Scott’s Thoughts- April 2022

It’s Spring!!!!!! After a very long winter that started in March of 2020, the world is coming alive again. That includes Penn Square Music Festival.

Last month our production of Scalia/Ginsburg was a huge success. Now to build on it. We have just launched our spring season.

Two more outrageously fun Opera: Up Close and Personal presentations. Sopranos and Shots on April 24th and Mezzos and Martinis on June 5th. Check out our website for more details and tickets.

I am always one who is looking ahead. My family always wonders why I don’t bask in the glow of a success, but am always looking at the next performance opportunity. Just part of my nature. I love planning. 

It’s a busy season for Phyllis and I. We have the two small events, plus our Gershwin to Sondheim concert of musical theatre. Two days later Phyllis and I get on a plane for Minneapolis for the Opera America Conference. We get back and have the final recital for the Penn Square Music Conservatory students. Then we fly to England to see our son Peter perform Rodolfo in La Boheme at Nevil-Holt Opera Company.

So I have planned ahead. 

Then there is next season. No, sorry. You’re not going to find out what it is until you come to the Musical Theatre Concert on May 13th or 15th. I will be announcing it then. But it is going to be a wonderful season with something in it for everyone. 

In the meantime, there is always yardwork to do as the flower beds and garden wake up from the winter. Enough to keep us all occupied.

I hope to see you at as many performances this spring as you can fit into your schedule. I’m incredibly proud of how Penn Square Music Festival and Penn Square Music Conservatory is growing. It is a bright future for all our singers and for the Lancaster community as all the arts organizations come out of hibernation and rebloom great music for all of us.

Have a wonderful Spring. See you all at our performances. Come say hi.



Scott’s Thoughts- January 2022

It’s hard to believe that the pandemic started a year and ten months ago, and now it is 2022.

My head is sometimes still stuck in 2020. Not a particularly good place to be.

Penn Square Music has much to be thankful for. We have had three presentations. Tenors and Tequila, Basses and Beer and Jingle All the Cabaret. All were hugely successful. For this, I thank all our sponsors, patrons and audience.

I’m looking at 2022 and it is a very busy year. And I’m incredibly excited for it. Here is a little look at my calendar for the first half of the year.

February 10 and 11 – auditions for the 2022-2023 season in New York City. Applications are coming in and we will be hearing some very exciting singers.

March 11-13 – Scalia/Ginsburg – I’m incredibly excited about the people I will be working with some fantastic singers and the production is something visually to see. Get your tickets now.

April 24 – The next in our Opera: Up Close and Personal. Sopranos and Shots will be an evening of great entertainment.

May 13 and 15 – From Gershwin to Sondheim: A Night of the Classics. A Concert of wonderful traditional Musical Theatre music by six extremely talented singers. Not to be missed.

May 17-20 – My wife Phyllis and I attend the Opera America Conference. This should be an eye opening experience.

June 5 – The final concert of Opera: Up Close and Personal – Mezzos and Martinis

June ?? – A trip to England to see some opera and explore the country. More on that later.



Scott’s Thoughts – November 2021

We did it!!! We presented two live performances in September and November. Both “Tenors and Tequila” and “Basses and Beer” were huge successes with much larger audiences than I was predicting.

It is in smaller performances such as these that we can watch the family of Penn Square Music Festival grow. I am immensely thankful for all the wonderful patrons who help to support the mission of Penn Square Music Festival, the Penn Square Music Conservatory and OperaLancaster.

Volunteerism is something that has been waning in the past several years, and some say that Covid 19 had a serious impact on people volunteering their time for worthy causes.

I would like to think that volunteering took a pause when we were all sheltered at home, but the possibilities of helping are out there again.

A group of volunteers to help with the work of Penn Square Music Festival is a dream that I have had since the beginning. I would love to see a Penn Square Music Guild be formed to further flesh out what Penn Square Music Festival does in this wonderful community of Lancaster, PA.

Planning, implementation of plans, hosting singers, helping with transportation, being a welcoming spirit for all that we do in the community. These are vital to any arts organization. We also hope to have perks for those who volunteer with us. 

Come join us and let’s explore together the many ways that we can spread the news of Penn Square Music in the community. Reach out to us by an email or a phone call.

I hope to become friends with many of you out there that will consider volunteering their time.

Until next time, have a wonderful Thanksgiving.



Scott’s Thoughts- FAQ’s

Here are some questions that I am frequently asked:

Question 1: How often do you get to a live performance?

There is nothing better than the thrill of a live performance! I wish I could attend more, but I’m making a concentrated effort to see as many productions as possible now that live performance is back. I especially like to support performances by our local and regional theatre companies and music organizations here in Lancaster. I’m very interested in seeing all four candidates for the new Music Director position of the Lancaster Symphony.

Phyllis and I love to go to the Philadelphia Orchestra. It is always a treat!

As for opera, that takes a little more planning. I hope to go to the Metropolitan Opera at least once this season and to some of the regional opera productions nearby. While I am so happy for the convenience and accessibility of the Met HD performances, there is nothing like being in the theatre for a live performance. Like many of you, I’m waiting to see how pandemic numbers proceed. I’m encouraged for everyone, our audiences included, to see the numbers going in the right direction.

Question 2: What is your favorite opera?

I don’t have one opera that is my absolute favorite. I love so many genres of opera. The variety of styles in opera is why it is such a viable art form. Opera is like Rock and Roll. Having grown up in the greatest era of Rock and Roll, the 60’s, there were so many different kinds to choose from.

I love Mozart’s operas. They just sparkle for me. Bel Canto gets my attention with its unbelievably beautiful lines and vocal pyrotechnics. Last time, I mentioned that the first opera I ever saw was Lucia di Lammermoor with Beverly Sills.

I love the operas of Verdi and love to see how he grew as a composer. Verismo operas are fascinating to me. The characters are so relatable in all their flaws. I can’t get through Puccini’s La Boheme without crying. I’ve had the privilege of conducting several operas in this style.

The 20th and 21st centuries have seen some absolute masterpieces. I was profoundly moved by a performance of the 21st century opera Silent Night and the late 20th century opera Dead Man Walking. Both are on my bucket list to produce.

Final Question: Who is your favorite singer?

I have many favorite singers. Beverly Sills, obviously, and Leontyne Price, who I saw in concert at the Kennedy Center when I was in graduate school are my early favorites. I have never seen an audience go crazy for performers as those. More contemporary favorites are the phenomenal tenor Javier Camerera and Joyce DiDonato who is a wonderful mezzo soprano.

I subscribe to a Facebook group called Forgotten Opera Singers. It is a fascinating group that posts biographies and links to recordings of some very famous singers of the past going back to the roots of recording in the early 20th century. I thoroughly enjoy not only listening to how they sang but how performance practices have changed over the years. I highly recommend this group. You can spend way too much time listening but it’s great fun. 

Let’s keep opera alive and thriving. It is truly one of the most exciting art forms there is.

Till next time.



Scott’s Thoughts- What Was I Thinking??

Opera????? How did I get here? Why do I love this art form so much?

It started with a piano and a pair of glasses. I started wearing glasses and playing the piano the same month when I was 8. I put on the glasses and noticed this big blurry thing in the living room.

I practiced and got pretty good. Growing up in Harrisburg, I joined the Wednesday Club, a musical club for young classical musicians. When I was 13, we took a field trip to New York City to see Lucia di Lammermoor at the New York City Opera. It starred a soprano I had never heard of ….. Beverly Sills.

I was instantly enamoured of the music and at the end of the mad scene, Miss Sills sang the final high note and tumbled down a flight of stairs. I was hooked!!!!!

I majored in piano performance in college, but I always wanted to play for singers. Not only did I get a Master’s degree in Vocal Accompanying and Coaching, I married a soprano! We’ve performed together for XX years, and music continues to bring us together. 

Opera is the unification of all aspects of the stage: the beautiful music, the spectacle, the dramatic stories, everything that makes this art form so exciting. I want to share my love of this incredible art form with everyone, and help to develop new fans of the opera world.

Cheers, till next time.


Scott’s Thoughts

Scott Drackley here, the Founder and Artistic Director of Penn Square Music Festival. I’d like to introduce you to an exciting new way to learn more about your favorite arts organization, Penn Square Music Festival and Conservatory: my new blog called Scott’s Thoughts! This blog will include some unique and interesting perspectives. Come join us!

A little about me: I love singing and I love singers. That’s obvious because I married one. I signed on to be my wife Phyllis’ accompanist in college and I’ve been doing it ever since. We had two sons, both singers. Both tenors. While both continue to sing their hearts out, my younger son, Peter decided to pursue it as a career. This opened my eyes as to what challenges and opportunities singers have in the 21st century.

Opera is thriving in the 21 st century. We have a huge array of a wonderful tradition from the past and also some incredibly exciting operas that are being written and premiered as we speak. Plus, as a retired music educator, I love to introduce audiences to genres of vocal music of which they might not have heard.

Scott’s Thoughts will bring you some interesting insights into the Penn Square Music Festival and Consercvatory. How we function, the state of the arts regionally, nationally and globally, and how do we choose what we perform and who performs with us.

I will introduce you to singers, board members, conservatory teachers, volunteers and people who do that absolutely essential “behind the scenes” work. And by the way, if you are interested in helping out in ANY way, we’d love to have you in the PSMF family!

Share this blog with people you know who like to hear about arts organizations and how they

actually function, Check out our newly designed website. It’s a beauty!! Watch our recent Harmonize Lancaster concerts with the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra. And keep an eye out for some exciting upcoming events!

Even in this virtual time, I am very optimistic of our future. But I can’t give it all way in the first blog post…

Stay safe and healthy.