Arts Around Town

Arts Around Town: All-star regional jazz artists come together for opening night at Mayfair

It's billed as a "once-in-a-lifetime performance" of some of Pennsylvania's finest jazz artists who will come together as the Pennsylvania Jazz Collective's All-Star Regional Septet on opening night Friday at the Mayfair Festival of the Arts in Allentown. It's all part of a three-hour jazz program beginning at 7:15 p.m., at the Liberty Stage of the Allentown Fairgrounds.

The Septet features jazz artists from the Harrisburg and the central Pennsylvania area from such groups as the Friends of Jazz, Scranton Jazz Alliance, Poconos COTA, Berks Jazz, and the Lehigh Valley's own Pennsylvania Jazz Collective. These nonprofit organizations present jazz performances and education programs in their respective regions.

Members of the Septet include: Steve Rudolph (piano), artistic director of Pa. Central Friends of Jazz; Marko Marcinko (drums), artistic director of Pa. Jazz Alliance; Matt Vashlishan (sax), COTA representative and member of the Dave Liebman Group; Alan Gaumer (trumpet), artistic director of PAJAZZ Lehigh Valley; Neil Wetzel (sax), vice president of PAJAZZ; Andy Warren (guitar), and Tony Marino (bass), of Covington Township.

Opening for the All-Star Night is the Pat McGee Quartet, youth jazz combo winner of the Pa. Jazz Collective's "Jazz Idol" competition held earlier this year.

The art and entertainment offerings at Mayfair, with the festival theme of "Art Without Limits," continue day and night through the Memorial Day weekend. There's a national juried art exhibition at The Gallery at Mayfair. Juror was Ricardo Viera, art professor and director/chief curator of the Lehigh University Art Galleries. The Pig Pen Project: Experimental Art includes an installation exhibition at the livestock stalls.

Music stages feature folk performances assembled by Godfrey Daniels with Dave Fry, the Lyons Fiddle Festival Revue from Kutztown with band and competition winners, the Indian American Association of the Lehigh Valley, The Allentown Symphony Chamber Players, La Ola Spanish Radio Concert, a Lehigh Valley Music Awards Night, and the 50th anniversary tour of The Limits, one of the Lehigh Valley's first garage bands featuring Rick Levy and Lehigh Valley award-winning photographer Hub Willson. And, of course, children matter at Mayfair with plenty of activities at KidSpace.

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It just wouldn't be May and a time for recognizing and rewarding local high school musicals without the annual Freddy Awards ceremony which takes place tonight at 7 on WFMZ-TV 69, broadcast live from the State Theatre in Easton. The Freddy Awards program, now in its 12th year, features 31 schools participating, the most in the program's history.

Be sure to tune in and root for these students whose exceptional accomplishments in the production and performance of musical theater in high schools in the Lehigh Valley and western New Jersey have lifted the quality of arts in our region.

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Freddys footnote: Phillipsburg, New Jersey, High School alumna Kate Cherichello, ‘06, who captured a Freddy in acting in the program's opening year in 2003, currently is appearing in Write Act Repertory Theater's New York premiere musical, "Renewal," through June 7, at the Times Square Arts Center, 300 W. 43rd St., at 8th Avenue.

In the fully-staged, workshop production, Cherichello portrays Joanna, a bonafide Broadway star who leaves the spotlight of the Great White Way for love and encounters tragedy along the way. Book, lyrics and music is by Michael Antin. Director is Gerald vanHeerden.

Cherichello's been staying busy as an actress and singer since her graduation. This past year she performed in "South Pacific" at the Engeman Theater on Long Island's North Shore, toured with a four-person Broadway revue, and sang in The Fireside's Christmas show in Wisconsin. She's also involved in film and commercial work. She recently shared New York's cabaret stage at Don't Tell Mama with Phillipsburg alum /Freddy winner Hunter Chadeayne, '05.

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A Memorial Day celebration honoring area servicemen and women will be held at SteelStacks in Bethlehem from Saturday at 3 p.m., through Monday. More than 300 images of local veterans and active military personnel are on exhibit on the campus as part of the "Our Hometown Heroes" display.

Live music will be performed by artists of the region including the Billy Bauer Band, Steve Brosky Band, Sing for America, Tavern Tan, and the Lou Franco Project.

A Walk to Remember benefiting the Lehigh Valley chapter of the Gold Star Mothers will be held Sunday at 1 p.m. A commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War will take place Monday at 1 p.m.

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The Hidden River Film Initiative and the Greater Reading Immigration Project (GRIP) are sponsoring the film, "Papers: Stories of Undocumented Youth," which follows the personal stories of five undocumented students and the challenges they face as they become adults in the United States without legal status. The film will be shown Wednesday at 7 p.m., at Reading Movies 11 & IMAX, 30 N. Second St.

Emerging filmmakers Anne Galisky and Rebecca Shine mentored immigrant high school students in Portland, Oregon, where they became attuned to the particular challenges faced by undocumented youth and wanted to find a way to help. The group of students who became involved in every aspect of the film's production became known as El Grupo Juvenil.

"With hundreds of members nationwide, El Grupo Juvenil was undoubtedly an exciting introduction to the film industry and may ultimately prove to be a launching pad for future film professionals," said Dr. Harry Serio, co-chair of the Initiative.

According to Tom McMahon, GRIP representative and former mayor, "Berks County has a large Latino youth population, some of whom face the same challenges as the students in the film. We believe it is important to screen the film so people have a better understanding of the impact current immigration laws have on our community."

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Mock Turtle Marionette Theatre, under the puppetry and direction of Doug Roysdon, will present an original puppet play, "The Morningtime of Now," beginning tonight at 8 and running through Monday at the Charles A. Brown IceHouse, 56 River St., Sand Island, Bethlehem.

The play is based on the diary of Opal Whiteley, with original music by Michael Smith. Also involved are Anne Hills, Kayla Prestel, Jay Ansill and the 2013-14 Touchstone Theatre apprentices. More than 30 puppets make up the cast.

According to the play description, "In 1920, America was enthralled by the nature writings of a precocious six-year-old girl, Opal Whiteley. Nearly 100 years later, her stories are captured in puppetry and her poetry in song. She takes us to a transformative place – the Blue Hills.

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