Artist Helps Kid’s Choir

Artist Helps Kid’s Choir

Following a heart-warming performance by the Children’s Community Choir of the Black Bear Conservatory of Music (BBCM) during the recent Hawley Winterfest, a crowd assembled at The Looking Glass Gallery learned that gallery owner and artist, Juan Espino, had a gift of his own for the community choral group.

Espino presented a large painting he created, which depicts members of the BBCM choir caroling in Hawley’s Bingham Park. The artist painted the whimsical work to help raise funds in support of the Hawley-based non-profit organization. Limited edition, professionally framed Giclée prints are available beginning at $150. All proceeds benefit the Children’s Community Choir.

Espino’s paintings are characterized by a primitive or folk art style that focuses on capturing the uniqueness of communities in the Upper Delaware region. Earlier this year, the artist’s work was featured at the Pennsylvania State Capital in Harrisburg, where BBCM students also performed.

BBCM launched its community vocal program in late 2011 under the direction of Alvera Sylvester and Stephen Faubel, both members of the BBCM faculty.

BBCM also kicked off its jazz studies program in late 2011, led by Richard Rusnak. The ensemble—The Musical Express—offers students in middle school and high school a unique collaborative experience in jazz technique and performance. The Musical Express also performed during the Hawley Winterfest at Harmony Presents in the Hawley Silk Mill.

In other recent news, the Conservatory opened its Center for Musical Discovery across the street from its main campus at 520 Church Street in Hawley. The Center currently houses BBCM’s jazz and choral programs, and will be the site for new programs to be announced in the spring.

BBCM offers high quality private musical instruction in most instruments and voice to students ranging in age from under 10 to over 70. Classes are also offered in music theory and appreciation, ear training, sight-singing, rhythm and performance. BBCM was formed in 2006 and is a member of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts.

To order a print, call BBCM at 570/226-7606. For more information about the Conservatory, visit

[Shown in the header photo © Sandy Long, from left: artist Juan Espino, BBCM Executive Director Ryan Weber, BBCM student Rhiannon Bogart-Mandrik, and choir director Alvera Sylvester.]

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