Salisbury Press

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

‘The Secret’ is out: Actors, puppets, musicians join to explore Bethlehem poet H.D.

Thursday, October 3, 2019 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

“The Secret,” a new mixed-media play by the Mock Turtle Marionette Theater about H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), the Bethlehem native and poet, has its world premiere, Oct. 5 - 8, Touchstone Theatre, as part of “Festival Unbound.”

“The Secret” is part of “Finding H.D., A Community Exploration of the Life and Work of Hilda Doolittle,” a year-long series of events organized by the Lehigh University English Department, Bethlehem Area Public Library, the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown and Mock Turtle Marionette Theatre.

Don Braden to preview tunes from album at ‘Jazz Upstairs’

Friday, September 27, 2019 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

Don Braden brings “Earth, Wind and Wonder” to the “Jazz Upstairs” series, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27, Rodale Community Room, Miller Symphony Hall.

Braden, adept on saxophone and flute, is a prolific composer, arranger and educator. He has toured worldwide with such jazz greats Kenny Barron, Betty Carter, Tom Harrell, Roy Haynes, Freddie Hubbard, Wynton Marsalis and Tony Williams, as well as with the Mingus Big Band, the Dizzy Gillespie All-Stars, and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band.

Midiri Brothers Orchestra in Pa. Jazz Society concert

Friday, September 20, 2019 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

The Midiri Brothers Orchestra brings its exciting brand of jazz to open the Pennsylvania Jazz Society’s fall 2019 season, 2 - 4:30 p.m. Sept. 22, Dewey Banquet Hall, 502 Durham St., Hellertown.

Group members include Joe Midiri, clarinet, sax; Paul Midiri, vibraphone; Dan Tobias, trumpet; Pat Mercuri, guitar; Jack Hegyi, bass, and Jim Lawlor, drums.

“Our band is eclectic. We play a little bit of everything,” says Joe Midiri in a phone interview.

Sit in with Chaise Lounge for MSH ‘Jazz Upstairs’

Friday, August 16, 2019 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

Chaise Lounge returns for the “Jazz Upstairs” series, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 16, Rodale Community Room, Miller Symphony Hall.

Doors open at 7 p.m. for a free buffet, included with the ticket price admission. A cash bar is available.

The Washington, D.C.-based group presents an upbeat blend of standards and originals with an early 1960s’ jazz vibe.

Charlie Barnett, piano, accordion and guitar, also writes and-or arranges most of the group’s tunes.

Lancaster’s Big Boy Brass to hold forth at Zinzenplatz

Friday, August 9, 2019 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

Big Boy Brass, a Lancaster-based brass band, performs at Musikfest, 5 p.m. Aug, 9, Guardian Insurance Company of America Zinzenplatz, Main and Lehigh streets, Bethlehem.

Big Boy Brass plays an eclectic genre-bending blend of high-energy rock, pop, funk and traditional jazz with a twist.

The ensemble includes Connor Devlin, sousaphone; Vincent Shickora, Ben Ewing, Nolan Wible, trumpets; Dominic Mascaro, trombone; Sam Yoder, trombone and guitar; Nick Franks and Paul Berry, saxophones, and Matt Woodson, drums.

Stoneback ‘Jazz Upstairs’ to swing

Friday, June 21, 2019 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

If you have a taste for Big Band music, mark 7:30 p.m. June 21 on your calendar when the Rob Stoneback Big Band holds court in Miller Symphony Hall’s Rodale Community Room for the “Jazz Upstairs Series.”

The 19-piece unit has performed with such notables as Rosemary Clooney, Natalie Cole, Aretha Franklin, The Manhattan Transfer and Frank Sinatra and Frank Sinatra, Jr. to name a few. The Stoneback Big Band has four CDs to its credit, and has recorded with Simone, Nina Simone’s daughter.

Jerry Rife brings Dixieland to Pennsylvania Jazz Society concert

Friday, May 31, 2019 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

Jerry Rife and his Rhythm Kings bring their take on hot jazz to the Pennsylvania Jazz Society, 2 p.m. June 2, Dewey Banquet Hall, 502 Durham St., Hellertown.

Rife’s lifelong love of jazz started with a “Dukes of Dixieland” vinyl album he received as a youth.

Says Rife: “It changed my life. I wanted to be those people. With some friends, I formed a Dixieland band in my junior high, high school days. We played the ‘Ted Mack Amateur Hour’ and we actually did gigs for money.

Gečytė, Perla return for sixth ‘Jazz Upstairs’

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

Viktorija Gečytė and the Gene Perla Trio are making their sixth appearance in the “Jazz Upstairs” series in the Rodale Community Room, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

The 7:30 p.m. May 17 concert is part of the group’s 11th annual tour. After Lehigh Valley and New York area concerts, the group heads to the Bay Area. Then it’s off to Europe where the ensemble plans to make a recording.

Polka rocks on: Alex Meixner to explore Lehigh Valley music roots

Friday, May 3, 2019 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

The Alex Meixner Band performs a celebration of the “Roots of the Lehigh Valley,” 7:30 p.m. May 7, Rodale Community Room, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

The multi-talented Meixner, a Lehigh Valley native, literally learned music at his father’s knee. He represents the fourth generation of the Meixner family in the music business. Starting piano at age three, he made his stage debut in his father’s band at age six playing the accordion.

Sandberg brings a wealth of talent to ‘Jazz Upstairs’

Friday, April 5, 2019 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

The Steve Sandberg Quartet visits the “Jazz Upstairs” series, 7:30 p.m. April 5, Rodale Community Room, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

Sandberg is a three-time Grammy Award-winning composer and a pianist with a wealth of experience in a variety of music genres.

He’s joined by Rob Thomas, violin; Michael O’Brien, bass, and Mauricio Zottarelli, drums.

Says Sandberg, “Everyone in the band is a virtuoso.”

Sandberg grew up in Brooklyn and began classical piano studies at age four: