First Night State College Schedule of Events
December 31, 2014 9:30 AM
by Centre County Gazette, Brittany Svoboda
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First Night events begin at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 31, and run throughout the day into the evening.

The following schedule of events is ordered by start time. All listings marked with an asterisk (*) require a First Night State College button to attend.

First Night State College Ice Sculptors in Action

10 a.m.- 6 p.m.; South Allen Street

Celebrating their 21st year, the First Night State College Ice Sculptors will carve more than 100 blocks — that's more than 10 tons — of crystal clear Pennsylvania ice for this year's First Night. Under the direction of captain Ernie DiMartino, the Ice Sculptors are expected to include Dick Alford, Robert Higareda, Gary Glenn, Jared McAlister, Joseph DiMartino, James Kowalczuk, Ryan Crosby, Chris Kolar, Thomas Higareda, Michael Seiler and DiMartino. The large walls and sculptures are created from blocks that are produced in a special Clinebell freezing process that makes beautifully clear ice. First Night State College uses ice blocks manufactured by DiMartino Ice of Jeanette and Strickler Ice Company of Huntingdon.

Giant Ice Sculptures

10 a.m.-midnight; South Allen Street and Sidney Friedman Park

One Block Ice Sculpture Exhibit

10 a.m.-midnight; Downtown and Sidney Friedman Park

The One-Block Ice Sculpture Exhibit runs through noon on Jan. 1. Sponsored by State College area businesses, more than 75 one-block ice sculptures are displayed for your enjoyment. Be sure to bring your camera and allow plenty of time to see our spectacular display.

Resolution Exhibits

Noon-midnight; Sidney Friedman Park, South Allen Street and State College Municipal Building

An Afternoon in Fairy Tale Land Performed by the State College Area High School Thespians*

Noon & 3 p.m.; Community Room, State College Municipal Building

Join the State College Area High School Thespians for "quality time" with your favorite fairy tale friends. Each will have a musical story to share and will interact with the audience, who may all join in the fun. The program is especially suitable for children.

Zumba with Teresa Soler

Noon; Westminster Hall, State College Presbyterian Church

Join instructor Teresa Soler for a free Zumba class. Zumba features dance steps that are fun and easy to follow while set to high-energy music such as salsa, merengue, hip-hop and belly dance. Zumba class is appropriate for all fitness levels and for any level dancer. You do not need any experience to join this class; just come ready to move. Soler brings an authentic spicy Latin style into the Zumba class, and her energy and smile is contagious. The class is free and open to all men, women and kids.

Dennie Huber Sponsored by Hold-It Self Storage

1 & 4 p.m.; Downsborough Room, Schlow Centre Region Library

Magician and balloon animal-ologist Dennie Huber is a veteran entertainer, performing at fairs, festivals and events across Central Pennsylvania.

The Puppet Factory presents The Knee-High Man*

1, 3, & 5 p.m.; Days Inn Penn State

Since 1970, master puppeteer Carolyn Koerber has presented puppet theater that excites the imagination. An outstanding artist, she has performed for the Smithsonian Institution's Discovery Theater, The National Theater and thousands of schools, theaters and community groups across the mid-Atlantic area.

She returns to First Night State College with a traditional folktale from Alabama, The Knee-High Man. This is the story of a very small man (no bigger than a kidney bean when he was born) who lives in a swamp. One day, he decides that being knee-high isn't good enough, he needs to be sizeable. He tries and tries to get bigger, but fails. Feeling very sorry for himself, he wanders off and gets lost in a very dangerous part of the swamp. Up to his knees in swamp muck and sinking fast, he learns to use his wits and learns an important lesson about self-worth.

The Second Winds*

1 p.m.; Faith United Church of Christ

The Second Winds have performed in Centre County and vicinity for more than 10 years. The band has 10 experienced musicians—with a combined age of 776 years — who are on their "second wind." The band gets a kick reliving their less mature years by playing popular tunes from the 1930s through the 1970s — a mix of jazz, swing, polka and post-50s tunes from "Ain't Misbehavin'" to "Sweet Caroline."

Middle-earth Studios presents The Legend of the Unicorn*

2 & 4 p.m., Westminster Hall, State College Presbyterian Church

Since ancient times, storytelling has enchanted people of all ages. Middle-earth Studios's kind of storytelling is an interactive celebration that brings out the kid in everyone. Anyone can be a part of the story, and they costume up to 100 people from the crowd. For days afterward you'll still hear people talking about the show where they did things they never thought they'd do.

In this year's show, The Legend of the Unicorn, a beautiful lake is poisoned by a serpent, and the people and animals who dwell around the lake must go on a difficult quest to make its waters pure once more. The tale features a king and his knights who carry swords and shields, beautiful princesses, a group of wicked Trolls (Local 487, Amalgamated Trolls of the Middle-earth), a host of forest animals and a serpent.

Below Centre*

3 p.m.; Faith United Church of Christ

Instruments that play the bass parts are often the unsung heroes of the symphonic band. The public can name famous trumpeters and flutists, but it's pretty difficult to name a famous euphonium player. The gentlemen of Below Centre might just change that as they create a melodic presence for First Night State College.

Madame Babushka, Fortune Teller

3 p.m.; Schlow Centre Region Library

What does 2015 hold in store for you? Madam Babushka, an itinerant fortuneteller from the misty hills of Eastern Europe, will reveal your New Year destiny using her fortune telling cards, magic ball and special skills. Stop by for a fun, short "reading" suitable for all ages. Madam Babushka appears courtesy of Schlow Centre Region Library.

Easterly Chamber Players*

3:30 p.m.; St. Andrew's Episcopal Church

This delightful trio consists of Diane Gold Toulson, flute, Smith Toulson, clarinet and Anne Sullivan, harp. Gold Toulson is an active orchestral and chamber music flutist who has performed across the Commonwealth, the United States and Europe. Smith Toulson, faculty member in Penn State's School of Music, is a member of the Pennsylvania Quintet and is principal clarinet for the Penn's Woods Festival Orchestra, the Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra and the Altoona and Nittany Valley symphonies. Sullivan has accompanied many artists, including Luciano Pavarotti and Frank Sinatra. She is the harp instructor at the University of Delaware and at Swarthmore College.

The Comedy Rosmans*

3:30, 7:30 & 10:15 p.m.; State Theatre

From a high school start in 1984 with juggling and unicycling, through a University Of Delaware finance degree, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Clown College, street performing in Europe and a year in the circus, Michael Rosman has become one of the most respected and sought after performers from the East Coast. A comedy and juggling sensation, he is a two-time winner of the prestigious Maryland State Individual Artist Grant Award for excellence in the arts. In this special First Night show, he is joined (but never upstaged) by his lovely and talented kids, Sophia and Ethan.


3:30 p.m.; University Baptist and Brethren Church

After returning from a tour of the Baltic States with the International Flute Orchestra, Judy Moore was inspired to form State College's flute choir, Toot-in-Common. The group's repertoire consists of popular and classical favorites arranged for flute choir and works written especially for flute choir. Instrumentation includes one piccolo, six to eight C flutes, two alto flutes, one bass flute and one contrabass flute. In addition to performing at First Night State College, the group has performed at other festivals and events in Central Pennsylvania.

Rick Hirsch & Smoove*

4 p.m.; State College Presbyterian Church

Ring in the New Year with the soul jazz of Smoove, a classic "organ trio" with a contemporary flavor. This new project of saxophonist Rick Hirsch — a longtime First Night favorite — features drummer extraordinaire Kevin Lowe and Delaware-based jazz organist James Witherite. These award-winning musicians will bring you a concert of uplifting jazz-based music.

Singing Onstage presents The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee*

4 & 7:30 p.m.; Fairmount Avenue School

Six awkward spelling champions learn that winning (and losing) isn't everything in this great show.

The winner of a Tony and the Drama Desk award for Best Book, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has charmed audiences across the country with its effortless wit and humor. Featuring a fast-paced, wildly funny and touching book by Rachel Sheinkin, and a truly fresh and vibrant score by William Finn, this bee is one unforgettable experience.

An eclectic group of six midpubescents vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home life, the tweens spell their way through a series of (potentially made-up) words hoping to never hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life un-affirming "ding" of the bell that signals a spelling mistake. Six spellers enter; one speller leaves.

Deacons of Dixieland*

4:30 p.m.; Grace Lutheran Church

The Deacons of Dixieland is a six-piece traditional-jazz band from Central Pennsylvania. It has been providing lively entertainment at concerts, festivals, community parks, clubs and tailgate parties at Penn State football games since 1988. The Deacons play a broad range of Dixieland-style jazz music, including classic Dixieland selections, blues and country music in a Dixieland style.

Arietta Women's Ensemble*

4:30 p.m.; St. Paul's United Methodist Church

Arietta Women's Ensemble, under the direction of Janice Mianulli, was founded in 2001 by a group of musicians who did not want to give up singing during the State College Choral Society summer hiatus. Since its inception, Arietta has performed with the State College Choral Society, and at national conferences at Penn State in addition to performing for church, community and service organizations, as well as at private events. Arietta has joined the Juniata College Women's Chamber Choir for the past several years to perform holiday concerts, both in State College and Huntingdon, performed in rich Renaissance costuming. Arietta is best known for its rich "womanly" sound, its extraordinary musicianship and its ability and willingness to take on challenging and unique repertoire of all styles, ages, cultures and languages.

Alain Nu, Mentalist*

4:30, 7 & 9 p.m.; Penn State Downtown Theatre Center

Alain Nu has been showing off his amazing mental powers to skeptical audiences across the country for years. He's been a headliner in Las Vegas and has performed for inaugural events in Washington, DC. Exploring the line between what is real and what isn't, he challenges audiences and leaves them in awe.

Worship Service

5 p.m.; Saint Andrew's Episcopal Church

Holy Eucharist service. The public is invited to attend.

Ice Skating*

5, 6, 7, 8, 9, & 10 p.m.; Pegula Ice Arena

CATA Shuttle bus service runs to the rink from Beaver Avenue.

Ice skating, accompanied by the sounds of Larry Moore Productions, is FNSC's most popular event, and makes a great way to slide into 2015. Skaters glide and dance to music provided by LMP. Ice will be resurfaced at 45 minutes past the hour. Ice skates may be rented for $1.75.

Pepper Lotus Belly Dance Troupe*

5 p.m.; University Baptist & Brethren Church

The troupe performs improvisational tribal-style belly dance, a modern American take on traditional belly dance. Many members are also highly trained in more classic genres of belly dance, so the troupe also showcases a full variety of belly-dance styles from around the world. Pepper Lotus, the region's only professional belly-dance troupe, is directed by Shannon Bishop.

Alan Sands, comedy hypnotist*

5, 6:45, & 9:30 p.m.; Community Room, State College Municipal Building

A third-generation performer, comedy hypnotist Alan Sands has performed at colleges and universities all over the country. You'll see right away that there's so much more to his show than a swinging pocket watch and the chant "You are getting sleepy." Imagine the possibilities for entertainment, education and good old-fashioned First Night fun with energetic and original performer.

Live Mannequins

6 p.m.; Appalachian Outdoors

You won't want to miss the State College High School Thespians as live mannequins in the window.

Giant Puppet Display

6 p.m.; Canterbury Hall, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church

Discover the well-populated menagerie of giant papier-mâché creatures made to be worn or carried in the First Night Procession. Dragons, lions, fish, carousel animals and everything in between will be primping before their big moment in the First Night procession. We have something for everyone — men, women, short, tall, big, little, young and old. When it comes to puppets, one size does not fit all. The procession starts promptly at 6:30 p.m.


6 p.m. State College Presbyterian Church

Since 2001, this traditional band brings music from Ireland and Scotland to the mountains of Central Pennsylvania. The four women of Callanish, Patty Lambert, Gretchen Lee, Holly Foy and Louisa Smith, share the music of their heritage — reels, jigs, polkas, hornpipes and songs of love and longing for homeland. Callanish has recently performed at the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, the Centre County Grange Fair, Laurelfest and the Williamsport Community Arts Center, where the band opened for Women of Ireland. The band's latest CD is The Hare's Paw.

5k Resolution Run sponsored by Mount Nittany Health

6:30 p.m.; corner of College Avenue and Allen Street

Co-presented with the Nittany Valley Running Club, runners and fast walkers can speed into the New Year on a certified, mostly flat, wheel-measured course around the streets of Penn State's campus, starting and finishing on College Avenue. Plaques go to the first, second and third overall male and female runners, and first and second in the masters (40+) division. Framed certificates will be given to the top three men and women in theses age groups: 5-19 in 3-year splits and 20-89 in 5-year splits.

First Night Sate College encouraged runners and spectators to wear costumes. A plaque will be awarded to the best and most original costume.

One 2015 First Night State College button and a long-sleeved T-shirt will go to the first 850 registrants. Registration fee is $25 if postmarked on or before Dec. 24. Thereafter, registration is $28.

Runners can register at the office of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. They can also register and pick up race packets on Dec. 30 from 3 to 7 p.m. at the State College Municipal Building Lobby, or on race day, Dec. 31, from 4 to 6 p.m. at St. Paul's United Methodist Church.

Race results will be available at

Grand Procession sponsored by Centre Daily Times

6:30 p.m.

One high point of First Night State College is the Grand Procession, which features an array of giant papier mache puppets consisting of birds, lions, wizards and other animals. They are brought to life by friends and neighbors. Local drummers are also welcome to join in by utilizing one of the African drums provided or by bringing your own. If you would like to be a part of the Grand Procession, meet no later than 6 p.m. in Canterbury Hall at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church.

Naomi Seidman and Jonathan Dexter*

6:30 p.m.; St. Andrew's Episcopal Church

Naomi Seidman is an assistant professor of flute at Penn State and flutist with the Pennsylvania Quintet and the Rhapsoidos Trio. An accomplished solo performer, she has won several noteworthy competitions and was a semifinalist in the Beijing Nicolet International Flute Competition. She has earned degrees from University of California at Santa Barbara, Yale University and the University of Texas.

Cellist Jonathan Dexter studied at the Oberlin Conservatory, the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest and the University of Texas. As a recording artist, he has been featured on a number of motion picture and television soundtracks. Noteworthy performances include shows with Eddie Vedder playing material from his album Ukulele Songs and playing in Will Taylor's Texas Swing band, Strings Attached, at the Equiblues rodeo in St. Agreve, France.

State College Area High School Jazz Band*

6:30 p.m.; Grace Lutheran Church

The State College Area High School Jazz Band is among the finest in the United States, and has an international reputation for excellence. The band has received 30 consecutive years of superior ratings in festivals and competitions. In 2003 and 2006, the band traveled to Europe and performed at both the Vienna Jazz Festival and the Montreaux Jazz Festival. The band has performed at Lincoln Center in New York City as a finalist in the prestigious Essentially Ellington Competition.

Carriage Rides Sponsored by First National Band and Downtown State College Improvement District*

7 p.m.; Mayor Welch Plaza

$5 per person plus a 2015 First Night Button

Three carriages drawn by Percheron draft horses will take you back in time as they take you through downtown State College. Dress warmly — it's difficult to turn up the heat in an open carriage. Rides are on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to high demand, not all of those wishing to ride may be accommodated.

Archie Blue*

7 p.m.; University Baptist & Brethren Church

Local jazz institution Arthur Goldstein and his group regularly play in the region. Goldstein's original music for Archie Blue was the soundtrack for the award-winning film Magic in the Afternoon.

Ron Ray, Organ Grinder

7 p.m.; State College Municipal Building Plaza

The hand-cranked street organ was developed in eighteenth century Europe as a small instrument used to aid in training songbirds to sing specific songs. From this humble beginning, this small musical box evolved into larger instruments that we think of as street organs. As in pipe organs, sounds are created when a bellows forces air through organ pipes of different sizes. A roll of perforated paper, like a piano roll, controls which pipes open and which close, to create the enjoyable melodies we hear.

Big Coronas Band*

7:30 p.m.; St. Paul's United Methodist Church

Big Coronas Band began in 2012 in State College by a group of multitalented instrumentalists who love heavy jazz music, in this case a hybrid of funky music and jazz characterized by a strong back beat and heavy groove.

Some call this style "acid jazz," but Big Coronas is not dedicated to an exclusive genre.

Although the majority of their music is instrumental, the band features trumpet-player/band leader Skip Wareham on some vocals. Big Coronas' current lineup presents six musicians, featuring two saxophones and trumpet.

Tussey Mountain Moonshiners*

7:30 p.m.; Faith United Church of Christ

Winners of the 2010 DelFest Bluegrass Band Competition, State College's Tussey Mountain Moonshiners honor the bluegrass traditions of the region. On stage they bring a captivating mix of traditional and unique, original songs and a friendly connection with the audience. The band's first album, I'm Coming Home, was released in 2011.

Deb Callahan Band*

8 p.m.; State College Presbyterian Church

Philadelphia's blues and soul-drenched vocalist and songwriter Deb Callahan has been a mainstay on the mid-Atlantic music scene since the late 1990s. She writes creative blues, soul and root-influenced original music and uses her powerful, expressive voice and engaging stage presence to deliver an exciting live show. The songs are blues based with gospel, soul, rock and jazz influences and deal with a range of topics and issues such as experiencing love and joy, finding spirituality, giving voice to the experience of homeless children without family support and how hard it can be to make life changes. Her rich, honest and soulful tunes resonate with listeners and run the gamut from soulful ballads, to upbeat dance-oriented grooves. Her road-tested band includes Allen James, Garry Lee and Tom Walling.

Biscuit Jam*

8:30 p.m.; Grace Lutheran Church

Biscuit Jam performs unique acoustic interpretations of classic rock favorites as well as traditional folk songs and Americana-flavored original compositions. The band has performed at nightspots in the State College area as well as at several Central Pennsylvania festivals and at many private events.

Urban Fusion Band*

9:30 p.m.; St. Paul's United Methodist Church

Andrew Jackson Jazz Ensemble, co-led by saxophonist Eli Byrne and percussionist Andrew Jackson, blends elements of jazz, rock, Latin, funk and soul into musical jambalaya that inspires both dancing and dreaming. Repertoire includes many originals plus songs from a wide variety of artists such as Grover Washington Jr., Carlos Santana, John Lee Hooker and Herbie Hancock. The band showcases a diversity of talent as well, featuring established recording artists along with young, talented players from the State College area.

Joel Blunk*

10 p.m.; State College Presbyterian Church

Joel Blunk has been singing and playing the guitar since he was 5-years-old and writing songs for just as long. From his Midwest roots and experiences as a Nashville songwriter, professional athlete, college coach and minister for the past 20 years, he reveals through story and song how we are all beginners, all the time.

The Ultra Kings*

10:15 p.m.; Grace Lutheran Church

The Ultra Kings have been together for 10 years and have played in the northeast and mid-Atlantic region regularly and have been a crowd favorite at the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. Rick K. Kuebler takes his Bigsby-equipped Telecasters on a string twisting and bending workout in every show. Carl Ehst slams down that rock-and-roll beat with authority and conviction, while Zoots Szmigiel manhandles his double bass with the finesse only a former professional alligator wrestler can bring to the instrument. Combining rockabilly and rock and roll in just the right proportions, the Ultra Kings create a sound all their own.

For more information about the various events and performances, click HERE.

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