Bethlehem Press

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Disney movie concert magic back on stage with Allentown Symphony

Thursday, May 9, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The beauty, excitement and entertainment that are Disney movies will manifest itself in center city Allentown.

Disney fans won’t want to miss the Allentown Symphony Orchestra Pops concert, “Disney In Concert: A Dream Is A Wish,” 7:30 p.m. May 11, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

It’s the third time that Ronald Demkee, ASO Pops Conductor, has led the ASO Pops in a Disney-theme concert at Miller Symphony Hall.

Movie Review: ‘Amazing’ Aretha

Thursday, May 9, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Amazing Grace” depicts a concert by Aretha Franklin filmed in 1972 in a Los Angeles church during the recording of a live gospel music album of the same title.

Though billed as a documentary, there’s very little commentary and no interviews with Franklin nor those associated with the project. There are some explanatory title cards at the beginning of the film.

Basically, this is a concert film of a recording studio session, or a gospel version of concert films from the era, notably, “Woodstock” (1970) or “Gimme Shelter” (1970).

More than Bach and beer in Bethlehem: 112th Bach Festival adds concerts, events, venues

Tuesday, May 7, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Legendary journalist H.L. Mencken wrote of his attendance at the Bethlehem Bach Festival during Prohibition in terms of Bach and beer.

The 2019 Bach Festival of Bethlehem, in its 112th year, is much more than that.

In his 36th season, Bach Choir of Bethlehem Artistic Director and Conductor Greg Funfgeld has added depth and dimension to the Bach Festival.

The festival is May 10, 11 and May 17, 18 in Bethlehem, principally on the Lehigh University campus, with some events at a southside Bethlehem church and on the downtown Moravian College campus.

Curtain Rises:

Friday, May 3, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Civic’s ‘Fun Home’ puts the fun in dysfunction

The tagline for the musical, “Fun Home,” could be: “Putting the fun in dysfunction.”

Civic Theatre of Allentown presents the Lehigh Valley premiere of the Tony Award-winning musical, “Fun Home,” May 3-19.

The original Broadway production, opening in 2015 and closing in 2016, was nominated for 12 Tony Awards, receiving five Tonys, including Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score.

Review: ‘Breakthrough’

Friday, May 3, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

One wouldn’t necessarily expect a “More cowbell” joke in a Christian-themed movie.

That’s just one of the surprises in “Breakthrough,” based on the true story of a teen whose life floated in the balance after he fell through wintry ice in a pond in St. Charles, Mo. (St. Louis is the closest big city.)

“Breakthrough” portrays a realistic family, not a sanitized family. The family bickers. The son is surly to his mother. The boy is disrespectful of authority at the Christian middle school he attends and on the school basketball team on which he’s a standout player.

Curtain Rises:

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Civic’s ‘Fun Home’ puts the fun in dysfunction

The tagline for the musical, “Fun Home,” could be: “Putting the fun in dysfunction.”

Civic Theatre of Allentown presents the Lehigh Valley premiere of the Tony Award-winning musical, “Fun Home,” May 3-19.

The original Broadway production, opening in 2015 and closing in 2016, was nominated for 12 Tony Awards, receiving five Tonys, including Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score.

Allentown Symphony lands ‘Moon’ concert at State Theatre

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It’s not the distance from the Earth to the Moon (on average, 238,855 miles), but the distance from Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown, to the State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton (approximately 16.5 miles via American Parkway and U.S. Route 22 East) requires a fair amount of logistics for the Allentown Symphony Orchestra, 7 p.m. May 4 “To The Moon And Back!” concert.

The concert asks the cosmic question: Where were you on July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took mankind’s first steps on the lunar surface?

Students go ‘Side by Side’ in Allentown Band concert

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

When the phrase “Side by Side” is mentioned, one first might think of “Side by Side by Sondheim,” the 1977 Broadway revue of songs by Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim. The title references the song, “Side by Side by Side,” from the Sondheim musical, “Company.”

The Lehigh Valley has its own “Side by Side” Allentown Band concert, 7:30 p.m. May 5, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

Allentown Band sound rings out in Carnegie Hall concert

Friday, April 26, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

NEW YORK -- “And to think these two schools from Puerto Rico were devastated and they got to Carnegie Hall,” said Deb Heiney, business manager, Allentown Band, after the band’s stellar performance on the Ronald O. Perelman Stage, Isaac Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall, New York City, for the concluding night of the 2019 New York International Music Festival.

The festival, presented by World Projects Corp., brought six high school music groups and two college ensembles, which were adjudicated to qualify for participation, to the five-day festival, April 13-17, in New York.

‘Soft start to spring season’: LV house sales down again

Friday, April 26, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Business Showcase

House sales declined for the third straight month, putting sales in negative territory for the first quarter of 2019 compared to house sales for the same three months one year ago.

Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors (GLVR) officials report that March data “showed a soft start to the spring selling season.”

Closed sales for houses in the Lehigh Valley decreased 7.2 percent in in March, with 589 houses sold, down from 635 houses sold in March 2018, according to the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors (GLVR) monthly report released April 15.