Center Stage

Get a front row seat to local musical performances on Center Stage. This WITF original production brings local live music to you! Enjoy full-length regional concerts, Sundays at 8pm on WITF 89.5 and 93.3

We’re unable to post audio on-demand due to certain restrictions, but typically most concerts are repeated after a few months. Please check our program calendar for your favorite artists in the coming weeks and months.

Jazz Pianist Dave McKenna on Center Stage

Written by Cary Burkett, Arts & Culture Desk and WITF Host | Jun 7, 2013 4:20 PM

Saturday, Sept 28 at 8 p.m. on witf’s Center Stage



The late jazz pianist Dave McKenna was a modest man who once said that he was simply a “saloon piano player”. Other jazz musicians, however, reject that self-effacing remark. Legendary jazz pianist Art Tatum praised McKenna as a “complete musician”.

McKenna played with Charlie Ventura and Woody Herman’s Orchestra in the 1950’s. He worked with many famous jazz stars including Gene Krupa, Joe Venuti, Stan Getz and many others. He had an extensive recording career which ran from 1958 to 2002.

In 1991, Dave McKenna performed in a concert at the Mount Gretna Playhouse, which is the basis of his performance on witf’s Center Stage. The concert was provided to witf by Russ Neff, one of the founding fathers of the Central PA Friends of Jazz. In it, McKenna did what he often liked to do, playing thematic medleys of tunes based around a key word that appears in the title.

Dave McKenna passed away in 2008. The Center Stage program includes a conversation with his son, Steve McKenna reminiscing about his father.

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