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Guild offering ‘A Great Night of Jazz’

Oct. 5 event dedicated to memory of Nan Watzman

September 23, 2013
By JANICE R. KIASKI - Herald-Star community editor ( , The Herald-Star

"A Great Night of Jazz" is what the Upper Ohio Valley Opera Guild is promising area residents as its hosts N-Motion, "an extraordinary group of musicians from the Pittsburgh area," while also honoring the memory of a guild stalwart.

The event will be held Oct. 5 at the Steubenville Country Club and will be dedicated in memory of the late Nan Watzman, a charter member of the opera guild board of directors who created and chaired its jazz program four years ago known as Serendipity Cafe. Watzman passed away in July.

The doors open at 6:30 p.m., and there will be a cash bar. Tickets are $35 per person. Tables of six or more can be reserved.

Article Photos

Event planners include, seated, from left, Lena Leonard, Joyce Ryan-Orlando, and standing, Anita Jackson and Joe Leonard. Mary Jo Rinaldi, president, and Teresa Kropka also are planning committee members.
-- Janice Kiaski

For tickets by Sept. 30, call Joyce Ryan-Orlando at (740) 264-0292 or Joe Leonard at (740) 282-0959.

"This is the guild's casual, carefree evening when the Steubenville Country Club is transformed into an intimate jazz club," said Joyce Ryan Orland, guild representative and planning committee member. "We invite you to bring your friends, meet and greet old and new friends, and enjoy our spectacular array of hors d'oeuvres, desserts and an ambiance created for wonderful jazz," Orlando said.

The N-Motion Band that covers all genres features Chuck Anderson, Howie Alexander and John C. Hall Jr. with special guests Skylor Massie and the area's own Teresa Kropka.

Lucas on guitar is a "technical genius" music educator, producer and constant professional with three solo CDs to his credit.

On the drums, Anderson is a multi-talented artist playing keyboards and bass. He has performed and recorded with many artists in the contemporary gospel scene and has become a mainstay in the Pittsburgh music scene.

On the keyboards, Alexander has produced, toured and recorded with the Poogie Bell Band and is an instructor at the African American Music Institute in Pittsburgh.

Hall, on bass guitar, shares time on the Pittsburgh jazz scene as well as the Nagoya Japan R&B scene and is the music director for N-Motion, which recently performed and backed such notable smooth jazz artists as Elan Trotman, Art Sherrod Jr., Rayse Biggs, Marcus Anderson and Eric Darius.

Massie co-founded Rhapsody Performance Ensemble, a performing arts troupe at Duquesne University, and went on to teach and advocate for children, eventually creating Fruit of the Spirit Ministries, a children's singing and dance troupe.

Kropka started her musical journey at age 8, taking classical flute and percussion lessons. During high school, she sang in choirs, ensembles and was church cantor. She briefly attended the Akron University School of Music but returned home to broaden her education in the medical field but continued taking voice lessons at the Center of Music and Art, always keeping music in the forefront.

She launched her professional singing career when she was invited to sing for NBC in Washington, D.C., for the Unity Festival after 9-11. Bitten by the music bug once again, Kropka began touring London and Los Angeles, auditioning for pop icon Christina Aguilera and singing with bands that opened for P Diddy and other hip-hop artists. She also was mentored by jazz artist Reggie Bullen who toured with Marvin Gaye and Quincy Jones.

She sings backup for a number of Christian artists and Innovation Studios and performs at many Pittsburgh clubs in addition to local benefits. Her day job is as a medical technologist with UPMC Cancer Center at Trinity West.

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