Oscar contest is heating up


The race for the Oscar Award for Best Picture is about to enter the home stretch.

“La La Land” is still the front-runner, with “Moonlight,” “Manchester by the Sea” and maybe even “Hidden Figures” seeking a late push from the ever-evolving opinions of Oscar voters.

If you haven’t submitted an entry in The Vindicator’s annual Best of Film contest, now is the time. The ballot will be run one last time in Monday’s paper.

The top three persons who correctly predict the most winners in 21 major categories will win gift certificates from Rulli’s market.

IT WILL BE A BUSY WEEKEND IN DOWNTOWN YOUNGSTOWN

It’s going to be an oddly busy four-day stretch in downtown Youngstown, beginning tonight. An eclectic mix of acts will be playing the big venues in a random bit of heavy scheduling.

It starts tonight with country newcomers Old Dominion at Stambaugh Auditorium. Tickets ($30 and $40) are still available.

Also tonight, hair-era holdouts Tesla ($29.50 to $59.50) will be at Packard hall in Warren.

Friday will bring bro-country star Brantley Gilbert to Covelli Centre and spicy comedian Basile to Ford Family Recital Hall ($22.50 and $20). Only some scattered single seats remain for Gilbert.

On Saturday, the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra has a pops concert at Powers Auditorium. Music Director Randall Craig Fleischer will unveil his newest creation, “Rock On!,” which is a symphonic take on some ’80s rock classics, with the help of some Broadway vocalists and a live rock band.

Also on Saturday, the Youngstown Phantoms hockey team will take on Team USA at Covelli Centre.

The spate of shows ends Sunday evening when the I Love the 90s tour – featuring Vanilla Ice, Salt-N-Pepa, Color Me Badd and a few others – plays Covelli. Tickets range from $36.50 to $76.50 for this trip down memory lane.

CLARINET PLAYER, EDUCATOR RUSSELL GIRT INFLUENCEd MANY

The Valley’s music community is mourning Russell S. Girt, who died Feb. 3 at age 89.

Girt played clarinet with a number of big bands in the 1940s and 1950s, including both Tommy Dorsey and Jimmy Dorsey.

Prior to that, while in the U.S. Army, he was a member of the 50th Army Ground Force Band, which played on the White House Lawn in 1946. Girt’s career also included stints with eight symphony orchestras, including the Warren Philharmonic.

On many nights, he was part of the orchestra backing up the biggest stars of his day, including Red Skelton, Roy Clark, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

His first paying gig came at age 15, when he became a member of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra. It’s believed that he is the youngest member the YSO ever hired.

The 1944 graduate of Girard High School was also a teacher. He was on the faculty at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music in the early 1950s. He would go on to be the supervisor of music programs at Lakeview schools, a position he held until 1982.

As a teacher, Girt influenced countless music students.

A memorial scholarship has been started in his name at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. To donate, send a check payable to Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation (memo: Russell S. Girt fund) C.S.F., 602 Main St., Cincinnati, OH 45202.

Guy D’Astolfo covers entertainment for The Vindicator. Reach him at dastolfo@vindy.com.

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