Mount Gretna’s arts organizations are offering a free sneak preview of the 2023 season from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., Saturday, May 27, at the Hall of Philosophy.

Mount Gretna’s arts organizations are offering a free sneak preview of the 2023 season from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., Saturday, May 27, at the Chautauqua Hall of Philosophy.

Musicians from Gretna Music, Gretna Theatre, and Mount Gretna Summer Concerts will perform along with Blind Summit, a local band, that will kick off the afternoon’s activities. Interspersed between the performances will be free raffles and a live auction for items including a coupon book to Mount Gretna Lake & Beach, season passes to Gretna Theatre and Gretna Music, and tickets to the Mount Gretna Original Cicada Festival.

“This is an opportunity for people to discover Mount Gretna’s events and organizations in one stop,” said Kevin Musick, Gretna Theatre development director and member of the Mount Gretna Arts Council, which is sponsoring the event. “Bring a chair and enjoy a fun afternoon under the trees of Mount Gretna.”

Read More: Gretna Theatre presents its summer 2023 lineup for its 96th season

The event coincides with the release of the Mount Gretna Summer Calendar 2023, with all the happenings in the community from Memorial Day weekend into the fall. Produced by the Arts Council, the calendar book’s cover is a reproduction of an original painting by a local artist that also will be auctioned.

Mount Gretna’s renown as a center of culture dates to 1892, when the Pennsylvania Chautauqua began offering summer educational programs on the humanities, sciences and religion. That tradition continues today with Chautauqua’s summer programs, which include lectures on art, literature and history as well as other activities such as a dog parade, yoga and film series. 

While the Mount Gretna Playhouse hosts the Cicada Festival, Gretna Music and Gretna Theatre, the Tabernacle in the adjacent Campmeeting is home to other cultural traditions — namely, the Bible Festival, Heritage Festival and Mount Gretna Summer Concerts. 

The annual Bible Festival, also dating to the 1890s, features choral, handbell and other instrumental programs by local, regional and national groups as well as religious speakers. Mount Gretna Summer Concerts offers cabaret-style performances around themes like “Greatest Movie Songs” or “Greatest Hits of Broadway” while the Heritage Festival typically features local bands and performers.

“Mount Gretna’s venues showcase a variety of musical styles and genres, so it’s likely that everyone will find something of appeal on the 2023 calendar,” said Gretna Music executive director Suzanne Stewart.  “There’s jazz, classical music, organ concerts, oldies tribute bands, Broadway shows — we have it all!”

Read More: Gretna Music announces its calendar of events for its summer 2023 season

Besides presenting live music, the Summer Kick-Off will offer an opportunity to learn about Mount Gretna’s other organizations and businesses. About 20 of those including the Mount Gretna Bird Club and Mount Gretna Area Historical Society will be on hand with information, give-aways and promotions.

At the Mount Gretna Outdoor Art Show’s table, adults and children can help create a communal art project to promote the show on Aug. 19-20. That project involves coloring a 3X5 foot poster designed by a local tattoo artist, said art show director Kerry Royer.

“Our community thrives on cultural events, and art builds community,” Royer said. “There are many ways that people can take part in artistic activities — as a theatre attendee, a volunteer, a performer — and this event will showcase how to become involved.”

Throughout the afternoon, food will be available for purchase from the Jigger Shop and Porch & Pantry, both located in Mount Gretna.

A volunteer organization, the Mount Gretna Arts Council is dedicated to introducing the arts to all ages and preserving the community’s cultural traditions and environment. 

“We hope the Summer Kick Off will entice people from near and far to find the unique offerings of Mount Gretna,” said Cheryl Burke, a member of the Arts Council. “This small community, nestled in the woods, provides a broad window into the many benefits of making, appreciating and engaging with the arts.”

To learn more about Mount Gretna and its 2023 season, visit MtGretna.com.

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