Northwestern Press

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Sports Classics: Allentown Symphony Pops concert got game with scores connection

Friday, January 17, 2020 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

From Quidditch to Queen, the Allentown Symphony Orchestra explores the relationship between sports and music at the next “Pops Concert,” 7:30 p.m. Jan. 18, led by guest conductor Carl Topilow of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra.

“Music and Sports” looks at how music captures the emotional impact of sports, from the unforgettable theme (“Gonna Fly Now” by Bill Conti) to “Rocky” (1976) with Rocky Balboa running up the 72 steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum, to the inspirational theme from Vangelis that is the backdrop for the Olympic runners in “Chariots of Fire” (1981).

Allentown Band CDs receive two American Prize awards

Friday, January 3, 2020 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

The Allentown Band has been awarded the American Prize’s Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music 2018-2019.

The band, which was named a Finalist Honorable Mention, received a Special Judges’ Citation for its CD, “Championing the Music of Morton Gould.”

The band also received a Third Place Citation in the American Prize’s Community Band-Wind Ensemble Division for its performance on its CD “Tribute to John Williams.”

Fun career: What started as lark is now sound of success for Straight No Chaser

Friday, December 20, 2019 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

For more than a decade, Straight No Chaser has taken what started out as a collegiate hobby and turned it into a career that has taken them around the world.

The male acapella sensation bring its “The Open Bar Tour,” to State Theatre Center for the Arts in Easton for two shows, 3 and 7 p.m. Dec. 22. The tour is in support of the group’s seventh album, the retrospective “One Shot.”

‘Swinging the Holidays’: Linda Purl teams with Rob Stoneback for big band concert of season cheer

Friday, December 20, 2019 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

An actress and singer known for her roles on iconic television series “Happy Days” and “The Office” joins the Lehigh Valley’s own Rob Stoneback Big Band for “Swinging the Holidays with Linda Purl and the Rob Stoneback Big Band,” 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21 at Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown.

Linda Purl joins Rob Stoneback and his band for a mix of Christmas music, American standards and swinging jazz in their first collaboration.

‘Singing Policeman’ at home with the Allentown Band

Friday, December 13, 2019 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

It is the fifth time “The Singing Policeman” returns to sing with the Allentown Band for the its annual holiday veterans’ concert.

Daniel Rodriguez, known internationally as “The Singing Policeman,” says Allentown is a place he “keeps coming back to.”

Rodriguez, also known as “America’s Tenor,” accompanies the Allentown Band, El Sistema Lehigh Valley Children’s Chorus and guest musician, Michael Mergen, a cornet player with the U.S. Marine Band, for the “Americans We Tribute to Veterans-Holiday Concert,” 3 p.m. Dec. 15, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

‘Messiah’ meets ‘Magnificat’ is a first for Bach Choir of Bethlehem concert

Friday, December 6, 2019 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

It’s a performance not to be missed.

And you will have two opportunties to experience it.

For the first time in the Bach Choir of Bethlehem’s 122-year history, the renowned singers are performing Handel’s “Messiah.”

The first part of the monumental choral masterpiece will be performed along with Bach’s “Magnificat” at the Bach Choir’s Christmas concerts Dec. 7 and 8 in Allentown and Bethlehem.

The three-part oratorio about the life of Christ is a beloved holiday favorite with familiar movements, including “Comfort Ye, My People” and “For Unto Us a Child Is Born.”

Christmas tree inspires book

Friday, December 6, 2019 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

Have you ever gone to the Christmas tree farm and cut down a tree, only to find when you got it home, there was a little eight-legged stowaway among the branches?

Erin Ferguson and her two daughters have. “We’ve been cutting down live trees for years and we always got a spider in our Christmas tree,” Ferguson says.

“One year, we named one Earl and joked about it all season. He became a part of our family and it started a yearly Christmas tradition of welcoming Earl back into our home.”

Bel Canto concert theme peace for holiday season

Friday, December 6, 2019 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

In addition to the Bach Choir of Bethlehem’s Dec. 7 and 8 concerts, Bel Canto, the youth choir affiliated with the Bach Choir, is holding its winter concert at 2 p.m. Dec. 7, St. John Windish Church, Bethlehem.

“Patrons can do a double-header,” says Joy Hirokawa, Bel Canto director. “The can go to the Bel Canto concert at 2, go out to dinner and then go to the Bach Choir concert.”

Hirokawa says Bel Canto’s program is eclectic and she’s very excited about it.

She says one of the focuses of the concert is “finding and seeking peace.”

‘That’s not all, folks’: Queen’s Cartoonists animate jazz for classic film comedies

Thursday, November 21, 2019 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

Like most children, Joel Pierson grew up watching cartoons. From the wacky antics of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd to the seductive exploits of flapper Betty Boop, he noticed that the cartoons’ accompanying music soundtrack drew heavily from the jazz canon.

Pierson leads The Queen’s Cartoonists, a classically-trained sextet whose unique performances include jazz compositions synchronized to video projections of the original classic cartoons on a screen behind the band.

For Dover Quartet, music is a bond for decade-plus

Thursday, November 21, 2019 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

The Dover Quartet is somewhat unique among classical quartets, in that its four members have been playing together for nearly 11 years.

Violinists Joel Link and Bryan Lee, violist Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt and cellist Camden Shaw have been together since they met as students at Curtis Institute, Philadelphia.

“That we have the same membership since we formed is a notable thing,” says de Stadt. “We have such an intensive chemistry. It really feels like a family. And when it comes to playing in a quartet, it really is about the chemical reaction between four people.”