Northwestern Press

Saturday, November 17, 2018

‘Chamber On Stage’ turns musicians, audience around

Thursday, November 1, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

The Allentown Symphony Association is turning the Miller Symphony Hall stage around for its new chamber music series.

For the 3 p.m. Nov. 4 concert that opens the hall’s “Chamber On Stage” series, the New York City group Decoda will play on the main stage, but with the performers’ backs to the orchestra seats in which the audience usually sits.

And audience members will be seated toward the back of the stage facing the performers.

Zeke Zelker’s ‘Billboard’ having its world premiere at Nineteenth St. Theatre

Thursday, November 1, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

A locally-produced film, inspired by a 1982 billboard-sitting contest in Whitehall Township, will have its world premiere, 7 p.m. Nov. 1, Nineteenth Street Theatre, Allentown.

Lehigh Valley filmmaker Zeke Zelker’s “Billboard” will be the first film shown in the newly renovated theater which reopened after a one-year $5.5-million capital campaign project.

Treasuring Whitney in ‘Greatest’ tribute

Friday, October 19, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

When Belinda Davids was 8, she chanced to hear her brother playing one of his LP records which featured the duet “Hold Me” by Teddy Pendergrass and Whitney Houston. The moment would make a lasting impression.

“It was the first time I heard her and I was struck,” Davids says of Houston. “There was something about the purity of her voice.”

Even at that young age, Davids says she also realized she could sing a lot like Houston.

Pulling out all the stops: Bach Choir of Bethlehem begins 2018-19 season with Peter Serkin concert

Friday, October 19, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

Having a Grammy-Award-winning classical pianist play at the Bach Choir of Bethlehem’s opening gala concert resonates personally for Bach Choir artistic director and conductor Greg Funfgeld.

“As a young man, I would regularly attend concerts in New York City where I had the privilege of hearing Peter Serkin play,” Funfgeld says. “His performance of Beethoven’s ‘Fourth Piano Concerto’ was one of the greatest musical experiences of my life.”

‘Broadway Tenors’ sound big with Symphony Pops

Thursday, October 11, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

In the 1990s, “The Three Tenors” were all the rage. Opera singers Plácido Domingo, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti had joined forces and created an operatic tenor super group.

Brent Barrett, who at the time had starred in numerous Broadway musicals including “West Side Story,” “Annie Get Your Gun” and “Grand Hotel,” thought he could use the same concept, but instead with some of the talented Broadway leading men he knew.

Butz Family urges firms to support arts groups

Thursday, October 11, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Business Showcase

The Butz family, which has donated $2 million to arts organizations during the past 10 years, called on other area businesses to follow their lead as they accepted the Arts Ovation Legacy Award from Allentown Arts Commission.

The Commission’s 30th anniversary Ovation Award ceremony in Allentown’s center city Radisson Hotel ballroom Sept. 27 also honored six other recipients who have had a major impact on Allentown’s arts community.

State Theatre 2018-19 season mixes new with tried and true

Friday, October 5, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

Coming off a season that boasted the highest numbers in seven years, the State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton, is trying a couple of new things, as well as bringing back some surefire hits in 2018-2019.

“We’re pumped.” says State Theatre president and CEO Shelley Brown. “We had a really good year. Since our 90th anniversary we have seen an uptick in attendance. The anniversary gave the theater a lot of visibility and the enthusiasm is contagious. When people are excited about being here it gives us a real shot in the arm.”

30th annual Ovation Awards honors Allentown arts leaders

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

Now in its 30th year, the Allentown Arts Ovation Award honors those who have made a difference in the arts in the city of Allentown.

This year, seven recipients, including one family, who have had a major impact on Allentown’s arts community will be honored with awards from The Allentown Arts Commission at a ceremony, 5:30 - 8 p.m. Sept. 27, Ballroom, Renaissance Allentown Hotel, 12 N. Seventh St., Allentown.

Allentown Marine Band in step for ‘Pennsylvania March’ debut

Friday, September 14, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

There aren’t many compositions commemorating the Keystone State.

Sure, Pennsylvania has the “Pennsylvania Polka,” written by Zeke Manners and recorded in 1942 by The Andrews Sisters.

Another song mentioning the state, “Pennsylvania 6-5000,” with music by Jerry Gray and lyrics by Carl Sigman and recorded in 1940 by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, is actually based on the phone number of the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City.

To the Valley and beyond: Partnership key in 2018-19 for Allentown Symphony

Friday, September 14, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

Allentown Symphony Orchestra is embracing “one giant leap for mankind” as it embarks on its 2018-2019 season.

The orchestra will present three programs celebrating the exploration of space and particularly the 50th anniversary of man landing on the moon, including, for the first time, a lunar-themed concert performed at the State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton.

Diane Wittry, Music Director and Conductor of the orchestra, says it is part of the orchestra’s outreach to the Lehigh Valley community and goal of working with other local arts organizations.