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The fort is alive with the sound of concerts

August 13, 2012
By JANICE R. KIASKI - Community editor ( , The Herald-Star

The big photo at the top of the page shows some of the crowd turnout for the Beatlemania Magic tribute to the Beatles that probably attracted the largest crowd in the history of the free Summer Concert Series performances that have been held Thursday evenings at Historic Fort Steuben's Louis Berkman Amphitheater in Steubenville.

The one photo below it to the left also is from that same concert, which was held Aug. 2. Both photos were taken by Dave Gossett, who covers Steubenville news for the Herald-Star.

The rest of the photos on the page are from the concert I went to last Thursday featuring Sputsy & the Soul Provid3rs (and that's not a typo - that's how the group spells its name) and Airborne featuring Jeff Jimerson. It was a concert rescheduled from July 19 because of rain, and Airborne didn't get in too many songs before the same fate befell it.

Article Photos

Some of the crow for Beatlemania Magic at Historic Fort Steuben's Louis Berkman Amphitheater

This was the only concert I've managed to get to, but next year I intend to get to more of them.

This Thursday at 6:30 p.m. is the final concert, also another makeup from bad weather. It will feature the Joseph Sisters - Marybeth, Jamie and Shayln - and Zach Paxson, a country singer/songwriter. This concert originally was scheduled for July 26.

And that will be it for the 2012 Summer Concert series, which Jerry Barilla, Historic Fort Steuben board president, told me has been a very good season indeed, with the largest attendance ever at a couple of the concerts. Beatlemania was the largest with a thousand people enjoying not just the music and evening out but what is a really terrific venue for such an event.

Barilla said there were 900 to a thousand at the first concert, an oldies night featuring One-A-Chord and the Original Fantasy's. The concert lineup also has included the 4 Swingin' Jazzbos, Etta Cox, the Igniters, Blue Lunch, Elmoz Fire, John Adams in his tribute to John Denver, the Tri-State Community Band, Legend and the 97th Regiment String Band.

Barilla commented how pleased he was with the community support and turnout for the concerts, that offer people free quality entertainment (buckets are out for donations for those wanting to give) and a nice evening out, visiting with friends or making new acquaintances.

The concerts are themed to reflect different genres of music - from oldies and country to swing and blues, R&B funk and more, according to Barilla, who categorized the Beatlemania and John Denver tribute concerts as programming "outside of the box," not a bad thing at all to do.

Deb Witkowski serves as master of ceremonies for the concerts. Her husband, Rick, is the talent coordinator. Both are part of the group that gets the ball rolling on the series in addition to Barilla; Judy Bratten, the fort's executive director; Earl Tuttle of Ohio Valley Audio; Keith Murdock; and Tim McCoy.

Barilla said the concerts get support from throughout the area, which is apparently so. As I milled around taking photos, I met Homer and Becky Ullom of Shadyside. Shadyside, I wondered aloud. "What brings you from such a distance?" I asked them.

"It's a good place to be," they told me.

Can't argue with that.

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