“Saving the Situation”: Lycoming College and the Williamsport Community Concert Association celebrate union | News, Sports, Jobs

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent A quintet formed by members of the Williamsport City Jazz Orchestra entertained guests celebrating the merger of the Williamsport Community Concert Association (WCCA) and Lycoming College on Thursday July 21, 2022 at the Community Arts Center in Williamsport. Together, the college and WCCA will be able to continue the tradition of affordable concerts and guest performances that began in 1928. Above, left to right, Steve Adams, Tim Breon and Dick Adams.

With 94 years of bringing world-renowned musical artists to the Williamsport stage, the legacy of the Williamsport Community Concert Association (WCCA) will live on through a partnership with Lycoming College’s music department.

The partnership was celebrated Thursday night at a reception at the Community Arts Center’s Capitol Lounge.

William Ciabattari, associate professor of music at Lycoming, described the partnership as “part of your heritage and ours combined.”

He strives “do everything in your power to make a difference in your community” and to make life better for the next generation.

Carrying on the WCCA’s rich legacy, initially, seemed like a burden in that Ciabattari didn’t want to “disappoint” the community.

Across the country, some community gig associations have been unable to support themselves and have disappeared from the landscape, he said, explaining why this is so important to him.

“They entrusted us with something great” he said.

Once he got over a bit of anxiety, Ciabattari said he was starting to get excited about the possibilities ahead, starting with an event this fall.

As part of the WCCA Endowed Program, the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra has been lined up to perform Nov. 3 at the Community Arts Center, he said.

This orchestra presents itself as the only professional ensemble in the world that recreates throughout the year “America’s Original Music” like the syncopated sounds of early musical theaters, silent films and vintage dance, according to the Paragon website.

During the reception, Cynthia Staiman Vosk, chair of the WCCA Board of Directors for eight years, was honored for her dedicated efforts.

She called her involvement with the band “one of the best parts of my whole life.”

“Little did I know that I would discover a passion for myself which, if I had known it earlier in life, I might have chosen another career.” she said, adding that she had lived “great satisfaction” putting on shows that have made so many people happy.

Finding a way to support the WCCA was vitally important. She credited Chip Edmonds, executive vice president of Lycoming, and the college for “save the day” by creating an endowment fund “bringing a world of music home” so that many people can enjoy it.

In addition to supporting WCCA’s legacy, the partnership is expected to increase and enrich the college’s concerts and musical performances each year.

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Andrew B. Reiter