The musical ensemble, Black Bear Crossing, is comprised of
musicians scattered throughout Lycoming and Snyder
Counties in north central Pennsylvania.
Lucy Henry lives near Elimsport,
Wendy McCormick from the Jersey Shore area,
Phylleri Ball from the Trout Run area,
Katie Brosky lives in South Williamsport,
and Warren Fisher resides near Selinsgrove.
Since the group members must travel back roads in order to hold a
"jam" or practice session they selected a name which reflects a
common thread-the occasional sighting of a black bear enroute to
the rehearsal site.
A wide variety of instrumentation allows the ensemble to explore many
musical expressions. Their repertoire includes tunes found in the Celtic
lands of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, selections with an Eastern
European flavor, as well as traditional and Old Timey American
favorites. Musical styles include jigs, waltzes, aires, hambos, polkas,
swing and traditional vocal. Black Bear Crossing performs for
organizations, concerts, fairs, contradances, community events and
Lucy Henry taught music in the Williamsport Area School District before
her retirement, and has played flute since childhood. She also plays
soprano, alto and tenor recorders, penny whistle, the Irish flute and
the hammered dulcimer. She is the co-director for the New Horizon Band,
a concert band for adults over the age of 50, and sings in many vocal
ensembles and community theatre productions. Her husband, Bruce, builds
Appalachian mountain dulcimers, and together they are known as
performers on these traditional instruments.
Wendy McCormick began her musical career as a young child with the
request to learn to play the accordion. Her parents bargained with her-a
year of piano lessons first, then the squeezebox. That year turned into
classical piano training and a college degree as a music therapist. It
was after all the thousands of hours of serious keyboard practicing that
she discovered the hammered dulcimer, and her exploration of folk music
began. Some twenty years later she bought her first Celtic harp and
realized that she had finally found the instrument which, "speaks to her
heart". Wendy is in her final year of special education teaching with
the Jersey Shore School District. Upon retirement she will devote more
time to harp performance and teaching, and to volunteering for hospice.
Incidentally, she still performs on the accordion which she received on
her 10th birthday, after that year of piano lessons.
Phylleri Ball, Wendy's sister, brings the contradance energy and
experience to the ensemble. She played the piano as a child and took up
the banjo during college. Later, while living in Oregon and Colorado,
she played keyboard and accordion backup for several contradance bands.
After moving to Pennsylvania she introduced Black Bear to the driving
rhythms of this style, convincing them to add this element to their
repertoire. Phylleri owns Steam Valley Mountain Fiber Farm near Liberty.
Known to her friends as Katie B., this fiddler jumped at the opportunity
to be a part of Black Bear Crossing. A recent graduate of Susquehanna
University, Katie is enjoying teaching violin and viola in the
Williamsport area. She is originally from the Harrisburg area and has
been playing violin since she was three. She has been involved in many
groups and orchestras over the years, including a bluegrass band
(Raisin' Kain) and two classical quartets. She believes that she would
not have made it to where she is without the help and loving support of
her mother, because she truly is her biggest fan. In the future, she
plans to continue with the violin and her fiddling and help many young
people learn and enjoy the wonders that music can bring.
Warren Fisher, the bass player, renewed a childhood interest in stringed
instruments twenty five years ago. He began playing the stringed bass in
support of the Frosty Valley Dulcimer Friends. Today, as a retired
economist and economics professor, he plays autoharp, bass and guitar.
He builds autoharps, bowed psalteries and Appalachian dulcimers in his
The band has two CDs,
Black Bear Crossing . . .The Bridge,
and, recently, The Trail.
Their second CD was recorded with fiddle player Melissa Becker
as a guest artist. Melissa is currently pursuing her doctorate
degree in music in Texas.