Salisbury Press

Sunday, October 13, 2019

‘26 Pebbles’: Parkland High School student play about Sandy Hook in state contest

Friday, November 30, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

A Parkland High School production of “26 Pebbles,” a play about a very difficult topic, the 2012 shooting of 20 students and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., will get a statewide audience Dec. 1.

Mark A Stutz, Director of Visual and Performing Arts, Parkland School District, is hoping the student production could even reach a national audience.

“We felt it was a message that needed to be brought to as many people as we could,” Stutz says of the Parkland production, which he directed.

‘Singing Policeman’ back with Allentown Band

Friday, November 30, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

“The Singing Policeman” returns Dec. 2 to Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown, to sing with the Allentown Band for the fourth year and he couldn’t be more excited.

Daniel Rodriguez, also known as “America’s Tenor,” joins the Allentown Band, El Sistema Lehigh Valley Children’s Chorus and the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts Touring Choir for the annual “Americans We Tribute to Veterans-Holiday Concert.”

“I travel all around the world, but Allentown is a place I keep coming back to,” says Rodriguez.

On ‘Broadway,’ a ‘Carol’ sendup at Pa. Playhouse

Friday, November 30, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

Rody Gilkeson admits there’s quite a bit of his father in “A Broadway Christmas Carol,” the holiday show opening Nov. 30 at The Pennsylvania Playhouse, Bethlehem.

Gilkeson is directing the zany musical comedy described as “Scrooge meets ‘Forbidden Broadway,’ the latter a popular Off-Broadway revue that pokes fun at musical theater.

However, Gilkeson says “A Broadway Christmas Carol” is first and foremost the story of Scrooge’s redemption.

“This is a kind of an insane show,” he says. “But it has the same feel-good ending.”

A Christmas ‘Voice’ in Allentown concert

Friday, November 30, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

From Long Island pizza delivery boy to performing all over the world, Sal “The Voice” Valentinetti says appearing on “America’s Got Talent” transformed his life.

In January, he will return to the NBC hit reality TV show for its first-ever former champions edition.

But before that, it’s the “Sal ‘The Voice’ Valentinetti Holiday Concert,” 8 p.m. Dec. 1, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

‘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.”

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.

‘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.