When Belinda Davids was 8, she chanced to hear her brother playing one of his LP records which featured the duet “Hold Me” by Teddy Pendergrass and Whitney Houston. The moment would make a lasting impression.
“It was the first time I heard her and I was struck,” Davids says of Houston. “There was something about the purity of her voice.”
Even at that young age, Davids says she also realized she could sing a lot like Houston.
Having a Grammy-Award-winning classical pianist play at the Bach Choir of Bethlehem’s opening gala concert resonates personally for Bach Choir artistic director and conductor Greg Funfgeld.
“As a young man, I would regularly attend concerts in New York City where I had the privilege of hearing Peter Serkin play,” Funfgeld says. “His performance of Beethoven’s ‘Fourth Piano Concerto’ was one of the greatest musical experiences of my life.”
The Butz family, which has donated $2 million to arts organizations during the past 10 years, called on other area businesses to follow their lead as they accepted the Arts Ovation Legacy Award from Allentown Arts Commission.
The Commission’s 30th anniversary Ovation Award ceremony in Allentown’s center city Radisson Hotel ballroom Sept. 27 also honored six other recipients who have had a major impact on Allentown’s arts community.
In the 1990s, “The Three Tenors” were all the rage. Opera singers Plácido Domingo, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti had joined forces and created an operatic tenor super group.
Brent Barrett, who at the time had starred in numerous Broadway musicals including “West Side Story,” “Annie Get Your Gun” and “Grand Hotel,” thought he could use the same concept, but instead with some of the talented Broadway leading men he knew.
Coming off a season that boasted the highest numbers in seven years, the State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton, is trying a couple of new things, as well as bringing back some surefire hits in 2018-2019.
“We’re pumped.” says State Theatre president and CEO Shelley Brown. “We had a really good year. Since our 90th anniversary we have seen an uptick in attendance. The anniversary gave the theater a lot of visibility and the enthusiasm is contagious. When people are excited about being here it gives us a real shot in the arm.”
Now in its 30th year, the Allentown Arts Ovation Award honors those who have made a difference in the arts in the city of Allentown.
This year, seven recipients, including one family, who have had a major impact on Allentown’s arts community will be honored with awards from The Allentown Arts Commission at a ceremony, 5:30 - 8 p.m. Sept. 27, Ballroom, Renaissance Allentown Hotel, 12 N. Seventh St., Allentown.
There aren’t many compositions commemorating the Keystone State.
Sure, Pennsylvania has the “Pennsylvania Polka,” written by Zeke Manners and recorded in 1942 by The Andrews Sisters.
Another song mentioning the state, “Pennsylvania 6-5000,” with music by Jerry Gray and lyrics by Carl Sigman and recorded in 1940 by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, is actually based on the phone number of the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City.
Allentown Symphony Orchestra is embracing “one giant leap for mankind” as it embarks on its 2018-2019 season.
The orchestra will present three programs celebrating the exploration of space and particularly the 50th anniversary of man landing on the moon, including, for the first time, a lunar-themed concert performed at the State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton.
Diane Wittry, Music Director and Conductor of the orchestra, says it is part of the orchestra’s outreach to the Lehigh Valley community and goal of working with other local arts organizations.
For the Bach Choir of Bethlehem and Bel Canto Youth Choir, formerly based in Red Hill, Montgomery County, a merger of the two nonproft choral groups has been a long time coming.
In 2012, Bel Canto sang with the Bach Choir for Benjamin Britten’s cantata “St. Nicolas” and the following year, members lent their youthful voices to the Bach Choir’s 2013 CD “A Child’s Christmas in Bethlehem.” Last year, Bel Canto singers performed in the Bach Choir’s performance of Leonard Bernstein’s iconic “Mass.”
Now the two groups have become one.
When Pencor Services, Inc., took a chance on a concert hall in the mountains of Penn Forest Township, general manager Craig Stelling never dreamed the site would one day be in the company of legendary country music venues like Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and Austin City Limits Live.
But as Penn’s Peak embarked on its 15th anniversary this year, Stelling learned that the Carbon County concert hall is one of five nominees for the Venue of the Year - Small Capacity in the Industry Award and Studio Recording division for the 53rd Academy Of Country Music Awards (CMA).