Arts and Community

Just Driving By

Theresa Spitler took home first prize in 2-D art at the Fall Art Expo for the second year running,  for her pastel, “Just Driving by.”

Art Expo winners

You can look at all the 2018 first-place Fall Art Expo winners here.

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2019 brochure and membership mailing

The spanking new SCCA brochure, designed by Eleanor, the wonder of Parrot Graphics, is in, to be followed soon by our annual membership mailing. We will be hitting up every member from the last few years, asking you not to support the Arts Council, but the whole artistic community of Sullivan County.

The SCCA has as little overhead as any organization in existence: no office, no executive director, no paid employees, no furniture to wear out, just a storage shed packed solid with the outfit’s history. All our funds go to the arts – prizes and awards to student and adult visual artists and to student writers, support to performers, advertising to bring in audiences new and old.

You can join or rejoin annually for a mere $25 for individual or family, with $50 making you a Patron, $100 a Benefactor (for $1000, we spread our collective coats across every puddle in Dushore to leave your shoes spotless).

So watch you mail for our letter and brochure, or beat us to the punch by sending your check to SCCA, PO Box 243, Dushore, PA 28614.

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Would you like to serve on the SCCA board?

Three board members will be resigning at the end of the year, and we need enthusiastic, dedicated, bright, personable, happy, friendly replacements. It’s a fun, collegial group. They meet once a month (except January) for about an hour and a half in the evening at the library in Dushore. You’ll be assigned non-onerous duties to help plan and execute Arts Council programs.

The last few years have seen an expansion not just of programs, but of our connection to other community groups. Barb Murray, our president, has been a long-time officer of the Dushore Music Club. Board member Dylan Wiesner is the Sullivan County High School art instructor. And we’ve extended our scholarship program to include both the Music Club and Endless Arts in Eagles Mere. The last two years we’ve added a youth category to the Fall Art Expo. Finally, we recently established an endowment fund through the Community Foundation for the Twin Tiers. 

Give us your acceptance by contacting nominating committee chair (overstuffed at the moment) Derek Davis at 570-928-8927 or

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The Day the Music Lived

The Arts Council is always upbeat about their annual Ultimate Music Weekend, but somehow this year’s line-up – November 3 in St. Basil’s Hall – produced a day that will be a touchstone for all those privileged to attend.

The Celtic Martins highlighted the afternoon, as they have for the past eight years, and it seemed unlikely – if not impossible – that they could outdo their previous appearances, but … they outdid. They shared their rare family spirit, with the eight musicians onstage so tightly entwined that they seemed parts of a single musical entity.

Each year or two brings a new family addition on the grandchild level. This year it was Montana Rose, the third child of eldest daughter Emily and her husband, Elijah Roeder, the band’s rock-steady drummer. Montana, at a few months, has not yet taken up the fiddle. She’ll likely wait until almost three, judging from her siblings.

What’s singular about the Martins’ interactions is that any one of the sons or daughters will drift off stage, even in the middle of a number, to watch over the youngest generation backstage for a few minutes, then meander back to join the playing as thought they’d never left. And it isn’t a disruption – it’s an essential element of the ensemble that emphasizes the group’s solid yet flexible musicianship and ties the family tightly into the audience.

Five fiddles laying into “Orange Blossom Special” is enough to take your breath away, as is the show-stopper finale of the three daughters step-dancing while playing their fiddles. But these bravura acts are really no more embracing of the audience than the continuing swirl of sound and motion that includes guitar (papa Nelson), electric bass (mama Elaine), bagpipes (daughters Emily and Melissa), cello (daughter Christy), accordion, flute and penny whistle (Melissa again, who could probably play a manhole cover). How can any music this complicated and interwoven seem so effortless. A special callout this year to Christy, who’s found a way to turn the cello into a lyrical percussion instrument without destroying it.

So that was Act I. Act II followed: a free potluck supper, with tandoori (east Indian) chicken, Italian sausage/peppers/onions, fruit salad, cookies and drinks provided by the Arts Council. Those staying for the following sing-along added baked beans, brownies, gingerbread and other delectables too numerous to mention here. People ate. They are a lot. Arts Council president Barb Murray then led the sing-along that wandered over 100+ years of American standards and “tunes of our childhood.” The crowd for this was small, but enthusiastic and involved.

Act III: Bob Milne can play the piano like no one else. This has been documented online through concerts at the Library of Congress and elsewhere, but no transmitted pictures can capture the presence of Bob in live concert. It’s best when you’re seated where you can see his hands (though they often move faster than your eyes can focus).

Blessed with perfect pitch and an innate musical ability that translates what’s in his mind unerringly into his hands, Bob learned to play piano by ear, or you might better say by absorption: His ability to come at it form his own direction may have been his prime learning tool.

Fingering the keyboard slowly, softly with his left hand, he told the story of wandering with his wife, Linda, in the woods near New Orleans and stumbling onto an illegal moonshine saloon that was naturally mistrustful of outsiders. This tale led Milne into playing a quiet boogie that grew more rollicking as it moved along. Later, he related numerous tales of the origins of ragtime in the small towns of western Missouri before and after the turn of the 20th century.

His stories continued into Virginia, where he played Christian tunes for remembrance services. His music – fast, slow, simple or absurdly complex – made for an embracing outing into the development of American music over one of its most prolific periods. Milne, in a direct, engaging way, is a consummate showman in every meaning of the term.

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Countywide Calendar

Our Countywide Calendar is set up to list all kinds of public events (except church services and sports) in Sullivan County. So if your organization is sending an event listing to the Sullivan Review and/or Connie Hatch’s S.C.A.N email newsletter, add to you “To:” header. And feel free to put the calendar URL on your organization’s (or even personal) website: We update the Calendar weekly. 

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







Heading photo by Donna Sherwood