Bethlehem Press

Wednesday, July 15, 2020
CONTRIBUTED PHOTOExamples of Allentown Arts Commission Arts Ovation Awards. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOExamples of Allentown Arts Commission Arts Ovation Awards.

2019 Arts Ovation honors nine; moves to Miller Symphony Hall

Saturday, September 14, 2019 by The Press in Focus

The Allentown Arts Commission 31st annual Arts Ovation Awards will be presented 5:30 - 8 p.m. Sept. 26, in a new venue, Miller Symphony Hall, 23 N. Sixth St., Allentown.

The 2019 Arts Ovation Awards recipients are:

Jodi Duckett, former Arts and Entertainment Editor, The Morning Call, Lifetime Achievement in the Arts

Ron De Long, Outstanding Achievement in Visual Arts

Mike Krisukas, Outstanding Achievement in Performing Arts

Diane Wittry, Outstanding Achievement in Literary Arts

Allentown Symphony’s El Sistema Lehigh Valley, Outstanding Achievement in Arts Education

WDIY 88.1, Outstanding Service to the Arts

City Center Allentown, Outstanding Philanthropy

Aaron Stone, Outstanding Emerging Artist

Michael McDonald, Crescendo Award

“The Crescendo Award“ is a new introduction to the Arts Ovation Awards recognizing Allentonians who have grown their talents to international levels and continue to give back to the community, according to a press release.

The arts commission will also award scholarships for outstanding achievement in art, music and theater to students from Allentown’s high schools: William Allen, Louis E. Dieruff, Central Catholic and Building 21.

Duckett was arts and entertainment editor at The Morning Call for 20 years before retiring in February. She started her career at the paper in 1979 and worked for two decades as a news and features reporter, winning numerous journalism awards. She was named arts editor in 1999 and then founding editor of the “Go Guide.”

De Long is an instructor, advocate and benefactor of the Ron De Long Art Gallery at Penn State Lehigh Valley. He operates Studio and Gallery 2908. Ron has published articles, received fine arts awards and is an Art Lecturer and Fine Arts Instructor at Penn State University Lehigh Valley.

Krisukas, musician and composer, is a founding member, arranger and principal songwriter for the avant-garde cabaret rock band, Zen For Primates. He has composed commissioned pieces for orchestras, including “Black Sea Concerto,” “Lazy Dogma for Trombone & Orchestra”; the Mac Wellman play, “Terminal Hip,” Galway Fringe Festival, Ireland, and “Arcane: A Tale of All Hallows’ Eve” for Company C Ballet, San Francisco.

Wittry, in her 25th year as Allentown Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Conductor, is author of “Beyond the Baton - What Every Conductor Needs to Know” (Oxford University Press, 2007), nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and “Baton Basics - Communicating Music Through Gestures” (Oxford University Press, 2014. Since 2009, she has written the “Classical Views” column for the Lehigh Valley Press Focus section, previewing Allentown Symphony concerts.

El Sistema Lehigh Valley (ESLV) at Roosevelt Elementary School is a free music education program made possible through the Allentown Symphony Association (ASA) collaboration with the Allentown School District. ESLV provides students after-school orchestral instrumental instruction, choir instruction and academic tutoring. ESLV is led by Norma Núñez-Ruch, ASA Director of Education, and Kaylee Santanello, ESLV Program Manager.

WDIY 88.1 is a listener-supported public radio station based in the Lehigh Valley, celebrating its 25th anniversary in January 2020. Weekly programs, including “Lehigh Valley Arts Salon” and “Musings,” spotlight area artists, venues and programs. The station has 120 volunteers, including more than 90 on-air hosts.

City Center Allentown launched “Building Community Initiative,” an initiative of City Center Investment Corp., its employees and principals. In 2018, City Center donated more than $4.3 million to 123 organizations. In addition, the company’s 25 employees volunteered at 45 organizations, donating 2,000 total hours.

Stone is an up-and-coming artist noted for his “fantasy” masks. Stone, 18, a high school senior, has participated in exhibitions, including Allentown’s West Park “Art In The Park.” He received the Dr. Christine Isabella Oaklander Award for excellence in the visual arts in the East Central Pennsylvania Scholastic Art Awards of 2018.

McDonald is a Tony Award-nominated New York Costumer Designer who works on productions on Broadway, and at The Public Theatre, and in regional and Off-Broadway theaters. He teaches at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts. He designed costumes for Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre’s 2019 “Anything Goes.”

Tickets: Information: Allentown Arts Commission Ovation Chair, Jane Heft,; 610-762-8099