The “Dead” of Winter?


Last night, the temperature was 18 degrees, minus the wind chill — a clear indication we are in the throes of what can be called the “dead” of winter. But inside, The Campus Theatre in Lewisburg bathed us in warmth, and people were very much alive, thanks to the joyous music of Romano Drum, of Hungary.

The theatre was filled to capacity with people of all ages, from very young children to senior citizens, and most were clapping, dancing or running around to the spirited rhythms of Romano Drom’s Gypsy music! Many had gathered before the concert to partake of the free dance class, led by Stephen Kotansky, and their enthusiasm was palpable as the rest of us entered the theatre.

Romano Drom is one of the most prominent representatives of the contemporary Gypsy culture in Hungary. The band, whose name literally means “Gypsy’s road,” plays in original Olah Gypsy language with modern musical scoring.
Whether or not you’re familiar with Gypsy music, know this: the ensemble’s renditions are electrifying. They uniquely fuse their own centuries-old musical culture with Catalan rumba, Arabic, Balkan and even pop rhythms to emerge with a style all their own!

They utilize guitar, bass, and an eclectic array of percussion instruments that range from Bongo-like drums to the traditional pot and spoon to achieve a captivating sound. It was inspiring to witness the artistry of people who play their instruments with a speed, alacrity and skill that is nothing short of amazing.

For an hour and a half, and a couple of encores, they held us spellbound with their music and the joy with which they played and shared it — egging us on with arm gestures to get up and dance, or at least clap, to the music. But it wasn’t long into the performance before the band had us laughing with their infectiously positive spirit.

The music was inspirational for other reasons —

It reminds us how lucky we are to live in and around the Lewisburg community, whose proximity to Bucknell University offers us urban-caliber experiences we’d otherwise have to drive three hours away to access.

It reminds us how lucky we are that Bucknell University spared no expense in renovating The Campus Theatre into a beautiful, acoustically sound venue that allows us to enjoy in comfort everything from movies, talks and seminars to live entertainment.

And it reminds us how lucky we are that The Weis Center has blossomed under the direction of executive director Kathryn Maguet, community outreach and marketing director Lisa Leighton, assistant director of operations Johanna Kodlick (whose yoga classes in the Weis Center lobby are amazing – more on that later) and the rest of their staff.

It’s not an exaggeration to say the performing arts center has experienced a rebirth of originality and inspiration in the variety and caliber of music and entertainment experiences they bring to us.
The concert at The Campus Theatre last night was just one more reminder how fortunate we are to call this region home.
I clapped and laughed all the way home, the spirit of Romano Drom still with me. The concert was just what I needed, after a two-day migraine, to remind me that life is wonderful, that this “dead” of winter, too, shall pass, and I have so much to be grateful for. What are you grateful for?

It’s an Exciting Time

It’s an exciting time, here at Susquehanna Life magazine. We just celebrated our 20th anniversary, a milestone for any business but particularly significant for a high-risk venture, of which magazines are one.

At significant milestones, it’s common to assess where you are and what’s ahead. I can honestly say I get as much — and probably more — satisfaction and joy out of producing each issue of Susquehanna Life magazine as I did the very first issue. That component of my life is satisfying and flourishing.

However, at this juncture, I want to give back to the region that has been so good to me. The hard work and energy I put into the magazine has borne fruit, but I can’t take all the credit. The people who have worked/do work for the magazine, the communities in which the magazine circulates, and of course the readers and advertisers that support us have been instrumental to our success.

So what, besides a magazine, do I have to offer?

Knowledge. Enthusiasm. Passion. Information. Cheerleading. Mentoring. Support. Encouragement. Ideas. Business savvy. Advice.

These concepts are playing a role in the development of the Women’s Professional Partnership (formerly the Women’s Business Collective). I, together with Liz Furia of Elizabeth’s An American Bistro, are putting together an organization to support women and help them succeed.

To quote from our Mission Statement: Women’s Professional Partnership is the lead organization for helping women take responsibility for their own success.

Our Business Strategy is to hold monthly meetings and organize educational events, match mentors with mentees, direct women to helpful resources, and more.

But, more importantly, we want to change the business dynamic/climate in this region to be more about mentoring and support than ostracism and exclusion.

As such, we are putting together a business conference — for men and women, because women don’t exist in a vacuum —  dubbed Empowering Our Community Through Mentoring and Leadership.

The purpose of the conference is to be a first step in creating a “mentoring community–”
— a community wherein professional people feel compelled to help one another,
share and build strengths, and empower each other by helping address and strengthen
perceived weaknesses. To encourage those with more experience and power to reach out to those with less with support, encouragement and mentoring.

We view “our community” as stretching to Williamsport, State College and,
as possible, Harrisburg. And, in fact, we have connected with a women’s business group
in Williamsport headed up by Janet Harris (executive director of the Williamsport Sympony) and Jill Morrissey (Compliance Specialist II at The Muncy Bank & Trust Co.) to extend our sphere of influence.
More formally, we have partnered with Bucknell University — including the management dept, alumni relations, HR, career development and the BU SBDC — to put this event together. A steering committee has been meeting since Oct. 2013.
Stay tuned to learn more!