Planning midsummer events can be an iffy proposition, but the timing was right for the Keynotes of South Hills’ July 18 fundraiser.

The temperature may have been a little on the high side for the garden party at the Mt. Lebanon home of John and Liz Kanche, but everyone present agreed the clear blue sky of the early evening beat the alternative.

Lisa Jaworksi and Chuck Hankle

Harry Funk/The Almanac

Lisa Jaworski and Chuck Hankle provide entertainment during the garden party.

The Keynotes’ mission is to provide scholarships for talented music students, and as such, some talented musicians entertained at the party. Vocalist Lisa Jaworksi and guitarist Chuck Hankle represent half of the ensemble Lisa Jay and the TriO, which also features her husband, Jeff, on bass and Alan Fear on percussion.

An impromptu violin recital at the garden party was provided by Lucy Kanche, the younger daughter of John and Liz.

“She’s so shy,” her mother commented, wholly ironically.

Lucy also joined sister Tess and cousin Kathryn Hart during the event in selling raffle tickets to help the Keynotes’ cause.

Kathryn Hart and Tess Kanche

Harry Funk/The Almanac

Cousins Kathryn Hart, left, and Tess Kanche sell raffle tickets during the garden party to benefit Keynotes of South Hills.

The organization has given more than $400,000 toward music scholarships since its founding, and members are planning a 50th anniversary celebration for Aug. 18 at the Club at Nevillewood in Collier Township. The event begins at 4 p.m. and features dinner, music and dancing.

Scholarship recipients are selected annually based on a music competition, and this year’s recipients were:

  • First place – percussionist Sophie Lauver, a 2019 Mt. Lebanon High School graduate who will attend Northwestern University;
  • Second place – Kyle Johnson, a cellist who will be a senior at Carnegie Mellon University;
  • Third place – soprano Kristin Howard, who will be a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University, and baritone Robert Raso, a graduate student at Eastman School of Music;
  • Honorary mention – Jacqueline Tardanico, another soprano who will be a CMU graduate student.

Also, the Phillip Bianco Music Scholarship, honoring a jazz musician and teacher for nearly 40 years at Mt. Lebanon High School, was awarded to Alexis Shulte-Albert, who plays the double bass and will be a freshman at Indiana University.

Scholarships are open to instrumentalists who are younger than 26 and voice students under 30. They must be full-time music majors who are enrolled in a music school or in the music department of a college or university.

Erin Hart and Lynn Hagan

Erin Hart, left, and her mother, Lynn Hagan, are longtime Keynotes supporters.

Graduating high school students are eligible if they have been accepted for admission and will enroll as full-time music majors in the fall.

Keynotes of South Hills established the scholarship fund in memory of Fay S. Olmsted, who served as the organization’s president and managing director for 20 years. The original $900 donated by the Keynotes in 1970 has grown steadily through investments, memorial tributes, benefit parties and special gifts.

For more information about the organization and the 50th anniversary celebration, contact Lynn Hagan at or call 412-491-7250.

Liz Kanche, Kate Hankle and Elizabeth Sump

Harry Funk/The Almanac

Garden party host Liz Kanche, left, greets guests Kate Hankle, wife of guitarist Chuck, and Elizabeth Sump.

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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