Bethlehem Press

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Allentown Symphony ‘Inside the Score’ unveils world premiere

Wednesday, May 22, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

If you’ve ever wanted to know how a classical piece of music is created, developed and brought to the concert stage, you won’t want to miss “Inside the Score: A New Cello Concerto” by Matthew Quayle, with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra featuring cello soloist Jameson Platte, 7:30 p.m. May 23, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

“Matt Quayle, the composer, is good friends with Jameson Platte, our principal cellist,” says Diane Wittry, Allentown Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Conductor.

Night on the Town: Steve Brosky working on his Tavern Tan at Godfrey’s

Wednesday, May 22, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Steve Brosky has been working on his tan, as in Tavern Tan, for a double bill, “Tough Tales & Rock Solid Saloon Songs,” 8 p.m. May 23, Godfrey Daniels, Bethlehem.

“Godfrey’s is a staple here in the Lehigh Valley. It’s a real gem,” Brosky says.

Tavern Tan is Doug Ashby, guitar, vocals; Andrew Brubaker, guitar, vocals; Tom Aczel, harmonica, vocals; Bill Melcher, bass, and Dave Joachim, drums, vocals.

Movie Review: ‘Red’ all over

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Red Joan” is an odd little film worth seeing for several fine performances and a retelling of an apparently little-known World War II and Cold War era spy case.

The film has the potential of a Hitchcockian thriller, not unlike director Alfred Hitchcock’s spy thriller, “Saboteur” (1942).

Though it doesn’t square the circle in fulfilling the dramtic arc of the classic Hitchcock film, “Red Joan” is of interest to fans of spy thrillers, World War II history buffs and those who follow the performances of Dame Judith Olivia Dench. otherwise know as Judi Dench.

Concert Review: 112th Bach Festival of Bethlehem has many memorable moments

Wednesday, May 15, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

They come for the “Mass,” but they stay for the cantatas, world premieres, instrumental works and events.

The 112th Bach Festival of Bethlehem, which continues May 17 and 18, ran the gamut of emotions, from somber reflection, to fascinating scholarship, to wonderful new works, to exciting soloists and instrumentalists to, yes, the grandeur of J.S. Bach’s “Mass in B Minor.”

There’s so much to take in at the Bach Festival, that a review cannot truly do it justice. Even so, there are moments to remember from the May 10 and 11 performances and events.

Movie Review: ‘Endgame,’ or is it?

Wednesday, May 15, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It is called “Avengers: Endgame.”

To quote the rock band, The Who, “Don’t get fooled again.”

There will be plenty more to see in the Marvel Cinematic Universe even though some of the main characters may be gone.

At the risk of being attacked by “Avengers” fans, we say no more.

Fans will relish “Avengers: Endgame” for its panoply of Marvel characters, quippy dialogue between characters, and huge action scenes, especially a concluding battle that recreates an armageddon of Biblical proportions.

On the road to Bethlehem for the Bach Festival in May

Wednesday, May 15, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Another May. Another ‘Mass.’”

So observed David R. Umla, of Allentown, who has sung J. S. Bach’s “Mass In B Minor” in the Bass I section of the Bach Choir of Bethlehem for two decades since the 1998-1999 season.

“It’s like coming home,” said Umla, standing outside Packer Memorial Church on the Lehigh University campus in Bethlehem between sessions of the “Mass,” presented in two parts on the afternoon of May 11 for the 112th Bach Festival.

“It never gets old,” continued Umla. “I could sing it every weekend.”

Movie Review: ‘Endgame,’ or is it?

Tuesday, May 14, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It is called “Avengers: Endgame.”

To quote the rock band, The Who, “Don’t get fooled again.”

There will be plenty more to see in the Marvel Cinematic Universe even though some of the main characters may be gone.

At the risk of being attacked by “Avengers” fans, we say no more.

Fans will relish “Avengers: Endgame” for its panoply of Marvel characters, quippy dialogue between characters, and huge action scenes, especially a concluding battle that recreates an armageddon of Biblical proportions.

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.