A grandmother's inspired song revealed at garden visit

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog marjIt's wonderful to meet people like Marjorie Greenberger. She's full of life and told me the most beautiful story though her music. Photo by Doug Oster

Marjorie Greenberger sits amongst magnolia blossoms which have fallen onto her backyard in Squirrel Hill.

She called me to take a look at her garden and although I'm way too busy to make house calls, I had an hour after Pittsburgh Today Live to swing by and take a look. I just couldn't say no to that voice over the telephone.

I would call the meeting both cordial and contentious. She wanted to know what I would plant in her garden, I wanted to know what she loved to plant in her garden. I gave her plenty of suggestions and she offered up some plants she enjoyed and we put a quick plan together as she dutifully took notes.

She offered me money, which I could never accept, but she had a beautiful flowered door mat which she insisted I take as a gift.

As the hour wound down and I was anxious to get on to the next job of the day she sat down at the piano and told a story.

Her granddaughter Emma needed a medical miracle at birth to survive. Luckily between the five doctors who treated her, she not only survived but has thrived and is now an active teenager.

Marjorie has played the piano since she was seven, and although she was reluctant to give her age, lets just say she's been a musician for a long time.

For all those years of playing though, she never wrote a song until she thought of Emma and her struggles.

As I sat there recording what she played on my iPhone, I could hear the love come across in each note.

Marjorie Greenberger is a dancer, musician, active in the community but on this day she was simply a proud grandmother letting her fingers express her feelings.

Here's 'Emma's Theme'-

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Children's Festival Chorus Becomes Pittsburgh Youth Chorus

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

Children's Festival Chorus has changed its name to Pittsburgh Youth Chorus to more accurately reflect its mission and location. The organization recently appointed Shawn Funk as artistic director.

Rebranding can be an opportunity to reflect what an organization already does (as in this case) or foreshadow new things to come. That was the case with the artist formerly known as the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society, which changed its name to Chamber Music Pittsburgh last year

More from the chorus:

Children's Festival Chorus is excited to announce that will change its name to Pittsburgh Youth Chorus. The name change was initiated, in part, to more accurately reflect the region the chorus serves as well as the wide age-range of talented young singers in the chorus.

The Children's Festival Chorus was founded in 1983 when the Pittsburgh Symphony needed a children's choir to participate in a festival performance of Mahler's Symphony #3. That first group of children had such a wonderful first experience that they wanted to keep on singing together as a chorus. The name Children's Festival Chorus continued to be used even though the ensemble never again participated in another festival.

According to Executive Director, Edwina French, "As we look towards the future, this is the perfect time for our organization to embrace a new name and a new brand. We've recently named a new artistic director, moved our administrative offices and we are in the process of revising our website. We are also excited to launch a new outreach program in the north and south hills of Pittsburgh called Neighborhood Training Choirs. We are a progressive and growing organization that does so much more than our current name implies."

French further explained that by adopting "Pittsburgh" as part of the organization's name they stake their claim as the premiere children and youth chorus in Pittsburgh. Adopting "youth" as part of the name acknowledges that its singers span many ages all the way up to young teens. Keeping "chorus" in the name acknowledges that they sing a range of musical genres both sacred and secular. By taking "festival" out of the name, it will eliminate confusion that the organization is somehow associated with a festival.

As Pittsburgh Youth Chorus, the organization will continue its mission to enrich children's lives through professional level choral education and performance and with new artistic director Shawn Funk in place, the Pittsburgh Youth Chorus will continue its vision to become nationally recognized as a model for educating children in choral performance, sought out by families, educators, and community as a resource for developing confidence and learning through the arts.

For more information about the Pittsburgh Youth Chorus please call 412-281-4790 or visit us online at



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Rare heirloom Italian tomato plant giveaway Saturday with Doug

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog a Grandma Aiellos Tomato'Grandma Aiello's' tomato was brought from Calabria, Italy by Maria Mazzie Aiello in 1929. Photo courtesy J.L. Hudson

For months, Dean Sylvester, horticulturist at Old Economy Village, has been growing 'Grandma Aiello's' tomato plants. I'll be giving them away this Saturday, May 16th, 2015 at Old Economy.

The rare seeds come from J.L. Hudson Seedsman, here's the description from the catalog- "Medium-sized pink-red heart-shaped fruit with tender skin, juicy and delicious. This rare variety was brought from Calabria Italy by Maria Mazzie Aiello in 1929, and has been grown and saved by her family for three generations. Sent to us by Maria's granddaughter Nicala Aiello. Large indeterminate plants, give support."

I'm presenting "Secrets from the Gardens of Italy, How to Make Them Work in Your Garden", at 10 a.m. during the Old Economy Garden Mart and Spring Garden Workshop. The event is fun, informative and the gardens at Old Economy are spectacular. Best of all, the Garden Mart and Workshop benefit one of our area's historic treasures. People travel from all over the world to see this preserved village used by the Harmonists.

There plants will be given away on a first come, first serve basis and are exclusive to this event.

Hope to see you there.


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Empty Netter Assists - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton falls in Game 4 - 05-12-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-Goaltender Matt Murray (above, with Manchester forward Jordan Weal) made 21 saves for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 5-2 loss to the Manchester Monarchs in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. Manchester leads the best-of-seven series, 3-1. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will host Game 5 Tuesday, 7:05 p.m.

-Highlights (courtesy of Send To News):

-Happy 52nd birthday to former Penguins forward Dwight Mathiasen. A free agent signing late in the 1985-86 season, Mathiasen spent parts of three seasons with the Penguins. He finished that season by appearing in four games and scoring one goal. During 1986-87, Mathiasen saw action in six games and recorded one assist. In 1987-88, Mathiasen appeared in a career-high 23 games and recorded six assists. He was released in the 1988 offseason. Mathiasen appeared in 33 regular season games for the Penguins and recorded eight points.

IIHF World Championship

-A shootout goal by Panthers forward and former Penguin Jussi Jokinen gave Finland a 3-2 win against Belarus in a preliminary round game in the IIHF World Championship tournament.

-Finland goaltender Pekka Rinne was thirsty:

-Belarus forward Andrei Stepanov was excited:

-Predators forward Filip Forsberg scored two goals and led Sweden past France, 4-2.

-Sweden defenseman Jonas Ahnelov and France forward Antony Rech had issues:

-Sweden defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson kept an eye on this puck:

-Goaltender Bernhard Starkbaum made 15 saves for Austria in a 3-2 shootout win against Germany.

-Austria forward Konstantin Komarek > Germany goaltender Dennis Endras:

-Austria forward Rafael Rotter was pumped:

-Germany forward Tobias Rieder was focused on something:

-Germany forward Daniel Pietta went airborne here:

-Goaltender Gasper Kroselj made 24 saves for Slovenia in a 1-0 shutout of Denmark.

-Denmark goaltender Sebastian Dahm was all over this puck:

Playoff Stuff
Rangers - Capitals

-“I saw that, and that’s what leaders do. I think leaders say, ‘This is what we need to do; this is what we’re going to do.’ I think I have a lot more respect for someone who will be bold enough to say, ‘I’m the leader of the hockey team; we’re going to go there and give our best game and we’re going to win the hockey game.’ I’d rather have that than a leader go, ‘Well, we’re going there to lose.’” - Capitals coach Barry Trotz on captain/forward Alex Ovechkin guaranteeing a win in Game 7.

-The Capitals recalled defenseman Nate Schmidt from Hershey of the AHL.

Canadiens - Lightning

-Lightning forward Ryan Callahan (right) will be sidelined indefinitely after undergoing an emergency appendectomy Monday.

-“We’re in Game 80-what … we have a good group. I know it was a tough loss the other night and we lost in the last four minutes of the game, but there was a difference in the room after we lost Game 4 [compared with] Game 5. It was a genuine [ticked]-off attitude when we lost Game 5. I could just tell, there was nothing that really needed to be said. Guys were angry, it’s carried over. I like our mojo right now. I want to be an angry team.” - Lightning coach Jon Cooper on his team's mentality.


-“There’s a little bit of that unfamiliarity. It’s definitely going to be part of it. You’ve got to adapt to knowing their tendencies quickly." - Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville on facing the Ducks in the Western Conference final.


-"The instant it happened, I felt really good. ... It was a pretty nice win, so I think I'm allowed five minutes of joy. But a half hour later, I was thinking about Chicago." - Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on winning his team's second-round series against the Flames with an overtime victory in Game 5 then turning his attention to the Blackhawks.


-Forwards Remi Elie and Connor McDavid each had a goal and an assist for the Erie Otters in a 4-3 win against the Oshawa Generals in Game 3 of the OHL championship series. Oshawa leads the series, 2-1.

Non-Playoff Stuff
Central Division

-“This is the first time I’ve been through this situation, so I’ll relax and let the other people do the work. But there’s no reason why I wouldn’t want to be here.” - Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk on his status as a pending unrestricted free agent.

-What should the Wild do with former all-star goaltender Niklas Backstrom?

Patrick Division

-Former Bruins goaltender Niklas Svedberg has joined Salavat Yulaev of Russia's KHL.

-Former Senators/Islanders/Blackhawks forward Peter Regin has joined Jokerit of Finland's Liiga.

(Photos: Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images, Matej Divizna/Getty Images, Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images, Chris O'Meara/Associated Press Martin Rose/Getty Images and Associated Press)

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Texas Invasion

Written by Rob Rogers on .

There's a conspiracy theory in Texas that the U.S. military exercises happening there (called Jade Helm 15) are some sort of an elaborate scheme by Obama to takeover Texas. I am not making this up. Governor Greg Abbott ordered the Texas State Guard to monitor Jade Helm 15 to safeguard Texans' constitutional rights, private property and civil liberties. 

051215 Texas Invasion

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