this
month at their booth outside the Post Office.
As this issue went to press, it was
unclear whether this group, with a storied 64-year-old
tradition, would continue next year. So far, they
have only one of three offices filled and are
still seeking a president. Meetings are held October
to April on the first Tuesday afternoon of each
What's at stake? A gathering that adds much
to the lives of many. A monthly spark to sometimes
lonely winter afternoons that warms the heart,
a place where people - both men and women - come
for socialization and to learn more about the
place where they live. Finding a new leadership
team to rekindle that light is now needed in a
community that thrives year-round on get-togethers
For the past decade, the budget for all those summertime lectures,
cooking demonstrations, stained glass workshops,
book reviews and dozens of other Mt. Gretna programs
has remained unchanged. That's right. In 10 years,
the budget hasn't budged.
What Chautauqua, NY does on a $7,000,000
budget is out of our range. But what our team
does with $6,500 each year is downright amazing.
The local foundation's president,
author Bill Gifford, who organizes the popular
Writers' Series, thinks we can do better.
He's sending out a plea this month
to all who live here. (Click here to read his breezy
appeal, unlike most you'll see.)
He'd like us to donate what we can
to keep this program going, maybe lift it a notch
or two, and keep Mt. Gretna summers humming with
Even if we never attend a lecture,
learn a craft or take part in a mind-lifting discussion
at the Hall of Philosophy, all of us have a stake
in keeping the spark in Mt. Gretna summers.
Ever wonder what local Realtors think
would happen to property values if Mt. Gretna
summers suddenly fell silent?
They'd probably shave a few thousand
dollars right off the top.
Something for us to think about when
we're writing a tax-deductible check to support
the Pennsylvania Chautauqua Foundation, P.O. Box
637, Mt. Gretna, PA 17064.
The Mt. Gretna School of Art
may soon have a permanent headquarters in the
Chautauqua of Pennsylvania. Inspired by the Chautauqua
Institution in New York, the non-profit school
opened last year to some 20 art students throughout
the country. It has since attracted enthusiastic
support from donors, including generous benefactors
who have offered matching funds.
The school must first obtain permission
from Chautauqua stockholders at their meeting
this summer. The school needs approval to convert
a cottage fronting on Pinch Road that has been
little-used over the past several years. Conversion
to a six-week school for art students each summer
appears to be an ideal use of a vacant structure.
The converted cottage would also
be available for other uses throughout the remainder
of the year. One thing is sure: where they've
succeeded elsewhere, art schools have had an uplifting
effect on the entire community, as the Pennsylvania
College of Art and Design in Lancaster and schools
throughout the country have proven.
Elizabeth Wein, who grew up
in Mt. Gretna and divides her time between the
U.S. and Scotland, knows a lot about children's
books and has written some of the best.
In The New York Times last
month, she reviewed three
new books written by others -- "heart-stopping
journeys of child survivors" of the Holocaust.
She returns in July for a visit with
her grandmother, Mt. Gretna Heights resident Betty
Flocken. She will also speak at the Chautauqua
Summer Series Saturday, July 26 about her latest
award-winning novel, Rose
happened to that big happy family who lived, played
and laughed in the cottage at the end of Princeton
Avenue? Well, when Evan (rhymes with seven
but actually No. 8) arrived last fall, Greta
and Scott Adams decided it was time to move
to larger quarters. So Evan, now 5 mos., Rainie
(a twin, 6), Seth 8, Owen 12, Gabe 10, Drew (the
other twin, 6), Nate, 4, and Theo, 2, left Mt.
Gretna with their parents in February.
They found a farm in Pellyton, KY.,
where Mt. Gretna photographer Jane Mourer caught
up with them last month and stayed for a few days
to help them get settled. "If anyone had
told me I'd have this many children, I would never
have believed them," says Greta. Yet as the
photo shows, she couldn't be happier.
If you wanted to make a big splash
at the start of a season, there's no better way
than with the Canadian Brass. They're lead-off
hitters for Music at Gretna's summer season at
the Playhouse, starting Tuesday, July 1.
They've been on Billboard charts
in each decade of their 40-year history, played
as the first brass ensemble ever to appear on
Carnegie Hall's main stage, and recorded over
100 CDs and DVDs. Tickets
are on sale now.
Better hurry. This one's a likely
Mt. Gretna Borough's new mascot, had no idea what
he was in for when he signed on as staffer Joey
Wise's snowplow sidekick.
Yet day in and day out, nighttime
faithfully accompanied Joey in what turned out
to be a long, long winter.
Take a close look at Chance
in this photo by Campmeeting resident (and Milton
Hershey School horticultural adviser) Nan McKay.
His eyes say it all: "It's high time
for the Summer Premiere to begin." See story
Where's the globe-trotting Mt. Gretna
flamingo this month? Back down South, still shivering
from his adventurous trip up north where he witnessed
a few late-season snow showers but nevertheless
wound up on national TV.
This month finds him along the South
Carolina coast, hobnobbing with the yachting crowd
where he ran into Val and Ruth Karabcevschy (inset),
Mt. Gretna newsletter readers from suburban Harrisburg.
When they're at home in Colonial
Park, they like to drop in at the Playhouse for
Gretna Theatre and Gretna Music productions.
Ruth is a former human resources
director. Val recently finished his career as
an executive at Tyco. Together they enjoy traveling
and seeing the world. Their serendipitous encounter
with the Mt. Gretna flamingo proved just part
of the fun.
The flamingo's mission: twofold.
Spread the word that Mt. Gretna is "the
best small town in America that nobody ever heard
of." And raise money for the Mt. Gretna fire
company, which offers flamingos in a dozen different
guises for sale at La Cigale.
Technically, you have to adopt one.
But for a fire company donation of $100 or more,
he's yours to keep. No two are alike. All are
displayed at La Cigale, along Route 117.
Mt.Gretnans now take flamingos
all over the world to photograph by the Great
Wall of China, along the Seine, and in other majestic
ports of call or even with celebrities.
Have a spot in your suitcase
for a flamingo on your next trip? Stop by La Cigale
and talk to the engaging, enigmatic John Mitchell.
He'll help you pick out one that will make a perfect
2014 Summer Premiere,
the start of a new era.
music, art, wine and excitement of a live auction
and reunions with friends, there likely will be
a touch of nostalgia at this year's Summer Premiere.
Especially for Debbie Clemens, its lively founder
and guiding light over the past three decades.
True, it is the social event
of the season. Mt. Gretna's official launch into
summer. A time when people reconnect, when newcomers
are welcomed and the leap into summer begins.
Yet this year is likely to be the
last Summer Premiere under the guiding hand of
the estimable Ms. Clemens, whose deft sense of
art and opportunity turned a routine press conference
30 years ago into an annual party that everyone
in Mt. Gretna has enjoyed ever since.
In the process, she created a fundraiser
par excellence. An engine that fuels what
her daughter (and co-chair of the event) Jessica
Kosoff calls The Bible of Mt. Gretna-- a
catalog of events known as The Summer Calendar.
Auctions silent and live ignite
this highly anticipated event. Food and friends
are the essential festive ingredients.
When it's over, Arts Council planners
hope to have raised about $10,000 to pay for the
calendar -- a handbook to keep tabs on more than
200 plays, lectures, concerts, recitals, stained
glass workshops and other events that take place
here every summer.
the cover artwork for this year's calendar,
Debbie Clemens displays Carol Snyder's quoits
bed painting -- among the auction's most-coveted
Yet to Ms. Clemens, success
means something else. Something she wanted to
create when she turned an otherwise dull Saturday
afternoon limited to the press into an "event,"
a date on the calendar that everyone would look
It also means for her "getting
back into the groove for another wonderful summer
at Mt. Gretna," she says.
And to Jessica,
who's assisted her for the past six years, success
means an event that everyone enjoys as much as
Yet now Debbie senses
that it's time to turn to other priorities. Her
12 grandchildren, for instance. And the achievements
of four children, including her youngest daughter
Catlin, an infant when the Summer Premiere first
started. (She's now in her second year of residency
as a doctor in Harrisburg and a mother herself.)
"Most people have
terms of office that last four, maybe eight years.
I've been running the Summer Premiere for most
of my life," she says. She hopes to now find
time for gardening, grandchildren and gatherings
of her family both here and in North Carolina,
where she and Dr. Tom Clemens have a vacation
Mostly she seeks time to simply relax
and enjoy fond memories. Over the years the Summer
Premiere has yielded some of her best.
This year, in addition
to the auction of a painting of the historic Mt.
Gretna quoits bed by Carol Snyder will be another
work created on the spot at this year's Premiere.
Mt. Gretna artist Fred Swarr, whose paint-to-music
magic is now legendary, mesmerizes audiences as
his sudden inspirations unfold on a canvas right
before their eyes.
Also will be the maybe 100 items
up for auction, mostly contributed by artists
at last year's Outdoor Art Show.
New categories will include donated
services by area firms and specialists. Mt. Gretna
Borough staffer Joey Wise, for example, will offer
lawn care services. Jessica hopes to secure a
few vacation rentals this year.
"It's not just about art," she says.
"Many of us already have too much of that.
We're looking for different items." Anyone
with items to donate -- such as that attractive
planter which drew spirited bidding last year
-- will be especially welcome as the date for
this year's Premiere, Saturday, May 24, draws
So if Debbie Clemens will not be
in charge next year, who will?
"We're working on that," says
her daughter, probably the only native-born Mt.
Gretnan to have lived in the Campmeeting, Chautauqua
and Mt. Gretna Heights.
Yet it probably won't be Jessica.
With two daughters still at home, daily trips
to and from school, two part-time jobs (as an
engineer and realtor), preparing dinners for the
girls and husband Ed, her duties as a soccer coach
and taking her daughters to piano lessons and
soccer practice there's little time left. "If
I have 20 extra minutes, I vacuum," she laughs.
So the Arts Council is seeking a
"One thing you can be sure
of, the Summer Premiere will continue,
"It what makes the summer begin,"
says her Mom. "I just hope I won't miss it.
After all, I'm a Gemini. I've got to be
year's Summer Premiere will be held in the Hall
of Philosophy Saturday, May 24 starting at 4 pm;
(it usually continues until around 6 pm, when
the last items are sold). Admission is $20 with
food, wine and music and silent and live auctions
by Hess Auction Services of Manheim. The dress?
"Nothing's expected," says Ms. Kosoff
with a smile. "Some come casual, others dressy.
This is Mt. Gretna."
way to celebrate:
signs proclaim the Campmeeting's national honor.
more than 88,000 sites have made it to the National
Register of Historic Places, nowhere will you
find folks more proud than residents of the Mt.
Banners, brass plaques, logos on
official stationery, speeches and honors at public
ceremonies. All are part of a year-long celebration
to commemorate the Campmeeting's national award
Now comes another heralding
emblem. Six new signs proclaim the achievement,
together with cherished Campmeeting traditions:
Tranquil, Spiritual, and Cultural. They are now
going up at entrances surrounding the historic
Credit an enthusiastic group
led by Ben Wiley, a former printing company owner
in Lancaster who traces his family's ancestral
roots to the Campmeeting's founding.
For a 122-year-old community, the
signs add a distinctive modern touch. Made of
a durable high-density urethane and sandblasted
on three levels, they are designed to keep their
textured appearance for years. Focal point
of the signs is a Ta
Sophie, 5, and Golden Retriever Beau, 8,
join owner Geri Bensamen for a first look
at the Campmeeting's bright new entrance
bernacle sketch done
for the 1892 Centennial by Andy Shemeta. He is
the son of former residents Anne and Joe Shemeta
and now heads his own advertising company in York,
at $500 apiece the signs are not an insignificant
cost, Mr. Wiley and his fellow planners have that
expense already covered. Commemorative Historic
Register brass plaques were sold at $75 each to
residents last year and now appear on cottages
throughout the Campmeeting.
The achievement is worth touting.
Such listings can sometimes take 20 years or more
resident Tom Meredith led a team that completed
the application in six years, documenting some
255 different structures.
his 90s, Mr. Meredith has also made "invaluable
contributions" to the Mt. Gretna Chautauqua's
quest for Historic Register status, says
president John Feather.
Also founded in 1892, the Chautauqua is
now advancing toward Historic Register status
through a project led by recently retired restaurant
executive Earl Lennington. He hopes
to soon present an initial survey to the
Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission.
That will be a first step toward
final approval by the National Park Service National
Historic Register, a complex process that may
take several more years.
speaks to me through. . . (fill in the blank)"
series starts here
four Friday nights in June.
an emergency room physician, Tom Heberling sometimes
wanted to suggest -- when options had run out
and a patient's chances seemed slim -- "let's
"I never felt comfortable about
doing that," he says. "You don't have
much time for such things in the ER."
Gathered where they'll launch a new ecumenical series are,
from left: Rev. Dick and Pat Gardner, Dave
and Darlene Eckert, and Dr, Tom and Kay
Heberling. Absent for the photo were Linda
and Jim Campbell, who will also help get
this weekly series underway in June.
he has more time for such thoughts.
His friend Dave Eckart, a shuffleboard
companion, had struggled with thoughts of his
own. After he lost two daughters and a grandson
to three separate terminal illnesses,"there
was a time when I blamed God," said Dave,
who had spent more than 30 of his 80 years on
the shipping docks of a large trucking firm. "But
I realized that wasn't right." He and wife
Darlene have been a part of Mt. Gretna for nearly
half a century.
Both men are part of a group that
wants to bring a different perspective on religion
this summer. They're launching a short Friday
night series that, if it proves popular, might
extend into a summer-long program next year.
But first things first. They have
to give this year's Friday-nights-in-June
series a try.
A lot of people can't come to church on Sundays,
they figure. Others want to hear how other churches
answer questions that everyone has.
They've chosen a theme that a minister
from one of four different denominations will
express each week: "God Speaks to Us Through
---- ) each speaker filling in the blank -- "through
Nature" on one Friday night, "through
the Sacraments" on another, and "through
His Word," and "through Adversity and
Suffering" on the others.
It's a theme that came to Dr. Heberling
after many years in the ER. "I don't think
you practice medicine without seeing God at work,"
Might he speak on that topic himself?
"I'll just be happy to introduce the speakers,"
he says, a smile coming through his voice during
a telephone interview last month.
The series will run at the Tabernacle,
a spot where Friday nights were open and many
people find it convenient to cluster as they return
to their cottages for the weekend.
It's an addition to, rather than
a part of, the Bible Festival, which draws large
crowds to its Saturday and Sunday
For Dr. Heberling, who grew up in
Lebanon County, the Tabernacle is the perfect
venue. He and wife Kay have lived next door to
the historic structure for the past 27 years.
"We'd like to give people the
opportunity to experience religion in an ecumenical
way," he says.
"It might go big or fall
flat,' says Dave Eckert, whose friendship with
Dr. Tom developed "at just the right time
in our lives."
"If it's going to work, there's
nothing to hold us back from doing it again next
year," he adds.
The doctor, who retired from
the emergency room two years ago after a career
in medicine that spanned four decades, says he'll
consider the venture a success "if just 40
people show up" during this trial season.
You don't place odds on such things.
But if you did, you'd probably bet on this one.
Catherine LeFevre (nee Flowers) 1951-2014
resident since 1958, Laura Catherine Flowers LeFevre,
known to her friends as Cathy, grew up treasuring
Mt. Gretna. She cherished its joys into marriage,
motherhood and as a grandmother.
In an obituary composed
by her brother Timothy, also a long-time summer
resident, he cited her athleticism in games
of Capture the Flag by avoiding roots and rocks
in the woods at night, remain upright, and thus
outwit competitors beset by bruised shins and
the account of a mysterious incident of pebble-tossing
onto the Playhouse roof. Investigated by former
Police Chief William Sutcliff, her brother reports
that Cathy and her cohorts pleaded the Fifth and
the case remains unsolved.
A graduate of
Columbia University School of Nursing, she worked
as an intensive care nurse in a Washington, D.C.
hospital and later married a physician. They had
two daughters and celebrated the birth of their
first grandson two years ago.
her life, summers at Mt. Gretna -- where she triumphed
at golf and the artistry of family gatherings
-- remained "her great joy and release from
city life," her brother recalls.
porch of a Brown Avenue cottage their parents,
Dr. Robert and Sara Flowers, had purchased from
the Clarence Schock estate, she greeted visitors
and passers-by, seated in a rocking chair always
placed "just so" to catch cool breezes
wafting up the hill.
took in stride exigencies of life, at ease in
a century-old cottage known for cranky terracotta
pipes, nighttime visits by bats, and raccoons
rummaging through trash cans "redolent of
tribute to his sister, Timothy cited her belief
"in the essential Mt. Gretna of old"
-- its art, music and the Mt. Gretna Fire Company,
together with keys to her passion that included
Preserve Mt. Gretna, the Mt. Gretna Area Historical
Society and her life-long pass to Mt. Gretna Lake
& Beach where she learned to swim and completed
her final laps last summer.
at peace in her Alexandria, Va. home March 16.
may be made in her name to the Mt. Gretna Area
Historical Society, PO Box 362, Mt. Gretna, PA
ham & bean soup
Friday, May 2:
here for gallery locator map)
First Fridays are back with art and
music at galleries and studios. Artist Seamus
Carmichel, also a singer, appears at Penn
Realty. At Le Sorelle Restaurant and Gallery:
Paintings by artist Jeanette Leid (inspired
by a lifelong love of botanicals) and music by
violinist Reaghan Harvey (a Suzuki prodigy from
age 4 who has twice performed at Carnegie Hall).
Also on display: Fractur, paintings of Mt. Gretna,
abstracts, florals and other still life from resident
artists Susan Wentzel, Randy Snader, Bill Barlow,
Carol Snyder, Carol Hartman, Heike Fleming, Barbara
James, Barbara Fishman and Marcia Judd.
At The Gallery
at La Cigale, following a quiet dedication
to the late Susie Afflerbach, a reception
for artists Steve Wetzel, Robert Heilman
and Sylvia Eisenbise Lehman with music
by Matt Miskie and wine samples from West Hanover
At the Timbers, Matt Chambers displays
explorations in color and composition as this
month's featured artist. Tom and Greg Strohman
perform with Steve Meashey and Dave Lazorick.
That builds on winter-long string of First Fridays,
each month drawing bigger crowds says Tap Roberts.
(Husband Andy will be the featured musician
at their Mothers' Day buffet
when maybe even daughter Nicole will be back from
Boston's Berkeley School of Music).
Most locations open 5 to 8 pm; Timbers dinners
continue til 9 pm.
Saturday, May 3:
Kentucky Derby Party
honoring the late artist Susie Afflerbach, with
proceeds going to her favorite charity, the Lebanon
Humane Society. 4 to 7 pm at the Mt.
Gretna Inn. Peggy Seibert (email)
Blooms & More Festival. Spring flowers
and plants, silent auction, antiques appraisals,
kids games, breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs,
bacon and baked oatmeal followed by lunch (11
AM-1 PM) with homemade baked goods, soft pretzels,
apple dumplings & more (click
here). Cornwall Manor 9 am - 1pm.
Block Shoot. Make no mistake: the real target
is that prize-winning ham and bean soup, honed
for over a century from Grandma McKeone's secret
recipe. And yes, prizes for shooter contestants
who are always happy to shoot for those who don't
own a shotgun. A Fire Company fundraiser that's
fun for everyone. Noon to 5 pm.
Sunday, May 4:
Fitness Hike. Fast-paced 4- to 5-mile hike to
improve your cardiovascular fitness. Governor
Dick Park, 9 am
TUESDAY, May 6:
Winterites: Mt. Gretna resident Victor Bojko,
captured with his family as they attempted to
escape Ukraine in 1944 and loaded onto box cars
destined for a German death camp, describes a
return visit to his homeland last year at this
special snow-delayed meeting, 1 pm in the fire
hall. All are welcome.
Friday, May 9:
Toddlers in Tow. A woodland walk for
ages 1-5, crafts, fun in the outdoors. No strollers,
please. Governor Dick Park, 10 am.
SATURDAY, May 10:
Birds and Wildflowers Walk. Bring binoculars
and field guides if you can. Governor Dick Park,
Webelos Scouts Naturalist Pin Workshop. $5
per Scout. Bring lunch. Governor Dick Park, 10
am - 1 pm
Introduction to Bouldering. Learn about this
sport. Children welcome with an adult. Shoes available
if you call ahead, $3. Governor Dick Park,
1 - 4 pm. Rain date: May 17.
Night and pre-Mother's Day dinner
Restaurant and Gallery (where daughter Amy, who
took this photo, is manager). Reserve your 6:30
pm seating by May 5.
SATURDAY, May 17:
Triathlon in Mt. Gretna:11th annual Got The
Nerve?, a race
for athletes of all abilities to see what they're capable
of. Surprising. 8 am - Noon.
Tree Identification Walk. Master Arborist Jon
Schach identifies trees and their characteristics.
Governor Dick Park, 1 pm.
Saturday, May 24:
Porch sales throughout the Campmeeting and the
Chautauqua, 8 am - 2 pm. To list your location
on area maps
distributed at the Post Office, contact Dave Hartman
in the Campmeeting (964-2381 or email@example.com)
or Barney Myer in the Chautauqua (964-2384). Deadline:
Note: Timber Hills holds its neighborhood yard sale the
following Saturday, May 31; (see note below).
Why a separate date? "To allow folks time
to attend both sales," says thoughtful organizer
Summer Premiere, the season-opening
fundraiser and signature social event of the year
at the Hall of Philosophy, with wine, food, music,
silent and live auctions, and a live paint-to-music
exhibition by Fred Swaar. A 30-year tradition
for all Mt. Gretnans. Admission: $20. 4-6 pm or
until the last items are sold. (See story, this
Sunday, May 25:
Birds and Wildflowers Walk will note changes
in bird and flower species since the May 10 walk
(above). Bring binoculars and field guides. Governor
Dick Park, 1:30 pm
Saturday, May 31:
Timber Hills Neighborhood Yard Sale
(with hot dog sales for the Mt. Gretna Fire Co.
at one Valley Road site); rain or shine, 8 am
- 1 pm.
(Barb Close firstname.lastname@example.org
needs map locations by May 20.)
Gretna's new year-round
calendar appears online, a service of
the Mt. Gretna Arts Council. Email listings and
updates to Jennifer Veser Besse at email@example.com
The Mt. Gretna Newsletter
Contact All-Star Award Winner 2010, 2011, 2012 &