First/Last – Pittsburgh Savoyards

February 19, 2022

The Pittsburgh Savoyards, Inc. is a semi-professional, community-based, non-profit classical/operatic theater company funded primarily by local contributions and ticket sales. They operate for the purposes of perpetuating the heritage of Gilbert & Sullivan comic operas, and providing a hands-on opportunity for interested persons to learn about and experience musical theater. They are closing their 84th season beginning March 25th, 2022 with the production of The Pirates of Penzance at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall in Carnegie, PA. I want to thank cast member Catherine Coco (flute/piano/voice) who will be playing one of the Major-General’s daughters in the show for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
The Beatles, (While Album.)

Your last album bought?
I don’t buy albums anymore; instead, I subscribe to Spotify. The last album that I downloaded, Bach: The Art of Life.

Favorite album of all time?
Yo-Yo Ma and Bobby McFerrin Hush.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
I don’t usually remember albums I don’t like.

First concert attended?
James Taylor was the first non-classical concert I attended. But my first memory of a jazz concert was a hazy scene from childhood, filled with love and joy. I remember sitting on Daddy’s knee while he bounced me to the beat! From that day forward I was a musician.

Last concert?
Princess Ida, Pittsburgh Savoyards. I didn’t perform in that show, as I was concerned about COVID-19. But I’m back with them this spring.

Favorite concert ever?
Yikes! I’ve seen some historic performances but one that sticks out is Roger Waters with Lucius at the Newport Folk Festival a few years back. A sun shower came down in the middle of the set. It was surreal. Also, Marlon Williams at Newport. He was like a young Elvis Presley.

Least favorite concert?
I simply forgot any concert I don’t enjoy. I never let negative energy cloud my mind.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
The arts community in Pittsburgh is the warmest, most welcoming scene I’ve encountered… and I have worked all up and down the East Coast! The following anecdote proves my point. When my husband and I moved to Pittsburgh in 2018, we lived in an apartment. I’m a music teacher, and I taught online only due to COVID-19. Well, we were flabbergasted when the management sent us a letter threatening to not renew our lease unless I stopped working! I posted my sad story on Facebook. Before I knew it, my new Pittsburgh community (friends I had met from performing) went to work. Susan Medley, Bryan Sable, and Sarah Drinkwater got together and found us a beautiful house to buy at a reasonable price, right next door to Bryan! I often well up with tears when I think of their kindness. This sort of stuff is just normal for yinzers, unlike people in Philadelphia, Raleigh, or NYC.



Thanks, Catherine. That is one great story about community coming together to help each other out, especially in these crazy times. I was surprised to even learn about your group and that it was founded in 1938 and still going! Amazing.



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