There will be quite a collection of local and former local musical talent performing at the Community Arts Center on Thursday, September 7. They will be on hand to perform at the Third Annual “Live United” concert, which will raise money for the Lycoming County United Way.
This concert will feature some of the brightest musical talent this area has had to offer in recent years. These include Morgan Myles, Dylan Rockoff, and Brennan “Beane” Hepler. Their talents are being supplemented by some veteran musical talent, including Dave Brumbaugh, Mike Caschera, Miss Pennsylvania — Miranda Moore, and Loni Gamble. The musical director will be veteran music educator Walt Straiton. Area radio personality Gary Chrisman will emcee the event.
“Now in its third year, LIVE UNITED in Music is now a signature community event for our United Way,” Ron Frick, President and CEO of the Lycoming County United Way, told Webb Weekly. “This year, we have invited some homegrown talent in a homecoming of sorts, and we are thrilled to have Morgan, Dylan, and Brennan back in Williamsport as they are all now household names locally and on the national stage, and the addition of Mike, Lonnie, Miranda and Kopper and Kash is just more icing on the cake.”
This signature event is part of LIVE UNITED month and an event to showcase the Lycoming County United Way and our community as a whole. This is the third live community event. The first two featured Grammy and Tony Award nominee Michael Cavanaugh and the LIVE UNITED in Music Pops Orchestra under the direction of Walt Straiton. This year’s event features all local talent and a few surprises as well.
A little bit about some of the talent featured at LIVE UNITED. Morgan Myles is a former local woman who has earned praise for her work in Nashville. She recently finished third in NBC’s program “The Voice,” and she can count an appearance at Nashville’s legendary “Grand Ole Opry” as one of her accomplishments. She is due to release her new album at the end of this month. She is a graduate of the Uptown Music Collective. Myles recently has been named the National Spokeswoman for The Glioblastoma Foundation, an honor bestowed on her after a moving performance on The Voice of Lady Gaga’s “Always Remember Us This Way.”
Like Myles, Dylan Rockoff is also a graduate of the Uptown Music Collective. Over the past few years, he has managed to carve out quite a career for himself as a singer-songwriter. The now Nashville “Pop-Hop-Singer-Songwriter” first found success with the release of his debut single “Feeling Fine.” The song was featured on NBC’s The Today Show and later aired on Train’s SiriusXM special, Train Tracks. Rockoff later opened for Bon Jovi at Madison Square Garden and played sold-out headline dates across the U.S.
Brennan “Beane” Hepler hit the national stage as a contestant on American Idol, Season 19 in 2021, finishing in the show’s top 12 contestants. His duet of “Angel” by Robbie Williams with Josh Groban received great applause and accolades. A graduate of Loyalsock Township High School and the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Beane is a self-described R&B singer-songwriter preferring to tackle all aspects of artistry head-on, including design, promotion, and management.
Miranda Moore, “Miss Pennsylvania 2023,” will also appear. A native of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Miranda Moore is an Environmental Engineer, Sustainability Professional, and accomplished clarinet player.
The veteran musicians involved in LIVE UNITED are Dave Brumbaugh, the Executive Director of the Uptown Music Collective, a music school that for over 20 years has been serving northeastern and central Pennsylvania with music, youth, and education. Together, the Uptown Music Collective forms a powerful and inspired community committed to connecting people with music. Kopper and Kash is an up-and-coming country trio band including sisters Mia and Ava Pennycoff, along with their father, Navy veteran Jeff Pennycoff. They share their love of country music with the mission to share positivity and inspiration with others.
Philadelphia-born Loni Gamble has lived a very diverse musical career. Heavily influenced by his older brother Gary while growing up in Philly, his musical roots lie in R&B. Loni formally began his musical career as a guitar player for the Grammy-nominated Stylistics. Later, as a solo artist, his hit single “Could It Be Love” made the Top 40 dance lists in seven countries in Europe and Canada. Today, Loni is head of the Community Alliance for Progressive Positive Action (CAPPA), a nonprofit award-winning organization that has served the Williamsport area since 2004 with innovative youth programs.
Mike Caschera is a lifelong resident of Lycoming County, having left his mark throughout the country as a singer, saxophonist, and multi-percussionist. Mike got his start at 13, performing with his older brother and long-time local band leader Tony Caschera, playing with both the “Bel Airs” followed by “TC and the VIPs.” Perhaps best known for his touring days with “Spiral Staircase” and their #1 hit song “I Loved You More Today Than Yesterday,” Mike logged many miles in both the US and Canada before returning to Billtown.
Mike frequently appeared with “Prince Charles and the Royal Tones” and was the driving creative force in creating the band “Magique,” a mainstay in the Williamsport club scene in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Mike and his wife Karen also opened and ran the “Studio of the Performing Arts” in South Williamsport from 1989 through 2021. A driving force leading to the creation of the famous “Chrisman Show Live” (1990-2001).
Mike currently appears in the appropriately named band “The Family Ties,” performing alongside his two sons, Mike Caschera III and Gino Caschera. Together with Joe Marches, they perform primarily original music along with time-honored contemporary classics in the greater northcentral Pennsylvania region.
LIVE UNITED in Music’s Executive Producer, Walt Straiton, has enjoyed a blended career combining education, business, entertainment, and professional performance and serves as Director of Academic and Institutional Partnerships with MusicFirst, a New York/London-based developer of integrated cloud-based instructional software solutions supporting music education. Walt first came to Williamsport in 1977. He enjoyed a 26-year tenure serving as Director of Orchestras at Williamsport Area High School, which included the creation of the renowned “Millionaire Strolling Strings” while also serving on the orchestral conducting staff of both Messiah University and Penn State. During his tenure in WASD, Walt was one of four teachers in the nation honored to receive a coveted John F. Kennedy Center Fellowship for Teachers in the Arts.
Honored for the opportunity to regularly collaborate with Michael Cavanaugh, Walt has previously conducted concerts featuring a wide variety of contemporary pop/jazz artists, including Chris Botti, Bob James, Burt Bacharach, David Benoit, Maynard Ferguson, Chuck Mangione, Buddy Rich, Lionel Hampton, Phil Woods, The Captain and Tennille, The Spinners, Patti Austin, Neil Sedaka, Franki Valli and the Four Seasons, The Empire Brass Quintet, and Bobby Rydell.
Serving as special music arranger for LIVE UNITED will be Rob Byham. Rob has arranged for the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra (WSO) and is currently arranging music for the Susquehanna Valley Chorale (SVC) pops concert, something he has done since the late 1980s. In addition to the WSO and the SVC, Rob has arranged music for Davy Jones of the Monkees, the Empire Brass Quintet, and the Uptown Music Collective.
Tickets are on sale at https://www.caclive.com/events/liveunitedin-music-iii/ or call the box office at 570-326-2424. Limited seats are available, and there are no holds! All proceeds will benefit the Lycoming County United Way and the 36 human service programs through their support.