On April 2, 1935, Scottish physicist Robert Watson-Watt patented the RADAR, RA(dio) D(etection) A(nd) R(anging) system, now known simply as radar. Although many scientists contributed to radar's development, Watson-Watt is considered its inventor. From his mid-teens, when he worked analyzing weather patterns for the London Meteorological Office, Watson-Watt was interested in reducing the difficulties and dangers inherent in flight. His early patents include systems of echolocation and a way to use oscilloscopes to track lightning strikes. In 1934, when the British government asked him to develop a weapon based on radio waves, he instead went on to develop a system to use radio waves to detect incoming aircraft.
What happened this week in 1935? RADAR was patented.
Early radar systems could locate aircraft from a distance of 8 miles; by the start of World War II that range had increased twelve-fold. Radar proved to be a important tool for the British Royal Air Force to defend against attacks from the German Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain. After the attack of Pearl Harbor in 1941, Watson-Watt helped the United States develop its own radar defenses. A direct descendent of James Watt, creator of the steam engine, Watson-Watt literally was a born inventor.
A talented bevy of singers celebrates the WPA with songs of work and democracy.
Brielle Leary, soprano
Leary graduated from the Philadelphia Creative and Performing Arts High School as a vocal major and was a member of the all city choir for four years. She has sung in countless concerts and musicals, as well as performing for many church events and community shows. Under the direction of Victor Rodriguez, Leary appears regularly in musical series at the Rotunda. She recently graduated from Jean Madeline Aveda Institute, soon to be licensed with her own beauty hair care salon. "I'm a life-long singer," Leary said, "I will sing anywhere, anytime!"
Andi Rose, soprano
Rose equates singing with marriage...'til death do us part! She was bitten by the singing bug at the age of five when a woman at her school sang “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands." Musical theater is Rose's favorite performance style, and her numerous leading roles include Maria in West Side Story and Annie in Annie Get Your Gun. For three seasons she was a cast member of Lafferty’s Wake at Society Hill Playhouse. She recently performed Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado with the acclaimed Savoy Company. Rose is a proud member of Screen Actors Guild. She is happy to be working with Victor again and is thrilled to be a part of the Chorus of Liberty. She quotes Calvin Coolidge, "The test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough to those who have little."
Donnie Hammond, alto
Hammond always wanted to be a performer; her mother laughingly claims she could dance before she could walk. Hammond graduated from Bishop McDevitt High School and spent one year in college before she decided to work at her chosen craft full time. She has appeared with in Philadelphia venues including at the Society Hill Playhouse in Motherhood: The Musical and at the Prince Theater in Jamaica. She was featured in the German tour of the Original U.S.A. Gospel Singers. "I love singing and playing different people," Hammond said, "so musical theater is what I always enjoy the most."
Sherria Watts, alto
Sherria Watts, Philadelphia native is no stranger to the stage. She has appeared in numerous musical theater productions including Grease (Rizzo), Hair (Dionne), and Alice in Wonderland (the Duchess). Watts holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Theater from West Chester University where she was a starring member of a finalist team participating in the Kennedy Center's American College Theater Festival. Watts has taught dance and musical theater throughout the region and now uses her skills as the Children's Program Coordinator for a major martial arts company in the Delaware Valley. "I'm excited for this project," Watts said, "and for the opportunity to perform again."
A talented bevy of singers celebrates the WPA with songs of work and democracy.
Joanne Joella, contralto
Joella is a voice acting and voice development coach and founder of JoellaArts Voice and Speech at Sherman Mills in East Falls. Over the years, she has been a consultant for Philadelphia Magazine, Men’s Health, Phillyfit Magazine, and the Philadelphia Inquirer as well as appearing on Marty Moss-Coan’s Radio Times an expert on Philadelphia regional sounds and accent reduction. Joanne has also performed in various Musical Theater productions throughout the region and has fronted or lent her powerful vocals to an array of rock bands. “Being part of Spare A Dime is an opportunity of a lifetime to feel the virtual presence of the history of my parents and grandparents," Joella said. "I know more about myself, my family, my country, and what my future may hold. Words cannot express how awesome it is to perform in the Bok High School Auditorium and to know that the spirit we honor was the force behind the creation of the Bok. Thank you, Brothers and Sisters of the WPA! We will share your time.” For more information about classes and private coaching at JoellaArts, please visit her website, www.joellaarts.com
Brian S. Rothman, tenor
Rothman is a second grade teacher at Forrest Elementary School. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychobiology from Albright University and a Master of Elementary Education from Holy Family University. Brian has been performing in regional community theater for more years than he would like to count. Favorite roles over the years have been in Little Shop of Horrors (The Dentist), The Fantasticks (Matt), Once Upon a Mattress (Prince Dauntless), Honk! (Ugly), Beauty and the Beast (Cogsworth), The Drowsy Chaperone (Feldzieg), Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? (Louie), Grease (Kenickie), Annie (Oliver Warbucks), Cabaret (Cliff), and Godspell (Judas). When not performing or teaching, Brian spends time training his Australian shepherds, Beezie and Topper, and his Dachshund, Tawney. "Thanks to all my friends and family for their support over the years, especially Victor Rodgriguez for getting him involved with Spare A Dime! Spread Kindness..."
Bruce Fero, baritone
Fero is a member and soloist in the Philadelphia Gospel Seminar Choir and One Faith Gospel Music Ministry. A resident of Philadelphia's Olney neighborhood, he is also active in the choir at St. Paul's Evangelical Church. Among his extensive musical theater credits are performances in Come Blow Your Horn, Gypsy, The Chalk Garden, and The Azuza Street Revival. Fero is also a veteran, having served in the United States Air Force in England. He shared his stories for Spare A Dime's character of The Veteran, and helped COSACOSA staff recreate modern-day versions of WPA photographs of veterans. "When politicians didn't (or don't) care," Fero said, "change needs to come from within our communities, from people working and struggling for something better."
Gary Bullock, bass
Bullock has been singing in organized choirs since he was in third grade (sometime during the Harding Administration), and is presently a bass in the St. George’s Episcopal Church Choir, where he began over fifty years ago. In recent years, he has appeared in a significant number of local theater productions including Macbeth (Banquo), Cabaret (Herr Schultz), Adrift in Macao (Mitch), Don’t Drink the Water (Krojak), Jesus Christ Superstar (Bartholomew), and Sweeney Todd. "Many thanks to Kim, Victor, and particularly Joanne Joella for the confidence to include him in this wonderful production. As always, special thanks to the Bullock family for their love and support, especially Marlee, for whom I have been a work in progress for thirty-four years and without whom none of this would be possible. Life is a journey, not a destination.”
PIFA 2013 launched today with the theme "Where will you #timetravel2?"
The 15 minute mini-musical "Flash of Time" plays nightly through the festival at the Kimmel Center. Check out Spare A Dime vocalist Julian Coleman at the front of the top platform!
We'll finish up our artist posts this week with profiles of our Chorus of Liberty members. Then, follow us next week as we begin to build our set at the historic Bok Tech Theater and start tech and dress rehearsals! Click here to get your tickets to Spare A Dime today!
The Spare A Dime Chorus of Liberty hits the recording studio to celebrate democracy.
From left: Spare A Dime Production Coordinator Rodney Whittenberg; Victor Rodriguez leads the Chorus of Liberty – Gary Bullock, Bruce Fero, Brian Rothman, Joanne Joella, Sherria Watts, Donnie Hammond, and Briele Leary (Andi Rose not pictured) – at Melodyvision Studio.
Spare A Dime's Chorus of Liberty took their turn recording songs for the cast album today. Led by Victor Rodriguez (who is also singing the role of The Builder), the Chorus performs two songs, one celebrating freedom and civic responsibility, the other lauding work as progress.
See our work in progress! Stay tuned for news about more open rehearsals and other public events leading up to our live performances – and get your tickets today on the PIFA 13 website!
The cast of Spare A Dime sings the blues at the COSACOSA Studio.
Vocalists Bill Gross, Lourin Plant, Khrista White, Victor Rodriguez, Julian Coleman, Phyllis Chapell, and Venissa Santi with pianist Jay Fluellen at the COSACOSA Studio.
The Spare A Dime cast rehearsed in front of a live audience at COSACOSA last night and wowed the crowd! Much merriment ensued, even though they sang the blues!
Stay tuned for news about more open rehearsals and other public events leading up to our live performances -- and get your tickets today on the PIFA 13 website!
Menu Mondays | Something from Nothing: Thrifty Foods from the 1930s
We’ve all been there. You're inspired to bake something. You get extremely excited only to find, when you open the fridge, that you're lacking ingredients. Well, with this Recipe for Hard Times, you'll never find yourself in that predicament again! During the Great Depression, those who lived in rural areas could usually find eggs, milk, and butter. But for their city cousins who couldn’t head out the pasture to fetch some milk or rustle up some eggs from the coop, this cake held great appeal. From the end of WWI onward, this cake’s resourceful allure has been featured in cookbooks for chefs who desire Something from Nothing.
• 1 cup water
• 2 cups raisins
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon cloves
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1/3 cup lard (shortening)
• 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1/4 teaspoon. salt
• 2 cups flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1. Place water, raisins, cinnamon, cloves, brown sugar, lard (shortening), nutmeg and salt in a saucepan and mix. Place on heat and bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes.
2. Allow to cool, then sift together the flour, baking soda and baking powder. Stir into cooked mixture.
3. Place in a greased loaf pan and bake at 350°F for one hour.
What happened this week in 1935? A gyroscope-controlled rocket traveling faster than the speed of sound reached a record altitude of 7,500 feet.
American scientist Robert H. Goddard, Ph.D. (1882-1945) is considered the father of modern rocketry. From his early patents for staged rockets using liquid propellants, to his design of the Bazooka rocket launcher during World War I, Goddard was at the forefront of rocket science. When in 1920, the Smithsonian Institution published his writings describing flights to the moon, the press publicly derided his ideas. Goddard eventually left the public eye and his post at Clark University to continue his work, in silence, in Roswell, New Mexico.
Supported by Charles Lindbergh and the Guggenheim family, Goddard worked alone with his wife Esther as secretary, photographer, and lab assistant. In March of 1935, Goddard successfully launched a liquid propellant rocket that broke the speed of sound at 700 miles per hour. Later that month, on March 28, 1935, his rocket, stabilized and controlled by a gyroscope, reached an altitude of 7,500 feet. Its instrument package was even safely returned to the launch site via a parachute recovery system Goddard designed.
Goddard's rockets became bigger and flew higher. Ten years later, by the end of World War II, the United States government established the White Sands Proving Grounds at Roswell; in 1945, missiles reached heights of over 40 miles. Though Goddard died that year, he prescienctly predicted, "I feel we are going to enter a new era, it is just a matter of imagination how far we can go with rockets. I think it is fair to say you haven’t seen anything yet ... It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.” NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland was established in honor of this physicist-pioneer in 1959.
A parade of characters from prehistory to the future heralds the launch of PIFA 13!
The gates of time momentarily flew open yesterday! The time machine constructed inside the Kimmel Center for the 2013 Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA 13) let loose characters from every era -- from prehistory to the future. Found at iconic Philadelphia locations including Love Park, Reading Terminal Market, Rittenhouse Square, 30th Street Station, the Betsy Ross House and more, they banded together to parade first to City Hall and then back to the Kimmel Center.
Check out images from all the upcoming PIFA 13 shows on the festival blog and remember to buy your tickets for COSACOSA's Spare A Dime performances on April 18, 19, and 20, 2013 -- Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 7:30 pm.
Spare A Dime tickets can be purchased with a credit card through the PIFA website or in person with cash or credit at The Kimmel Center Box Office, 300 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, or at COSACOSA, 4427 Main Street in Philly's Manayunk neighborhood.
Call us at 215.385.2554 or email SpareADime@cosacosa.org for more information!!!
"Music and art, even in the best of times, find what is not right in the world and use it as inspiration for creativity and change."
"Music and art, even in the best of times, find what is not right in the world and use it as inspiration for creativity and change," said François Zayas, percussionist for Spare A Dime. "In that way, the music of the Great Depression is really no different than any other time period, with the full range of emotions expressed, sorrow to happiness." Zayas is currently collaborating with Spare A Dime lead vocalist Venissa Santi on a new album re-imagining the songs of Billie Holiday in new rhythmic forms, many from the 1930s.
Zayas is a composer, arranger and percussionist. Born in Cuba, Zayas graduated from the ISA (Instituto Superior de Artes) in 1998 and taught at that institution for nearly five years. He was a member of the National Symphonic Orchestra of Cuba for 10 years while collaborating with different projects and bands from diverse backgrounds such as jazz, hip hop, rock and other genres. From 1994 to his 2006 move to the United States, he made several international tours with different groups. In the last six years he has collaborated with many musicians, choreographers and educators, sometimes with his own arrangements or original compositions, at other times as an instrumentalist.
Click here to listen a sample of Zayas' many talents.
Click here to get your tickets to Spare A Dime!
Spare A Dime
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