Live! at the Morley with Amanda Jones and the Family Band

Blog Author: Ellie Rafoth, Community Engagement Intern

image009This week on Wednesday, July 16 at 7 p.m., Live! at the Morley welcomes the musical talents of Amanda Jones and the Family Band!

Michael Myhal, the manager, technical director, and acoustic guitarist of the band, provided me with an inside look at Amanda Jones and the Family Band. Take a look behind the scenes of this country group!

ER: How did Amanda Jones and the Family Band come about?

MM: Amanda Jones and the Family Band began as Everyday America, a Sugarland Tribute Band on New Year’s Eve 2011 at First Night Canfield. We had played there a few other years with other bands, but with Amanda as a vocalist who could duplicate Jennifer Nettles so well, it seemed to makes sense. Our next gig was 3 months later as an opening act for the Kentucky Headhunters and from then on for the next year, the band really took off and we had to begin incorporating more material into the longer shows we were asked to do; that is when we began to work Amanda’s original material into the band. Last year, after the release of her 4 song EP and her finding her own style, we changed the name of the band in order to feature her exclusively. We still do many Sugarland songs, but also do a number of covers songs from the likes of Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, etc. as well as her original material. The band is all from NE Ohio, basically Canfield, Alliance and Warren. Right now, we have been going back and forth to Nashville trying to complete her full length CD, which is due out in late summer. While in Nashville, Amanda has had the opportunity to perform at the famous Bluebird Café, Douglas Corner, and other venues.

ER: How many members are there in Amanda Jones and the Family Band and who are they?

MM: The band is comprised of 5 other members besides Amanda; Brittany Fenstermaker on Keys, Nathan Fenstermaker on Bass, Michael Seifert on Lead Guitar, Frank McDougal on Drums and Michael Myhal on Rhythm Guitar. Amanda and Brittany both have extensive training in classical voice, piano, and musical theater. Other members of the band have been in various other bands over the years as well.

image008ER: What type of music does Amanda Jones and the Family Band play?

MM: We perform country/crossover; cover and original material.

ER: Besides Live! at the Morley, where can we expect to see Amanda Jones and the Family Band?

MM: We have about 30 shows lined up through the summer from Lake Chautauqua in Western New York, to Wheeling WV, to Middle Bass Island near Sandusky. Probably our biggest show so far this year will be opening for Grand Ole Opry member Marty Stuart this Saturday, June 28 at Arts on the Allegheny in Kittanning, PA. We will however be here locally at various summer concert series events at Mosquito Lake Marina, Boardman Park and Austintown Township Park. A full schedule of events can be found at both or

ER: Any closing thoughts or feelings about playing in the MetroParks’ summer concert series Live! at the Morley?

MM: Many of us have great memories of Mill Creek Park and the Morley Pavilion, having seen great artists such as Phil Keaggy and others play there. To be a part of this series is a great honor and opportunity for Amanda to really showcase her voice and talent.

Thanks Mike! We cannot wait to hear the powerful sounds of Amanda and the Family Band at the Judge Morley Pavilion in the MetroParks’ summer concert series Live! at the Morley!

For a complete list of summer concerts during Live! at the Morley, visit

Christina’s Garden Labyrinth to be dedicated Sunday at Fellows Riverside Gardens

Christina’s Garden Labyrinth, a new garden area in Mill Creek MetroParks’ Fellows Riverside Gardens, will be dedicated on Sunday, July 13 at 1 p.m. Created in memory of Christina Camardese Savage by her friends and family, Christina’s Garden Labyrinth will provide a place for visitors to engage with the beauty of the Gardens at a personal level.

Consisting of a contemplative walkway, sculpture, bench and interesting plants, this new feature connects to the existing healthy living opportunities at Fellows Riverside Gardens. Located in a very popular part of the Gardens, the labyrinth is next to the South Terrace with a view of the Rose Garden.

“Labyrinth users will experience a tranquil place that lifts the spirit,” said Horticulture Director Keith Kaiser. “This new area is a beautiful and welcome addition to Fellows Riverside Gardens.”

Open for individual as well as a program space, the Christina’s Garden Labyrinth is another exciting new feature in Mill Creek MetroParks. To learn more about Mill Creek MetroParks, visit our website at

Ring Around the Roses

Blog Author: Ellie Rafoth, Community Engagement Intern

With summer in full bloom, so are the roses at Fellows Riverside Gardens! Known for its beautiful displays of annuals, perennials and bulbs, Fellows Riverside Gardens is also home to roses of all classes. Despite their delicacy and beauty, roses have the stubborn reputation of being hard to care for. With that in mind, the Mill Creek MetroParks Horticulture Department’s Assistant Horticulture Director, Ellen Speicher, provided me with helpful tips for tending to these beautiful flowers!

Roses-KidstonER: Roses have a reputation of being finicky flowers that are hard to care for; is this true?

ES: Actually, no. However, because of the climate in this area, some roses are very susceptible to fungal diseases, such as black spot. Hybrid tea roses, with their long stems and large flowers, require more maintenance as opposed to other types of roses. Old-fashioned shrub roses and the newest modern shrub roses, often called landscape roses, require little care. These are vigorous shrub roses that have greater disease resistance and don’t require frequent pruning or fertilizing.

ER: What are some helpful tips for caring for roses?

ES: All roses require full sun and at least one inch of water per week. During the hot summer weeks, they may need to be hand watered if there has not been enough rainfall.  Fertilizing helps! I recommend mixing 2” of compost around each plant every year which adds nutrients and helps loosen the soil. It also helps to supplement with additional fertilizer. This is done once a month at Fellows Riverside Gardens. Also, don’t prune your roses in the fall! Pruning promotes growth and the new growth will just be killed by cold winter weather. It’s best to prune your roses early in the spring.  At the Gardens, we prune the roses in March or April, depending on the weather.

ER: What type of roses can we expect to see at Fellows Riverside Gardens this summer?

ES: We have so many roses at Fellows Riverside Gardens! We have hybrid tea roses, English roses, floribundas, grandifloras, hybrid perpetual roses and many old-fashioned shrub roses.

SingleRoseER: What is your favorite type of rose at Fellows Riverside Gardens?

ES: It’s so hard to pick! I would have to say the hybrid perpetual roses that are located around the Gazebo. Hybrid perpetuals are large plants that bear large flowers which are extremely fragrant! My favorite color of rose is pink.

CHECK IT OUT: Located in the Modern Rose Garden at Fellows Riverside Gardens is an unusual lavender rose. Can you find it? Take a picture and tweet it @MillCreekMetro!

ER: Any final tips for caring for roses this summer?

ES: With all of the rainy weather, conditions for black spot are heightened. Black spot is a fungal disease that attacks the leaves of plants. If conditions were drier, black spot would not be as much of a threat, however the humidity and wetness provide the conditions for this disease to spread. If you begin to see spots of black on the leaves of your roses, pinch them off to stop the spread of black spot.

Thank you, Ellen, for all of the helpful advice on tending to roses!

Come to Fellows Riverside Gardens to explore, experience, and enjoy the MetroParks beautiful display of roses!