Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Stuart Sets the Season

Thursday evening, beginning at 7:00, Stuart Malina presents a preview of the new 2012-2013 Season with the Harrisburg Symphony at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore on 3rd Street across from the Broad Street Market. You can find out more about the symphony's concerts, the soloists and the repertoire they'll be playing. Find out what he's looking forward to - (everything, of course!) - and hear some stories behind the music and why he chose it.

There's on-street parking available (especially around the corner on Verbeke a.k.a. Broad Street) plus free parking in the lot behind the store.

Come early and browse through the books (the music section is on the second level), grab some coffee, find a chair and sit back for an enlightening evening.

Did I mention it's free?

By the way, I love this store - for any number of reasons. Naturally, an old-fashioned bookstore is a treasure, these days, especially when many of the national chains seem to be going out of business. The building used to be an old movie theater -- the music section is in the old projection booth area -- and the ticket kiosk in the center of the front entrance is still used as a display case. More recently, it was a used furniture shop but in the '50s it was 'The Boston Store' where I spent a lot of time as a kid, growing up: my dad, Norm Strawser, was the manager there until around 1970. So walking in there always takes me back, déjà vu all over again...

The book store presents lots of concerts and has earned a great reputation for its "acoustic venue" mostly for singer-songwriters and folk groups. Market Square Concerts had a great presentation a few seasons ago with cellist Zuill Bailey's CD release party where he played some of the  Bach Suites on his Telarc disc and talked about the recording or about growing up playing Bach.

More than just a neighborhood gathering place, the Scholar is also a place for community discussions with panels about the city financial crisis and many other local issues. Numerous community groups meet there, ranging from book clubs to poetry readings to children's programs. One Saturday morning I was browsing around for something about Mahler - found some, too! - and there was a presentation about train safety for kids on the stage that, in the next hour, became an Irish folk group's noon-time concert.

- Dick Strawser

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