Out and About: Music, art, cultural festivals on tap in Allentown


After the focus being on Bethlehem and Musikfest for the past two weekends, this week looks like Allentown is the place to be, with art and music happenings downtown as well as two colorful festivals celebrating different community heritages.

Celebrate Indian heritage in Allentown's Arts Park on Saturday. From 11:30 a.m. until 6 p.m., India Heritage Day returns for its second year, after the success of the inaugural event last year.

The event will kick off with the ceremonial lighting of the lamp by Allentown Mayor Ray O'Connell and U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, and will offer demonstrations of traditional dance and Indian art techniques. There will be a small art exhibition at Baum School of Art and a model village for display at the arts park. There also will be yoga classes, music by a DJ, chances to get henna designs, a fashion show, yoga classes, jewelry displays and food.

The event is sponsored by Saara Arts and supported by Upside Allentown, the Allentown Art Museum, and Lehigh Valley Art Council, The Hindu Temple Society, Indian American Association of Lehigh Valley, and American Association of Indian Physicians.

In conjunction with the festival, the Allentown Art Museum is offering a special edition of ArtVentures, with hands-on art making in the Art Ways Interactive Family Gallery from noon until 3 p.m., as well as a workshop for all ages on rangoli, an Indian art form in which patterns are created on the floor using materials such as colored rice, dry flour or colored sand. Admission to the museum will be free on Saturday.

For information, go to saararts.org/india-heritage-day.

Indian heritage is also the focus of Third Thursday at the Allentown Art Museum.

In honor of Indian Independence Day on August 15, the museum celebrates with a Bollywood style dance party and other cultural activities from 4 to 8 p.m., during the monthly Third Thursday celebration, in which it has free admission to the galleries from 4 until 8 p.m.

From 4 until 5:30 p.m., sample some Indian snacks, an arts/crafts table, artifacts display, and henna applications. From 5:30 until 6 p.m., enjoy a saxophone concert that sets the stage for a high-energy Bollywood dance party with full participation from the audience.

Explore the museum's summer exhibitions, and at 6 p.m., take a free, guided gallery tour of "An Essential Presence," an exhibition of 65 pieces from the Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African-American Art, including more than 40 works on view for the first time. Spanning the late 19th century to the current decade, the show features works by such celebrated artists as Henry Ossawa Tanner, Charles White, and Elizabeth Catlett.

Watch the film "A New Color: The Art of Being Edith Boone" at 6 p.m. The film profiles the life and work of celebrated artist Edythe Boone, whose colorful murals portray some of the major events of our time and illustrate the transformative power of art.

Drop in to an art workshop with a local artist or for those 21 and older, sample wines from One Hope Wines in the Art Ways Lounge 5:30 to 7 p.m.

For a complete schedule, go to www.downtownallentown.com.

Other local institutions are joining in the fun for Third Thursday. Across the street from the museum, the Baum School of Art is holding a reception to kick off its faculty and staff exhibition in the David E. Rodale and Rodale Family Galleries through September 11.

The biannual exhibition features the creative work of the school's talented faculty and staff members. The exhibition features a variety in mediums and subject matter from fashion, to graphic design, to drawing and painting, to photography, to sculpture.

From 6 until 9 p.m., meet the faces behind The Baum School and get some one-on-one time with the school's teaching artists. Complimentary wine, beverages, and light fare will be served.

All exhibitions and receptions are free and open to the public.

Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. August 15; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.August 16 and 19-25 and then 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday though Thursday.

For information, go to www.baumschool.org.

At 5 p.m., Miller Symphony Hall, invites the public to check out the new Lyric Room and grab a specialty cocktail during Third Thursday and enjoy the keyboard stylings of Dan McKinney.

McKinney played keys with The Original Sins, Jim Weider, and countless other bands live and in the studio and has logged many hours behind the grand piano at local venues.

Also at Symphony Hall on Friday, check out Allentown Symphony's Jazz Upstairs series as Chaise Lounge performs in the Rodale Room at 7:30 p.m.

Made up of Charlie Barnett, Marilyn Older, Tommy Barrick, Gary Gregg, Joe Jackson and Pete Ostle,

Chaise Lounge performs a blend of music that sounds like it was recorded at Capitol Recording Studios in 1962 and somehow found its way to today's pop charts. The music is the combination of five of the Washington area's top jazz musicians playing sparkling arrangements of standards and original tunes and featuring the warm, inviting vocals of Older.

Admission includes light refreshments and cash bar. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door.

On Saturday, join the Allentown Band as it plays the soundtrack to the silent film "The General," starring Buster Keaton.

Watch the movie on the big screen at 7:30 p.m. while the band performs beloved music from the time period. Re-mastered in high definition, this 1926 silent comedy film was inspired by a true story of an event that occurred during the American Civil War. Hailed a masterpiece, "The General" was filmed in Cottage Grove, Oregon, where local citizens were recruited as extras and 500 members from the Oregon National Guard were outfitted in Confederate gray or Union blue for the battle scenes.

Admission is $20.

Miller Symphony Hall is at 23 North Sixth Street in Allentown. For information on all three events, call 610-432-6715 or go to www.millersymphonyhall.org.

Native American culture festival in Lehigh Parkway The Museum of Indian Culture in Allentown invites the public to its 39th annual Roasting Ears of Corn Festival, the state's oldest Native American Indian fest lawn chairs and blankets for a weekend of Native American drumming, singing and dancing. Grand entrance is at noon. The festival includes activities for people of all ages, including a children's hand-on activity area, where they can learn to make Native American style crafts such as dreamcatchers, cornhusk dolls, and Navajo sand painting, and help paint a mural. Other activities include face painting, pony rides, life skills demonstrations, including atlatl and tomahawk throwing, flintknapping, primitive fire making, flute-making, and native cooking demonstrations by Heart to Hearth; and artifact displays by the Indian Artifact Collectors Association of the Northeast. Cree demonstrator Katrina Fisher will present her award-winning Plains teepee program.

Vendors will sell hand-crafted items, such as handmade Navajo and Zuni silver jewelry, Iroquois wampum jewelry and bead work, Kachina dolls, pottery, leather clothing, moccasins and handbags, hand drums, soap stone carvings, dreamcatchers and other crafts. Traditional cuisine of frybread, buffalo burgers, buffalo stew, Indian tacos, blueberry wajopi, corn soup and fire roasted corn.

The Museum of Indian Culture is at 2825 Fish Hatchery Road, Allentown.

Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children 8-17 and seniors over 62 and free for children under 8.

For information, call 610-797-2121 or go to www.museumofindianculture.org.

Final Valley Vivaldi concert of the summer in Bethlehem Sunday is the final concert in Valley Vivaldi, Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra's summer series of intimate chamber music.

Enjoy works by Tartini, Albinoni, Telemann, JS Bach and, of course, Vivaldi at 7 p.m. at Wesley Church in Bethlehem.

The program includes Vivaldi's "Sinfonia for strings in E, RV 131," and Tartini's "Violin Concerto in g minor, Op. 1 No. 1," both featuring Simon Maurer on violin; Albinoni's "Trumpet Concerto in B Flat, Op. 7 No. 3," featuring Lawrence Wright on trumpet; Telemann's "Quartet for recorder, violin, oboe and continuo," featuring Rainer Beckmann on recorder and Cheryl Bishkoff on oboe; and J. S. Bach's "Concerto in d minor for two violins, BWV 1043," featuring Mary Ogletree and Rebecca Brown on violin.

Stay and meet the musicians at the free post-concert reception.

Wesley Church is at 2540 Center Street in Bethlehem.

Tickets are $15 to $35. For information, call 610-434-7811 or go to www.pasinfonia.org.

Reading Choral Society Summer Sing in Tilden Join Reading Choral Society for its 2019 Summer Sing "Benjamin Britten For All" on Saturday at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Tilden Township, Berks County, near Hamburg.

Each summer, Reading Choral Society, whose mission is to perform, foster and advance choral music in Berks County, holds community choral workshops throughout the county.

Join Christopher Jackson, director of choral & music studies, Muhlenberg College, for his workshop "Benjamin Britten for All" and learn how Britten's extensive output can have a place in every singer's life.

Jackson is the director of choral activities and head of voice at Muhlenberg College in Allentown since 2017 and is the co-founder of professional ensemble Bricolage, which debuted with performances of David Lang's Pulitzer Prize-winning composition, "The Little Match Girl Passion," to raise funds for women's and children's shelters. In addition to teaching, conducting, and academic research, Jackson is also active as a professional choral singer and soloist. Most recently, he was honored to sing as a member of the Grammy Award-winning ensemble, Roomful of Teeth.

The program runs from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., with lunch provided. There is a $15 registration fee at the door. Students are $5.

St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church is at 94 Walnut Road in Tilden Township.

For information, call 610-898-1939 or go to www.readingchoral.org.

Murder mystery at winery in Greenwich Revisit the characters from one of your favorite sitcoms when Without A Cue Productions presents the spoof murder mystery dinner "Cheers! to Murder" on Friday at Folino Estate in Greenwich Township, Berks County.

It's a sad day for Sam, Diane, Carla and Cliff, when they learn Norm has passed away, and they have all gathered for his wake.

It seems, however, Norm died at a bar and the circumstances surrounding his demise are questionable. In this interactive performance, accusations fly, tempers become heated, pasts uncovered, and anyone, including the audience, could become the murderer's next victim.

Included is a four-course gourmet buffet-style dinner.

"Cheers! to Murder" is at 6 p.m. on August 16 at Folino Estate, 340 Old Route 22 in Greenwich Township.

Tickets are $65. For information, call 484-452-3633, or go to www.folinoestate.com.

Comedy and new plays at Shawnee Take a ride this weekend to the Poconos, where you can choose between a humorous musical comedy or original short plays written by local playwrights.

Friday, The Shawnee Playhouse in Shawnee on Delaware opens both "Church Basement Ladies" and presents performances of winning plays from its annual Shawnee Original Playwright Series contest.

"Church Basement Ladies," which runs August 16 through September 1, is inspired by the hit comedy book "Growing Up Lutheran," by Janet Letnes Martin and Suzann Nelson. Published in 1997, "Growing Up Lutheran" is a humorous "scrapbook of memories" of what it was like to grow up Lutheran in the Midwest in the mid 20th century.

Set in 1965, "Church Basement Ladies" follows four women who work in the church basement, cooking meals for church functions, and their relationships as they organize the food and solve the problems of a rural Minnesota church. From the elderly matriarch of the kitchen to the young bride-to-be learning the proper order of things, the musical gives a touching, funny look at these women's lives as they handle a record-breaking Christmas dinner, the funeral of a dear friend, a Hawaiian-themed Easter fundraiser, and a wedding in a steaming hot July. They stave off potential disasters, share and debate recipes, instruct the young, and keep the pastor on due course while tolerating each other.

At 7 p.m. on Friday, Shawnee's Worthington Players will produce five of the winning plays from its Original Playwright Series contest. The winning plays will be presented on three consecutive Friday nights.

Plays include "The A Word" by Lisa Ellex and "Two Friends in a Bar" and "To Be Alone" by David Hess - one act winners; and "Longshot" by Aren Haun and "The Dementia Monologues" by Marylou Ambrose – shorts winners.

Each year, The Shawnee Playhouse encourages local playwrights to submit their original and unpublished works for a chance to win the playwright contest and have their play produced. This year, each submission was read by volunteer actors over several weeks. The public was invited to listen to the readings of the original plays and had a chance to vote and comment on each work.

The winners also include the full-length play winner "Country Fried Murder" by Judy Klass, which will be produced September 14, 15, 21 and 22.

"Church Basement Ladies" will be performed at 2 p.m. on August 16, 18, 22-23, 25, 29-30 and September 1; 8 p.m. on August 17, 24 and 31. Tickets are $16 to $26.

"Shawnee Original Playwright Series" is at 7 p.m. on August 16, 23 and 30. Tickets are $12 to $19.

The Shawnee Playhouse is at 552 River Road, Shawnee on Delaware.

For information, call 570-421-5093, or go to www.theshawneeplayhouse.com.