Northampton Press

Tuesday, May 26, 2020
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO“Jakopa’s Punch Bowl,” 7 p.m. Feb. 8, Charles A. Brown Ice House, Bethlehem. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO“Jakopa’s Punch Bowl,” 7 p.m. Feb. 8, Charles A. Brown Ice House, Bethlehem.

4th ‘Jakopa’s Punch Bowl’ benefits Touchstone Theatre

Thursday, February 6, 2020 by DUSTIN SCHOOF Special to The Press in Focus

Imagine hearing Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” performed with a boisterous Bourbon Street twist.

The resulting sound and image best describes the nine-piece music ensemble Jakopa’s Punch.

The Touchstone Theatre house band performs its fourth annual Mardi Gras-themed “Jakopa’s Punch Bowl,” 7 p.m. Feb. 8, Charles A. Brown Ice House, Bethlehem.

The evet, a fundraiser for the south side Bethlehem theater, includes New Orleans-style food and complimentary wine and beer.

Jakopa’s Punch keyboardist and accordionist Jason Hedrington compared the evolution of the ensemble and their multi-layered show to the final act of the campy 1986 horror film “Critters”:

“Toward the end of the movie, the critters turn into a giant ball and roll into the land and sort of absorb everything [in its way] and that’s sort of Jakopa’s Punch.

“We keep collecting new pieces, adding new songs. Jakopa’s Punch keeps evolving. It’s a beast that keeps moving forward.”

Jakopa’s Punch, which formed in early 2016, consists of Touchstone company members and local guest artists. The group performs quirky covers of pop songs, as well as original compositions. The instrumentation includes guitar, electric bass, drums, keyboard, accordion, flute, theremin and bassoon.

In addition to the annual “Punch Bowl” fundraiser, the group has performed at Musikfest and scored music for the Touchstone productions “The Jakopa’s Punch Processional” and “Dictators 4 Dummies.” Music written for past Touchstone productions will be incorporated into the show.

“The concept hasn’t changed as far as it’s an eclectic mix of local theater people, artists and musicians making this crazy music.

“When you get that weird mix of people and instruments in the room, you get all these possibilities of weird sounds to make.”

The Ice House concert features The Bastard Sons Present, Big Easy Easton Brass Band, and Roi and the Secret People. Attendees are encouraged to wear Mardi Gras attire.

“We’re going to have Mike Roi sit in with us and do ‘Under Pressure’ by Queen. You take a situation like that. It’s not just a bass line. It’s an iconic bass line and we go, ‘Let’s give that to the bassoon player,’” Hedrington says.

Lisa Jordan, managing director for Touchstone, adds, “If somebody brings a friend who’s never been to Touchstone or seen Jakopa’s Punch, what I want that person to take away is that Touchstone is a creative, welcome place to be.”

Hedrington says there’s no other party like “Jakopa’s Punch Bowl”:

“On top of all you’re getting as a fan, there is the feel-good aspect of it.

“Not only are you having a great time, but the money you spend goes to keeping Touchstone Theatre alive, so it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Tickets: at the door, Charles A. Brown Ice House, 56 River Road, Sand Island, Bethlehem; Touchstone Theatre box office, 321 E. Fourth St., Bethlehem; touchstone.org; 610-867-1689.