The Update | Westminster Symphonic Band Concert; ‘Mob’ Podcaster Lecture

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. – The Westminster College Symphonic Band will present a winter concert, “The Philosopher’s Stone,” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, in Orr Auditorium on the college’s campus.

Under the direction of R. Tad Greig, the concert will feature pieces from Todd Stalter, Claude Smith, Thomas Duffy, Brian Balmages, Alfred Reed and James Barnes. The Symphonic Band, with over 50 members, will perform varying degrees of classic and modern rhythms and melodies.

Greig, who joined the Westminster faculty in 1995, is director of instrumental activities and professor of music. He is the founder and conductor of the Wind Ensemble and also directs the Titan Marching Band. He is an active guest conductor, clinician, lecturer and judge throughout the United States. 

The concert is free and open to the public. 

‘Mob’ Podcaster to Speak on Mafia in Valley

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio – James Naples, co-host of the “Youngstown Mob Talk” podcast, will speak on the culture and impact of the mafia in the Mahoning Valley at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, in the meeting room of Denny’s restaurant, 4020 Belmont Ave.

Naples is the grandson of James Naples Sr. and a great nephew of Youngstown crime figures Joey, Sandy and Billy Naples. He is the audio-video production instructor at Choffin Career & Technical Center in Youngstown.

His presentation is sponsored by the William Holmes McGuffey Historical Society. Admission is $10 ($5 for society members). The event will include refreshments, entertainment and a raffle to benefit the WHMHS.

Reservations are suggested; call 330 726 8277.

Poet Who Engages in Christian Faith at GCC

GROVE CITY, Pa. – George David Clark will read selections from his new book of poetry at 7:30 p.m. today in the Great Room of Breen Student Union on the campus of Grove City College. A question-and-answer session will follow.

The event is free and open to the public.

Clark’s latest book, “Newly Not Eternal,” is described by the publisher as “equal parts elegy and ode” that addresses “the startling suffering and sentiment implicit in human mortality.”

Clark is an assistant professor of English at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pa.

“David’s work engages deeply with the Christian faith, and he is happy to talk about the intersection of faith and writing,” said Annie M. Shepherd, associate professor of English at GCC. “At the same time, he can also provide perspective to those interested in studying and writing poetry that doesn’t explicitly connect to faith, or to those interested in learning how to live out their faith in the creative writing industry.”

Pipe Organ Recital Series at St. Columba

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – St. Columba Cathedral’s 2024 pipe organ recital series will feature Ralph Holtzhauser, music director of the cathedral, on Feb. 23.

Holtzhauser has been the diocese’s music director since 2022. He recently earned his master’s degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music.

All recitals are at St. Columba, 154 W. Wood St., and start at 6:30 p.m., except for the June 28 performance.

The rest of the schedule: March 22, Josh Kraybill; April 19, Davis Badaszewski; May 10, Mario Buchanan; June 28, Sean Baran at 7:30 p.m.

Admission is free, but donations will be accepted to support cathedral music programs.

Dance Stars Event to Benefit Charity

BARBERTON, Ohio – Northwood Charitable Foundation will present Dancing Stars at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 24 at Slovene Party Center, 70 14th St. NW.

The event will bring together community leaders, agents and management from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Stouffer Realty in a friendly dance competition.

Dancing Stars will raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House in Akron.

Tickets are $40 and must be purchased by Feb. 22. Go to

The highlight of the evening will be dance performances by the contestants, each paired with a skilled dance partner. The event will be judged by a panel of experts:

  • Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini: boxing champion, sports commentator and actor.
  • Aristea Tzouloufis: chief development officer of Ronald McDonald Charities of Northeast Ohio. 
  • Tony Sheppler: North American Smooth champion, actor, teacher, coach.

Discussion on Pandemic’s Effect on Church

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. – Charissa Mikoski will discuss the pandemic’s effect on church life during a public talk at 11:40 a.m. Friday, Feb. 23, in Mueller Theater, located in McKelvey Campus Center on the Westminster College campus.

Admission is free and open to the public.

Mikoski, who earned her undergraduate degree in sociology from Westminster, will discuss her current research, “Changing Dynamics of Churches in a Post-Pandemic Reality.”  

Her presentation will focus on the pandemic’s impact on congregational and religious life. Mikoski’s work explores the impact of the pandemic on organized religion and congregations in the United States by using large, nationally representative surveys and quantitative case studies.  

Mikoski works with the Faith and Communities Today group, which includes representation from mainline Protestant, evangelical Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox and some non-Christian organizations.

Mikoski, who earned her master’s and doctorate degrees in sociology from Purdue University, is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Hartford Institute for Religion Research of the Hartford International University for Religion and Peace in Connecticut. 

Pictured at top: R. Tad Greig conducts the Westminster Symphonic Band in a recent concert.

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