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Mount Vernon, Knox County, Ohio

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MTVarts Classics Series brings "Twelve Angry Men" to life

MOUNT VERNON - Local nonprofit theater organization MTVarts is pleased to perform its Classics Series production, "Twelve Angry Men," May 5-7, at the Knox County Memorial Building Theater. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets can be purchased online at www.mtvarts.com or at the door. The event is sponsored by Sara Mankins, financial advisor for Edward Jones, and Youth Philanthropy Initiative of the Community Foundation of Mount Vernon & Knox County.

Directed by local actor and OSU theater major Ian Fraser Ernsberger, "Twelve Angry Men" features the following central Ohio actors: Desmond Wall, Sam Vance, Bruce Jacklin, Doug Browell, Mark Fongheiser, Andrew Duffy, Matt Starr, Richard McKinley, Rodney Cheek, Don Lincicome, Thor Collard, James Michalovich and Steve Jefferson.

12 Angry Men promo

MTVarts Classics Series production of Twelve Angry Men will be presented May 5-7 at the Memorial Theater - photo submitted

In the story, a young man is accused of murdering his father. His fate now lies in the hands of 12 individuals. Eleven think he is guilty, but 12 are needed to pronounce the verdict. “Twelve Angry Men,” a deeply psychological drama written in 1954 by Reginald Rose, reveals humanity's interior by taking us inside a jury deliberation room after closing arguments have been presented in a murder case. The accused is a teenage boy from a city slum, the victim is the boy's father. At the time the play is set, a guilty verdict is accompanied by a mandatory death sentence. The jurors are reminded that the defendant is innocent until proven guilty—and that a guilty verdict must be unanimous, beyond a reasonable doubt.

“Though written during the McCarthy era in United States history, the play is still extremely relevant,” said director Ian Fraser Ernsberger. “The sometimes angry discussions reveal prejudices and personal histories as well as the internal wrangling that is the deepest process of democracy. It's an analysis of human nature, throwing 12 people in a room who must come up with a decision.”

“12 Angry Men” was originally written for television, made famous in a 1957 movie production, starring Henry Fonda and Lee Jay Cobb. It was the first movie Sidney Lumet directed.

One goal of the MTVarts Classics Series is to reach out to area schools and educators by providing a unique learning experience. Nearly 900 central Ohio middle and high school students will watch a free morning performance on Friday, May 5. Following the show, students will have the opportunity to engage in a talk-back session with the cast, crew and local judicial experts, Honorable Richard Wetzel, Knox County Common Pleas Judge; Chip McConville, Knox County Prosecuting Attorney; and John S Pyle, Public Defender City of Mount Vernon, to discuss the compelling themes, symbolism and timelessness of the story.

Tickets are on sale now online at www.mtvarts.com, at First-Knox National Bank and will also be available at the door. Adults are $12 and students are $5.

For information about MTVarts and upcoming shows, visit www.mtvarts.com or follow MTVarts on Facebook.

Peruvian big band returns to A-F Park for May 2 free concert

MOUNT VERNON - The distinctive sound of the Lima, Peru, Interescolar Big Band returns to Ariel-Foundation Park for a free community concert in the First-Knox Pavilion, Tuesday, May 2 at 7 p.m. Sharing the stage will be the new Knox Community Jazz Orchestra. Audience members are invited to bring their favorite picnic foods to enjoy in the FKB Pavilion during the concerts.


The Lima Interescolar Big Band (LIBB) combines repertoire that includes jazz classics and Afro-Peruvian jazz music. In this way members of the band (ranging in age from 13-19) get to explore the roots of jazz music as well as the blend of Afro-Peruvian musical sensibilities and jazz, which is the signature contribution of Peru to the world's jazz pallet.

Peruvian Interscolar band

The Lima Interescolar Big Band performed last spring at Ariel-Foundation Park, and returns for a May 2 free concert in the First-Knox Pavilion, accompanied by the new Knox Community Jazz Orchestra.

Instruments such as the cajon (wooden box drum), cajita (trapezoidal small box drum) and quijada (literally the jaw bone of an ass!) are staples of the "sound" of the band. Dr. Gabriel Alegria will be accompanying the band on this tour stop. He is a 1988 graduate of Mount Vernon High School and a 1993 graduate of Kenyon College. He currently tours the world with his own professional ensemble called The Afro-Peruvian Sextet (www.afroperuviansextet.com) and is considered the pioneer of Afro-Peruvian jazz music.

For this performance The LIBB will have as their very special guests the Knox Community Jazz Orchestra (www.knoxcommunityjazz.org). This brand new ensemble comprised of talented Knox County community members will be giving audiences a generous preview of what will be their exciting opening season concert on May 28 in Ariel-Foundation Park's Schnormeier Event Center.

Under the direction of Ted Buehrer of Kenyon College, the 20-member big band will play danceable music from a wide-ranging repertoire including tunes made famous by Count Basie, Stan Kenton, Nat King Cole, and Thad Jones. The KCJO builds on a decades-old tradition of big band jazz in Knox County that includes the Colonial City Big Band of the 1980s and early ’90s and, earlier, the Bob Bechtel Big Band and the Riley Norris Band. Like those bands, the new group is very much of and for the community. Musicians include active and retired public school band directors, professionals, and recent college graduates from the area. Buehrer, who plays trumpet in addition to leading the band, teaches music at Kenyon and directs the college’s jazz ensemble.

Ethel Merman graces Chautauqua stage

MOUNT VERNON – Thursday, April 27, Susan Kahrl will portray Ethel Merman as part of the only monthly Chautauqua Series in the United States. What is a Chautauqua? First person living history! The audience is invited to spend an evening getting to know the real person behind the historical one. The programs are brought to you on a donation basis by Elixir Presents and support from the Ariel Foundation and Knox County CVB.

Ethel Merman burst onto the Broadway stage and never looked back. Though untrained in singing, she could belt out a song like no one else and was sought after by major songwriters such as Irving Berlin and Cole Porter. Besides an amazing number of roles and performances on Broadway, she also starred over 40 film and television appearances and no one has ever topped her sizzling rendition of Stephen Sondheim and Jule Styne’s “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.”

The event will be held at [email protected] (101. S. Main Street, Mount Vernon, Ohio). Doors open at 6 PM and the program will begin at 7 PM with a musical salute presented by Lynn Jurkowitz followed by Ethel Merman and then a question and answer period.

For more information on this and other upcoming programs, visit www.elixirpresents.com. To be included in a friendly reminder email on the Sunday before each program, contact Mike Petee at [email protected].

Signups for Knox County Youth Tennis lessons underway

MOUNT VERNON - The Mount Vernon City Recreation Board and the Kokosing Valley Community Tennis Association announce that registration for their summer tennis lessons has begun. All Knox County students are welcome. The lessons will be at Mount Vernon’s Memorial Park’s tennis courts.

Lessons for three age groups will be offered. The age groups are determined by the grade that a player will be attending starting next August. The age groups are kindergarten - third grade, fourth and fifth grade, and sixth through ninth grade.tennis ball net

The lessons will be offered on eight Wednesdays from May 31 - July 19th, with the date of July 26 being reserved as a date to make up any rained out sessions. The cost is $65 and includes a t-shirt, instruction, racket, ball and tennis goodie bag for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Middle and high school students receive a can of three balls rather that a bag.

On May 31, the lessons will be offered at 1:00 for grades K-3, 2:00 for grades 4-5, and at 3:00 for grades 6-9. For all other Wednesdays, the times will be 9:00 for K-3, 10:00 for 4-5, and 11:00 for 6-9.

The registration deadline is Wednesday, May 3. A late registration is offered for $85. To register, go to the website http://www.midwestteamtennis.com/

For additional information, send an email to [email protected] or call Steve Tier at 740-398-2626.

Robotics featured at Sr. Citizens luncheon

By Marty Trese, KnoxPages.com Editor

MOUNT VERNON - The MVCSD held its spring senior citizens luncheon Thursday at MVHS. Seniors from throughout the community were treated to a delicious lunch served by members of Key Club, National Honor Society, and Student Council  and a program highlighting student activities.

Following lunch in the "Hive" (the gym) the seniors heard about two high school junior students science fair projects. Mary Harris and Sulekh Fernando-Peiris both qualified for the state science fair as well as the International Science and Engineering Fair to be held in Los Angeles, California next month. Mary's project has to do with the effect of antibiotics on certain bacteria and Sulekh's project is on photonic crystals and coatings.

Several students performed their acts from this year's Forum Show, a fundraiser for the school yearbook. Performers were Lauren Hicks, Mayre and Maygan Newcomb, Leslie Bell, Abby Baker, Charlie Bonham, Carson Carpenter, Josh Egan, Harry Ogle, Morgan Jessup, Amaya Khalil and Halseighanne Thomas.

Members of the high school Robotics Club explained their robot and activities. Members Jordan Mullett, Kyle Boucher, Noah Zoldak and Michael Johns thanked community donors who make the club possible.

MVHS Robotics club 2017

MVHS Robotics students from left Noah Zoldak, Michael Johns, Kyle Boucher and Jordan Mullett at Thursday's senior luncheon program - KP PHoto by Marty Trese 

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