Arts Around Town

Arts Around Town: Patriot Day service in Bethlehem to honor first responders

Among our most precious resources in the country are first responders, highly trained to preserve safety and, the bottom line, to preserve life at all costs. The community will honor its own -- first responders, law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical personnel – on Monday, Patriot Day, September 11, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem.

The national anthem will be sung by Easton's Sing for America, along with a color guard presentation. Following the service, Tavern Tan will perform on the TD Community Stage.

The event, presented by Embassy Bank, marks the 16th anniversary of the September11, 2001, terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City and at the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C., as well as the crash of Flight 93 in western Pennsylvania. Men and women who stepped up to help amid the devastation will be honored, along with those individuals who continue to put themselves in harm's way daily in our communities.

Bethlehem resident Kathy Powers will receive the 2017 ArtsQuest First Responder Valor Award. She was an in-house patient transporter for 34 years at Muhlenberg Hospital and also an EMT with the Bethlehem Township Volunteer Fire Company for 31 years. Following her retirement in 2011, Powers began volunteering at ArtsQuest, of particular interest to her since her parents, siblings and uncle had all worked at Bethlehem Steel.

All first responders who have been featured on ArtsQuest's "Our Hometown Heroes" banners from 2013-2017 are invited to attend the Patriot Day service to be recognized for their courage and dedication to our communities. A group photo will be taken commemorating the special occasion at the end of the service.

For further info:



Reading Civic Theatre presents the musical, "Footloose," September 15-17, at Miller Center for the Arts at Reading Area Community College, 4 North Second Street, Reading.

It's the story of Ren McCormack, teen boy from Chicago who moves to the small town of Bomont and finds himself at odds with most of the town, including the Rev. Shaw Moore, who's convinced the town to outlaw dancing. With the help of friends, Ren convinces Rev. Moore to let the teens dance and in the process, the townspeople transform as they heal from a prior tragedy.

The cast includes Bailey Ammons as Ren McCormack; Amy Whary as Ethel McCormack; Stephen Stankiewicz as Rev. Shaw Moore; Maleeva Epperson as Vi Moore; Paige Anderson as Ariel Moore; Olivia Gardella as Rusty, and Jordan Eck as Willard Hewitt.

Director is Jeannette DeAngelo; musical director is Nate Patton; choreographer is Angela DeAngelo.

For further info:


A new season is upon us, one filled with great offerings in the performing arts. Our local venues are bursting with acts for all ages, one of them being the State Theatre in Easton, which begins its 91st season on Friday at 7:30 p.m., with award-winning country artists, The Oak Ridge Boys.

Originally known as the Oak Ridge Quartet based in Knoxville, Tennessee, the group performed at the Grand Ole Opry and were a top-drawing Gospel group back in the mid-50s. Their current lineup formed in 1973 has William Lee Golden, Duane Allen, Richard Sterban, and Joe Bonsall. In 1977, Paul Simon tapped "the Oaks" to sing backup for his hit, "Slip Slidin' Away." In 2000, the Oak Ridge Boys were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and in 2015, entered the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Following in the theater lineup is Grammy Award-winner singer/songwriter Boz Scaggs, making his first-ever performance at the venue on Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m. He began as lead singer and guitarist for the Steve Miller Band in the late 60s, prior to the success of his 1976 Grammy-nominated solo album, “Silk Degrees,” with singles “Lowdown,” “Lido Shuffle,” and “We’re All Alone.”

Footnote: Boz Scaggs and I go way back…try 40 years. I can pinpoint it exactly…July 13, 1977 at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City. We were having a heat wave during a summer of unrest in the Big Apple, when police were searching for serial killer Son of Sam. (That's a whole other story, being in the newsroom when word came out that police caught a suspect and reporters and cameramen making a mad dash for New York City).

But back to that July night, a respite from my day job in features at The Paterson (New Jersey) News. I'm watching one of my favorites, Boz Scaggs, who I anxiously waited to see and who was singing live onstage when suddenly, around 9:30 p.m., it looks like the plug is pulled and the house is thrown in complete darkness. No more Boz. Turns out I'm right in the middle of the 1977 blackout, which was to last for the next 25 hours. Sans cell phones at that time, the reporter in me frantically searches for a nearby pay phone to call my newsroom and report what was happening on my end.

From what I later learned, it was a bolt of lightning that struck an electrical substation in Westchester and another strike that ended what was left of any light. The media later reported massive looting and estimated damages exceeding $300 million. Talk about racial and political tension... 40 years later, did we learn anything?

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SATORI begins its 22nd year on Saturday with music selections by CPE Bach, Beethoven, Rossini, and Anton Arensky. The 7:30 p.m. concert will be held at Hope UCC, 1031 Flexer Avenue, Salisbury Township, Lehigh County. Tickets will be available at the door only.

Musicians include SATORI Artistic Director Nora Suggs, flute; Rebecca Brown, violin; Adriana Linares, viola; David Moulton, cello, and Martha Schrempel, piano.

For further info:


Bach at Noon returns Tuesday at Central Moravian Church, Church and Main streets, Bethlehem, from 12:10 to 1 p.m. Doors open at 11:30 p.m.

Music will be performed by members of The Bach Choir and Bach Festival Orchestra, under the direction of Greg Funfgeld.

The free program will include Robin Kani, flute; Greg Funfgeld, harpsichord, and Rosa Lamoreaux, soprano.

For further info:


The world premiere of the musical drama, "Rock and Roll Man: The Alan Freed Story," opens Tuesday and continues through October 1 at Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, starring Tony nominee Alan Campbell ("Sunset Boulevard") and featuring Emmy Award nominee George Wendt (Norm from "Cheers!") as J. Edgar Hoover.

The musical uncovers the true story of Alan Freed, recognized as the "Father of Rock and Roll." It is the 1950s when a cocky young DJ discovers the music that all America wants to hear – except no radio station will play it. Pursued by the notorious J. Edgar Hoover for promoting this unwholesome genre, Freed perseveres – unearthing the sound of a new generation through pure guts, grit, and determination.

The production features original songs and classic tunes by such legends as Little Richard, Frankie Lymon and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.

Book is by Gary Kupper, Larry Marshak and Rose Caiola; original music and lyrics by Gary Kupper.
Director is Randal Myler; music direction by Dave Keyes, and choreographed by Brian Reeder.

For further info:


The National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem is now home to the recently-acquired historical model collection of Daniel Diaz del Castillo Brodigan, which represents industrial machinery spanning 1890-1910.

Nearly 50 models make up the new display, "Machines at the Turn of the Century: 1890-1910," running through the end of the year. The collection of more than 140 models represents important development in the industrial age such as the sewing machine, and models of technological advances such as the Newcomen water pump, which extracted water deep from inside coal mines where this fuel source was previously inaccessible.

A freestanding display, "Models in Motion," allows visitors to operate a two-cylinder, double acting, vertical steam engine model, and a model of a double-acting grasshopper beam steam engine. Both are powered using compressed air.

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