Two Pittsburgh area organists with Wheeling ties are both finalists in the upcoming University of Michigan Organ Improvisation Competition.
Bryan Sable and Luke Mayernik are among the finalists chosen for the musical contest, co-sponsored by the American Guild of Organists. Up to five persons are selected to compete in the final round of the competition on Tuesday, Sept. 30, at the 54th Conference on Organ Music in Ann Arbor, Mich. Officials of the event explained that the competition "seeks to identify and reward superior ability to improvise, particularly as it is found in the setting of liturgical, church and synagogue music."
Sable, a graduate of West Liberty State College with a degree in music education, serves as music assistant at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Mount Lebanon, Pa., and teaches at City Charter High School in Pittsburgh's Cultural District.
Prior to moving to Pittsburgh, Sable was an elementary music teacher in Ohio County Schools and was the music director for Christ United Methodist Church, Wheeling.
Mayernik is the director of music and organist at St. Anne Catholic Church in Castle Shannon, Pa. He has served there since September 2012. Prior to that time, Mayernik was organist at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling for five years.?
Currently, Mayernik and his wife, the former Kassidy Wells, a West Liberty University graduate originally from Wellsburg, are traveling in Europe where he is one of eight semi-finalists in the 50th International Organ Festival Haarlem in The Netherlands. The festival, which began last weekend, concludes Saturday, July 26.?
On another musical note, Dr. Matthew Inkster, a professor of music at West Liberty University, has been chosen to conduct 12 members of the Berlin Philharmonic, one of the world's best orchestras, during a workshop this week.
Inkster, who also is the conductor of the Wheeling Symphony Youth Orchestra, has been selected as a participant in the Conductors Lab, to be held in Aix-en-Provence, France, Monday, July 21, through Friday, July 25.
WLU officials said the Wheeling musician and educator is one of a handful of conductors worldwide chosen to take part in the workshop, which is a joint project between the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University and musicians of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
Inkster, who has conducted the youth orchestra for the past eight years, is entering his 11th year as director of instrumental activities and professor at West Liberty.
He conducts the wind ensemble and coordinates the brass area of the music department.
The music professor also is active as a trumpet soloist, recitalist and clinician. He is in demand as a guest conductor.
Wheeling's vibrant independent restaurant scene continues to grow and diversify.
National attention is now coming to one of the new entries in the field of entrees (and sides).
Avenue Eats, located at the corner of Washington and Valley View avenues in the city's Pleasanton area, has been named to the Bon Appetit Appalachia food map-guide. The publication is an insert in the summer issue of Food Traveler magazine; its listings also can be found online.
According to Bon Appetit, the guide features 283 destinations (including 21 in West Virginia) in the 13 Appalachian states. Two other Northern Panhandle sites - ThistleDew Farm in Proctor and Tomlinson Run State Park in New Manchester - are cited in the map-guide.
Avenue Eats, which opened about a year ago, is well known for its menu of burgers, salads and homemade desserts.
Meanwhile, Matt Welsch, the Vagabond Chef who was profiled in the Life section of the Sunday News-Register in April, has opened his own restaurant, the Vagabond Kitchen, in the McLure Hotel in downtown Wheeling. The restaurant is open seven days a week, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
In addition to running his new restaurant, Welsch appeared as a culinary demonstrator at the Wheeling Arts Fest and participated as a vendor for the Wheeling Feeling Chili Cook-Off (earning a prize for his chili) and the Multicultural Festival at Heritage Port.
Also worth noting, Later Gator, Susan Haddad's Center Wheeling restaurant that launched the current crop of quirky, fun eateries in the city, will mark its eighth year of operation at the end of August.
Linda Comins can be reached via email at: email@example.com.