The region will rock in the new year on Sunday with multiple music offerings. In Berks County, local Curtis alum Nick Kendall (violin), Charles Yang (violin), and Ranaan Meyer (double bass), better known as the string trio Time for Three, will join the Reading Symphony Orchestra (RSO) for a special New Year's Eve performance at 7:30 p.m., at the Santander Performing Arts Center in Reading. RSO Music Director is Andrew Constantine.
Time for Three blends elements of classical, country western, gypsy and jazz music to create a unique blend of its own, merging original pieces together with its own arrangements of bluegrass, folk tunes, and mash-ups of popular hits from the 60s to present day. Members of the trio carry a passion for improvisation, composing and arranging, all prime elements of the ensemble’s playing.
Time for Three has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Pops, and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. The trio also appeared on ABC-TV's "Dancing with the Stars."
In 2016, PBS premiered the Emmy Award-winning show, "Time for Three in Concert," an hour-long program in collaboration with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Universal Music Classics and WFYI Public Media.
The concert will be followed by the annual New Year's Eve party and midnight fireworks at the Pagoda atop Mount Penn. The festivities will get underway at 10 p.m.
Footnote: The Reading Symphony Orchestra will kick off its season on January 27 with "Happy Birthday, Amadeus," in a celebration of Mozart's 262nd birthday and selections from some of his most beloved works for orchestra, including his Overture to "Don Giovanni," Piano Concerto No. 21 featuring Boris Slutsky, and Symphony No. 39 in E-flat Major.
For further info: readingsymphony.org
The partying continues in the Lehigh Valley with a New Year's Eve celebration in downtown Allentown from 10 p.m. to midnight. The free event will be held at Seventh and Hamilton streets.
A special performance of music will be presented by The BC Combo, followed by fireworks.
For further info: allentownpa.gov/events
The Lehigh Valley Zoo in North Whitehall Township, Lehigh County, will hold a New Year's Eve Fish Drop into the Penguin at 7 p.m., during its "Winter Lights Spectacular." There will be live music and special performances by Princess Elsa at 7 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.
Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Those entering by 6:30 p.m. will receive a free raffle ticket to enter a prize giveaway.
For further info: lvzoo.org
For the ninth year, SteelStacks in Bethlehem will celebrate the new year with the two-day PEEPSFEST, beginning Saturday and culminating with the drop of the four-foot, nine-inch, 400-pound PEEPS chick on Sunday at 5:15 p.m. A fireworks display will follow at the base of Bethlehem Steel's blast furnaces. The family-friendly festival partners with Just Born Quality Confections.
Activities will include a create-your-own paint splat bisque ceramic magnet; the new Dutch Springs zip line on the Air Products Town Square; creating the tallest PEEPS skyscraper with the National Museum of Industrial History, and making a PEEPS holiday wreath on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Other PEEPS highlights include the mascot dash on Saturday at noon, the kids fun run at 12:30 p.m., and the PEEPS chick rising ceremony at 4 p.m.
Sunday's PEEPFEST will feature music by We Kids Rock at 4:30 p.m., followed by the PEEPS chick drop.
Footnote: The Sofa Kings' New Year's Eve party will be held at the Musikfest Café at SteelStacks at 9 p.m.
Jimmy and the Parrots: Holiday Parrot Party will be held at the Musikfest Café on Friday at 8 p.m.
For further info: steelstacks.org
The Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe, Carbon County, presents Party & Dance with Brett Andrew & Soul Town on New Year's Eve at 9:30 p.m. Multi-instrumentalist Brett Andrew, formerly of the Robert Randolph Family Band, has rebuilt his current band lineup to include vocalist Christie McGorry and guitarist Vincent DeGiosio, with classic R&B, funk and Motown.
Also at the Opera House: Sing for America (the Gilbert Family of Northampton County) presents "Peter Pan," tonight through January 7, with a cast comprised of local children and young adults. The performances benefit the Blue Star Mothers of Lehigh Valley's Emergency Fund, which assists local military families with bills, travel expenses, and other needs.
For further info: mcohjt.com
It's a sold-out show, but one definitely worth mentioning. Dick Boak, director of the museum and archives at C.F. Martin and Company, is celebrating his retirement with an unprecedented acoustic concert event at the State Theatre in Easton on Jan. 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Boak's bash, aka "The Last Schmaltz," has some musical icons scheduled to appear, including Steve Miller, John Mayer, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, Laurence Juber, Jorma Kaukonen, David Bromberg, Craig Thatcher, and Trevor Gordan Hall.
Proceeds from the concert will benefit the State Theatre.
"Boak has been a great friend and supporter for years and we are thrilled to be part for what will be a once-in-a-lifetime event," said Shelley Brown, the president & CEO of the State Theatre. "He is revered by performers and artists with whom he has collaborated, and honoring his amazing career here will be a night to remember."
Boak is an illustrator, musician, luthier, woodworker, and author who has worked with the Martin Guitar Company since 1976. During that time, he managed the Martin museum and archives, founded the in-house advertising department, and initiated the limited edition guitar program that produced signature models for more than 100 legendary artists including those listed above, plus Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, Mark Knopfler, Tom Petty, Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Sting, and Crosby, Stills & Nash.
Boak said he plans to further immerse himself in art, music, writing, travel, and speaking engagements.
For further info: statetheatre.org
The ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem will be the scene of a concert when the Craig Thatcher Band presents An Evening of Jimi Hendrix on January 5 at 7:30 p.m., at the Musikfest Café.
Thatcher is a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter who's performed blues/rock music for more than 35 years. He's been a featured performer at Bethlehem's Musikfest for many years and has traveled worldwide as Martin Guitar Company's touring clinician and as a performer at its company functions.
He's opened for such artists as Derek Trucks, John Hammond, Buddy Guy, Robin Trower, Kim Simmonds, Chris Smither, Jonny Lang, and Jorma Kaukonen. Thatcher collaborated with Dick Boak (see above) on two CDs: "Beside You" and "Under the Supermoon."
For further info: steelstacks.org
"Happy new year!"
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