Summer Fringe Festival opens Sunday

WELLSBORO – Hamilton-Gibson Productions’ Summer Fringe Festival will offer a week-long exploration of the arts for all ages from Sunday through June 29 at the H-G Theatre, 29 Water St.

Besides the many opportunities for children, and a special afternoon offered by area senior citizens for all ages, the Fringe highlights special programming for adults.

The festival will open Sunday with the “Play Me, I’m Yours” pianos on Main Street. Next will be the H-G Reunion Picnic in the Gallery of the Warehouse Theatre.

All those who have been in an H-G play, worked behind the scenes or volunteered in the box office are invited to attend along with their families. H-G is providing the hot dogs and hamburgers, and participants are asked to bring a dish to pass.

On Monday, the Fringe will feature Raymond the Amish Comic from Lancaster. This “adults only” comic will be at the Gallery of the Warehouse Theatre at 8 p.m. Admission is “pay-what-you-can,” though seating is limited. Alcoholic beverages will be available for sale with proper ID.

On June 26, Les Petits Chanteurs De Laval, an acclaimed boys choir from Quebec, will offer a stirring concert at 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Pearl Street.

The concert is a “pay-what-you-can” fundraiser for the Hamilton-Gibson choirs, which consists of singers of similar ages, 8-18. “We are thrilled to be able to host this exceptional, internationally-known choir,” said Thomas Putnam, artistic director for Hamilton-Gibson Productions.

Blues band Penny and the Shylocks will take the stage at the Deane Center’s Black Box, 104 Main St., at 8 p.m. June 27. Donations to help offset Fringe expenses will also be accepted at the door. Food and beverage will be available.

Frontwoman Penny Eckman is known locally for her Patsy Cline tribute show, Penny Sings Patsy. Starting at an early age, she sang country rock to classic rock during the late 1970s through today.

In 1990, she formed the rock band Shylock Foxx, which played all over the region.

Just last year Penny created a new band, Penny and the Shylocks. They perform sizzling blues, funk and soul. Fans will hear Etta James’ “Something’s Got A Hold On Me,” Average White Band, Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt selections and many more.

In addition to Penny, the band is comprised of talented musicians from all over the region. On keyboard is Mick Collins, who also performs blues and classic rock standards in a lounge act with Eckman.

Jim Smolos, classically trained on cello, plays the bass guitar and adds to the vocals.

Hugh Douglass, on guitar, has been teaching music for more than 30 years. He studied music at Palm Beach College and has performed locally with the Hugh Douglass Quartet, Top Shelf, the Acme Blues Machine and the Blues Fugitives.

Youngest is Bruce Coluccio on saxophone. Born in 1997, Coluccio picked up the sax when he was 9 years old and never looked back. He blends jazz, rock, funk, blues and soul to create a sound that defies his age. He also plays in the band Blue Eyed Soul.

Saxophonist Jesse Bennett moved to Europe in 1978-79, performing across the continent for 18 years at various venues.

He also taught privately and at Germany’s University of Dortmund and the Meerbusch Music Academy. Between 1995 and 1999, he split his time, living in Germany and New York City, before settling in Waverly, New York in September 1999. He continues to perform around the region.

Over the past 20 years, drummer Jesse Douglas has played in many bands, currently with the Bulletones.

The Sue Cunningham Band will take the Deane Center’s Black Box stage at 7:30 p.m. June 28. Cunningham is on the fiddle and sings, along with long-time musical partner Danny Shipe on guitar and vocals, with Greg Smith on bass. Tickets can be obtained by calling the Deane Center at 570-724-6220.

The week concludes with crazy dueling pianos at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. During the final celebration of the “Play Me, I’m Yours” phenomenon, area piano players will duel it out in the Black Box at the Deane Center. Admission is “pay- what-you-can.”

Summer Fringe Festival week also will offer poetry workshops for adults and children, writing workshops for middle school girls, an African dance and drumming celebration for all ages, and pianos on the sidewalks.

Call 570-724-2079 for more information.