2021 saw the artists of Beaver Valley achieve notable feats

Our musicians rocked stadiums and sold-out theaters, while the national television camera circled our neighborhoods.

Despite the persistence of a pandemic, 2021 saw the artists of Beaver Valley achieve notable feats.

None have done it on a larger scale than Joe Munroe, the downtown resident who entertained sold-out stadiums as the keyboardist of the Pittsburgh band Ghost Hounds, the seven-night warm-up of the Rolling Tour. Stones this fall.

You could spot the members of Beaver County in the crowd at the Rolling Stones show on October 4 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

Munroe also spent screen time in clips for Ghost Hounds synchronized with the group’s album, “A Little Calamity,” released nationally.

Joe Munroe, of Center Township, got some screen time as the keyboardist on Ghost Hounds, the opening act of the Rolling Stones' fall tour.

2021 was a landmark year for West Virginia country singer Charles Wesley Godwin, who recorded a much-loved album at the Music Garden Studio in New Brighton and assembled a backing group of Beaver County musicians Max Somerville, Eric Dull, Nate Catanzarite, Al Torrence, Joe Pinchotti, plus Read Conolly of Stanton Heights on Steel Pedals.

Godwin and his Beaver County band mates took a five-week summer tour that reached Oregon and Seattle, then hit the road again to warm audiences to burgeoning country star Zach Bryan, including 11 shows at Boxes sold out – one of them on October 27 at The Roxian Theater in McKees Rocks.

Charles Wesley Godwin and his backing band from Beaver Valley toured to Seattle and Oregon in 2021.

Blackhawk High grad graduate Vanessa Campagna wrapped up another eventful year as a leading guest singer for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Pops shows at Heinz Hall. The Beaver Falls native has a timely national release, “Diamond for Christmas.” In June, she released the single “Save Me (SOS)” which skyrocketed her Spotify listeners from zero to over 200,000. In the same month, Campagna and Michael W. Smith learned their song “Waymaker” was voted the most inspiring song of praise of the last year by listeners of the national radio network K-LOVE.

Vanessa Campagna, originally from Beaver Falls, accomplished a lot as a singer-songwriter in 2021.

TV too

It was lights, camera, action in Ambridge this summer, as two different TV series were filmed simultaneously in the borough.

Showtime’s sinister drama “American Rust” used the old Ambridge Borough building to represent the police station where Del Harris (star Jeff Daniels) worked and became concerned. For weeks, you may have seen replicas of police cars parked in Ambridge, bearing the logo of Buell, the fictional town in Fayette County, “American Rust”. Premiering in September, reviews for the show were mixed at best.

Hopefully a warmer reaction awaits Amazon Prime’s 2022 series “A League of Their Own,” which has built a baseball field and dugout canoes off New Economy Drive in Ambridge to shoot action scenes in the open. air. Judging by the also newly constructed scoreboard, this Ambridge field will represent Rockford, Ill. Stadium for the heroines of this TV adaptation of the hit movie Tom Hanks-Geena Davis on a professional league baseball. 1940s feminine.

A baseball field, scoreboard and dugout canoes were built in Ambridge this summer for the new Amazon Prime series "A full league."

“A League of Their Own” also shot scenes at Morrell Field in Aliquippa and transformed the 500 block of Ambridge’s Shopping Street into a WWII-era shopping district. It will be fun to see how many local extras are found in the show.

Hollywood transformed the 500 block of Merchant Street in Ambridge into a 1940s shopping district during local filming of the Amazon Prime series "A full league."

The Ambridge shoot:Ambridge will be the filming location for the TV series “A League of Their Own”

Ambridge in “A league apart”:Ambridge in “A League of Their Own” as a film of 2 TV series simultaneously

Music theater

Unable to perform to an in-person audience the year before, Beaver County actors like The Red Barn Players, Center Theater Players and Iron Horse Community Theater once again savored the live cheers in 2021. Red Barn added a outdoor stage at its Franklin Township site, while Iron Horse in Ambridge added monthly comedy and concert nights.

The Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center successfully returned to the theater with its “Bigger, Better, Bolder” subscription series which already included Disney’s “Newsies” and “Descendants: The Musical”, as well as the vacation shows “All Is. Calm “and” The Nutcracker “. “

Beaver Valley’s music scene has also made a strong comeback.

Thursday’s jam sessions led by David Granati at Mario’s Dockside Grille in Bridgewater and Billy Evanochko’s Tuesday jam sessions at Fred’s Divot in Ambridge have given musicians and music lovers two reliable outlets.

Beaver rocker Rob James of The Clarks and valley soul-blues aces like Charlie Barath, Dan Bubien and Bobby Thompson & The Groove have performed on many of the Pittsburgh area’s most prestigious stages. The year saw the emergence of talented multi-instrumentalists Tucker Muetzel from Aliquippa and Amico DeMuzio from Blackhawk High.

Tucker Muetzel entertains outside Merchant Coffee Co. in Ambridge.

Andre Costello of Franklin Township was regularly broadcast on Pittsburgh’s 91.3-WYEP.

Former Midlander Kim Tavar landed a song on a UK R&B chart. Now based in Boston, where as a uniformed policewoman she sang the national anthem at Red Sox and Patriots games, Tavar performed a triumphant comeback show in June at the Beaver Station Cultural & Event Center.

Tavar kicked off the Cabin Fever musical series at Beaver Station which spawned one of the valley’s most unforgettable concerts in years, the Granati Brothers with special guest Donnie Iris. It was like Beaver County rock royalty, with Iris still nailing those epic cries to “Ah! Leah!”

Kim Tavar (seated) and her band performed a memorable show that kicked off the 2021 Cabin Fever musical series at the Beaver Station Cultural & Event Center.

The Granatis and Iris were a last-minute addition after scheduled band The Forty Nineteens from California had to cancel due to a health issue. Forty Nineteens drummer Nick Zeigler, Monaca Hall of Fame member, works harder than anyone and gave the band an AE gig on stage ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers-Detroit Lions game across the street, and radio airtime on rock stations from coast to coast, including SiriusXM’s Underground Garage channel where DJ-TV star Drew Carey is their biggest supporter.

By day Zeigler works in Hollywood on film and television crews; at night he is busy on social media promoting the entertainment scenes of Beaver County and Pittsburgh.

I have a feeling the musicians and actors of Beaver Valley will give him a lot to tweet in 2022.

Scott Tady is the local entertainment reporter for The Beaver County Times and Ellwood City Ledger. He is easy to reach at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @scottady

Elizabeth J. Harless