Archive Monthly Archives: August 2020

Pittsburgh Shriners Present Live Summer Music Series

August 4, 2020 

Miller Lite Thunder Thursdays & Weekend Concerts Keep the Music Playing for Bands and Fans Alike

With precious few opportunities to enjoy live music this summer, Pittsburgh’s Syria Shriners have stepped into the breach to offer local bands and music fans an airy, covered outdoor venue for live shows in the Pavilion at the Pittsburgh Shrine Center in Harmar.

Every Thursday night, the Miller Lite Thunder Thursdays Summer Music Series features local bands with physically-distanced seating, no cover charge, and no fear of inclement weather spoiling the fun. And on many weekends, ticketed concert events keep the music playing all summer and into October.

Tasty Partnerships

The Shriners have teamed up with Ronny “Moondog” Esser to produce the series. Shriners business manager Bob Addleman says, “we are so very happy to partner with Moondog’s, the StarLite Lounge, and Band Together Pittsburgh to provide bands a place to play, and music lovers a place to enjoy them, in as safe an environment as we can offer. It’s been a tough year, and we are glad we have a facility that can host these events. Our pavilion can hold 1,000 people, so we can provide ample physical distancing and still have a nice audience for our musicians.”

Esser, who owns Moondog’s and the StarLite Lounge in Blawnox, and is the man behind the music at the Pittsburgh Blues & Roots Festival and the Eight Great Tuesdays series in Erie, calls the shows, “a ray of sunshine on an otherwise dismal year for music. Moondog’s has been closed since March, we’ve been able to do very little at the StarLite, the Blues & Roots Festival and the Erie concerts had to be canceled, The Shriners’ series gives bands a stage, and their fans a place to see and hear them perform. I’m overjoyed to be a part of it. When music is what you’ve lived your whole life, you need it to stay sane.”

Rockin’ Entertainment

The Thursday series started June 11, and runs through at least October 1. The Billy Price Band kicked off the weekend concerts, July 26. Bill Toms and Hard Rain, featuring the Soulville Horns, and special guest, the Aris Paul Band, play this Saturday, August 8.

Thursday evening shows are from 7-9pm, with gates opening at 6pm each week. Weekend shows begin at 4pm, with gates opening for general admission at 3pm, and early entry at 2:30pm. Tickets to weekend concerts are available at syriashriners.com.

Upcoming Shows:

(More dates and performers will be announced soon.)

Thursday, August 6   The Stevee Wellons Band
Saturday, August 8 Bill Toms and Hard Rain, featuring the Soulville Horns, with the Aris Paul Band (Get Tickets Here!)
Thursday, August 13  The Tina Daniels Band
Thursday, August 20 Blues Society of Western Pennsylvania Night with Bobby Thompson and The Groove
Thursday, August 27 The Bail Jumpers
Thursday, September 3 Bubs McKeg & The Aces
Thursday, September 10 Shot O’ Soul
Thursday, September 17 Curtis and the SHAKERZ
Thursday, September 24 The Shiners

About Pittsburgh’s Syria Shriners

With nearly 4,000 members in Western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh’s Syria Shriners is one of the largest of the nearly 200 local chapters of Shriners International worldwide. The goal of the Shriners is to be the premiere fraternal organization for men of good character. The Shriners are committed to providing attractive, quality programs and services for its members, their families, friends, and the community in a spirit of fun, fellowship and philanthropy. Shriners foster self-improvement through leadership, education, the perpetuation of moral values and community involvement. Shriners serve humankind through the resources of its great philanthropy, the Shriners Hospitals for Children®. For more information, please visit www.syriashriners.org

Syria Shriners August, 2020 Update

Proceeds benefit Syria Shriners. Ticket price is NOT tax deductibleWe have received approval from the Allegheny County Health Department to hold physically-distanced events at our facilities. Outdoor events are considerably easier to schedule right now, but we're able to have limited indoor events, too. Time to make hay while the sun shines, at least from a fundraising standpoint. We need to support and encourage our friends to join the fun on Thunder Thursdays Bike Nights, and read on for an exciting new fundraiser that will be critical to making the most of our fraternal fundraising opportunities this year.

Watch for additional communication, check our website at syriashriners.org, and follow our Facebook page for ongoing information as developments unfold.

Meanwhile, stay well. We look forward to seeing you soon.


Clearly, this has been a very challenging year for Syria Shriners from a financial standpoint, and more, but particularly financially. We have been unable to do anything in our building since mid-March. Our wedding, prom, and corporate events have disappeared. Our important fundraisers from the Sportsmen's Bash to the First Choice Wine Festival, the North Hills Homebrewer's Fest, the fall Night at the Races, and our 3-day Rocktoberfest Pittsburgh festival have all been canceled, as have many of our pavilion rentals for outside events, leaving a gaping hole in the revenue side of our budget. We are doing everything possible to control expenses. For example, our office has been closed since March 16, and our facilities staff is operating with absolute minimum hours and workers. We have suspended publication of the VOICE of Syria Shriners, because there are no activities, and because we want to save the costs involved in production and mailing.


Our summer music events are doing well for us, and as we've been trying to do for years, we are drawing the general public to our facility, showing them a good time, and making some money in the process. Participation from our members, however, has been minimal. If even two per cent of our members would attend, we would reach our capacity every week.

That's why we need to count on YOU to help. It is important that you support our summer music series to the extent that you are able. Our Thursday night shows, and our ticketed weekend concerts, presented OUTDOORS in our spacious pavilion, with four seats to a table normally used by eight people, and all the tables distanced from one another, and mask protocols in place, are vitally important in helping us generate revenue and keep the wolf away from the door. If you can't personally attend these events for whatever reason, from personal income loss, to concern about public events, schedule conflicts, your taste in music, or your distance from the Shrine Center, please do what you can to support them, and please share them with your friends on Facebook and other social media. Talk with your friends about them. Ask them to join you for a very fun night or afternoon out.

We hope a dues increase is not necessary, but without YOUR ACTIVE SUPPORT NOW, that may well be an inevitable eventuality in the very near future. PLEASE DO YOUR PART TO SUPPORT YOUR TEMPLE. Thanks!

Call For Email Update Help

We're looking for someone to take over creation of these periodic email updates. If this is in your wheelhouse, and you're interested in helping out, please click HERE to email the Recorder.

Quarterly Meeting Canceled

Given current restrictions on indoor gatherings in Allegheny County, the complete lack of business to come before the body, and the shortened interval between the third and fourth Quarterly Meetings, and the less-than-satisfying experience of hold ing our last Quarterly meeting electornically, the Quarterly Meeting scheduled for August 3 has been canceled. We will next hold a Quarterly Meeting on Monday, October 5, at 7:30pm, in the Pittsburgh Shrine Center Ballroom, if possible, or using the ZOOM platform, if necessary.

This month at Pittsburgh Shrine Center


Syria Shriners, in conjunction with Moondog's & the StarLite Lounge, proudly presents the Miller Lite Thunder Thursdays Summer Music Series, all summer long in the spacious Pittsburgh Shrine Center Pavilion, continuing weekly through October 1. We're excited to have this speical opportunity to add much-needed funds to our coffers in this challenging financial year.

Gates open weekly at 6pm, and the live music begins at 7pm. We wrap things up on stage at 9pm, so you won't have to stay up past your bedtime to have a good time. The StarLite Lounge, featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, will be on hand to feed you. A full bar will be available. All events are rain or shine. You know our pavilion is impervious to inclement weather (and we've had plenty so far this summer), so the shows will go on, without regard to any raindrops we may see. YOUR support is critical to the success of this series.

NEVER A COVER ... BUT ALWAYS UNDER COVER - Plenty of great Miller Lite giveaways! - Attendance is limited to 250, so come early!

The Thunder rolls again this Thursday with the sultry blues, jazz, and rocks sounds of the Stevee Wellons Band. This group of seasoned pros has done it all over the years, in a variety of this area's greatest bands, and they'll be doin' it again for us on our very own Pitttsburgh Shrine Center pavilion stage Thursday night!

Check out Stevee and company below.

Watch this space for more information on the bands, vendors, and other fun stuff in store.

Please do your best to support this series. Mark your calendar, tell your friends, and be sure to share on your social media accounts!



  • August 6 The Stevee Wellons Band
  • August 13 Tina Daniels Band
  • August 20 Bobby Thompson and The Groove
  • August 27 The Bail Jumpers

Ladies Luncheon Saturday, August 8 Honors First Lady Eleanor Taylor

The 2020 Ladies Luncheon, honoring Syria Shriners First Lady Eleanor Taylor is fast approaching on Saturday, August 8. Doors open at 10:30am, and the program gets under way at 11:15am. Lady Debbie Green is chairing the event, and Lady Kathy Steinheiser is handling tickets and seating arrangements. Click here for reservations.

Due to physical distancing guidelines, tables will now need to be four or six ladies, rather than eight or ten, and tables will be placed in such a way as to guarantee a safer environment for all guests. Thank you for understanding. We will try to accommodate your seating requests as best we can.

Let's have a great day to honor a special Lady! Plan to stick around for the fabulous concert below!

Bill Toms and Hard Rain, featuring the Soulville Horns with special guest, Aris Paul Band, Saturday, August 8


Pittsburgh rock 'n' roll legend Bill Toms returns to the Pittsburgh Shrine Center Pavilion, THIS SATURDAY, August 8 at 4pm. Bill and his band Hard Rain are backed by the fabulous Soulville Horns, featuring Syria Shriners Noble Steve Graham on trombone, Phil Brontz on sax, and George Archer on trumpet.

Bill Toms launched his musical career in 1987 as lead guitarist of Pittsburgh’s legendary band Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers, During that period, he opened for and played with such legendary names as The Band, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Little Feat, and Stevie Ray Vaughn. While playing guitar, co-writing, and adding backup vocals for the Houserockers, Toms and the band recorded six studio albums and one live concert album together. In 1995, The Houserockers released American Babylon, which was recorded and produced by Springsteen himself.

With nine studio albums and last year's Live! CD under their belt, Bill Toms and Hard Rain have been delighting audiences across the USA and in Europe for many years since.

As a solo artist, Toms has opened for the likes of Buddy Guy, Levon Helm, Marshall Crenshaw, The Kennedys, Steve Forbert, and Ellis Paul.

The current pandemic has severely limited our opprotunities to catch this great act, and we've got them, this coming Saturday!

Award-winning singer-songwriter/gutiarist Aris Paul and his band will wopen the show.

General admission tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the gate. Showtime is 4pm. General admission opens at 3pm. Early entry tickets, at $25, get you in at 2:30pm, and your first drink is on the house!

For more info on these outstanding bands, click the photos above.

Early entry & advance tickets available below. Tickets are moving fast. Don't get shut out. Trust me, you don't want to miss this show!



The Big Band is Back!! (We hope!)

Swing Time Nights Scheduled to Return Friday, August 21

Swing Time Nights, featuring the Syria Shriners Stage Band, return to the Pittsburgh Shrine Center Ballroom, Friday, August 21, The band was just ready to kick off its 2020 season when Shrine activities were suspended, so the July date marks the band's 2020 debut. The music starts at 7pm, and admission is $5 at the door. Come on out and swing!


  • Miller Lite Thunder Thursdays continue!
  • More concert dates to be announced!
  • Oktoberfest Returns to the Pittsburgh Shrine Center Pavilion, Sunday, September 27! Always one of our most popular events . Stay tuned for more information!

CASH Give-A-Way Lottery Fundraiser Crucial to Success

by Randy Hobaugh, Second Ceremonial Master

I would like to share with you a new Syria Shrine fundraiser that will replace our long-standing Car Raffle. For the past couple of years, the raffle ticket sales have been declining, and it’s time to introduce something new. With that said, this year we will be kicking off a $25,000 HOLIDAY CASH GIVE-A-WAY .

This lottery fundraiser will be given away during the week of Christmas.

Syria Holiday Cash Give-A-Way Ticket will be sold for $10 per ticket, with a total giveaway of $25,000.

The prizes will be awarded on the PA Lottery 7pm Daily Pick 4, and two numbers will be printed on each ticket.

Prizes will be awarded as follows:

  • December 21 - $ 500
  • December 22 - $ 1,000
  • December 23 - $ 1,500
  • December 24 - $ 2,000
  • December 25 - $20,000 Grand Prize

We really need to sell all 5,000 tickets to optimize this fundraiser. We are very much hoping that everyone can buy and/or sell tickets to support this effort. Please do your best to help reduce our deficit, and avoid dues increases.

Proceeds benefit Syria Shriners. Ticket price is NOT tax deductible

Pittsburgh Shrine Center Office Closure

The Pittsburgh Shrine Center and Syria Shriners business office remains closed until further notice. Please keep our office and facilities staff, and our entire Syria Shriners family in your prayers. We all need to remember each other during this trying period. Call your fellow Shriners, and look after their well-being. Run errands to the grocery or drug store if your situation allows, and theirs does not.

Stay Informed!

There is so much misinformation being shared on social media and by email. Do yourself, and all of us, a favor, and go right to a trusted source for your information. Please don't pass along things you've seen posted or things you've been sent unless they have come directly from a legitimate public health or government authority. Click on the image to the left to visit the federal government's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, FEMA and the White House at coronavirus.gov.

Here's a link to local information from the Allegheny County Health Department.