Bethlehem Press

Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Alex Meixner. Alex Meixner.
Photos contributed by The Pennsylvania music Preservation Society Photos contributed by The Pennsylvania music Preservation Society

Musically diverse Memorial Day planned

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 by Carole Gorney Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

More than 100 performances representing the state’s rich and diverse musical genres from polka to folk to rock, and salsa to military marches will be featured during the 2018 Great Pennsylvania Music & Arts Celebration (PennMArt) at the historic Allentown Fairgrounds on Memorial Day Weekend, May 26-28. Admission to the family-friendly event, as well as fairgrounds parking, are free.

Topping the list of music headliners performing on five stages or “schtells” are Bill Haley Jr. and the Comets, Hector Rosado and Steel Ave. Salsa, and Grammy-nominated polka advocate Alex Meixner. Purcell’s Irish Band & Irish Stepdancers will join in a cross-cultural appearance with the Pennsylvania Dutch-inspired Toad Creek Ramblers & Hoedowners and Callers on Sunday evening.

“PennMArt is a fusion of ethnic music, dance, art, food and other special attractions,” according to Meixner, whose Pennsylvania Music Preservation Society is the driving force behind the three-day Memorial Day event.

Besides stage performances, there will be polka dancing, an artist market, a hex sign painting station, and the Camp Crane military proving ground featuring a sharing memories tent, and a Mack Truck exhibit of World War I and II vehicles. Food representing various Pennsylvania cultures, along with beer will be available for purchase.

For children, there will be a petting zoo, pony rides and face painting.

The five-member combo of Bill Haley Jr. and the Comets plays popular songs from the 1950s and 60s, and shares inside stories and the historical context behind the songs, with an emphasis on the legendary Bill Haley’s mega-hits “Rock Around the Clock,” “See You Later, Alligator,” “Shake, Rattle and Roll” and “Skinny Minnie.”

An accomplished percussionist, Hector Rosado has played nationwide with some of the best in the business, including jazz flautist Dave Valentine, who is noted for combining jazz with Latin music; and the “King of Latin Music” Tito Puente. He has recorded for Warner Bros., including tracks for “video jams” on the cable network BET.

Nationally acclaimed ambassador of polka music, and an Allentown native, Meixner is a classically trained musician who is proficient playing drums, bass, keyboards, piano accordion, button accordion and trumpet. He embraces musical styles originating from across America and central and eastern Europe.

Other performing groups and individuals include Big Valley Bluegrass, Whiskey Hollow, Lyons Fiddle Fest House Band, the Doug Madenford Duo, singer/guitarist Chelsea Lynn Meyer and the Acoustic Blues Project. The Allentown Band, Municipal Band and Pioneer Band will also perform every day. A complete schedule of performances is available on the PAMPS website at

The Pennsylvania Music Preservation Society is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization.