Last updated: February 16. 2013 4:10PM - 413 Views

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HAZLETON – It was created as part of the effort to save what Hazleton residents long recognized as the "Castle on the Hill."

Yet as its second season starts, many still don't make the connection.

Thus on Monday a new name was unveiled: "Wiltsie Center at the Historic Castle," along with a new membership program dubbed the "Castle Club," and a new schedule headlined by Art Garfunkel.

Officially dubbed the "Alice C. Wiltsie Performing Arts Center" in tribute to the family that sponsored the center's name, the venue emerged from the disused auditorium of the imposing Hazleton High School, itself on the verge of extinction before community outcry spared it.

The building was remodeled into an elementary/middle school, but not enough money was available to refurbish the auditorium.

A community effort restored the auditorium as a performance center run by an all-volunteer board of directors, launching its first season last year with a concert by the band Chicago.

But "there has been some confusion about where the center is located, so in an effort to clear up that confusion, as well as to engage present and past residents of Greater Hazleton who fondly refer to the school as the ‘Castle,' we have decided to adopt the new name," Center Interim Executive Director Steve Hahn said in a press release.

Hahn announced the changes at a press conference Monday morning at the center.

The board also launched the "Castle Club," a four-tier membership program with fees ranging from $40 to $250 for chess piece-inspired levels named "knight," "rook," "queen" and "king."

Each level offers an increased opportunity to purchase advanced premium tickets to events. King members are also invited to exclusive "meet-and-greet" events.

A limited number of memberships are available through the center's website, wiltsiecenter.org, or by calling 855-945-8743.

The Center announced the line-up for its second season featuring Art Garfunkel on Oct. 6. Others coming include comedian Steve Solomon, Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers, singer Michael Feinstein, a production of "Fiddler on the Roof," and The Hit Men, a group performing songs from the '60s, '70s and '80s.

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