Winter blues, begone! Because their Summer Concert Series did so well, Selinsgrove Projects, Inc., has decided to offer similar events throughout the winter, but indoors, where people can gather together in cozy warmth.

This weekend, concerts take place both nights. On Friday, the Rudy Gelnett Winter Music Series features Kira and Jake from 8 to 10 p.m. at the Isle of Que Brewing at 6 University Avenue. On Saturday, the Axe & the Fiddle will perform from 9 p.m. to midnight at the Selinsgrove Hotel, at 225 N. Market St.

“Due to the success of the summer music series, SPI thought it would be a good way to bring people downtown during the winter months, when there’s not a lot going on to support our downtown businesses,” said Carol Handlan, president of Selinsgrove Projects, Inc. “SPI then applied for a grant through the Rudy Gelnett Trust to make this happen, for which we are forever grateful.”

Whereas the Summer Concert Series used the stage at the Commons in downtown Selinsgrove, the winter series takes advantage of the variety of Selinsgrove’s eateries, which host the musical groups and individuals. The series started in early December and featured Bonnie Wicher & Allan Combs II at the Kind Café, the Ann Kerstetter Trio a Isabella’s Ristorante, Doug McMinn at Isabella’s Ristorante, Woody Wolfe at the Kind Café and Van Wagner at Selin’s Grove Brewing.

“It is noteworthy to point out that I will be scheduling another three to four performances,” said Handlan, who already has four acts scheduled. 

“It is a win-win for our local musicians and businesses and makes for a more vibrant downtown.”

Glenn Wagner, manager of the Kind Café, appreciates how the concerts have brought new customers into the restaurant that sits directly across the street from BJ’s Market Street Tavern & Oyster Bar.

“It just brings people downtown that might never have come downtown,” Wagner said. “It’s a great chance to get out of the winter blahs and enjoy good music.”

Jessica Newell was the events coordinator at Isabella’s Ristorante when musicians entertained there.

“We had a tremendous night, both nights,” Newell said. “The vibe, you could just feel the energy in the room. It was really fun.”

Area musicians enjoy the opportunity to reach new audiences.

“This concert series sponsors local musicians, like me, to share our music with local people in local venues,” said Van Wagner, a Danville resident who teaches at Lewisburg Area High School.

Wagner performed earlier this month at Selin’s Grove Brewing. He has released 25 CDs and will be performing for the 100th time at Elk Creek Café & Aleworks, in Millheim, on Feb. 6.

“Our region is rich in culture,” Wagner said. “Our music is a very important part of the fabric that makes up who we are as a people and as a place. When you experience this concert series, you are experiencing the fabric of our culture first hand.”

Jason Yoder plays multiple instruments but grabs his acoustic guitar when he performs with his high school friend Caleb Minium as the duo Axe & Fiddle. Information on their performance schedule can be found on Facebook.

“I use a lot of my original songs,” said Yoder, who has gone to Nashville with his songwriting. “Caleb is one of the only fiddle players in the area. The way he plays the fiddle is so earthy. He’s amazing. You have to see him live.”

Handlan has had positive feedback from audiences about the Winter Concert Series.

“We are finding that people really like to get out for a few hours and enjoy live music where it does not cost them a fortune and they don’t have to drive very far,” she said. “All of our music events are free to the public. There is never a cover charge.”

For more information check SPI’s Facebook page, “Downtown Selinsgrove.”

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