As long as I can remember, I have loved music, making mix tapes and spending my free time listening to all kinds of music. In grade school, I took piano lessons on Friday afternoon, right down the street, following in the steps of my brother. What I honestly believed when I started taking piano lessons — and years later guitar lessons — was that it would be effortless. I thought that the first time I sat down at the piano I would begin to plunk out the beginning of “Piano Man;” the first time I sat down with a guitar I would begin to play the opening notes of “Stairway to Heaven.”
Life, unfortunately, is not like the movies. Playing an instrument takes lots of practice. I had the time to practice, but something about listening to Billy Joel play “New York State of Mind” was infinitely more satisfying than trying my absolute hardest with no success at all at playing “Mary Had a Lamb.” At the end of the day, my teachers wound up being the two most expensive friends I’ve ever had.
But the future is looking much better for two West Pittston “piano men.” On Saturday afternoon, March 31, on the stage of the famed Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall in New York City, two West Pittston residents had the chance to show off all their hard work and talent on the hall’s Steinway concert grand piano.
Brady Mullin, 11, and Patrick Branley, 12, both students of Narda Sperrazza, were among a group of more than 50 piano, violin and vocal students on the recital program of the Northeast Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association’s annual Carnegie Hall recital. Dozens of relatives and friends of the boys navigated NYC’s holiday traffic and made their way to hear their performance at the gilded recital hall built in 1891 with its crystal chandeliers and formal velvet drapes.
The boys had been practicing their pieces for months. (That is how you get to Carnegie Hall, after all. Practice.) In January, both played at a judged recital at the Dorothy Dixon Darte Center in Wilkes-Barre and both were selected to move forward to Carnegie Hall. Brady performed “In the Gypsies Camp” by Franz Behr and Patrick performed “Waltz in B Minor” by Chopin.
I had the opportunity to talk with Patrick on Easter Sunday about his experience. He has been playing piano for 3½ years. Patrick practiced his piece every day for the last three months, he said. When asked if he was nervous about Carnegie Hall, he admitted that yes, of course there were nerves. Would he do it all over again? “Yes, of course,” he said, he would love to.
The boys made West Pittston very proud and I know that I am not alone in saying that during every step of their inevitably very bright futures their families and West Pittston friends and neighbors will be cheering them on.
Here’s what else is happening around town this week.
Corpus Christi Parish news
The parish is offering monthly Taking Part in the Mass Youth Workshops. It is important for children to understand the parts of the Mass and learn how they can become involved. During parish family Masses, children have an opportunity to take part as lectors, gift bearers, ushers and more. Preparing them for these roles is important because it gives them confidence and reinforces their sense of service. These workshops will give children the opportunity to learn the parts of the Mass and practice these roles. Parishioners are asked to consider having their children attend.
The following religious education teachers will be working with the children at these workshops: Lisa Falzone, 570-237-2739 or email@example.com; Sara Konopka, 570-498-9304 or firstname.lastname@example.org or MaryAnn Oliveri, 570-357-1778 or email@example.com. Contact the teachers or the parish office for dates the workshops will be offered.
Corpus Christi Parish is looking for donations of any nonperishable foods to fill the food pantry shelves for spring. Canned fruits, vegetables and beans are especially needed. Donations may be left in the vestibules of the churches.
Corpus Christi Parish’s annual car show will be held Sunday, May 27. Rain date is Monday, May 28.
A planning meeting for the parish bazaar will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, April 9, in the rectory. All are welcome.
If you are spring cleaning or downsizing and have household items which are no longer of use to you, don’t discard them, save them for the parish’s flea market. Beginning Wednesday, May 2, items may be dropped off at Immaculate Conception school from 6 to 8 p.m. every Wednesday and from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturdays. Remember, your junk is someone else’s treasure. Clothing, stuffed animals or exercise equipment will not be accepted.
The annual Mass and brunch honoring the parish’s high school graduates will take place at the 10:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, May 6. Invitations will be sent out to 2018 high school graduates who are members of the parish
Holy Name Society will hold its annual Father Son/Daughter Breakfast following the 10:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, April 22, in the Immaculate Conception Church hall.
Trinity Episcopal Church news
Trinity Episcopal Church holds noon prayer Wednesdays in the lower chapel.
West Pittston First United Methodist Church news
West Pittston First United Methodist Church holds Sunday worship at 10 a.m. Children and youth Sunday school is at 10:15 a.m.
Author Visit with Zachariah OHora — 1 to 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 18. The West Pittston Library, in conjunction with Pittston Memorial Library, are very excited to announce a visit from this year’s PA One Book Every Young Child author, Zachariah OHora, who will read his book “My Cousin Momo,” followed by a question and answer session. Children will complete a craft afterward. Deadline to register is Tuesday, April 10.
Canvas and Cocktails — 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, April 23. Lisa Reynolds, of the Wilkes University Art Department, will help you unleash your inner artist. Enjoy an evening of painting, light snacks and wine. Open to beginners and pros alike. Bring your own smock. Register early as this class fills up fast. Participants must be 21 or older. The $25 fee includes materials, lessons, light snacks and beverages. Registrations must be made in person at the library. The library cannot take registrations via Facebook.
It’s not too early to be thinking of spring. If you have any interest in having a spot in the West Pittston Community Garden, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parks and Recreation news
West Pittston Parks, Recreation and Beautification Board will meet at 7 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month at the borough building. New members are always welcome. The 2018 calendar includes: April 21, park cleanup, and June 2, 41st annual Anthracite Run.
West Pittston Tomorrow
West Pittston Tomorrow will hold a fundraisers from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday April 19. Join your friends and neighbors at Sabatini’s Bottleshop and Bar. A $20 ticket includes all-you-can-eat pizza and three draft beers. You must be 21 to attend. Entertainment will be provided by Frankie G and Deb Switzer. All proceeds will go to benefit West Pittston Tomorrow’s flood recovery projects.
West Pittston Tax Collector George L. Miller wishes to inform property owners the 2018 county and West Pittston Borough tax bills have been mailed. Rebate period will end Wednesday, April 11. Anyone not receiving a tax bill should call the office and a new bill will be sent. During the rebate period, office hours are 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays and 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays. For appointments, call 570-655-7782, ext. 232. When mailing and a receipt is requested, please send the complete tax bill and a self-addressed envelope.
The recycling containers located at the Public Works Building on Delaware Avenue are open to the public from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays.
Curbside collection of recyclables remains the first and third Thursday of each month. The Public Works Department asks that residents place their recyclables in front of their homes Wednesday evening prior to collection Thursday morning.
The Public Works Department began picking up yard waste April 2. Yard waste will be picked up from Erie Street to Montgomery Avenue every Monday. Yard waste from residences on Montgomery Avenue to Susquehanna Avenue will be picked up every Tuesday.
Please avoid using plastic bags; use biodegradable paper bags.
See you around town.
John Bubul writes about West Pittston every week. To include an item in his column, email email@example.com or call 570-301-2187 by Monday.