Simply Grand | Programs | WVIA
simply grand
Radio - Local Programs

Simply Grand


Quarterly on WVIA
Allows musicians originally from or currently residing in Pennsylvania to display their talents to a large "hometown" audience. Each year WVIA-FM broadcasts the entire 4 concert series of "Simply Grand" concerts.

In 1990, WVIA purchased a Steinway "B" grand piano for the purpose of presenting concerts and recording studio sessions of regional artists.  The instrument was purchased through a half cash/half trade agreement with a music company within our listening area.  The dollars necessary were raised through a fund raising campaign called the "Grand Plan".  The instrument was inaugurated at a gala concert in  October, 1990 which included performances by the Beaux Arts Trio, jazz pianist Ted Rosenthal and the contemporary music ensemble "Crossings".

The "Simply Grand" concert series began on November 8, 1991 with a performance by The Philadelphia Trio, the members of which run a summer program in Eagles Mere, a town in the WVIA coverage area.  That premiere concert was not only recorded and broadcast on WVIA-FM, but also on WVIA-TV.

The WVIA-FM "Simply Grand" series allows musicians originally from or currently residing in Pennsylvania to display their talents to a large "hometown" audience.  In turn, residents of northeastern and northcentral Pennsylvania are given the opportunity to experience the quantity and quality of talent available in their "backyards".

The response from WVIA's listeners to the "Simply Grand" concerts has been overwhelmingly positive.  Each of concerts has attracted a near-capacity in-studio audience (about 100 people). The artists as well have been impressed with the series.  Countertenor Thomas Mark Fallon wrote after the concert: "I was most pleased with both the quality of the recording and the warmth of the audience you had assembled.” “Congratulations on having everything run so smoothly".  Pianist Lois Forbes commented: "I just wanted to write a note of thanks for the fine way in which you assembled our interview for the broadcast of our 4-hand recital...Your selection of comments was great."

Each year WVIA-FM broadcasts the entire four-concert series of "Simply Grand" concerts.  This affords the performing artists a much larger audience than they could otherwise assemble.  Most of the concert halls in which these artists perform seat, perhaps, 500 people.  WVIA-FM has a weekly audience of over 60,000 people.  

To see the entire list of Simply Grand Performers, click here.

Simply Grand Concerts

Sheri Melcher and Richard Amoroso

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Featuring pianist Sheri Melcher, Director of the Creative and Performing Arts Academy at The Scranton Cultural Center and Richard Amoroso, violinist with the esteemed Philadelphia Orchestra.

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The Gabriel Chamber Ensemble

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The Gabriel Chamber Ensemble delights its audiences with its informative and fun presentations, its quality of performance, and its informality. 

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The Metta String Quartet

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Include HAYDN. Quartet in D Major, Op. 64, No. 5, "The Lark", MENDLESSOHN, Quartet in A Minor, Op. 13, and DVORAK, String Quartet No. 12 in F Major, Op. 96 (American)

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Photo Gallery

Eaken Piano Trio

Meet the Team

Larry Vojtko

Larry VojtkoWVIA-FM Program Manager and afternoon classical music host, Larry Vojtko began his tenure at the station in 1982 as the early morning host/announcer. He is also the prouducer and host of most of the concert broadcasts for the station. During his tenure Larry has interviewed many celebrities and musicians of international renown such as clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, pianists Leon Fleisher and Jean-Yves Thibaudet, baroque cellist Anner Bylsma, conductor/composer Gunther Schuller, and bass Paul Plishka. He also organizes and produces the WVIA "Simply Grand" series of in-studio classical concerts. In May 2003, Larry led the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic in concert as guest conductor, an honor bestowed in observance of Larry’s 20th anniversary with WVIA.

In addition to his work at WVIA, Larry has remained actively involved in the music community of Northeastern Pennsylvania. The baritone has sung with many area ensembles including: the Robert Dale Chorale, Mostly Opera, Zusammen, Amici Cantus, the Wyoming Valley Oratorio Society, St. Cecilia's Church Choir and the Choir of the First Presbyterian Church in Wilkes-Barre where he was baritone soloist for nine years. He has cultivated a keen interest in musical theater by working both as a performer and Music Director in many productions of community theatres including: Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre, Showcase Theater and Music Box Dinner Playhouse.

Larry received a B.S. degree in Music Education from Wilkes College. After graduation he continued his musical studies in voice with Mr. Richard Chapline and is currently a student of Metropolitan Opera baritone Theodore Lambrinos. Larry continues to teach voice privately. He is also an adjunct faculty member of the Communications Department of Luzerne County Community College.

Larry lives in Wyoming with his wife, Bernardine, and sons, Michael Lawrence and Jonathan Matthew. You can listen to Larry every weekday afternoon from 1-4 PM.