Essential worker thank you

Essential workers line up on the sidewalks surrounding UPMC Wellsboro while community members drive around the block holding signs of thanks, honking horns, blowing sirens and shouting encouragement during an April 9 event.

Beginning Wednesday, July 1, the Endless Mountain Music Festival based in Wellsboro is hosting the 2020 Virtual Music Festival. Featured will be 15 video concerts by guest musicians who were to perform this summer in Pennsylvania and New York during the live 17-day event.

A special tribute to essential workers will open each concert. Performing American composer Aaron Copland’s three-minute “Fanfare for the Common Man” are members of the EMMF Festival Symphony Orchestra’s brass and percussion sections. Video of the musicians are intertwined with photographs of essential workers during this tribute.

Fanfare musicians include Rebecca Dodson-Webster, Ken Bell, Brad Tatum and Christiana Smith on French horn; Luis Engelke, Tom Cook and Brian Strawley on trumpet; John Sebastian Vera, Nicholas Bulgarino and Phil McCelland on trombone; Kevin Ladd on tuba; Jason Mathena on percussion and Juanmanuel Lopez on timpani.

Two of the 15 virtual concerts highlight original compositions written and performed by the eight emerging Hollywood film composers from Los Angeles. Their works will premiere in EMMF’s 2021 season.

At the piano are Bram Wijnands performing stride jazz pieces and Sheng Cai playing Beethoven and Rachmaninoff. Peggy Dettwiler, Mansfield University’s Choral Activities director, leads a choral program and Fire in the Glen gives a porch concert of Celtic music.

Others showcased in the virtual concert series are: singer-songwriter Abbie Gardner, a talented dobro and slide guitarist; Grammy-winner Doris Hall-Gulati on clarinet; Jessica Wilbee on harp; vocalists Todd and Catherine Ranney; and violinists Hua Jin, Sirena Huang and Siwoo Kim.

“We were going to hold a big celebration for our 15th anniversary this summer but in light of the coronavirus crisis felt it necessary to put the health and safety of our musicians, staff, volunteers and audience first,” said Board President Ardell Thomas in April when the decision was made to move the entire event to July 16 through Aug. 1, 2021.

Maestro Stephen Gunzenhauser and EMMF Executive Director Cynthia Long worked with the involved musicians and composers and successfully rescheduled all of the concerts planned for this year to next year.

“The EMMF live festival will be back and better than ever in 2021 featuring these incredible guest artists,” Long said. “In the meantime, we hope people enjoy their virtual performances.”

To access these concerts and the EMMF tribute to essential workers, visit YouTube at the EMMF website, the EMMF Facebook and Instagram.

All 2020 pre-purchased season passes will be honored in 2021. To learn more, visit or call the Endless Mountain Music Festival Box Office at 570-787-7800.