Bethlehem Press

Monday, July 13, 2020

Composer Workshop: From video games to television, to movies

Saturday, July 11, 2020 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

Second of two parts

Award-winning composers who have written music for everything from hit video games to cartoons to television shows to films and documentaries, as well as for orchestras and bands, will highlight the diversity of composition today, when Allentown Symphony Orchestra presents its first-ever “Online Composer Workshop,” July 28 - Aug. 13.

Video game composer Tommy Tallarico helped revolutionize the gaming world, creating audio landscapes for hundreds of titles. His score for “Advent Rising” has been called one of the greatest musical scores of all time.

Composers, Start your music: Allentown Symphony inaugurates Composer-in-Residence program

Saturday, July 4, 2020 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

First of two parts

The Allentown Symphony Orchestra wants to inspire residents to write music.

Diane Wittry, Allentown Symphony Orchestra music director and conductor, says the orchestra is embarking on its first-ever Composer-in-Residence program that she hopes will inspire area students and others who aspire to compose music.

“This is a huge new venture for the Allentown Symphony,” Wittry says in a phone interview. “Often, only large orchestras are able to have composers-in-residence.”

The Sound of Summer: Allentown Band silenced for concerts in the parks

Saturday, June 27, 2020 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

For almost 200 years, the sound of the Allentown Band has been one of the beloved sounds of summer.

But this summer, the familiar drums, brass and woodwinds of the oldest civilian concert band in the United States have been silenced. The Allentown Band was founded in 1828.

“I miss it so much,” says Ronald Demkee, conductor of the 60-person Allentown Band. “I miss making music and sharing music.”

Curtain Rises: Veteran actor Christopher Patrick Mullen misses ‘Camp Shakespeare’ at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival

Friday, June 19, 2020 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

Gigless in the Valley

Last of six parts

When Christopher Patrick Mullen left his Brooklyn apartment to visit his 90-year-old mother for a weekend March 13 all he brought with him was a weekend bag and a script.

Now more than three-months later, the professional actor is still at his mother’s home in Malvern, Chester County, while Pennsylvania has been under quarantine for the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Curtain Rises: ‘We All Play A Part” in spotlight even though the stage is dark at Pennsylvania Playhouse

Sunday, June 14, 2020 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

Fifth of six parts

Across the Lehigh Valley, theaters where plays and musicals are staged are dark as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic mandates.

“Hey, let’s put on a show,” the clarion call of Mickey Rooney to Judy Garland in “Babes in Arms” (1939) from the Golden Age of Hollywood movie musicals, is not so easy in these days of the coronavirus shutdowns.

And few area stage venues feel the pinch more keenly than the nonprofit community theater, The Pennsylvania Playhouse, Bethlehem.

Coronavirus Impact: Bach Choir provides ‘Moments of Comfort,’ looks to Leipzig 2021

Sunday, June 14, 2020 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been difficult for all performing arts organizations, but few Lehigh Valley-based nonprofits have had as much to lose as the Bach Choir of Bethlehem.

Once the official quarantine started in March, the internationally-recognized choir had to cancel not only its spring concert, but also its two-weekend-long Bach Festival, the popular free “Bach at Noon” series and a much-heralded June tour to Bachfest in Leipzig, Germany.

Triple whammy of cancellations for musician, composer, teacher

Friday, June 5, 2020 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

Fourth of six parts

With classical, pops and band concerts and musical theater performances canceled across the region because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, professional musicians are out of work.

Stephen Reisteter muses that he took a triple hit.

Not only does Reisteter play principal clarinet for The Allentown Band and the Allentown Symphony Orchestra, he is a frequent pit orchestra musician for musical theater in the Lehigh Valley.

In addition to cancellations of ASO and Allentown Band concerts, Reisteter lost several pit orchestra gigs.

Coronavirus impact: 113th Bethlehem Bach Festival canceled

Saturday, April 11, 2020 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

The 113th Bethlehem Bach Festival will not take place in May because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Bach Choir of Bethlehem officials announced the decision to cancel the internationally-recognized May 8, 9 and May 15, 16 festival, described as “The Heart of Our Season,” in an email to patrons, on its website and in an April 3 press release to the media.

Coronavirus impact: 113th Bach Festival canceled in Bethlehem

Saturday, April 4, 2020 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS in Focus

The 113th Bethlehem Bach Festival will not take place in May 2020 because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Bach Choir of Bethlehem officials announced the decision to cancel the internationally-recognized May 8, 9 and May 15, 16 festival, described as “The Heart of Our Season,” in an email to patrons, on its website and in an April 3 press release to the media.