July 14, 1992 |
The concerts presented each summer by the Women for Greater Philadelphia are, unfailingly, long on atmosphere. Faithful patrons arrive at Laurel Hill just after 7, walk the grounds of the charming colonial mansion and look down over the bluffs along the Schuylkill while waiting for the skies to darken and fireflies to brighten. The five-concert series provides an experience unlike any other in Philadelphia, and, maybe, anywhere this side of the turn of the century. Guitarist Allen Krantz and flutist Deborah Carter were scheduled to perform Sunday night, but Carter, who was recently in an automobile accident, was unable to play.
July 29, 1992 |
If you get to one of the Women for Greater Philadelphia concerts at Laurel Hill mansion more than a minute past 7 (the concert starts at 7:30 p.m.), you miss out on the seats in the main room and have to settle for a room off to the side. Then, you have an acoustical distortion to contend with. And because you can't see the musicians, you lose a certain intimacy with them, a dynamic critical to chamber music. It's like what Woody Allen says in Manhattan about his father's bad seat in a synagogue: It's far from the action, farther away from God. Maybe no one felt spiritually slighted Sunday night at the Huntingdon Trio's concert, but the 30 people relegated to the second room must have felt musically slighted.
July 30, 1991 |
Every year, for one summer evening, the Huntingdon Trio gets a chance to use a 19th-century Broadwood fortepiano at Laurel Hill in Fairmount Park. Like the house itself, the old piano has its charm. A short visit with them - along with the concert's hosts, the Women for Greater Philadelphia, dressed in colonial costumes - offers a taste of what an evening of chamber music might have been like around 1800. But as an argument for the validity of the authentic instrument movement, the Broadwood instrument does little to further the cause.
August 10, 2012 |
Wharton, Morris, Meade, Rittenhouse, and McKean. The names were familiar to Pete Hoskins when he was Philadelphia streets commissioner in the 1980s and '90s. They topped signposts that flashed by as he drove through the city. Hoskins saw the names again while touring Laurel Hill Cemetery as its president and chief executive officer three years ago. They were cut into ornate headstones, obelisks, and mausoleums. And that gave him an idea. Why not tell the stories of these movers and shakers who were honored in Philadelphia by having streets and institutions named after them?
October 31, 2001 |
Need a weekend destination? How about a cemetery? Not so long ago, your local graveyard was the place to socialize and rejuvenate, and with good reason. Many were developed for precisely those results, and they became cultural and community centers. P?re Lachaise in Paris was the world's first "garden cemetery," merging nature and art to lure the public into the sanctuary of the dead. Eventually this decorative necropolis inspired American entrepreneurs. In 1831, the 72-acre Mount Auburn was plotted outside Boston on land clothed in diverse botanical life.
August 25, 1991 |
The Women for Greater Philadelphia are awfully proud of their old fortepiano at Laurel Hill in Fairmount Park - an 1808 Broadwood. Every summer for 12 years, they've invited chamber groups to perform on it, and they welcome any opportunity to tell you its story and tout its pedigree, just as they would any portrait or piece of furniture in the historic house. The fortepiano is a rare and valuable relic, they say, and this much is true. But unlike the house's other artifacts, it is more than a showpiece.
March 26, 2008 |
An ancient cemetery seeking relevance in the world of the living and a museum looking to build an inquisitive and net-savvy community are among nine recipients of more than $1 million in grants from the Heritage Philadelphia Program of the Pew Charitable Trusts. "This year, we expanded the notion of heritage to include social history, folklore, and civic engagement work as well as other forms of living cultural heritage," Paula Marincola, heritage program director, said in a statement.
April 2, 2012
Restoring historic cemeteries As Ed Colimore's article about Mount Moriah Cemetery's demise aptly describes, the loss of permanent care at formerly glorious cemeteries is both a personal and public tragedy ("For cemeteries, an eternal task," March 25). While such losses are still rare, they do remind us of the enormous obligation that goes with the promise of eternal care. Many of us are looking for ways to help restore Mount Moriah to her former glory and bring peace back to the families whose descendants are buried there.
May 4, 2000 |
When Normajean Ross was shopping at Strawbridge's in Philadelphia in December, a cashier looked at her, smiled in recognition, and said: "You're Mrs. Ross. " Years ago, Ross was the woman's teacher at Harrington Elementary in West Philadelphia, and she had made a difference. "I have to tell you how much you mean to me," said the young woman, who is studying at the University of Pennsylvania to be an obstetrician. "You're the mother I never had. " For Ross, who became the Philadelphia School District's teacher of the year last night, it was an epiphany.
October 26, 1990 |
During junior high school, I would walk home past an old churchyard cemetery. Some days, particularly when it was a little later and the sun had begun to set, I would glimpse something darting quickly behind a headstone. It was probably the shadow of a tree branch or a squirrel. But in those early evening moments when the air was amber with the last rays of an autumn sun and Halloween was very close, whatever it was that I saw looked like the bony fingers of the undead stretching for the living flesh of a junior high school student.