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Out and About: Band concerts offer something different – WFMZ Allentown

Autumn may be almost here, but there is still a chance to enjoy one of the heralds of summer, with band concerts in both Allentown and Bethlehem this weekend.

The Allentown Band, conducted by Ronald Demkee, will perform at 4 p.m. on September 16, performing for the first time at Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem.

Never before have America’s oldest civilian concert band (dating from 1828) and the oldest Moravian church in North America (dating from 1742) collaborated on a concert.

The unique program will feature original works for band, as well as orchestral transcriptions, bringing together organ, mezzo-soprano and violin. It will open with Richard Wagner’s stirring Prelude to Act III from “Lohengrin,” followed with Gustav Mahler’s beautiful “Songs of a Wayfarer,” sung by Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Patricia Risley.

“We are beyond thrilled to collaborate with this historic and first-class musical ensemble,” said Rebecca Lepore, director of music and organist at Central Moravian Church, which is presenting the program as part of its concert series. “The Allentown Band is truly one of the greatest treasures of our community.”

Lepore will join the band on James Barnes’ “Variants on a Moravian Hymn,” a work commissioned in 1991 by the Freedom High School band, then conducted by Demkee, to commemorate the school’s 25th anniversary and Bethlehem’s 250th anniversary.

Stefan Xhori, Allentown Symphony’s assistant concertmaster, will be featured on Anton Dvorak’s “Romance” and Johannes Brahms’ “Hungarian Dance No. 5,” and the concert will conclude with Johan De Meij’s dramatic work for band “Echoes of San Marco,” which includes two antiphonal brass choirs along with organ and band.

There is a $10 suggested donation. Doors open at 3:30 p.m.

For information go to www.centralmoravianchurch.org.

The Marine Band of Allentown will premier a new march written by a local composer at 3 p.m. on September 16 at Allentown’s West Park.

“The Pennsylvania March” was written by Ron DeGrandis of Bethlehem to commemorate the Keystone State. DeGrandis said he used the rhythmic motif of the word ‘Pennsylvania’ throughout the composition, which is written for full concert band including flute, oboe, bassoon, clarinet, sax, French horn, trumpets, drums, bells and more.

The Marine Band, conducted by Tom Heinick, will also perform some original marches by the late Raymond S. Becker Jr., who was the Marine Band director for 44 years.

The Marine Band of Allentown was founded in 1903 and is a civilian band that is not affiliated with the United States Marine Corps.

West Park is at North 16th and West Turner streets. The concert is free and open to the public.

For information, go to www.allentownmarinebandinc.com.


Free outdoor encore of ‘Memphis’ in Reading

If you missed Genesius Theatre‘s sold-out performance of the Tony Award-winning musical “Memphis” in August, now is your chance to see it for free outdoors in downtown Reading.

Genesius presents its fourth annual public performance at 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 16, in the courtyard behind the building at Sixth and Penn streets, between Penn and Court streets and Sixth Street and the railroad tracks.

Bring a lawn chair or a blanket and “get ready to jump and jive like a demon possessed, the devil’s in the music, the music is blessed,” as Genesius Theatre encores the rhythm and blues-flavored musical comedy.

The musical is presented with a 10-piece orchestra, full cast, and set pieces. Set in the 1950s in the underground dance clubs of Memphis, Tennessee, the show tells the story of Huey Calhoun, a white radio DJ, who wants to change the world by playing “race music” on a popular white radio station, and Felicia, a black club singer, who is looking for big break in world that is totally closed to African Americans.

The show is written by Joe DiPietro (“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” and “All Shook Up”) and set to an original score by Bon Jovi’s David Bryan.

In case of bad weather, the performance will be moved to the Santander Performing Arts Center’s third-floor ballroom on North Sixth Street. Check the Genesius Facebook page or website for updates the morning of the event.

For more information go to www.genesiusdifference.org.


2 days of arts along the Delaware River

The Arts Community of Easton takes over two parks – Scott Park and Riverside Park – for its two-day Riverside Festival of the Arts celebration this weekend.

The free festival, now in its 22nd year, features live music, art, performance, theater, crafts, stilt-walkers, food trucks, competitions, workshops and demos 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

At Scott Park, emcee Nourhan Sharif will host the stage Saturday, with performances by The Live Edge Band, Shanna Rae, Freddy’s Theatre Group, Moondogs Band, Lou Franco, Cubbage Band and 2018 Blues Hall of Fame inductee Tom “The Suit” Forst.

At Riverside Park, emcee Helsie Duster will lead activities that include a plein air painting contest, juried arts gallery, and open mic at noon at the amphitheater.

On Sunday, emcee Curt Ehly will host the stage at Scott Park, featuring music by October Rose Duo, Billy Bauer Duo, Big Easy Easton Brass Band, Rio and the Secret People Band and Scott Marshall Band.

There also will be folk dancing and a folk dance class, a wing wars competition at 2 p.m. and the “Hair as Art” contest at 2:45 p.m.

At Riverside Park on Sunday, emcee Ray Thierrin hosts music all day by Easton School of Rock.

Plein air judging is at 3 p.m., and Easton Library Poetry Troupe performs at the Columbus statue.

Both days, visitors can enjoy free workshops in painting/mixed media, writing/literature/poetry, mosaics, carving and other hands-on activities. Kids can try chalk art, paint, colored pencil designs or hooping in the interactive arts tent.

For information go to Eastonriversidefest.org.


A different kind of “Hotel” at Zoellner

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Cirque Éloize presents a touching, one-of-a-kind production that brings circus arts into a new creative realm with “Hotel” at 4 p.m. September 16 in Bethlehem’s Zoellner Arts Center.

Montreal’s renowned Cirque Eloize will present its brand new modern circus show, which imagines fleeting relationships between strangers in the lobby of a hotel.

The performance presents amazing acrobatics, comedy, dance and live music against a backdrop of avant-garde stage design, inspired by the elegance of the great hotels from the classic 1920s to the futuristic 2040s, complete with cinematographic projections and special effects.

Intriguing characters include the Maître d’Hôtel, the maid Soubrette, the handyman and his dog, Carpette, a deserted bride on the top floor, a wacky tourist, a businessman in a hurry and improbable twins.

The score is performed by Sabrina Halde, member and co-founder of the Groenland group, who will be one of the on-stage characters.

This is the 15th contemporary circus show Cirque Eloize has created and its shows have had more than 5,000 performances in 550 cities worldwide.

Come early for Zoellner’s “curtain warmer” at 3 p.m. in the lobby with free refreshments and Muhlenberg College Circus Workshop students performing and giving juggling lessons.

Tickets are $17-$48.

For information go to zoellner.cas2.lehigh.edu or call 610-758-2787.


Fiddle Festival in Berks

Grab your fiddle and head on down to Lyons for the 35th annual Lyons Fiddle Festival 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 16, at the Lyons Community Park.

The festival is a nationally recognized musical event featuring family fun, food, crafts and plenty of Americana music.

There will be open jam circles throughout the park, band performances and a fiddle competition for three ages groups with cash prizes on the main stage.

The festival kicks off with a gospel service at 9 a.m., followed by Sacred Harp Shape Note Singing at 9:30 p.m. Other performers throughout the day include The Lyons Fiddle Fest House Band, Uncle Jake and the 18 Wheel Gang, Beatrice Ferreira and Band, The Bill Jester Duo, Buffalo Mountain Bluegrass Band and Fiddlemania. The days ends at 5:30 p.m. with a finale jam.

Fiddle competitions for age 12 and under are at 1:15 p.m.; for age 13-17 at 2:24 p.m. and for age 18 and up at 4:15 p.m.

Attendees also can win a Martin Guitar or handmade quilt.

Admission for age 13 and up is $5 donation, which benefits the Lyons Park Association. The park is at 15 Park Avenue, Lyons.

Donations for parking are appreciated and benefit the Kutztown Hobos: Helping Others Before Ourselves and the Lyons Fire Company truck crew.

For information go to www.lyonsfiddle.com or call 484-507-2186.


Science on a Sphere in Easton

From food we eat and products we buy to simply getting to school and work, we depend on transportation. The transportation system has millions of moving parts and connections, but also affect the environment.

You can learn about the impact global transportation has on the environment at a new Science on a Sphere show at The Nurture Nature Center in Easton called “Transportation, Exploring how we get around from local to global” at 7 p.m. today and 1 p.m. Saturday.

The center’s 6-feet suspended animated globe displays high-resolution video about the earth and planetary science that reveals how different things affect atmosphere, climate, weather and even the balance of life on earth.

The science education center opened in 2011 to examine the environmental reasons behind flooding after Easton suffered its third major flood in a 22-month period.

The centerpiece of Nurture Nature Center is the Science on a Sphere program, one of a hundred in the world. The center occupies the second and third floors in a building that was one of Easton’s first movie theaters located at 518 Northampton Street, Easton.

Every Saturday, the community can see a general sphere demonstration on the globe, described as a “reverse planetarium,” which creates a 360-degree image of natural phenomena like the tsunami, earthquakes, solar flares and the path of the Gulf stream.

While there check out the art on display in the galleries. Currently there is Femi J. Johnson’s show, “Urban Pathways: Safe or Sacred Spaces,” featuring his ‘abstract story-scapes’ with a focus on dwelling in the city of Easton and “Crosstown Traffic” by Jared Balogh who combines painting, sculpture, music video production, photography and sound art.

Nurture Nature Center is open 6 to 9 p.m. Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. A $10 donation is suggested.

For information go to www.nurturenaturecenter.org or call 610-253-4432.

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