Arts Around Town

Arts Around Town: Fields come alive with Celtic sounds in Bethlehem

It's all things green in the Lehigh Valley this weekend when the 30th annual Celtic Classic is presented by the Celtic Cultural Alliance beginning Friday at 4 p.m. in Bethlehem. The fields will be alive as Celtic heritage is promoted through presentations, music, and traditional competitions in athletics, piping and dance.

There will be five stages of continuous entertainment featuring international, national and regional artists including Burning Bridget Cleary, Seamus Kennedy, Blackwater, O'Grady Quinlan Academy of Irish Dance, Calan, Qristina & Quinn Bachand, Syr, Glengarry Bhoys, and Cassie & Maggie MacDonald.

A kids and cultural area can be found at Celtic Heritage Hollow, located over the footbridge behind the grand pavilion entertainment tent. Activities include Irish storyteller Joe Keane, children's tTheater, and children's performance by Seamus Kennedy.

There are many competitions that make this festival a most popular one – the Celtic Classic Invitational Pipe Band Competition; U.S. National Highland Athletic Championships; haggis competition, and the 20th annual Celtic Classic fiddle competition.

The "Showing of the Tartan" parade kicks off at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, with opening ceremonies at noon.

Festival hours are: Friday, 4 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For further info:



Nobody does it better than Bond – James Bond. And nobody plays it better than the Allentown Symphony Orchestra (ASO) Pops Series season opener, "The Music of James Bond & More," with Conductor Ronald Demkee, on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., at Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown.

The ASO, along with guest soloist Rachel York, will bring music and themes from five decades of Bond films ranging from songwriters Shirley Bassey and Paul McCartney, to Carly Simon, Adele, and more.

Personally, I can recall wearing out my 45rpm of "Goldfinger" sung by Shirley Bassey back in the 60s on my tabletop record player. Her voice was golden. A peek at Saturday's Bond program will include the best of Bond with those memorable theme songs from the films.

York, who hails from Orlando, Florida, is best known for her critically-acclaimed Broadway performances in "City of Angels," "Les Miserables," "Victor/Victoria" with Julie Andrews, "The Scarlet Pimpernel," "Sly Fox" with Richard Dreyfuss, and "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" with Jonathan Pryce.

She also portrayed Lucille Ball in the CBS-TV movie, "Lucy." Most recently, York starred on Broadway as Jackie Noelle in "Disaster! The Musical." She also has performed as a soloist worldwide and with national symphonies and pops.

For further info:


Rarely-seen art by two New Jersey painters is on exhibit through October 21 at The Baum School of Art in Allentown. "John R. Grabach and Henry M. Gasser: New Jersey Masters" shows their distinct style of metropolitan landscapes and urban realism, inspired by the Ashcan School of American artists. Guest curator is Gary T. Erbe, who selected more than 25 works for the exhibition.

A reception will be held tonight from 6 to 8.

Grabach (1886-1981) was a teacher, author and award-winning artist who taught at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts. That's where he met Gasser (1909-1981), a student, who injected beauty where he could in the increasingly dreary urban landscape while Grabach often portrayed heroic icons fighting for economic security. Gasser later became director of the Newark school.

Footnote: The Baum School will hold its fall gala on October 21, honoring the Baum family, with special recognition of Mr. J. Lawrence Grim, Jr., and Ms. Kathleen O'Dea. The event also will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Russell Baum Building at Fifth and Linden streets, with special recognition of Dr. and Mrs. Richard Caruso.

For further info:


The Allentown Band, led by Ronald Demkee, will present a free concert commemorating the 500th anniversary of Luther's Reformation at three locations in the Lehigh Valley. The program will be the same with the exception of the organists who will be performing at their respective churches.

They are: Eric Gombert, St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Fifth and Walnut streets, Allentown, Sunday at 4 p.m.; Michael Krentz, Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, 13th and Hamilton streets, Allentown, October 1 at 3 p.m., and Sue Hartney, Union Evangelical Lutheran Church, 5500 Route 873, Schnecksville, October 29 at 3 p.m.

Allentown Symphony Orchestra's assistant concertmaster, Stefan Xhori, will perform Bach's well-known "Violin Concerto in A-minor" at all three locations.

According to Demkee, the program will feature resident composer/arranger and principal clarinetist Steve Reisteter, who arranged and transcribed Bach's Chorale Prelude, "Ein feste Burg" BWV 720 and Bach's well-known "Violin Concerto in A minor." There also is a transcription of the 4th Movement of Mendelssohn's Symphony #4, "Reformation," by French arranger Leon Chic; and Johan De Meij's "Echoes of San Marco."

A free-will offering will be accepted in support of the church music programs.

For further info:


Dave Kline and the Mountain Folk Fest Band are among performers at Oktoberfest at the Reading Liederkranz, 143 Spook Lane, Lower Alsace Township, opening Wednesday at 5 p.m. and running through October 1. Dave's group will perform opening night at 6; the Alex Meixner Band on September 29 at 6 p.m.

The weekend of September 30-October 1 includes roving entertainers The Balloon Guy, ventriloquist Scott Wagstaff, magician/juggler Al Grout, plus the Joe Kroboth Band, and the Reading Liederkranz Singers. A parade, Oktoberfest proclamation, and beer-tapping ceremony will be held September 30 at 4 p.m.

For further info:


Exploring history can be fun, especially when it involves the community. In this case, it's the Emmaus Heritage Festival on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., on the grounds of the Emmaus Historical Society, 218 Main Street. The event is being organized by the Emmaus Heritage Alliance.
The free event offers craft-making and demonstrations, games, indoor and outdoor displays, food truck, and musical performances by singer/songwriter Jordan White, and guitarist/vocalist Joel Shimer Music. Story times are being sponsored by Emmaus Public Library and Let’s Play Books.

Members of the Alliance, who work together to “tell the story” of Emmaus, include Emmaus Historical Society, Shelter House, Knauss Homestead, 1803 House, Emmaus Public Library, Emmaus Moravian Church, Emmaus Remembrance Garden, and Emmaus Main Street Partners.

For further info:


Emmaus also is gearing up for its seventh "A Very Merrie Halloween" on October 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the 1803 House, 55 South Keystone Avenue. The grounds will be filled with 18 crafters, plus food vendors and children's activities including a Halloween parade, pumpkin decorating, and crafts.

Demonstrations will include those crafts that would have been made during the early 1800s, such as basket and loom weaving, chair caning, Moravian stars, Pennsylvania red ware, quilting, tin smithing and wheat weaving.

A naturalist from the Wildlands Conservancy will present a program of "not-so-scary" wild creatures. The archaeological dig will be open for viewing, plus complimentary tours of the historic 1803 House.

Special guest will be Delwin Fiddler, Jr., a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and Artist-in-Residence at the Museum of Indian Culture in Allentown. He will perform at 1 p.m., with hand drumming, flute playing, hoop, snake, warrior and grass dancing, storytelling, Lakota songs of healing and the heart and telling the history of the Delaware Nation Lenni Lenape Tribe who inhabited this area at the same time as those who lived in Emmaus and the surrounding countryside.

For further info:


The Lehigh Valley CyberCon makes its debut on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m., at South Mall in Salisbury Township, Lehigh County. Among the many actors will be James Collins, Jr., who has appeared on SYFY, TBS, HULU, Netflix, and Amazon projects, and Amy Giardiniere, Geek Culture Pundit and Feature Writer with CBR/Comic Book Resources, and comic reviews in Rogues Portal.

Cosplayers will include Bfarve Cosplay; also Cosplay Contest, and Virtual Reality Room sponsored by VR CAFÉ.

For further info:


An On Stage Cabaret at the Zoellner Arts Center in Bethlehem will feature singer/trumpeter songwriter Bria Skonberg on Saturday with two performances, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. A ticketed, on stage dinner will be held at 6 p.m.

Skonberg, from Chilliwack, British Columbia, is described as bringing “a unique fusion of modern-day pop sensibility, combined with sizzling musicianship.” Joining her will be Darrian Douglas on drums, Russell Hall on bass, Mathis Picard on piano, and Patrick Bartley on clarinet/sax.

For further info:



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