77th annual Greencastle minstrel show takes on Irish theme

February 26, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • Russ Clever, center, and Ben Thomas, right, sing with piano accompanist Trevor Timmons on Sunday during rehearsal for Rescue Hose Co.'s 77th Hobo Minstrels show scheduled for this coming weekend at Greencastle-Antrim High School in Greencastle, Pa.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — The sounds of Ireland will greet audience members this weekend during the Rescue Hose Co.’s 77th Hobo Minstrels show.

A 75-member chorus has been rehearsing melodies for this year’s theme, “When Irish Eyes are Smiling.”

The all-volunteer cast will present two-hour performances Thursday, Friday and Saturday starting at 7:30 p.m. in the Greencastle-Antrim High School auditorium.

Organizers with the Rescue Hose Co. believe theirs is the oldest minstrel group in the nation.

“You’ll think you’re in Ireland when you see this show,” singer Nick Walsnovich said.

Walsnovich, 83, started participating in the minstrels show five years ago because he wanted to help his community’s firefighters. Proceeds from the performances benefit the Rescue Hose Co.

Walsnovich feels the show is great entertainment.

“It releases stress and tension. You won’t have to go to the doctor” for those afflictions, he said.

Walsnovich sings in a quartet with Charles Freshman, Doug Walter and Melvin Gsell.

Freshman, 74, lost track of the number of years he has participated, but he believes it has been two or three decades.

Gsell joined on the recommendation of his brother. He described the show as appropriate for all ages.

“It has good family values,” he said.

Members of the quartet said they do not get nervous onstage.

“I enjoy singing, and this is a different type of music than I’m used to,” said Walter, 56.

Russ Clever and Ben Thomas return as Premier End Men in the show, and C. Gregory Hoover is serving as interlocutor.

On Saturday, the Greencastle Rotary Club will host an all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner in the high school cafeteria from 5 to 7 p.m. Tickets cost $6.50 for adults and $4 for those ages 6 to 12. Proceeds benefit local civic projects.

Members took the minstrels on the road last weekend to provide entertainment at Franklin County, Pa., nursing homes.

If you go ...

  • What: 77th Rescue Hose Co. Hobo Minstrels show
  • When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday
  • Where: Greencastle-Antrim High School auditorium
  • General admission costs $5, and those 10 and younger are admitted for $3. Tickets are available at the door.

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