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Church welcomes the YSO

Stained-glass concerts have long waiting list

PETERSBURG — With its many colorful stained-glass windows, Petersburg Presbyterian Church seemed the ideal location for a Sunday afternoon stained-glass concert by the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra.

Nearly 200 people filled the church sanctuary and balcony for the free one-hour concert.

Dick Younger of New Middletown, church organist, said he learned the symphony has performed at churches in the past and wanted to see if it could come to this church.

“I called the symphony and asked if they would ever consider coming to Petersburg, Ohio. The woman I spoke to was not even sure where Petersburg was. She said they did have an opening in October. I told our congregation, and they were thrilled. We have never had something as big as this at our church before. We are a quiet little town and wanted to have something different. This is one of the largest crowds we have ever had here,” Younger said.

He said while the symphony goes to many churches, whether or not they have stained glass, the church is known for its many stained-glass windows.

“Since our church is known for its stained-glass it seemed appropriate to have the concert here,” Younger said.

Susan Younger of Petersburg, a member of the church, said she was thrilled when her father, Dick Younger, was able to get the orchestra at the church.

“This brings a little culture experience to our church. Everyone at the church was thrilled when we heard the news. This is something rare to happen in Petersburg. We are a small church, but we have many mighty people here who love new experiences like this,” she said.

Pastor Juliann Joy said the church was grateful and delighted to be selected as a performance location.

“I think this is the first time the symphony has ever come to this town,” she said.

Randall Fleischer, director of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, said the 20 members of the orchestra performed classic theme songs from movies, including “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Harry Potter,” to military songs such as the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Joining the orchestra for a few songs was church member, Catherine Miller, who played on the church organ. Miller is one of the descendants of the church’s founding members.

The stained-glass concerts are a reduced-size orchestra that perform at various places of worship around the Mahoning Valley.

Fleischer said love offerings and donations received at the concert help cover concerts for children in the Youngstown area.

“For many of the children it is the first time they have ever heard a live concert. The concerts spark interest in music for some children,” he said.

Fleischer said there is a long waiting list for churches who want the symphony.

“We go wherever someone wants us. We have a waiting list, but eventually get to the churches. We perform a variety of classical music they may recognize from a movie or television commercial or from Disney’s Fantasia and then play something they may not know,” he said.

Upcoming stained-glass concerts are 3 p.m. Nov. 24 at the Jewish Community Center in Youngstown and 4 p.m. Dec. 8 at Niles First United Methodist Church.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com