County offering arts and culture grants

The Lackawanna County Arts and Culture Department has released the 2022 Arts and Culture Community Project grants.

Individuals, nonprofits and municipalities may apply for up to $3,000 for a community arts, culture or history project that benefits the community. Applicants come from outside of the county, but all projects must take place in the county and show significant value to the Lackawanna County community.

The deadline for submission is Oct. 8. Awards will be made in January of 2022. Online applications are available at

For more information on this program, contact Maureen McGuigan, deputy director of Arts and Culture, at

570-496-1724 or email

Group awards nursing scholarships

In response to the acute shortage of nurses across the region and its effect on the health and wellness across the region, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation awarded $189,622 in its first year towards nursing scholarships for local students as part of its Careers in Care initiative.

The Careers in Care Nursing Scholarship Program has awarded 21 scholarships to students in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming Counties who plan to pursue or who are pursuing nursing and who will practice in Northeast Pennsylvania.

These scholarship opportunities come during a time where the strains on the health care workforce locally have been significant. In response to the significant interest and need in the region, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation has decided to double the amount available for scholarships in 2022 to $400,000.

The Careers in Care Nursing Scholarship Program accepted applications earlier this year and, through a rigorous and competitive application process, identified a variety of qualified nursing students.

Recipients include Brooke Bird, Luzerne County Community College; Sarah Bonser, Walden University; Jacqueline Cicardo, Luzerne County Community College; Michael Clark, Penn State Scranton; Caity Colan, Luzerne County Community College; Jason Conrad, Luzerne County Community College; Jacqueline Earley, Lackawanna College; Austin Emenyonu, Misericordia University; Elizabeth Hernandez, Luzerne County Community College; Casey Hughes, Luzerne County Community College; Holly Hughes, Marywood University; Nicole Lubash, Marywood University; Brittany Marcinkevich, Lackawanna College; Mary McFadden, Penn State Scranton; Tiffany Megotz, Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County; Anne Murdoch, Penn State Scranton; Samantha Rosselli, Lackawanna College; Laura Slivinski, Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County; Rosa Vazquez Nunez, Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County; Ariana Velez, Wilkes University; and Sabrina Weidlich, Luzerne County Community College.

“Over the past year, we have seen just how timely the Careers in Care initiative really is,” said James Clemente, NEPA Health Care Foundation Board Chair. “The Foundation’s Board understands the strains that the regional healthcare workforce is facing and strives to make an impact to address these critical issues through these important scholarships.”

The Scranton Area Community Foundation administers the NEPA Health Care Foundation.

“I think the fact that the Board of the Northeastern PA Health Care Foundation has decided to double the amount of scholarship support available for nurses in year two speaks to the great need and interest in the program,” said Laura Ducceschi, President and CEO of the Scranton Area Community Foundation. “I think the Foundation board was very innovative in their planning of these scholarships which are made available to nursing students from CNAs through nurse educators at the graduate level.”

To qualify for a Careers in Care Nursing Scholarship, individuals were required to show they have had a permanent address in Lackawanna, Luzerne or Wyoming counties for the last three years. Scholarships were available to those interested in obtaining a CNA and entering the health care workforce.

Scholarships are also for anyone employed in the health care field in either Lackawanna, Luzerne or Wyoming counties and looking to advance as an LPN or RN/BSN. Additionally, students were invited to apply if they were in their third or fourth year of a four-year nursing degree and looking for financial assistance. Scholarship recipients were also asked to demonstrate a commitment to stay in the region. The Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation also invited ‘nontraditional’ students or those looking to go back to school to obtain a nursing degree to apply for a Careers in Care Nursing Scholarship.

Additionally, through Careers in Care, the NEPA Health Care Foundation will provide grant support totaling $830,000, to a variety of organizations including Lackawanna College, for its three-year plan to enhance the pipeline of local health care professionals and increase the number of trained and retained in the region; United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA for its Upward Economic Mobility Program; and Saint Joseph’s Center for direct support professional wage increases. The Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation’s Careers in Care initiative is a $1.7 million commitment between 2020-2023.

In addition to the Careers in Care initiative, the NEPA Health Care Foundation is also in the seventh year of a $3.2 million commitment to the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine for scholarship support for incoming first-year medical students from Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming counties. The NEPA Health Care Foundation Scholars program covers full tuition for these scholars, who indicate a commitment to practice medicine in NEPA.

Chorale announces new music director



The Arcadia Chorale announced the appointment of Matthew Rupcich as its new music director, beginning with the 2021–22 concert season.

Rupcich had been serving as the chorale’s interim music director since the 2019–20 season, when he stepped in for Dr. Steven Thomas, who was on extended medical leave.

This appointment makes Rupcich the third music director in the vhorale’s history, following the tenures of Thomas and Robert Dale Herrema, the group’s founder.

“We’re thrilled to have Matthew accept the Music Director position,” said Arcadia Chorale’s Board President Evelyn Munley. “He has seen us through the chorale’s most difficult seasons, shepherding us through Steven’s absence and the pandemic. His dedication to the group has been remarkable.”

Under his leadership, the Chorale produced a virtual season for 2020–2021, breaking new ground for the ensemble with innovative video recordings of three separate pieces, all while maintaining the highest degree of musical excellence and personal safety for the chorale’s singers and staff.

Mr. Rupcich received the M.M. in choral conducting from the University of Maryland, and the B.M. in music education from the Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with world-renowned soprano, Phyllis Bryn-Julson. In addition to serving as Arcadia Chorale’s music director, he is the conductor of Misericordia University’s Community Choir.

The Arcadia Chorale will open its 2021–22 season on Sept. 19 in a joint

concert with Voce Angeli at McDade Park in Scranton. The free concert is part of the Art in the Park series sponsored by the Lackawanna County Arts & Culture Department.

The chorale’s season continues with an October fall concert honoring first responders, and a Christmas concert in December with music reflecting the Christmas story characters.

The ensemble plans to resume its traditions of hosting an annual Messiah Sing Along in December and the two-day NEPA Bach Festival in March, before ending the season with a Pops concert in late spring. In May, the chorale will also feature prominently in a memorial concert dedicated to the late Dr. Steven Thomas, who passed away in July 2020.

For more information about Mr. Rupcich and the Arcadia Chorale, including details about the upcoming season and ongoing auditions, please visit the ensemble’s website,