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Mon Valley Academy for the Arts (MVAA) is continuing to serve the community during the COVID-19 pandemic by offering online programs, fine-tuning plans to add Kindermusik to its program and adjusting its free summer concert season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The MVAA physical office at 309 5th St., Charleroi, will remain closed in accordance with state directives.

"All of our programs, including some new ones, will be ready to roll out as soon as the stay-at-home order is lifted," says Mark A. Smith, president of the non-profit organization.

MVAA will be launching a Kindermusik program under the direction of veteran instructor Denice Bradley Hopper. The Rostraver Township native most recently operated a successful Kindermusik program in North Carolina, but has returned to the Valley to help care for her mother. MVAA's new addition is marking her 17th year as a Kindermusik educator.

Hopper earned a BA of music in performance with an emphasis on commercial piano while living in Nashville. She has performed internationally with an award-winning gospel group, participating in performances at Carnegie Hall, Red Rocks Parks & Amphitheatre in Colorado and Music China.

"We are looking at creative ways to launch Kindermusik online as we've done with some programs," Smith says. "We believe the arts are essential for all ages."

MVAA also is planning to add visual and fine arts to its programming in the future. It will be under the direction of Deni Laskey, formerly of Pittsburgh Pottery, who recently joined MVAA's advisory board.

Because of COVID-19 constraints, MVAA's new show choir, ‘VoiceZ on Fire’, is on hold until gatherings of more than 10 people are permitted. Annette Buffer, an MVAA board member, executive director of Power of Music and founder of the Bentworth Ministerium Community Choir, along with Kristen Spahn, the organization's treasurer, are spearheading the initiative.

MVAA's open house, slated for this month, has been postponed. The new date is pending.

The MVAA-sponsored high school art show at Charleroi High School is canceled for this year. The showcasing of local talent will resume in 2021.

"At this time, we’re still making plans to hold our regular summer musical events, the Power of Music Concert Series in Brownsville and our EQT Summer Concert Series at Monongahela's Chess Park," Smith says. "And, our Twin Coaches Junior Band has several performances waiting in the wings."

Smith and MVAA music instructors are using Zoom to provide private music lessons via the cloud. More information is available by contacting Smith at 724-565-1687 or by e-mail

MVAA also has added Carla Anderton, a professor of English and Communications at Westmoreland County Community College in Youngwood and Seton Hill University in Greensburg, to its executive board as secretary. She formerly was president of the Jozart Center for the Arts in California and editor/owner of the now-defunct Pennsylvania Bridges magazine.




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