The First Night Canfield committee is excited to be able to bring national performers to this year's event.
The percussion of Steve Gryb, the talented voice of cabaret singer Liz Rubino, and soloist / guitarist Juliet McCowin will head up a long list of performances.
McCowin recently competed in Disney's American Idol Experience where she was first runner-up.
Liz Rubino will do a cabaret show featuring songs from the golden age of Broadway musicals for First Night Canfield.
The venues this year have been more focused in content with the Presbyterian Church on West Main Street hosting classical entertainment, Canfield Village Middle School hosting a children's venue, Lord of Life Lutheran Church on North Broad Street presenting child performers, Rush Church on West Main Street featuring young adult entertainment, Old North Church hosting a variety of acts as well as the closing fireworks at midnight, and A La Cart Catering on Lisbon Street featuring the cabaret and dinner show.
The cabaret show features "Golden Girl," starring national cabaret artist Liz Rubino from New York City. She will toast the golden age of Broadway from the 1940s through the 1960s, accompanied by pianist Cory Davis. Rubino will perform songs from the musicals "Anything Goes," "Gypsy," "South Pacific," "The Fantasticks," "Funny Girl" and more in an intimate cabaret setting.
Rubino is not new to the area. She grew up in Austintown and has climbed the ladder to become a stage performer teaching artist, director, and registered drama therapist. She travels between New York and Ohio once a month to work with her Ohio branch of Liz Rubino Studios located at the Jewish Community Center in Youngstown.
"It's nice to bring in someone from the area who has made it big," said First Night Canfield director Barbara Smith.
Rubino has trained with top Broadway coaches, with the Metropolitan Opera Company, the International Theatre Festival in Italy, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Moscow Art Theatre, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, New York University, and the Ohio State Conservatory of Music. She completed her undergraduate at Youngstown State while working professionally with Cleveland's only professional musical theatre company, Kalliope Stage. She holds a master's degree from the New York University in drama therapy and she believes fully in the healing potential of the arts.
Kicking off the 6 p.m. venues on New Year's Eve will be another big name in Steve Gryb, the Pied Piper of Percussion. Gryb hails from Miami, Fla., and performs a high-energy, interactive program that is sure to entertain and educate audiences of all ages.
Gryb will start his evening with his traveling Percussion Petting Zoo. This is an interactive musical exhibit of percussion instruments from around the world. He will feature instruments such as Boomatubes (boom wacker xylophone), Remo hand drums and bongos.
The percussion zoo will be presented at Canfield Village Middle School at 6 p.m. Gryb will then move over to the Old North Family Life Center for performances at 9 and 11 p.m. that he calls "The Rhythm Is Going to Get You!"
As an educator and performer, Gryb has received awards from the Pro-Mark Percussion Corporation, Barry University, Florida International University, the International Association of Jazz Educators, the Sunshine Jazz Organization of South Florida and the Arts Educator of the Year award from the Florida Children's Cultural Coalition. H also is the author of a Jazz appreciation DVD, "Listening to Jazz."
The Rhythm Is Going to Get You is in constant demand at major festivals, state fairs, indoor and outdoor concert series, First Night presentations, Day Out with Thomas events and schools throughout North America.
"Steve Gryb always performs at a First Night event every New Year's Eve," Smith said. "We were lucky enough to get him in Canfield this year."
The third new performer this year is Juliet McCowin. This local female soloist/guitarist is a rising star at age 15,who enjoys singing at family parties, at church with the youth group, and any opportunity to sing at public events. This past November at Disney's Hollywood Studios, McCowin auditioned for the American Idol Experience.
Not only did she qualify to do "the show", but won! She had to come back later that evening for the grand finale, and was first runner-up! She loves to sing worship songs, country and contemporary music. Her performance is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Lord of Life sanctuary.
Smith said, "This year will be a mix of the old and new."
She said there will be favorites from past years as well as the fresh new faces and performances. The old and new mix will also be part of the First Night Canfield buttons. The buttons have become a collector's item for some and for this year's event, the committee has decided to go with the original button design with the date "1999-2014" on it.
The buttons are available at First Night Canfield's office inside the Always Yours store in the Hilltop Plaza. The cabaret-dinner tickets will also be sold there for $25 and will include the button. Smith said the new Rush Church venue will be totally free and no button is needed to enjoy those performances.