Salisbury Press

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Innovation, tradition guides Funfgeld in Bach Choir 122nd season

Sunday, October 20, 2019 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

The Bach Choir of Bethlehem’s 122nd season is marked by “innovation and new ideas steeped in tradition,” says Greg Funfgeld, Bach Choir artistic director and conductor.

The season, which culminates with an international tour to Bachfest in Leipzig Germany in June, highlights the impact music has in everyone’s lives, in the past and as a guide toward the future.

“Our strength is that we have not been afraid of innovation, but yet stay connected to our roots,” Funfgeld says of the Bach Choir of Bethlehem.

Renowned organist to concert tour born

Sunday, October 20, 2019 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

When Amanda Mole was studying organ at the conservatory, students were told that if they thought they were going to be touring concert performers, they might as well forget about it.

“I knew I wanted to be a concert organist,” she says. “I just never said it out loud.”

Today the 33-year-old is one of the leading concert organists of her generation and the winner of numerous international competitions.

At 7 p.m. Oct. 18, Mole will perform her first Lehigh Valley concert as part of the “Arts at St. John” series at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Allentown.

Stefano Greco hopes to inspire audiences

Sunday, October 20, 2019 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

Stefano Greco hopes to inspire the audiences who come to his concerts by helping them get to know composers.

“Understanding music goes together with understanding the composer and the meaning behind his music,” says the renowned Italian concert pianist.

Greco returns to the Lehigh Valley, bringing his unique approach and style to Miller Symphony Hall for the first performance in the Allentown Symphony Orchestra’s “Chamber On Stage,” 2 p.m. Oct. 20.

Broadway legends: Allentown Symphony Pops salutes Sondheim, Webber

Saturday, October 12, 2019 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

Two of the greatest living composers of Broadway theater music will be honored by the Allentown Symphony Pops by featuring three musical veterans, including a Tony winner and the actor who portrayed the Phantom in “The Phantom of the Opera” more than 2,000 times.

The “ASO Pops Series,” with the orchestra conducted by Ronald Demkee, presents “The Best of Broadway: A Tribute to Sondheim & Lloyd Webber,” 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

Bach Choir, soloists bring ‘Joyful’ to Festival Unbound

Thursday, October 3, 2019 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

It’s a true Lehigh Valley community of music.

Angel-voiced Bel Canto youth singers join with the playful and raucous Jakopa’s Punch band; hip-hop-inspired body percussion punctuates a group of elite high school chorale singers, and a New Orleans-style brass band adds a swinging vibe to the spiritual sounds of a Baptist church choir.

Soloists, Allentown Band, in multicultural ‘Arts at St. John’s’ concert

Friday, September 27, 2019 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

A multicultural program featuring outstanding soloists will mark the Allentown Band’s concert, 3 p.m. Sept. 29, St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 37 S. Fifth St, Allentown as part of the “Arts at St. John’s” series.

A Curtis Institute trained trumpet player, an Allentown mezzo-soprano who has performed internationally and St. John’s cantor highlight the program that includes selections from eight different countries, says Ronald Demkee, conductor of the Allentown Band.

‘Mer hoffe mer sehn eich datt’: Kutztown Folk Festival celebrates its 70th year

Saturday, June 29, 2019 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

“Mer hoffe mer sehn eich datt.” (“We hope to see you there.”)

The oldest continuously-operating folk-life festival in the United States celebrates its 70th year when the Kutztown Folk Festival opens June 29 and continues through July 7 at the Kutztown Fairgrounds with all the great traditional foods and displays visitors have come to expect, plus some exciting new features.

Pa. Music & Arts Celebration back at Allentown Fairgrounds

Friday, May 24, 2019 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

The Great Pennsylvania Music & Arts Celebration returns with its focus on veterans and music with local roots, May 25-27, Allentown Fairgrounds.

Highlighting the second annual festival is veterans-related programming Memorial Day, including “The USO Tribute Show,” featuring Bob Hope impersonator Bill Johnson, and Michele DelaFave, who performed with Hope on his USO tours in Vietnam and was one of The Golddiggers dancers on “The Dean Martin Show” TV show (1965-1974).

Growing Mayfair: Festival builds on success in second year at Cedar Crest College

Thursday, May 23, 2019 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

A newly-invigorated Mayfair returns to Cedar Crest College for its second year with twice as many artists and food vendors, expanded hours and some new faces.

After more than 22,000 filled the Allentown campus for the three-day festival last year, Lauren Condon, director of Student Union and Engagement for Cedar Crest, says organizers were “empowered” to move ahead with this year’s festival.

“The feedback was overwhelmingly positive about bringing back this beloved tradition to our beautiful campus,” she says. “We are hoping to build on last year’s numbers.”

Emmaus High School Chorale to sing in Sistine Chapel

Friday, April 12, 2019 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

On April 23, two days after Easter, the Emmaus High School Chorale will become one of the select few choirs to sing at the renowned Sistine Chapel, Vatican City, Italy.

The rare opportunity will take place during the Chorale’s concert tour to Italy during Holy Week.

“There is not a place in Italy that is more significant,” says Chorale director Rita Cortez. “You’re not even supposed to talk when you go there because it’s such a holy place and it’s visually stunning. I can’t wait for the Chorale to sing in there.”