The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


March 29, 2014

A little night music | Cambria County Library benefit will feature three area bands

JOHNSTOWN — For the evening of the last Friday in April, Johnstown’s normally quiet library will be filled with three floors of music.

A Little Night Music @ the Library 2014 will be held from 7 to 9:30 April 25 at Cambria County Library, 248 Main St.

For the fundraiser’s 10th anniversary last year, the library brought back popular musical groups, but this year, music will be provided by three groups that have never played at the library, said librarian Mary Lou Repsher, chairwoman of the event committee.

“We’re hoping to expand our audience,” Repsher said.

“We have people who have attended from the beginning, but we also want to get those who haven’t been to the fundraiser before and haven’t been to the library in a long time.”

Repsher said music groups have asked her if they can play during the fundraiser, sometimes inviting her to come and hear them play.

“They’ve gotten the word about playing at the library,” Repsher said.

“I’ve learned I have to book groups early. I think we’ve found a niche in the community, and people know they can expect a nice time.”

The pop-rock party music of YUM will greet guests on the first floor.

YUM is a party/variety/dance band, covering anything from rock to rap to pop to country. The band formed in 1999. Members are Danny Vavrek, lead vocals; Steve Toma, guitar; Shawn Mock, bass; and Brian Scaletta, drums.

The band has opened for national acts, made radio appearances and performed for numerous benefits as well as playing for local events.

Déjà Vu will play easy-listening music from the ’40s and ’50s on the second floor.

Bob and Joni Bretz are the husband and wife team who make up the duo, which was established four years ago.

They play show tunes, Bossa nova and ’40s big band as well as rock ’n’ roll, light rock and classics on keyboard and guitar.

Joni Bretz has played Jim Brickman piano solos, and Bob Bretz plays jazz, swing, classical, pop and big band for dinner music engagements at Sunnehanna Country Club, the Holiday Inn and private parties.

Grist for the Mill, a blues group with an intimate sound it calls back-porch swing, will play on the third floor.

The group has performed around the Indiana area for more than five years, beginning as a trio and ending as a quintet.

Rather than playing covers, band members interpret and improvise on established songs and also play original music.  

Band members are Patti Holmes on lead vocals; Al Craigie, electric guitar; Dave Loomis, guitar and vocals; Bob Bonnet, guitar, vocals, harmonica, rhythm eggs and djembe; and Carl Rahkonen, standup bass.

The group’s 16-song CD, “Back Porch Swing,” was released last summer.

While listening to music, adult beverages and soda, coffee and water as well as soup and sandwiches, hot hors d’oeuvres and desserts will be available.

Refreshments are included in the ticket price.

“I think the nicest thing I’ve heard is how people meet their friends here,” Repsher said.

“They get together and visit. We have a Red Hat group that comes.”

The established tradition of having art students from Greater Johnstown and Ferndale Area school districts painting the library’s interior windows on the first and third floors will continue.

“They use the musical theme of that floor,” Repsher said.

“I think it has become a part of their curriculum, and we really appreciate the school districts allowing them to come. They work on the windows beforehand, and we leave up their work afterward.”

Another established tradition is a basket raffle put together by the Friends of the Library, which will be held in the community room.

“This is their project and we never know what they’re going to put in,” Repsher said.

“They get material from local merchants, so we always get a surprise.”

Repsher added one item that is included every year is a getaway night at a local hotel.

A free photo booth from Top Dog Productions also is planned.

“They bring all the props,” Repsher said.

“It gives guests a souvenir and adds to the festivities.”

Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door and are available in person at the circulation desk or online at the library’s website.

“They also can call and send a check, and we’ll get the tickets out in the mail to them,” Repsher said.

Ruth Rice covers Features for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at



What: A Little Night Music @ the Library.

When: 7 to 9:30 p.m. April 25.

Where: Cambria County Library, 248 Main St., downtown Johns-town.

Tickets: $30 in advance or $35 at the door.

Information: 536-5131 or


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