Lehigh Valley Music Awards 16 Celebrates the Old and New

March 9th, 2015 posted by

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LVMA16 at SteelStacks

On Sunday, George Wacker and I had the honor of presenting several awards at the 16th Lehigh Valley Music Awards. I wanted to make some observations. Many awards went to musicians that I have heard on a regular basis throughout Lehigh Valley. Dave Fry, Sarah Ayres, James Supra, Craig Thatcher, Large Flowerheads and Tower Suite have shown an incredible ability to grow and expand their musicianship.

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Schadt String Competition Brings a Different Type of March Madness to Miller Symphony Hall

March 6th, 2013 posted by

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Miller Symphony Hall

It is March, so March Madness must be close at hand.  I had the opportunity to see a different kind of March Madness this past Sunday, only this one was at Miller Symphony Hall and was a competition among three Cellists.

This past weekend, Lehigh Valley hosted nine cellists from around the world who participated in the Schadt String Competition for Cello.  This year was the seventeenth annual Schadt String Competition which rotates among Violin, Cello and Guitar.  Named for Edwin and Leigh Schadt, two brothers who had a deep love of string music, created a trust for promising students and later the competition itself.

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Winery Weekends!

May 29th, 2012 posted by

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Clover Hill Vineyard & Winery

The past two weekends were great for people who like visiting and having a great time at Lehigh Valley wineries. The weekend before last, the Large Flowerheads Trio played in the Vyneskeller at Vynecrest. The place was packed with people singing and playing tambourines along with the band as they went through the hits of the sixties and seventies. Of course, wine and snacks were available for purchase. Three of the four of us split a bottle of Vynecrest’s Pinot Grigio – a great pick! Three hours of the Flowerheads along with wine makes for a perfectly good Saturday afternoon. The folks at Vynecrest are having entertainment on a regular basis.

The following Saturday I was off to Clover Hill for their wine and Martins event. Dick Boak and Craig Thatcher from Martin Guitars were there and wine was available for all. Dick told the Martin Guitar company history and as each era passed, Craig played music from that era with a guitar from that time. The guitar from the 1850’s sounded great as did the Eric Clapton model from a couple of years ago. Once again I had the Pinot Grigio and sat back to hear the story of a great company, accompanied by great guitars. Craig performs pretty regularly at Clover Hill.

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Visiting the Shoppes at Sands

March 6th, 2012 posted by

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Hot Tamales Dispenser

My wife and I paid our first visit to the Shoppes at Sands last week. Okay, I’ll be honest, we really went to go to Peeps and Company, the other stores were an afterthought. This is Just Born’s third Peeps and Company location and we had visited the location at National Harbor in Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C.

After a warm welcome by the staff and a taste of a Peepster (Vanilla cream inside a dark or milk chocolate shell), we explored. There were all things Peeps, Mike and Ike, Hot Tamales and Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews. There’s clothing, plush peeps, books, toys and a lot more. The back wall is a huge dispenser for various flavors of Mike and Ike and increasing “heat” of Hot Tamales.

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Fulfilling a Prophecy at the Bachmann Publick House

October 21st, 2011 posted by

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Sunday, Sybil and I went to the opening of Fulfilling a Prophecy: The Past and Present of the Lenape in Pennsylvania. This is the Lenape Nation Cultural Center’s new permanent exhibit and it is located in the Bachmann Publick House at Second and Northampton Streets in Easton. The Lenape Nation was the Native American tribe located in eastern Pennsylvania along the Delaware River. The exhibit is supplemented by a Lenape exhibit at The Sigal Museum further west on Northampton Street.

Located on the second floor of Bachmann Publick House, you are directed to a brief video explaining the Prophecy of the Fourth Crow. Proceeding down the hall you enter the exhibit itself. The exhibit focuses on the Prophecy of the Fourth Crow. It is a showcase of artifacts, photographs and objects organized around the four prophecies. Another room holds the Lenape Trading Post, with handmade clothing, gifts, cards, books and music for sale.

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The Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley

October 19th, 2011 posted by

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Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley

Saturday evening Sybil and I attended the Members Preview Party at the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley. As with all their preview parties, it provided members the opportunity to see the new museum and the Kress exhibit the day before it opens to the public. Two things were immediately apparent. First, there are windows and second, there is space – a lot more space.

The Fifth Street façade has windows from the old church where the new entrance is located to and around the corner near Linden Street. Being able to see into the museum added an approachability that seemed to be missing before. Being able to see out, with the great views of the Baum Art School, the DaVinci Horse, The Art Park, the mural on the east wall of Symphony Hall and the skyline beyond reminds you of where you are and what great treasures are located nearby.

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When the First Musikfest Occurred in 1984

August 11th, 2011 posted by

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Alison Krauss and Union Station

When Musikfest first hit the scene in Lehigh Valley in 1984, steel was still being manufactured in the South Bethlehem plant. My father and grandfather both worked for Bethlehem Steel, but not in Bethlehem. They worked at Sparrows Point. The steel was a big part of my life. You can’t imagine how thrilled I was to see the number of people on site at Musikfest’s South Side campus this year and the life that has been regenerated there.

My wife and I had tickets for Allison Krauss and Union Station so we decided to arrive early and walk around. It being a Tuesday, the SteelStacks Farmers Market was underway (though not in its normal spot). I was very impressed with the quality and variety of artisan breads, meats, cheeses, preserves, fruits and vegetables and dessert items. It’s worth a separate trip. We had dinner outside at Looper’s and as usual had a fine meal. Having seen so many dessert items we wandered back to the Farmers Market to buy something. The offer of a free sample by Tabora Farm & Orchard sealed the deal. A small bag of a dozen thin and crispy chocolate chip cookies was immediately opened and partially consumed.

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Here Comes the Sun

July 14th, 2011 posted by

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Air Products and Chemicals

Innovation is alive and well in Lehigh Valley. Recently, I had the opportunity to see the ceremonial “flipping of the switch” for the brand new Air Products solar farm. The solar farm consists of 11,239 silicon thin-film panels on fifteen acres adjacent to their headquarters in Trexlertown, PA.

This is the largest silicon thin-film installation in the country. The installation is capable of producing 2 megawatts of renewable power and will cover as much as half of the power needs for the headquarters complex.

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Majestic Vision – 20 Years of Drama

May 26th, 2011 posted by

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P5250017

Lehigh Valley is blessed with some incredible talent. Yesterday I had the opportunity to witness several aspects of that talent. The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival held each summer showcases impressive local and professional talent in its productions. In honor of its 20th season a book of photographs of these seasons has been released entitled Majestic Vision. That is exactly what it is, a portrayal of the majesty of the productions of PA Shakespeare Festival. It is an incredible book with more than 190 pages of full color photographs, documenting productions since the early beginnings of the festival. Printed on high quality paper and hard bound, this book shows the artistry of the PA Shakespeare Festival productions.

Official PA Shakespeare Festival photographer, Lee Butz (whose office is down the hall from our offices) has demonstrated an ability to capture the moment in his photographs. Lee, an amateur photographer whose photographs are nothing less than incredible, is a Lehigh Valley native and for more than thirty-five years headed Alvin H. Butz, Inc., one of the country’s largest construction management firms. Lee is at the podium in the photo above.

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A State & State Combo

March 28th, 2011 posted by

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Statecafe-1a

Last Monday evening on my drive home from my guitar lesson, I was the first to call WDIY during a segment of Folk Classics and won two tickets to see The Kingston Trio at the State Theatre. Later in the week I made reservations at the State Café & Grill. I had promised the owner, Juan Martinez, that I would visit for dinner.

The State Café is just off  Northampton Street on Fifth. Its open kitchen and intimate interior are a treat. The place was hopping, as I’m sure it usually is on a show night, being the restaurant closest to the theater. Our strategically located table allowed us to watch the “dance” of food preparation in the kitchen and the end of the Butler/Florida overtime game. Both were entertaining.

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