By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer
One of the highlights of the activities at Buhl Farm park in Hermitage is the summer series of concerts.
Will winter concerts catch on?
Officials hope so as they begin a three-concert “Cheesecakes and Snowflakes” series Saturday in Buhl-Timblin Casino.
The concerts are unlike the summer shows in that it will cost money to get in, but all proceeds go to the financially struggling park, which has asked the community for donations for park operations.
The Doug Butchy Big Band has the honor of playing the first show, which is expected to run from 7 to 9 p.m.
“There’s not very many activities going on in the winter,” said park Activities Director Julie Norris. “The summer concert series is so well-attended we thought we’d try winter concerts.
The series continues with the Del Sinchak Band playing polkas Feb. 21, and Rick Hornyak, a local native who relocated to Austin, Texas, playing original country-rock tunes March 22.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Butchy, of Sharon, said of the gig. “It’s nice that they’re doing a winter season. We’ve played the summer series quite a bit. It will be nice to have something to do at the park in the winter. I’m really glad that they asked us to do it.”
Butchy, a music teacher at Shenango High School in New Castle and a former Sharon High music teacher, will have a 14- or 15-piece band, playing jazz classics from the big-band era to the modern day.
The Doug Butchy Trio has played in the Casino at the park’s Winter Fest, and is booked to return this year.
“It’s a nice room,” Butchy, assistant director of the Mercer Community Band and member of Second Avenue Project, said of the Casino ballroom. “They have a nice stage up there. There’s plenty of open space up there so we can have a dance floor.”
Norris said she’s excited about trying the new series.
“We’re hoping that these three are a good start,” she said. “We are hoping they are a success and we can continue to do these next winter.”
Tickets can be bought in advance for $15 at the Casino or Marks Music, Hermitage. Tables of six can be bought for $80 and tables of eight for $100. Tickets also will be sold at the door. Desserts and beverages will be sold at the shows.