Arts and Community


Look for – and listen to – the return of master ragtime pianist Bob Milne, October 3 at St. Basil’s Hall.

High school Literary Contest in full swing

Our annual literary contest for county high school students is off and running. Though the deadline is set for March 15, entries are encouraged at any time.

The contest is open to public, private and home-schooled students living or studying in the county, grades 7-12, as well as Red Rock Job Corps attendees. Poetry, fiction and non-fiction are all eligible, with no limitation on theme or content beyond the usual “verboten” obscenity and profanity. The Arts Council is especially interest in unusual, exciting, personal work, not just “what’s expected.”

There will be cash prizes for first through fourth places, with publication in Hills and Valleys magazine of all winners and all runners-up that the Arts Council judges deem worthy of inclusion. Past first-place winners have come from the home-schooled community, as well as Sullivan County High School, so if you know young writers being home-schooled, please pass along our invitation.

All entries should be sent to our contest coordinator, Linda White, at lin6clay at You get get a copy of our siimple-minded rules here. All questions about the contest should be directed to your English teacher or to Linda at the same email address.

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With Love, from Florence

Looking for the perfect love story to enfold you on a cold Valentine’s evening? Join the romance, humor and rampant absurdity of 16th-century Florence, Italy, in the Winding River Players’ production of “A Tattered Tale of Love.”

Meet the roving soldier-of-misfortune, Giovanni (his swash sadly unbuckled); his bumbling gluttonous servant, Arlecchino; the sheltered maiden of stunted experience, Maria; her  mother, Bianca, determined to keep her that way; and her father, the blithering physician, Dottore, who uses language as a malformed cudgel. As well as others.

Though this is not an SCCA production, it originated at a Renaissance feast that the Arts Council unleashed in 2006. Authors Linda White and Derek Davis are delighted to set it free again under different auspices (not to be confused with allspice), again under Linda’s direction.

The writers collared stock characters from 16th-century Commedia dell’Arte and transported them, kicking and screaming, into the current age. Pratfalls, verbal nonsense, clowning – but also sweet, touching romance – fill the plaza before the recently installed statue of Michelangelo’s David as Giovanni arrives to make his mark.

Will he find military prowess? Will Arlecchino find tonight’s dinner? Will the Dottore find a dictionary? Will Maria uncover the mysterious serpent that all men are known to harbor? Will all end well?– of course it will, because the Winding River actors know no limitations.

“A Tattered Tale of Love” will play at the Black Box Theater, Main St. Towanda, Friday and Saturday, February 14-15 at 7 pm, and Sunday, February 16 at 2 pm. You can call for reservations (recommended, for seating is limited) at 570-265-5017.

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Our annual membership mailing is winging its way to your mailbox. We want to thank all our loyal repeat members in advance: Some of you have been sending in your application for the last decade-plus, and this has given us a dependable funding base to support our work, especially the awards to Sullivan County students for visual arts, writing and theater.

And this is the perfect year to renew your membership or sign up for the first time, because we plan to expand our interaction with other groups in the area, such as the Winding River Players (above). Alan Miller, director of the Sullivan County Library, has joined our board, and we are reaching out to arts and business organizations throughout the county.

If you haven’t joined the Arts Council in recent years, please do. For $25, you enroll the entire family. For $50 (Patron-level) you get our broadest smile and a pat on the back. For $100 (Benefactor), you get the smile, the pat on the back and the Secret Handshake. In truth, there are no special privileges attached to SCCA membership – beyond helping bring the arts closer to everyone in the county.

For your convenience, you can download a copy of our brochure here. Please note that it’s yellow! Who else would send you a bright yellow brochure? And besides mailing us your form with your membership payment, you can have the extra fun of correcting the Celtic Martins date in the 2020 Lineup to November 7. 

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Free Martins and the Return of Milne

Along with our usual broad range of student awards and and prizes in visual art, the board voted to present its first-ever free music concert, which will feature our perennial favorites, the Celtic Martins, and also bring back the world’s most impressive ragtime piano player, Bob Milne.

The Celtic Martins will appear at their usual stomping grounds, St. Basil’s Hall, on November 7, followed by a potluck supper and sing-along. Since their performance fee will be covered, once again, by that secretive supporter of folk music, A. Nonny Mouse, it seems only right that the entire population of Sullivan and surrounding counties should be invited to attend at no cost. After all, this is a family event, where four-year-olds dance in the aisles to the exuberant playing and step dancing of the ever-expanding Martin family.

As for Bob Milne, there’s no one else on earth quite like him. His intricate weaving of ragtime and boogie-woogie is enveloped by humor, story-telling and painless education on the evolution of musical styles. You can prep for his appearance by watching him at the Library of Congress on YouTube. He will perform at St. Basil’s Hall on October 3.

The Arts Council is also presenting its full range of annual programs for students and adults:

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For a list of all our major programs, look here.

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Local arts and other links:

Sullivan County Historical Society and Museum

Sullivan County Library

Sullivan County general page

Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce

Heading photo by Donna Sherwood