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Outfits Not Just Clothes ...
Being Thankful
By Bernadette Ulsamer

Lately, the world seems like a crazy and chaotic place. Every day there is some new disaster, attack, or crisis. While it’s almost effortless to get wrapped up in the 24-hour news cycle, as we approach the Thanksgiving season, I’d like to take a moment here and focus on the good things in life. Some families have the holiday tradition of going around and naming the things they are most grateful for during their Thanksgiving meal. I want to get that ball rolling early and list the things I am thankful for here in 2017, in the spirit of sharing hope and gratitude, instead of tragedy and calamity.
Number one on my list is a combination of faith and family — as the two, for me, are so intertwined. I thank the Lord every day for my husband, our daughter, my parents, my grandmother; I even thank Him for my in-laws. And it’s with my family that I share my faith. Whether it’s going to church together, praying before a meal, or praying for guidance, I am incredibly grateful to have the support of my family and the support of the Lord. I’m also thankful for how my relationships with my family members and my faith have grown and evolved as time passes. I know that, no matter what happens in the outside world, I’ll have love in my life.
I also appreciate the love of my friends. My best friend, in particular, is one person I’m continually grateful to have in my life. Knowing she’s there to listen to my woes, advise me, laugh with me, and share the good, the bad, and the ugly moments of life make me thankful for her all year long. I also appreciate my friends at work and my friendly neighbors. I am less grateful for the unfriendly ones.
Another point of gratitude that is easy to overlook is good health. Sure, I have the usual aches and pains and could be in better shape, but when I think of those who are suffering chronic pain, battling a disease, or those that do not have the use of all of their limbs, it places my minor complaints into perspective. I’m trying to give thanks more often for having the freedom of movement, being able to carry groceries, and being strong enough to pick up my child and fit enough to get down on the floor and play with her every day.
I am also thankful for the simple kindness of strangers. A driver letting an older person cross against the light on a rainy day. A fellow customer having an extra penny or two to give in the checkout line. Another parent picking up a kid on the playground. These small gestures can make life a bit more pleasant. Whether or not I’m on the receiving end of it, when I see strangers being kind to each other, it gives me hope for our world.
Lastly, I want to take a moment to be thankful for all the little things that we take for granted — having a job that pays the bills, times of uncontrollable laughter, having a roof over my head, and having access to clean drinking water. Being born and raised in America, which means I have the right to vote, practice my religion, and voice my opinion. There are so many fundamental things and freedoms we tend to take for granted. So, as you prepare for Thanksgiving this year, take some time for gratitude and reflect on the good things in your life.


The Bookworm Sez
By Terri Schilichenmeyer
 

“Beartown: A Novel” by Fredrik Backman
c.2017, Atria
$26.99 – 418 pages hardcover
c.2017, Simon & Schuster
$24.99 Canada – 336 pages paperback

Your favorite team cannot be beat.
As soon as they hit the court, field, or rink, they play their hearts out to win. And win. And win. The competition is…well, there really isn’t much competition but, as in the new book “Beartown” by Fredrik Backman, trouble may come from within.
Hockey, for Beartown, wasn’t just a game. It was life.
Little boys learned to play hockey almost as soon as they walked. Everyone supported the team, tickets were dear, and local businesses were fierce sponsors. Hockey was life, and with a bigger city just down the road, it had become the only reason Beartown hadn’t disappeared altogether. This, Peter Andersson knew.
Once, Peter had been a Bear: a star in juniors, the A-team, and then the NHL, where he was injured enough to retire, move back to Beartown, and become the teams’ General Manager. It was a good move for Peter, but maybe not so much for his wife, Kira, or his children, fifteen-year-old Maya and twelve-year-old Leo.
And for that, Peter second-guessed himself often.
Boys like Kevin Erdahl made the guilt bearable.
At seventeen, Kevin had a rosy future ahead: junior team, A-team, then pro in short order. He was one of the finest players Peter had ever seen, and everybody in Beartown agreed — coaches, parents, girls, and Kevin’s best friend, Benji.
They were a team, Benjamin and Kevin — mostly because Benji was fearless. He didn’t seem to feel pain, never worried, never lost sleep; he never missed a good donnybrook, either, just as he never let his coaches or his best friend down. On the ice, Benji kept the opposition away from Kevin. Off-rink, he kept away trouble. It was his job.
Everybody in Beartown knew what was riding on the junior semi-finals match. Virtually nobody in town was even thinking of missing what would promise to be a hockey game they’d talk about for decades. It could be the game of the century.
But “There’s a storm brewing.”
And if author Fredrik Backman just stopped his story right there, “Beartown” would still be a first-rate, don’t-dare-miss novel. Instead, just after that Big Game scene, there’s a proper explosion, as is promised in a very short Chapter One, and it’s a ka-boom that’ll have your fingernails buried in this book’s cover.
Indeed, Backman’s exciting lead-up to the game is only a fraction of this story, which gives readers time to cultivate a good feel for who the characters are and how they jigsaw together in this small town in the woods. Knowing them, and the baggage that keeps them in Beartown, will keep you breathless as the fallout rains down, and as you race toward the Perfect-with-a-Capital-P ending inside this book.
You don’t have to know hockey to enjoy this story; in fact, you might like it a little better if you don’t. You may even love it if you’re a fan of keeps-you-guessing novels of exquisite storytelling. Undoubtedly, if you’re a big Backman fan, you need this book because “Beartown” cannot be beat.


Uptown Music Collective Kicks Off Performance Season

 

The Uptown Music Collective's season will kick off on November 17th and 18th at the Community Arts Center in Williamsport with Women of Rock: The Music of Heart & Pat Benatar. When you think of women who really rock, the band Heart, and Pat Benatar are always near the top of any list. For the first show of the season, Uptown Music Collective students will pay tribute to these influential and creative musicians. The performance will feature the non-profit music school’s renowned assemblage of young female vocalists paying tribute to two legendary voices. Supported by an army of young musicians on guitar, keyboards, bass, and drums. Fairfield Auto Group and PPL are sponsoring the show in part.
In the big leagues of classic rock, there are only a few undisputed champions in the Women’s bracket. At the top of that list has to be 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Heart. With over 35 million records sold worldwide, including top 10 albums in the in the 1970s, 80s, 90s, and 2010s. Led by the Wilson sisters, Ann and Nancy, Heart has led the way in Rock music with strong songwriting, powerful vocals, stadium-filling performances, and chart-topping songs, including the classics Barracuda, Magic Man, Crazy on You, Even it Up, Alone, and a lot more.
Another musician who quickly comes to mind when discussing Women of Rock is Pat Benatar. She is a four-time Grammy Award winner with two multi-platinum albums, five platinum albums, three gold albums, and 15 Billboard Top 40 singles. Benatar is best known for her chart-topping hits Hit Me with Your Best Shot, Love Is a Battlefield, We Belong, and Invincible. Her gutsy voice, great music, strong presence, and take no prisoners approach to rock and roll, paved for her, a road to success in a time when rock and roll stardom was still primarily a boys’ club.
“Growing up in the 1970’s, the music of Heart and Pat Benatar were frequently on my turntable (that’s the thing we played our “records” on back then), said Collective Executive Director, Dave Brumbaugh. “I found both to be unique, powerful, and inspirational as a young musician. I’m looking forward to hearing my students take their music to the stage, and tearing the roof off of the Community Arts Center.”
Women of Rock: The Music of Heart & Pat Benatar will feature Collective students who have been diligently preparing for this event for over two months. Along with the live music, there will be a professional grade light and sound show organized by the students themselves. As with all Uptown Music Collective performances, the students are not only the performers but also direct the show. There is also a group of younger students, called “Tech Monkeys” who will serve as stage technicians and spotlight operators. The cast for the show is drawn from the Uptown Music Collective’s much heralded Special Performance Group 1. The students have set a goal to get 1,500 people see the show over its two-night run.
This show is being produced by Collective Senior, Nate Schreffler (Sullivan County High School). It is directed by Uptown Music Collective seniors Chloe Taylor (Montoursville Area H.S.) & Emily LaCerra (Loyalsock Township H.S.) along with a leadership committee that includes UMC students Alexis Carnevale (WAHS), Cade Palmatier (Jersey Shore H.S.), David Chubirka (Montoursville Area H.S), David Montis (St, John Neumann), Enso Tran (WAHS), Isabella Cole (Loyalsock Township H.S.), Izzy Brumbaugh (WAHS), and Tate Berkey (Danville H.S.).
“Performing a tribute to Heart and Pat Benatar is a very exciting way to kick off the 2017-2018 performance season,” said Student Director, Emily LaCerra. “I love that we are doing a tribute to influential women artists who have helped define the great things that women have brought to rock music. It’s especially awesome that we’re doing this show on the same stage that Pat Benatar performed on five years ago when she came to Williamsport. I’m very excited to be learning more and more about both artists, and to portray their music in an accurate way for the first show of my senior performance season.”
Additional sponsors for this performance include Steve & Martha Huddy, Newberry Estates, State Farm Agent Kellen Moore, The Lockard Agency, Jersey Shore State Bank, Jeff & Crissy, Fast Signs, and The (Re)Imagination Group. Media sponsors include Lamar Advertising, NorthCentralPa.com, The Graphic Hive, 99.3 FM WZXR, and all of Backyard Broadcasting. Tickets for the performance are $15.00 in advance and $20.00 on performance nights. Advance tickets are available at the Community Arts Center (Box Office, Website, & App), Alabaster Coffee, K&S Music, Buttorff’s Hardware, Catch-All Self Storage, Rupert's Specialty Meats, Way Cool Beans, Hoyer’s Photo, and the Uptown Music Collective
For the complete list of ticket vendors, sponsors, and other details about the show visit uptownmusic.org or call 570-329-0888. Also, check out Collective’s official Facebook page, as well as other Collective social media outlets for teasers, previews, behind the scenes info and more from the performance.

 
 
 
 
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
 
 
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