Back to the music

The Upper Ohio Valley Opera Guild attracted 110 when it kicked off its 2013 performance season March 23, a busy night in the area given many other events were going on, including the Italian American Cultural Club’s annual Ballo di Primavera and high school plays, for example.

The Steubenville Country Club was the forum for the evening dinner followed by a performance by representatives of the Pittsburgh Opera under the direction of Mark Trawka, chorus master and director of musical studies for the Pittsburgh Opera.

Mary Jo Rinaldi, guild president, extended a welcome with the opening prayer by Anita Jackson, first vice president and program co-chair along with board member Carleen Scurti.

Other guild officers are Barb Wilinski, second vice president; Josephine Irvine-Groves, secretary; and Joe Leonard, treasurer.

Also on the guild’s board of directors in addition to Scurti are Kathy Antinone, Dottie Bossert, Lil Ferguson, Margaret Frederick, Judy Gaynor, Christine Hargrave, Carlotta Jordan, Theresa Kropka, Lina Leonard, Laura Meeks, Liz Morelli, Joyce Ryan-Orlando, Nan Watzman and Amelio Saggio.

I had to share a small world back-in-the-’60s story with Mr. Saggio, who would have been at Weir High School teaching when my sister Cathy was student teaching there under his critiquing. Cathy had read online my story from the guild’s last event, the Spanish Flamenco dancers at the Weirton Knights of Columbus Hall. She had seen Mr. Saggio’s picture online with my story and would later ask me, could that be Mr. Saggio from Weir High?

Turns out, yes it was and is.

I told Mr. Saggio that Cathy is fluent in Spanish, thanks to her studies in Spain and marriage to a Spaniard. I told him that in addition to teaching Spanish, she does translation work for Columbus schools, for instance, for parent-teacher conferences where the student speaks English but the parents don’t.

These events always produce some interesting tidbits of the small-world and did-you-know nature, one of which originated with John Boka, who asked me if I knew what was the first job held by the late great OSU Buckeyes Coach Woody Hayes.

The answer according to Boka? In 1936, Hayes was Boka’s seventh-grade teacher at Mingo Junior High School and was a football coach as well.

Learning something new every day is the beauty of living.

The guild’s next event is a summertime one with the Serendipity Cafe, a casual evening of jazz, on the calendar for July 13. You can find more information on this on this page in the months to come.

Not only does the guild provide musical events to look forward to and appreciate, it also offers a $1,000 music scholarship for a college student engaged in the study of music.

The scholarship recipient must be enrolled in a full-time music-related major and be at least of college sophomore status. The deadline to submit is Nov. 1 of each year.

For an application form, contact Josephine Irvine-Groves at (740) 765-4674 or visit the website at and click “scholarship” to download a form.

To be a guild member, it’s a mere $20 a year although they’ll gladly accept higher amounts with donor membership beginning at $50; sponsor membership, $100; and patron membership at $200 or more.

I couldn’t help but notice that the back cover of the guild program booklet details another musical event on the horizon, this one not guild related.

The Franciscan University Women’s Scholarship Fund will present “Spring into Spring” beginning at 5:30 p.m. on June 5 in the Tony and Nina Gentile Gallery in the J.C. Williams Center on the campus of the Franciscan University of Steubenville.

The featured performers will be the Brooke High School Madrigal Choir at the event that also will include prizes, a Chinese auction and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are $5 per person (now there’s a real bargain!), and proceeds benefit the Rose M. DeFede Scholarship Fund.

For information, call (740) 284-5861.