Concerts made audiences smile, nonprofits | News, sports, jobs


ONE SEASON BEHIND YOU – George Komar (left) and Jon Greiner recently pondered the well-attended series of free concerts hosted this summer by the Toronto Coalition for Revitalization, with support from the Ohio Arts Council and 14 local businesses and organizations. When rain prevented the shows from being held in the Gazebo Commons, they were relocated to the adjacent First Presbyterian Church of Toronto in collaboration with their congregation. – Warren Scott

TORONTO – The Toronto Coalition for Revitalization’s summer concert series brought smiles to many of the area’s residents while also raising $ 1,650 for six local schools or nonprofit groups.

The money came from donations from concert-goers during recess and was given in the following amounts to: Toronto City Schools for back-to-school supplies and the Toronto Ohio Historical Society, US $ 500 each; the Toronto Elementary School reading program, $ 250; Toronto First Presbyterian Church, $ 200; and the Toronto Junior High School National Junior Honor Society and Cub Scout Pack 41, $ 100 each.

The Boy Scouts helped coalition volunteers raise funds while selling snacks and small items for $ 1 each during the shows.

The coalition was also supported by members of the Toronto High School National Honor Society.

Jon Greiner, concert coordinator, said leaders and members of the First Presbyterian Church of Toronto kindly allowed the concerts to be moved to this building when it rains.

Greiner found that a large number of factors influence participation in every concert and thus the amount of donations received from each individual.

He said the largest amount raised during the Ron Retzer Trio’s well-attended performance through Jimmy Lee Hook and Sam Hudnell’s performance this year was $ 570.

Then the coalition received $ 665 in donations, including $ 150 that Hook himself donated, Greiner said.

Hook now lives in Cincinnati and was giving a drive-up concert in the parking lot of Toronto Junior-Senior High School last year when the pandemic caused the coalition to cancel their other shows.

Greiner and George Komar, President of the Coalition, also thanked the many companies that contributed to support the concerts and the Ohio Arts Council, which has awarded them a total of US $ 5,290 in scholarships since 2018.

Greiner said the $ 1,525 grant this year from the state agency made up about 25 percent of the group’s budget for the concerts.

Business supporters for the concerts this year were: B&W Auto Repair, Cedar One Realty, Clarke Funeral Home, JE Foster Funeral Homes, Howard Hanna Real Estate, Iggy’s Pizza and Italian Restaurant, LA Wargo Home Improvement, Nationwide Insurance Agent Chris Arnott, Ridge Machine & Welding Co., Toni Moreland, State Farm Insurance Agent, Margaret’s Cafe, the Toronto Beautification Committee, Cattrell Cos. Inc., Valley Converting and White Glove Supply.

Komar said that as Coalition vice president, Don Clarke made valuable contributions in planning this season’s shows.

While the concert season is over, the coalition remains busy with other activities.

Komar’s well-known local artist Doug Griffith has started painting the group’s latest mural on the east wall of the Special Way supermarket on North Fourth Street.

The painting will include 11 ovals depicting different aspects of the city, from the WWI Soldier and Sailor Memorial on Third Street and Market Street to Kaul Clay Manufacturing, a former company that made ceramic pipes and other products, and many local residents busy.

The project is supported by local contributions.

Komar said he had a different idea, which is to paint the sides of local buildings. He said he saw photos on social media of people posing in front of angel or butterfly wings and other objects, so they seem to complete the scene with their presence. He said people could be encouraged to find and photograph such paintings – which would be accompanied by the words: “Toronto, Ohio” – and share the photos through social media.

Komar said the paintings and photos could help draw attention to local businesses and other landmarks, and he plans to reach out to building owners who could be involved.

He pointed out that the project was part of an ongoing effort to raise awareness of the so-called Gem City.

Over the past few months, the group has published and Facebook directories on its website listing more than 80 local businesses and about 18 churches in Toronto.

It also posted “On-site shopping” Banners along the city streets and at Newburg Landing. The latter is aimed at boaters who moor there and notes that many shops are within walking distance.

Komar said there are currently plans to hold another Christmas lighting event in the Gazebo Commons. Scheduled for November 23rd, it includes lighting candles sponsored by residents in memory of loved ones.

Proceeds from the event will go to the Helping Hands Pantry, the Toronto Kiwanis Club’s Coats for Kids program, the Crossroads Church children’s toy drive and the Toronto Unit of the Salvation Army.

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