The Bloomsburg Children’s Museum, in partnership with the McBride Library and United in Recovery, recently partnered to provide a pop-up exhibit in Berwick.

The Bloomsburg Children’s Museum, in partnership with the McBride Library and United in Recovery, recently partnered to provide a pop-up exhibit in Berwick.

The Bloomsburg Children’s Museum has created a pop-up exhibit for the McBride Library that promotes healthy habits for good mental health and teaches visitors how their brains work. The temporary exhibit reflects a small part of the Museum’s new health and nutrition exhibit titled “The Superpower of You,” slated to open July 23rd.

Ginny Weibel, Director of the Bloomsburg Children’s Museum said the pop-up exhibit pays homage to the museum’s past. “Thirty-six years ago, the museum actually started as a traveling organization. We moved around to different locations putting up temporary exhibits in schools and community centers for limited engagements,” said Weibel.

Weibel explained the choice of topic for the pop-up exhibit. “The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted a need in our community to better understand stress, anxiety, and depression, particularly in children and teens. We want people to have the knowledge and tools to take charge of their health and work towards developing healthy habits that strengthen both body and mind,” Weibel said.

In the exhibit, visitors will learn about how the brain functions, how your senses work, tackle some brain games, and learn what you can do to take charge of your brain’s health.

Christine Curley, Director of the McBride Memorial Library emphasized this point. “Mental health plays a key role in our overall health. A child’s mental well-being is just as important as their physical well-being and deserves the same quality of support. We are very grateful for our partnership with the Children’s Museum in bringing this exhibit to our patrons, which not only gives our patrons a chance to learn more about mental health and how the brain works but also helps to connect them to valuable mental health resources.”

Some of the resources available within the exhibit were provided by the United Way of Columbia and Montour Counties, United in Recovery. Olivia Oden, Stigma Reduction & Education Coordinator for United in Recovery, emphasized the importance of this message. “Providing evidence-based education for youth and families is a key part of prevention when talking about addiction. Substance use disorder is prevalent in many families within our community; learning about the disease from a scientific and biological approach is a great way to teach that it can happen to anyone, and how we can help our kids make healthy, positive choices,” Oden said.

The exhibit was sponsored by Berwick Youth In Philanthropy, The Community Giving Foundation, and T-Mobile. You can visit the exhibit at the McBride Memorial Library from now until September 30th.

For information on programs and operating hours of the McBride Memorial Library, please visit https://mcbridelibrary.org

For more information on the Bloomsburg Children’s Museum, please visit https://the-childrens-museum.org/

Chamber Gift Certificate Program Supports Local Businesses

The Columbia Montour Chamber has created an online program to allow the public to support small businesses that are closed or partially operational due to the Governor Tom Wolf’s order.

ShopColumbiaMontour offers gift certificates for purchase in $10 and $25 amounts for participating member businesses. Restaurants, jewelers, retail shops, and non-profit organizations are offering certificates, with additional businesses being added weekly. Once ordered, gift certificates are emailed to the purchaser for future use. The certificates do not expire. Each gift certificate is specific to a business and has a unique identifier that is provided to the business along with the customer’s name for tracking.

Businesses are forwarded the funds for gift certificate purchases within a week. There are no additional costs or fees for Chamber members to offer certificates. Interested organizations may contact the Chamber at [email protected]columbiamontourchamber.com.

“Local businesses are critical to the health and vibrancy of the area’s economy,” said Fred Gaffney, Chamber president. “They provide local jobs, tax revenue, a diversity of offerings, and support many causes within our communities. We created this program as another way for people to help sustain these valued local businesses from the safety of their homes.”

Information about the program is at columbiamontourchamber.com/certificates

The Destination Blues Listening Room goes to Berwick on June 28th

The Destination Blues Listening Room goes to Berwick on June 28th

Celebrating two years of hosting some of the best regional and even national Blues musicians, The Exchange’s Destination Blues Listening Room hits the road at the end of June, traveling to Berwick: At 7 p.m. on Friday the 28th, Ed Randazzo and Bret Alexander will perform at A Perfect Blend Espresso and More, 135 West Front Street.

Several venues in Berwick have hosted musicians during the annual Destination Blues Music Festivals, including the Berwick Theater and Center for Community Arts; now A Perfect Blend rolls out the red carpet for Blues fans – and all music fans – by opening its own intimate “concert hall” for this special evening performance.

As with all Listening Room programs, we ask attendees for a donation at the door, suggested at $5, but we will certainly accept more. Also in common with the Bloomsburg Listening Room, we welcome people of all ages, and BYOB permitted. We would like to make the Berwick Listening Room a regular part of The Exchange’s musical offerings to our community, and the more people who come out for this concert, the more successful we will consider it.

The Exchange has hosted the Listening Room in its storefront art gallery in Bloomsburg on the last Wednesday of every month since July 2017; musicians who have appeared there include Mike MiZ, Bobby Kyle, Vanessa Collier, and more than twenty others. Ed and Bret have performed at the Listening Room, together and separately, as they have also at the Destination Blues Music Festivals.

Ed and Bret have made music together for more than a decade. Bret initially made a name for himself as one of the founders of the Badlees in the 1990s and in recent years has run his own recording studio, while Ed has released solo albums as well as the three with Bret.

In other Exchange Blues news, on Wednesday, the 26th of June, Mystery Trayne will appear at The Exchange, 24 East Main Street in Bloomsburg, in the “regular” Listening Room, and on Wednesday, the 31st of July, the Listening Room will welcome its first international artist, Italy’s Hubert Dorigatti; he represented his home country at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in 2017. For more information about the Listening Room series, visit DestinationBlues.org. On Wednesday, July 10th, the phenomenally-talented high school students in the 3rd Street Blues Band from Williamsport’s Uptown Music Collective will perform in Bloomsburg’s Town Park bandshell at 7 p.m. in a free all-ages show co-sponsored by The Exchange and the Town Park Improvement Association – bring your own chairs and/or blanket.

For more information about the Exchange, visit ExchangeArts.org; contact us at 570-317-2596 or [email protected].

WVIA Art Scene interview with Oren Helbock about Destination Blues Festival

WVIA Art Scene interview with Oren Helbock about Destination Blues Festival

Destination Blues Festival weekend is upon us! The 6th Annual festival will feature more than 25 acts at 18 different venues spanning two counties. No cover charges at any of the performances and all ages are welcome! There will be a shuttle bus among all the venues. Executive Director of The Exchange, Oren Helbok, recently sat down with Erika Funke from WVIA radio to talk more about this great event that is happening in our community this weekend! Give a listen!

Vanessa Collier Comes to Bloomsburg and Berwick this week as part of the Destination Blues Festival

Vanessa Collier Comes to Bloomsburg and Berwick this week as part of the Destination Blues Festival

An extremely talented saxophonist and female blues musician will be in our area for two exciting gigs this week (and when we say extremely talented, this artist is a 2019 Blues Music Award Nominee for “Best Contemporary Female Blues Artist” and “Instrumentalist of the Year – Horn”, a 5-time BMA Nominee Overall!!) The first performance is a sold out, intimate performance at The Exchange as part of their Destination Blues Listening Room on Wednesday and the second is at the Berwick Brewing Company as part of the Destination Blues Festival this Saturday evening. This performer is none other than Vanessa Collier from Philadelphia, PA.

Vanessa started her music career from humble beginnings. She has been playing sax since she was 9 years old. She is originally from Columbia, Maryland but later moved to Philadelphia after her parents took jobs at the University of Delaware. Vanessa attended college at Berklee College of Music and in-between semesters she toured with Joe Louis Walker for a year and a half. It was through this tour that she was first introduced to Central PA through the Billtown Blues Festival. While on tour Joe encouraged her to strike out on her own. And strike out she did. From the Billtown Blues Festival, Vanessa went on to compete with her band at a local competition that sent her off to Memphis with two other bands. While in Memphis, she had fun packing out Club 52 for three consecutive nights. From Memphis, she participated in a Blues Cruise and was further connected with the great Blues musicians in the scene.

Her connection to Bloomsburg is all thanks to Bonnie Tallman, the Executive Director of the Billtown Blues Fest. Vanessa first started out at Destination Blues by playing the Gospel Sunday part of the Festival. Since that gig in 2015, she has been coming back for the past four years. She considers Central PA to be her home-base.

This year Vanessa will be starting things out at The Exchange on Wednesday evening with a much more intimate performance where it’s all about the music, nothing else. The Listening Room performance will feature Vanessa and phenomenal guitar player Arthur Neilson. This is the first time she’ll be playing with Arthur. Vanessa enjoys the intimate gigs as it provides more opportunity to experience the vocals and she feels more connected to the crowd. Those lucky enough to get a ticket before the event sold out are in for an amazing musical performance.

Following The Listening Room, Vanessa will be headed to Berwick to The Berwick Brewing Company for a lively performance featuring her full band starting at 8:30 PM on Saturday, March 2nd. There is no cover for this event it is part of the 5th annual Destination Blues Festival that features 25 acts across 18 venues in Bloomsburg, Berwick, and Danville.

When Vanessa is not on stage, she teaches saxophone, voice and music theory. While we were interviewing Vanessa, she jokingly stated: “Even the best artists have to teach.” She really enjoys teaching as it’s a way for her to give back to the community and bring up the next generation of musicians. Her teaching has fluctuated from ten students in the beginning to as many as thirty-five last year. Presently she teaches twenty-four students as a way to find that perfect work/touring/life balance.

Vanessa is really a great example of how hard work and collaboration can take you far. It’s through her willingness to partner up with other musicians or simply just tag along as a way to network and get more connected in the industry. Her stubbornness and focus on her vision for what she is after have led her to great things. In 2017 she was voted the most popular Briggs Farm act and was a featured artist in three major tours across Europe as part of Ruf’s 2017 Blues Caravan. Also at the Ottawa Blues Festival, she earned two front-page newspaper photos and rave reviews after her foot stomping debut there. She’s played the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise twice, where she earned the Jammingest Pro Award and was a featured artist with Tommy Castro’s Blues Review. If you have an opportunity to see Vanessa this weekend, I highly suggest you head on out to the Berwick Brewing Company.

For more on Vanessa, be sure and check out her website at https://www.vanessacollier.com and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter.

WVIA Art Scene interview with Oren Helbock about Destination Blues Festival

Destination Blues Music Festival announces 2019 line-up

On Saturday, March 2nd, 2019, Columbia & Montour Counties will heat up with the sixth annual Destination Blues Music Festival, produced by The Exchange. In our first five years, following in the footsteps of the nearby Briggs Farm Blues Festival and Billtown Blues Festival, we have helped put our two-county region on the Blues map, and once again we will show visitors and local residents alike a great time at “Your Winter Blues Heaven on Route 11”. We have made exciting changes this year as we present a one-day Festival at 18 venues.

Thanks to the vision of the commissioners in both Columbia and Montour Counties, the Blues have a good home in our region,” says Oren B. Helbok, executive director of The Exchange. “Thousands of people from throughout Pennsylvania, as well as eight other states and the District of Columbia, have enjoyed the first five Festivals, and we will show them another great time this year.”

As an event founded to bring business to hotels, restaurants, brewpubs, and bars in Berwick, Bloomsburg, and Danville during the winter, the Festival has made these venues its sole focus this year. Performances by national and regional artists will take place all day and through the evening, with rising star Vanessa Collier at Berwick Brewing; regional sensation Swampcandy at Bloomsburg’s West End Ale Haus; and northeastern Pennsylvania’s own Dustin Douglas & The Electric Gentlemen at Rock God Brewing in Danville.

Other performers and venues include Bobby Kyle, who has traveled the world playing the Blues, with his band The Administers at Bloomsburg’s Study Bar; the Phyllis Hopkins Trio at a venue new to the Festival, Rolling Pines Golf Course, between Berwick and Bloomsburg; Dan Hess at Bandit’s Roadhouse in Berwick; JT Thompson and AC’s Soul Medicine at Old Forge Brewing in Danville; John Sweeney and Friends at Danville’s Pine Barn Inn; Nate Myers and Tom Rosencrans, JP Williams, and the Gabe Stillman Band at the Lightstreet Hotel; and Tom Graham at Marley’s Brewery and Grille. Downtown Bloomsburg will also host Stacia Abernatha and Sean Farley at The Exchange; Bret Alexander and Nyke Van Wyk at Rose Marie’s; Sweeney & Rosencrans and Benjamin Vo at Fog & Flame; John Sweeney & Mike Hickey, Chris LaRose and Dave Brown & The Dishonest Fiddlers at Filet 18; and Suzanne the Plan at Endless Records.

For the first time, the Festival venues will include the Berwick Theater and Center for Community Arts, with an all-ages, family-friendly concert by Gabe Stillman and the 3rd Street Blues Band from Williamsport, on Saturday afternoon. First Columbia Bank & Trust sponsors this Young Artist performance by students and graduates of Williamsport’s Uptown Music Collective.

In the later afternoon and evening, free, convenient, scheduled bus transportation by Susquehanna Limo will run among all of the venues and participating hotels in both counties. For more information on the full line-up, including the times of all performances, and hotel specials, visit Facebook.com/ColumbiaMontourBluesFest and DestinationBlues.org. Other Festival sponsors for 2019 include Columbia County, Montour County, and PPL. Richard Briggs of the Briggs Farm Blues Festival does the Festival booking.

For more information about the Exchange, visit ExchangeArts.org; contact us at 570-317-2596 or [email protected]