Sounds of kindness


The annual Pennypack Music Festival is more than just an outdoor concert series enjoyed by thousands of rock ’n’ roll enthusiasts each summer. It’s also an effective and generous charity organization.

On Nov. 18, a privately managed Catholic grade school in North Philly reaped the rewards of the music festival’s fundraising activities as several of the organization’s board members delivered classroom instruments to Tricia Knopka’s fifth-graders at St. Veronica, an Independent Mission School. PMF President Norm Jadczak, Vice President Steve Hartzell and Director Terri McMonagle presented the class with dozens of recorders, hand drums, boom whackers and octavators. Sister Eileen Buchanan, IHM, the St. Veronica principal, joined the music teacher in accepting the donation.

According to Jadczak, Hartzell and McMonagle, there were a dozen PMF concerts in 2016 featuring a variety of touring tribute bands, along with many local musical and dance performers. The Wednesday evening sessions are held at the Ed Kelly Amphitheater near the park’s Welsh Road and Cresco Avenue entrance. Admission is free, but each week businesses, community organizations and patrons chip in funds to stage the shows and build the charitable fund. Additionally, volunteers mingle during the concerts to solicit donations.

“People give what they can,” Hartzell said.

“It’s more than just a concert in the park. It’s like a family gathering,” McMonagle said.

Knopka began teaching music at St. Veronica two years ago. The school is at 3521 N. Sixth St. and serves about 225 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Until Knopka’s hiring, the school hadn’t had music instruction for years.

According to Jadczak, another PMF board member, Lisa Greco, recommended St. Veronica as a beneficiary because part of the organization’s official mission statement is to promote music education and appreciation in schools.

The concert series is on hiatus until next spring. The 2017 schedule is yet to be announced. Information about the organization is available via ••

Perfect harmony: Pennypack Music Festival President Norm Jadczak, Vice President Steve Hartzell and Director Terri McMonagle presented Tricia Knopka’s fifth-graders at St. Veronica with dozens of musical instruments. WILLIAM KENNY / TIMES PHOTO