A.M. Beaver County

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VIDEO: Rochester Carol Sing & Light Up Night Moves Back Indoors To Celebrate The 2022 Christmas Season

(Matt Drzik/Beaver County Radio)

After one year of absence and another year of taking things outside, the song and celebration of Rochester’s welcoming of Christmas returns to its familiar annual indoor habitat.

The 6th Annual Community Christmas Carol Sing and Light Up Night returns to Rochester High School on Sunday, December 4, presented by the Beaver Valley Choral Society and the Rochester Area School District. The day will center around a collection of traditional Christmas carols sung by the BVCS and those in attendance, in conjunction with the Rochester High School Chorus and Band.

BVCS director emeritus Ray Rotuna and artistic director/principal conductor Sharon Burchill joined Matt Drzik on the November 29 edition of A.M. Beaver County to preview this year’s event, which will be held inside Rochester High School after the outdoor celebration of the previous year. Attendees will be directed to the school’s natatorium by the “town crier” of the festivities, and they’ll be encouraged to sing traditional Christmas carols with the BVCS and Rochester students. “That was one of the goals of this community event,” Burchill said, “to get people singing, and to bring the carol sings back.”

There will also be a presentation of “The Night Before Christmas” featuring Larry Brosius and Diane Brosius in full time-appropriate regalia, the return of Santa’s Workshop and the Candyland Garden, and drawings for gift cards from Santa’s Elf Bag. Kids can write letters to Santa and Christmas Cards to deployed soldiers, enjoy festive drinks and holiday cookies, and meet Tucker The Reading Dog from the Rochester Library. Plus, Beaver County Radio will be broadcasting live from the Carol Sing & Light Up Night, with the Personality Prize Wheel free to spin for a chance at awesome prizes!

The event is free, but the BVCS and RASD are asking that a donation of a non-perishable food item be brought for the Frye Transportation bus, which will be filled with food to be donated to the Families Matter Food Pantry.

To watch the full preview with Ray and Sharon, click on the Facebook feed below!

/ A.M. Beaver County, News

VIDEO: Discussing Photography With Emmanuel Panagiotakas

(Matt Drzik/Beaver County Radio)

“I want to show the beauty for what we have around Beaver County and in the Tri-State area.”

Since entering Beaver County in the early 2020s, Emmanuel Panagiotakas has done just that. The owner and lead photographer of Emmanuel Fine Art Photography in Beaver has taken photos of nature and cityscape throughout Beaver County following years of doing so in the Pittsburgh region. The Greece native joined Matt Drzik on the November 21 edition of A.M. Beaver County to talk about his journey to Beaver County and some key tips to wintertime (and anytime) photography.

“Number one: you have to understand how light works,” Emmanuel spoke. “It is the time of day where the light’s for you to see it better in your pictures. The outside light is too much with the light bulb light–you know, that artificial light.” Emmanuel defines artificial light as any light that isn’t ambient, and also speaks of “light pollution” that can corrupt the purity of the image the photographer desires.

Another key component to photography: stability. “This is one of the best tips I’m going to give you: use a tripod if you use a DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex),” he added. “If you don’t, use your iPhone or another phone…I know my iPhone, it will stay still for a second and after a second I can absorb even if have enough light. I think it’s a pretty good way to go with an iPhone too.” Emmanuel also suggests planning out and timing shoots of 10-15 minutes on one particular shot, and learning from your mistakes and trying again if a shoot doesn’t get the best shot.

Along with his website, (link above), Emmanuel’s works and updates can be found on his Facebook page and his Instagram profile. For the full interview with Emmanuel Panagiotakas, click on the Facebook feed below!

/ A.M. Beaver County, News

VIDEO: From Home Rule To The Holidays, A Discussion With Aliquippa Mayor Dwan Walker

(Matt Drzik/Beaver County Radio)

“I got to tell you…this is the best time of the year for Aliquippa, man, and I just love this time of year.”

Those words from Aliquippa mayor Dwan B. Walker relayed the current whirlwind of positive change surrounding the city, all while the tradition of Quips football staying in the picture during November returns to reality once again. The mayor made a quick visit to the Beaver County Radio studios on the November 18 edition of A.M. Beaver County to talk with Matt Drzik about the latest updates about the city.

One of the biggest updates came just nine days ago, as the city strongly voted “Yes” on a Home Rule Commission that will be set in motion so that Aliquippa can move to a Home Rule Charter system within the next couple of years. “This is a part of our exit plan to come out of distress status next year,” Walker stated. “Part of that plan was for us to reevaluate the former government and bring it more into fruition, [and] how it can affect the people and have more of the being and buying into that.” Walker reiterates that the change isn’t a knock on the previous government, but simply a change to get the community more involved.

Walker also recently represented the city in Washington, D.C. as he took a tour of the White House and got to meet and talk with President Joe Biden about the financial support that cities like Aliquippa need to help with their infrastructure. While the process is slow, the mayor acknowledges that the recently elected team of Josh Shapiro, John Fetterman, and Chris DeLuzio–along with the re-elected Rob Matzie–will continue the process of refurbishing Aliquippa in the same direction it had been going.

As far as the parts that allow Mayor Walker to call it “the best time of the year,” the giving and festive nature of the Christmas season has permeated Aliquippa in several ways. One city club donated over 40 turkeys with dinner sides to families throughout the area for the Thanksgiving holiday, and the holiday cheer will continue as the city will celebrate their “Light Up Night” on December 1–further details can be found on the mayor’s Facebook page. All of this mixed with the Aliquippa football team’s current success carrying a 10-0 record into the WPIAL semifinals…and the mayor’s stance on this time of year being the best becomes full of substance.

To check out the full conversation with Mayor Walker, click on the Facebook feed below!

/ A.M. Beaver County, News

VIDEO: Beaver Falls To Get “Merry & Bright” With Annual Christmas Parade On November 26

(Matt Drzik/Beaver County Radio)

Santa Claus is coming (back) to town.

That town is Beaver Falls, who will be hosting their annual Christmas Parade–the theme this year is “Merry & Bright” on November 26 at 6:00 PM, with pre-parade festivities and Santa’s post-parade gathering with the city’s citizens taking place at Neighborhood North: Museum Of Play on 14th Street beginning at 3:00 PM and following the parade, respectively. Beaver County Radio will have live coverage of the parade that night as well.

Parade Committee members Paula Durish, Nancy Valentine-Jones, Rochelle Burks, and Christine Kosanovich joined Matt Drzik on the November 16 edition of A.M. Beaver County to discuss the planning and process of putting the parade together–a process that is still continuing and will do so up until the start of the parade. “I have forms in my office in the city building, the city clerk’s office on the second floor,” Durish said. “We [also] have forms on our Facebook page, and all of the information has been available for months.”

As far as the requirements for a float, band or other group to be in the parade? According to Valentine-Jones, there’s only one: “Don’t be Santa Claus. There’s only one and he will be at the end of the parade.”

The parade will be bookended by activities at Neighborhood North: Museum Of Play, which serves as the site for Winterfest and Santa’s arrival due to the ongoing construction of Library Park. The construction will also be moving the town Christmas tree to a new location, near the city building and the WesBanco building on 7th Avenue. The parade committee extended their thanks and gratitude to Neighborhood North executive director Christine Kroger for her giving of time and space to the day’s festivities.

To watch the full interview with the Beaver Falls Christmas Parade Committee, click on the Facebook feed below!

/ A.M. Beaver County, News

VIDEO: Beaver Valley Choral Society Introduces Choral Conductor Scholar Program; Miah Sirianni Is First Recipient

(Matt Drzik/Beaver County Radio)

“First and foremost, you have to be a fine musician. But there’s so many other skills you have to learn, and we’re helping her learn those. That’s our goal.”

In 2022, the Beaver County Choral Society launched their inaugural Choral Conducting Scholar program, designed to give collegiate students the experience to not only conduct the singers and orchestra, but ultimately to plan, organize, polish, and execute a full performance piece from start to finish.

Miah Sirianni, inaugural Choral Conducting Scholar for the Beaver Valley Choral Society [Image courtesy BVCS]
Miah Sirianni, a native of Buffalo, New York and current student at Duquesne University, became the first recipient of the Choral Conducting Scholar position, where she has already “dipped her toes” into working and conducting with the BVCS and Treble Youth Chorale. She was joined by Artistic Director Sharon Burchill and Vice President Pat Stagno on the November 14 edition of A.M. Beaver County to talk about her journey to learning and working with the Beaver Valley Choral Society.

“I came to Duquesne to pursue my Bachelor’s in Music Education,” Sirianni stated, “and through that I really found out that conducting was another one of my callings, if you will.” Sirianni found out about the BVCS through one of her professors at Duquesne who knew Mrs. Burchill, and that led to her obtaining this position: “I’m so fortunate and so grateful to the BVCS for all the opportunities they’ve given me.”

“We are having a ball with Miah,” Stagno added. “We’re really proud of her, and we’re really pleased to support young conductors and musicians, and one of the missions of the Beaver Valley Choral Society is to encourage and support young people…that’s the next generation of musicians, and we need to be behind them.”

Sirianni joined the BVCS as Choral Conducting Scholar for the Christmas concert season, but the plan–according to Burchill–is to have her become more heavily involved in the spring/Easter concerts. “For the spring, she will have a piece that she will introduce to the choir, teach the choir, conduct from beginning to end, the whole process,” Burchill said. “She’s going to be able to walk through, with mentorship, how to do that whole process, and she’ll conduct them at all the concerts.”

To watch the full conversation with Sharon, Pat, and Miah–click on the Facebook feeds below!

Part 2:

/ A.M. Beaver County

What Benefits Do Veterans Have?: A Discussion With Cullen Wright & Christina Lonigro

(Matt Drzik/Beaver County Radio)

With Veterans’ Day being celebrated, many veterans in Western Pennsylvania and across the nation still have to deal with the confusion and misinformation that might lead them to live a life with fewer benefits than they realize they have access to.

To wade through the confusion and tumult, Christina Lonigro and Cullen Wright came on the November 10 edition of A.M. Beaver County to discuss the different “baskets” of healthcare options that veterans have. Wright is a retired US Army Colonel, now serving as Director of the Veterans Initiatives Program with Advocate Health Advisors.

“Our main message is that these systems–there’s four systems with VA, CHAMPVA, TriCare For Life, and Medicare–they can co-exist,” Wright stated. “And they can co-exist without impacting those military benefits negatively.” Wright stated that one of the biggest concerns and desires for veterans is to have dental coverage, and that it can belong in a plan with the right execution and organization.

The local Advocate Health Advisor service is the Mike Namath Agency, with whom Lonigro is associated. Veterans or other individuals that would like to know the ins, outs and whereabouts of Medicare in their plans can contact the Namath Agency by calling 724-847-3290.

To listen to the full conversation with Cullen and Christina, hit the play button below!

/ A.M. Beaver County, News

Veterans Breakfast Club Gears Up For Veterans’ Day Events, Plus A Beaver County Event For December

(Matt Drzik/Beaver County Radio)

“The Veterans Breakfast Club is all about the stories. There’s no agenda, there’s no advocacy, really. There’s only this community that is focused on encouraging veterans to share their stories of service with others.”

The Veterans Breakfast Club will be holding two major events for Veterans’ Day 2022, showcasing the unlimited bounty of stories and experiences shared by the veterans who have served in America’s wars from World War II to as recent as Iraq and Afghanistan. VBC executive director Todd DePastino joined Matt Drzik on the November 9 edition of A.M. Beaver County to discuss these events.

The first of the major events for the VBC is a live breakfast to be held at Duquesne University at 8:00 AM on November 11 inside the Student Union Ballroom. Judge Mike McCarthy, a former Vietnam Veteran with the Navy SeaBees, will be the Keynote Speaker for the breakfast. DePastino himself will be the emcee, allowing for those in attendance to share their stories, which may carry a range of emotions from light-hearted to heavy and reflective.

The other major event for Veterans’ Day is the 12-hour “Vet-A-Thon”, which will feature hourly conversations in a digital/Zoom format. Unlike the live breakfast, which will feature mostly local veterans from Western Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas, the Vet-A-Thon will be more wide open. “It’s going to be a worldwide connection between veterans,” DePastino said of the event. “That’s how our online program has been shaping up; we tend to focus more on our Veterans Breakfast Club members who are living in Texas, California, Wisconsin, Virginia, or anywhere.”

Beaver County will be host to an upcoming VBC event as well, when Seven Oaks Country Club hosts a Pearl Harbor recognition breakfast on December 7 from 8:30 AM to 10:30 AM. Further details about that event as well as all other events can be found by going to their website at veteransbreakfastclub.org.

To listen to the full interview with Todd DePastino, hit the play button below!

/ A.M. Beaver County, News

Wednesday’s AMBC: The Veterans’ Breakfast Club

Todd DePastino of the Veterans Breakfast Club will join Matt Drzik to talk about the special events being planned by the VBC in honor of Veterans’ Day; the discussion will take place following the 8:35 news.

Frank Sparks starts the morning with news at 6:30 on Beaver County Radio.

/ A.M. Beaver County, News

VIDEO: Mario Leone Discusses Major Developments, Plans For Christmas On Merchant

(Matt Drzik/Beaver County Radio)

“This is going to be truly transformational to the borough.”

The Borough of Ambridge is gearing up for another festive season of lights, sounds, and holiday cheer, and they’ve already received a few gifts that will help continue growing the borough over the next few years. Borough Manager Mario Leone joined Matt Drzik on the November 7 edition of A.M. Beaver County to discuss these major moments.

A couple of major shifts for the borough has come from its police department under police chief John DeLuca. Two SROs (school resource officers) were brought into the Ambridge School District through the police department “That program’s going extremely well,” said Leone,” and we think we’re making our schools safer for the children and parents likewise.” Additionally, the Ambridge PD is reinstating its K-9 program, with assistance from a couple of fundraisers and a donated vehicle from Center Township’s police department.

One way in which the borough is going backwards is going backwards to 2019, the last time that Christmas On Merchant was held in its full, traditional outdoor display. After two years of “reverse parades”, Ambridge is planning to return to the normal Christmas on Merchant proceedings on December 9. The parade will begin at 6:00 PM, there will be ice sculptures in PJ Caul Park at 5 PM and 7 PM, and Beaver County Radio will be broadcasting the parade live, along with bringing along the Prize Caddy and Personality Prize Wheel for your chances to win.

The biggest wins for Ambridge, though, came in the form of two major grants received by the borough for future projects. “It was either last Wednesday or two Wednesdays ago that we received word of a $4.5 million R-CAP,” spoke Leone, “and the purpose of these funds is for a sports complex and community center.”  Leone personally thanked the efforts of Mayor Duke McCoy and State Representative Rob Matzie for their efforts in getting this indoor/outdoor complex built, along with additional funding secured by State Senator Elder Vogel. Additionally, the non-profit Crop & Kettle is also receiving $3 million for a new facility to be built in Ambridge.

To watch the full video with Mario Leone, click on the Facebook feed below!

/ A.M. Beaver County, News

Friday’s AMBC: Playoff Football Time

The 2022 WPIAL Football Playoffs are here, and Matt Drzik will let you know who’s playing, who’s resting, and more coming up in sports updates beginning at 6:45.

Frank Sparks starts your weekend with news at 6:30 on Beaver County Radio.

/ A.M. Beaver County, News