Thanks to everyone who attended Applaud the Light!

A light-filled evening featuring performance and prose celebrating the progress of conservation of the Battlefield Scenes and the lighting of the unforgettable quartet of Murals: Christ on the Battlefield, Mary on the Battlefield, The Capitalist and Simple Family Meal.

Special thanks to our talented performers!

Margaret J. Krauss, Host

Margaret J. Krauss is 90.5 WESA’s development and transportation reporter. She previously reported for Keystone Crossroads, a statewide initiative that covers problems facing Pennsylvania’s cities and possible solutions. Before joining Keystone Crossroads, Margaret produced a 48-part radio series about Pittsburgh’s lesser-known history, biking 2,000 miles around the region to do so.

The Players…

Bach Choir of Pittsburgh was founded in 1934 to perform works of Johann Sebastian Bach exclusively. Under the leadership of Conductor and Artistic Director Thomas W. Douglas, the choir continues to evolve from a narrowly-focused ensemble to a larger, more inclusive choir that performs major choral works by composers from the Renaissance through the present. Since its inception the Bach Choir has grown from 60 to 100 singers.  Local music critics commend the Choir for “stretching its musical wings,” and handling “tricky works not only with technical skill, but with spirit and seeming inspiration.”

  • Cellist David Bennettcellospot5

David studied cello with Shirley Trepel at Rice University, and also with Henry Elman of the Royal Philharmonic.  He performs locally with the duo, Cello Cello, the Rosewood Trio and with Daniel May at the Fairmont Hotel and the Mansions on Fifth.

  • Actor and writer David Conrad

Pittsburgh-born actor David Conrad studied at New York’s prestigious Julliard School and made his Broadway debut in The Deep Blue Sea in 1998. He is best known for his starring role in the TV series The Ghost Whisperer (2005-2010) and has had film roles in Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie A Season for Miracles, and alongside Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding, Jr. in Men of Honor (2000) as well as in the comedy The Wedding Crashers. In 2017, he appeared along with other favorite local actors in the Mark Rylance and Friends events to commemorate the 125th Anniversary of the Battle of Homestead. 

Nora Davidson, SPMMMV Board of Directors

Nora spends her weekdays working for PNC Bank in downtown Pittsburgh, but her evenings and weekends are devoted to the Bach Choir, pursuing an MBA, and volunteering with SPMMMV. She is also an avid hiker, crafter, and history enthusiast.

Stephanie Fiala, Keyboard

Rikke Foulke, Foulke Fine Art Conservation

Rikke, Lead Conservator, earned a Master of Arts and Certificate in the Conservation of Works of Art from the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University. She was the Culpeper Fellow in Paintings Conservation at the National Gallery of Art in Washington from 1999 to 2002; the NEA Fellow in Paintings Conservation at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh; and the Samuel H. Kress Fellow in Paintings Conservation at the North Carolina Museum of Art from 2003 to 2005. She’s been SPMMMV’s lead conservator since 2009. Read more.

Actor and local historian Wali Jamal

Wali has directed and acted for Pittsburgh Playwrights, and his HISTORY’S FLIPSIDE one-man show, Martin R Delany, gained him critical acclaim and was featured in The Point of Pittsburgh commemorating the city’s 250th Anniversary. In July 2017, Wali performed a speech from Delany and scenes from Shakespeare’s Hamlet with Oscar/Tony winning actor Mark Rylance.


Bayan player Elena Pavlova
Lena is a Russian bayan player. Since her graduation with honor from Far Eastern Academy of Fine Arts (Vladivostok), she was teaching and performing music in Beijing. After moving to Pittsburgh two years ago she joined Russian Balalaika Orchestra of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Mandolin Orchestra, where she enjoys performing folk music.

Soprano Amy Stetten

Amy Stetten is the great-niece of Maxo Vanka on her father George’s side.  She moved to Pittsburgh at the age of 12 and grew up visiting St. Nicholas’ and hearing stories from her father’s early childhood — about mystic uncle Maxo, the birds he kept in the cuffs of his pants, his napkin drawings at dinner, and the gentle response he had when four-year-old George stepped on his guitar.  She studied music and physics at Barnard College in Manhattan, continued her music education with classes at the New England Conservatory, and then came back to Pittsburgh to get her PhD in physics at Carnegie Mellon University.  She has continued to pursue music by singing with the Bach Choir and smaller groups around the city.

Singer-Songwriter Mike Stoutstout-banner

Mike Stout debuted on stage in New York City in 1968, in the midst of a cultural revolution. But in the late seventies, the musician made Pittsburgh his home and quickly became the union’s top grievance man at the Homestead steel mill where he toiled. Now retired, this dedicated community leader has enjoyed a music career spanning over two decades and performed all across the United States and Europe with “the message of human solidarity and peace.” Working with all-star casts of nationally known Pittsburgh musicians and producers Mike has released 13 independent CDs and recorded over 150 songs. He tells stories from his heart about people who are affected by unemployment, social injustice, environmental hazards, or war. Mike is not out to be a rich rock star. As he’s stated on numerous occasions,“the kind of ‘change’ I’m interested in ain’t coins or money, but social movements.”

Actor Michael Lane Sullivan

Michael is a graduate of RMU ’13. He has appeared in productions for Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater, Prime Stage, Barebones Productions, Pittsburgh Public Theater and PMT. He recently played Henry Clay Frick in the original  production The Homestead Strike of 1892, and the Mark Rylance and Friends events in 2017, both  commemorating the 125th Anniversary of the Battle of Homestead.


The Poet…

Historian Dr. Charles McCollestercharlie-2-image

The retired director of the Pennsylvania Center for the Study of Labor Relations and professor in the department of Industrial and Labor Relations at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Charlie was a  machinist at Union Switch & Signal, Swissvale, and chief steward of UE Local 610. The long-time activist and author of Point of Pittsburgh (2008) has published in Monthly Review, The Nation, Labor’s Heritage, Pittsburgh History, The Encyclopedia of Irish in America, with many op-eds in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The University of Pittsburgh Press published his Fighter with a Heart: Writings of Charles Owen Rice, Pittsburgh Labor Priest in 1996. He is an emeritus member of the Battle of Homestead Foundation and authored original poetry celebrating the lighting of the 1941 Murals — Justice, Injustice, Prudence and Mati 1941 — in March 2016 and the 1937 Murals — The Crucifixion, The Pieta, Croatian Mothers Raise Their Sons for War and Immigrant Mother Raises Her Sons for American Industry.

George Stetten, M.D., Ph.D.

Producer/Writer: Lynne Squilla. Lighting: Clear Story.