Arts Around Town

Arts Around Town: Steve Lippia honors music of Sinatra for Allentown Community Concert season

Steve Lippia started late in show business. He'll be the first to admit it. But he has found his niche as a vocalist with innate finesse in honoring the music of legendary singers past and present, and one of those singers is Frank Sinatra. Lippia will be bringing his show, "Simply Sinatra," along with his 10-piece big band, to the Lehigh Valley this fall for the 86th season of the Allentown Community Concert Association.

"Simply Sinatra" will be presented Nov. 15, at 7:30 p.m., at the Parkland High School auditorium, where the community concerts are held. The organization's executive director, Georgia Chomicky, has put together a broad mix for her 2013-14 season, opening with "Gershwin with a Twist" on Sept. 20, the 1940's musical revue "In the Mood" on Oct. 18, the John Denver tribute "Rocky Mountain High" starring Ted Vigil on March 7, and an encore presentation of "Tres Voces" with returning tenors Daniel Rodriguez, Ciaran Sheehan and Karl Scully and The Allentown Band on April 25.

From his home in Las Vegas, Lippia said he's excited to be returning to the Lehigh Valley with his big band, headed by conductor and music director Steve Sigmund, who worked with Ray Charles for 12 years. Lippia performed at Easton's State Theatre in 2006 and 2010, calling it "a great area" where audiences are receptive to big band.

The Southington, Conn., native is a fine interpreter of the great American standards as well as classic pop. He's performed from coast to coast at major hotels and casinos and with major symphonies, including Peter Nero and the Philly Pops, and the Boston Pops with Keith Lockhart. Whether he sings Bobby Darin, Tony Bennett, Vic Damone, Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis Jr., or even Billy Joel, Lippia said he just wants to sing the best he can to inspire people. Put simply, Lippia just happens to sound like Sinatra when he sings such songs as "I've Got You Under My Skin," "That's Life," "New York, New York," and "My Way."

Lippia credits his love of music from his mother, who was a professional vocalist. He sang in his church choir, high school and all-state chorus, and variety shows. He even attended law school for two years and eventually wound up living in Florida. But, he said, his first love was always singing. His big break came years later when one of his tapes was brought to the attention of Vincent Falcone, who was Sinatra's conductor for a period of time. Falcone brought him to Vegas as a casino headliner, and he never left.

For further info: Allentown Community Concert Association - 610-395-8379



The Acoustic Roadshow will be performing at the 18th annual Chile Pepper Food Festival on Sept. 6 and 7, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., at Bill DeLong Memorial Park in Bowers, Maxatawny Twp., Berks Co. A new addition this year will be a Jammers Tent, while such activities as a salsa contest and a jalapeno eating contest are held.

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Romance is in the air…"A Broadway Romance"…and it's happening at Allentown's Miller Symphony Hall on Sat., Sept. 7, at 8 p.m. That's when Broadway stars Nikki Renee Daniels, soprano, and Jeff Kready, tenor – who happen to be husband and wife -- take to the stage for an evening of Broadway's best. It's all part of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra Pops with Conductor Ronald Demkee.

Daniels starred in the 2012 Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess" as Clara. She also has been seen on Broadway as Fantine in "Les Miserables" and has toured nationally with "Aida" and "Little Shop of Horrors." She appeared in PBS's Great Performances presentation of ‘South Pacific" at Carnegie Hall, starring Brian Stokes Mitchell and Reba McEntire.

Kready was the youngest person at age 24 to perform the role of Jean Valjean on Broadway, while making his Broadway debut as understudy in the 2006 revival of "Les Miserables." He also appeared in the Broadway revival of "Sunday in the Park with George." He was Tony Elliot, Billy's older brother, in Broadway's "Billy Elliot the Musical." This fall, he will appear in the new Broadway musical, "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder."

The talented couple is proud of their newest addition and first child, Lena, born in June.

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Miami-based Tiempo Libre brings their rich base of Latin jazz to the stage of the Williams Center for the Arts at Lafayette College in Easton on Sept. 7, at 8 p.m. A Composer's chat with the artistic directors will be held at 7 p.m.

Classically trained at Cuba's premier conservatories, the group delivers the music of their native Cuba with performances of Timba, Latin jazz, and rhythms of Son. Their musical director is Jorge Gomez. According to a release, "at a time when the Cuban government forbade its citizens to listen to American music, Tiempo Libre's members fashioned homemade antennas and secretly listened to the music pulsating from Miami radio stations at night, namely artists like Michael Jackson, Chaka Khan, Gloria Estefan, and Earth, Wind & Fire. These secret radio sessions fueled their dreams of living in America, free to perform their songs and build the careers they wanted."

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