University of Scranton Announces December Events

Note: Access to the campus is currently limited to members of the University community, invited guests and others as listed in the Royals Back Together plan. Campus access and other health and safety information will be updated throughout the semester and can be seen on the Royals Back Together webpage

Dec. 4      8 p.m. (Prelude begins at 7:05 p.m.) Performance Music: “54th Annual Noel Night” featuring The University of Scranton Singers, Instrumental Chamber Ensembles, and pianist Ron Stabinsky. Houlihan-McLean Center. Free. Call 570-941-7624 or email  

Dec. 12     7:30 p.m. Performance Music: “Empty Stocking Fund Benefit Recital.” Performance music student musicians perform solo, duet, trio, and small group renditions of a variety of Christmas favorites. Houlihan-McLean Center. Admission: one new unwrapped toy, new toiletry items, or a monetary donation. Call 570-941-7624 or email  

The F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts and Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza to Present Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

The F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts in Wilkes-Barre and the ASM Global-managed Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre Twp. are teaming up once again to present a concert, this time featuring Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit LIVE at The F.M. Kirby Center on January 17th, 2022 at 7:30pm. American singer/songwriter, Adia Victoria, will be support on the show. This event will mark the first time the venues have partnered to present a show since the Trisha Yearwood concert hosted at the F.M. Kirby Center in 2019.

Tickets go on sale Friday, November 12th at 10:00 a.m. and can be purchased at the Sundance Vacations Box Office at the F.M. Kirby Center, by phone at (570) 826-1100 and online at A Kirby Member Pre-Sale will begin Thursday, November 11th at 10:00 a.m.

Jason Isbell has established himself as one of the most respected and celebrated songwriters of his generation. The North Alabama native possesses an incredible penchant for identifying and articulating some of the deepest, yet simplest, human emotions, and turning them into beautiful poetry through song. Isbell sings of the everyday human condition with thoughtful, heartfelt, and sometimes brutal honesty. Isbell broke through in 2013 with the release of Southeastern. His next two albums, Something More Than Free (2015) and The Nashville Sound (2017), won Grammy Awards for Best Americana Album & Best American Roots Song. Isbell’s song “Maybe It’s Time” was featured in the 2019 reboot of A Star Is Born.

His most recent full-length album, Reunions (2020), is a critically-acclaimed collection of ten new songs that showcases an artist at the height of his powers and a band fully charged with creativity and confidence. In April of 2021, it was announced that Isbell would appear in the upcoming Martin Scorsese film, Killers of the Flower Moon.

This October 2021, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit released a special new covers album, Georgia Blue. Created to celebrate Georgia’s role in the 2020 election, the record consists of new versions of thirteen songs with ties to the state, including tracks originally recorded by Georgia natives R.E.M., Drivn’ N’ Cryin’, James Brown, Cat Power, Precious Bryant, Otis Redding, The Black Crowes, Indigo Girls, Now It’s Overhead, Gladys Knight & The Pips, The Allman Brothers Band and Vic Chesnutt. All proceeds will benefit three non-profit organizations: Black Voters Matter, Fair Fight and Georgia STAND-UP.

Tickets Prices: $59, $79 & $99 and $125, plus fees

Marywood University’s Concert Choir and Orchestra to Join Forces for Major Fall Performance

Pictured in the collage from the top, left to right, are: Rick Hoffenberg, DMA, Director of Choral Activities; Evan Harger, ABD, Director of Orchestral Activities; the Marywood Concert Choir and Orchestra.

For the first time in five years, the Marywood University Concert Choir and Orchestra, along with four vocal soloists, are joining forces to present a major fall performance on Sunday, November 21, 2021, at 4 p.m., in the Sette LaVerghetta Center for Performing Arts. The concert is free, open to the public, and in person. Masking protocols must be followed inside all Marywood University facilities.

The two ensembles will present a monumental piece of music by Michael Tippett, A Child of Our Time. The concert also will feature Three Spirituals for Orchestra by Adolphus Hailstork. According to the directors, this is the largest-scale concert that Marywood’s Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance has presented to the public since 2016. The Concert Choir is directed by Rick Hoffenberg, DMA. The Orchestra is directed by Evan Harger. Concert soloists include: Jennifer Cowgill, soprano; Ellen Rutkowski, mezzo-soprano; Wes Poole, tenor; and M. Moses Andradé, bass.

Tippett’s A Child of Our Time was composed during World War II in response to the horrors of Kristallnacht, and the piece wrestles with issues such as racial tensions and persecution that are as relevant now as they were 80 years ago. The composer, an ardent pacifist, used African-American spirituals to represent the voices of the oppressed, in this case the Jews who were murdered by the Nazis.

For additional information about the Concert Choir and Orchestra Concert and other performances at Marywood University, please visit or call (570) 348-6268.

The University of Scranton to Host Acclaimed Trumpeter and Vocalist Benny Benack III

Benny Benack III to Perform Nov. 12 Impact Banner
Acclaimed trumpeter and vocalist Benny Benack III will perform at a concert featuring The University of Scranton’s Jazz Ensemble on Friday, Nov. 12, at 7:30 p.m. in the Houlihan-McLean Center.

On Friday, Nov. 12, Performance Music at The University of Scranton will present a concert featuring the University’s Jazz Ensemble with acclaimed trumpeter and vocalist Benny Benack III as their guest soloist. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Houlihan-McLean Center, Mulberry Street and Jefferson Avenue.

The concert is open to invited guests and all members of the University community. Admission is free, all audience members must wear masks throughout the performance. University campus access and other health and safety information will be updated throughout the semester and can be seen on the Royals Back Together webpage. Please check Performance Music’s website,, within 24 hours of the recital for the most current information on audience COVID-19 mitigation measures (e.g., masking, vaccination, distancing, etc.).

The program will feature Benack soloing with the band on both voice and trumpet, and will include a variety of songs such as Bye Bye Blackbird, Choo Choo Ch’Boogie, Operator, Sway, St. Louis Blues and more.

Performance Music Conductor and Director Cheryl Y. Boga is excited for Benack’s first visit to Scranton. “I have known Benny since fall of 2009 and have truly enjoyed watching and listening to him develop into such a mature, versatile and exciting musician and entertainer,” said Boga. “I am really looking forward to having him work with our students.”

A 2014 finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition and winner of the 2011 Carmine Caruso International Trumpet Competition, Benack has already proven himself to be a rare talent as both a jazz trumpeter and vocalist. A frontman for Postmodern Jukebox, the vintage music collective famed for its old-school covers of modern pop songs, Benack in 2020 released “A Lot of Livin’ to Do,” the follow-up to his well-received 2017 debut album, “One of a Kind.” 

The third in the generational line of a legendary family of Pittsburgh jazzmen, Benack has been showcased in international headliner tours at Jazz at Lincoln Center Shanghai, JALC’s “NY Jazz All-Stars” (Mexico), throughout Asia and Europe, and has headlined his own group’s tours throughout the U.S. He has performed at New York City’s leading jazz venues, as well as played in the house band for NBC’s “Maya & Marty” and performed as a trumpet soloist with the Christian McBride Big Band, Ann Hampton Callaway, Josh Groban and Ben Folds.

The University of Scranton Jazz Band is a 22-member ensemble made up of students from majors spanning the curriculum. There is no music major at the University, and all enrolled Scranton students (undergraduate and graduate) are eligible for membership in the University bands, choirs and string ensembles, with neither an audition nor enrollment fee required for membership. Other programs within the department, including both large ensemble and chamber ensemble music-making opportunities, guest artist concerts, World Premiere Composition Series, the Nelhybel Collection and Scranton Brass Orchestra, closely coordinate programming with the student ensembles and offer unique opportunities for student musicians in the ensembles to hear, observe, interact and perform with numerous world-class musicians and artist-teachers.

High school juniors and seniors who are considering applying to Scranton are encouraged to contact Performance Music to arrange to sit in on a rehearsal, meet the staff, attend a concert, or tour the building.   

For further information on the concert, call 570-941-7624, email or visit For more info on Benack, visit

Marywood University to Host Wind Symphony Concert

Marywood University’s music, theatre, and dance department recently announced that the University’s Wind Symphony will present the world premiere of the John Burns’ work, Fairest Morning on Sunday, November 14, 2021, at 4 p.m., in the Sette LaVerghetta Center for Performing Arts. The concert is free and open to the public.

Patrick J. Burns will direct the band for the premiere. Mr. Burns is an adjunct professor of music at Montclair State University, New Jersey, where he teaches courses in music theory, orchestration, and composition. As a clarinetist, Mr. Burns has performed with many professional ensembles in the New York metro area including: The Metropolitan Opera Summer Ballet Orchestra, the pit orchestra for the Broadway revival production of Camelot starring Robert Goulet, and with the New Jersey Chamber Music Society in broadcasts for National Public Radio and New Jersey Network Television.

Also, on the program for that evening will be Omar Thomas’ Of Our New Day Begun. The Marywood Wind Symphony was part of a commissioning body that led to the creation of this powerful work. Of Our New Day Begun was written to honor nine beautiful souls who lost their lives to a callous act of hatred and domestic terrorism on the evening of June 17, 2015 while worshipping in their beloved sanctuary, the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (affectionately referred to as “Mother Emanuel”) in Charleston, South Carolina.

This special performance was a collaborative effort among various groups across the Marywood campus including the Honors English classes who wrote program notes, created posters, and interviewed guest artists and participants. It will be a day of reflection, remembrance and celebration.

For additional information about the Wind Ensemble and Wind Symphony Concert at Marywood University, please email, or call the music, theatre, and dance department at Marywood University, at (570) 348-6268.

Chamber Music Festival at Marywood University

Marywood University’s music, theatre, and dance department will present a three-day Chamber Music Festival, September 24, 25,and 26. This festival, given by professional chamber musicians, is being presented as a “Welcome back to live performances festival” for the greater Scranton community. All concerts will be held in the Marian Chapel, Swartz Center, at Marywood University and are free and open to the public.

The festival will include a weekend of outstanding chamber music, featuring Marywood music faculty and guest artists, including: Sophie Till and Jennifer Reuning Myers, violin; Christiane Appenheimner Vaida, cello; and Ron Stabinsky and Eun Sil Suh, piano.

The Chamber Music Festival’s featured concerts include: An Evening of Violin Duos (Friday, September 24, at 7 p.m.); An Evening of Trios by Women Composers (Saturday, September 25, at 7 p.m.); and Violin and Piano Duos (Sunday, September 26, at 1 p.m.).

For additional about the Chamber Music Festival and other performances at Marywood University, please visit, or call (570) 348-6268.