Northampton Press

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Roper, Rostock, Rissmiller: Trio is the three Rs of jazz

Saturday, June 16, 2018 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

Lehigh Valley favorite Dave Roper returns to Rodale Community Room for the “Jazz Upstairs” series, 7:30 p.m. June 15, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

The popular jazz pianist will be joined by long-time bandmates Paul Rostock, bass, and Gary Rissmiller, drums. Tommy Crist will add a vocal or two.

Asked about his start as a pianist, Roper says, “We had a piano in the house. I started playing with it at age five. My mother noticed that I seemed to like it so she started me on piano lessons at six.”

Article By: GEORGE VANDOREN Special to The Press

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

“Jazz Upstairs” at Miller Symphony Hall welcomes vocalist Viktorija Gečytė with the Gene Perla Trio at 7:30 p.m. May 18 to the Rodale Community Room for the fifth consecutive year.

This year, the group is embarking on its 10th annual tour with 11 performances in May in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, followed by nine concerts in California.

Perla is excited about returning to the Rodale Room. “They only book twelve a year. We’re already booked for next year. Channel 39 has agreed to bring a camera crew. They’re going to record the whole evening.”

Veteran journalist pens Northampton County history book

Thursday, April 19, 2018 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

Local residents of a certain age can catalogue a host of changes they’ve witnessed in Northampton County over the years.

Veteran Lehigh Valley journalist and professor Glenn Kranzley has covered all the bases in his new book, “Still Changing, Still Home: Northampton County Since the 1950s.” He catches it all: from shrinking farmland to the traffic crunch, the economy, environment, culture, sports - you name it.

Kranzley presents a lecture, “Northampton County After Earth Day,” 2 p.m. April 21, Sigal Museum, 342 Northampton St., Easton.

Ronald Demkee is Mr. Allentown Band

Thursday, April 19, 2018 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

The Allentown Band has a long and storied past, dating back 190 years, to what is said to be its first performance, July 4, 1828.

For the last 41 years, one man has been the face of the Allentown Band: Ronald Demkee.

The band’s conductor started his association with the United States’ oldest civilian concert band as a tubist in 1964 while attending West Chester University. The rest, as they say, is history.

Liebman eclectic, electronic

Thursday, April 19, 2018 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

Saxophone legend Dave Liebman returns to “Jazz Upstairs,” 7:30 p.m. April 20, Rodale Community Room, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown. This time, he brings keyboardist Bobby Avey to compliment his musical offerings.

Liebman has done it all. He’s a National Endowment for the Arts “Jazz Master.” He has been named first place in the soprano sax category for Jazz Ed, Jazz Times, and Downbeat.

Ezra Wenner: 75 years and counting with The Allentown Band

Thursday, April 19, 2018 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

The Allentown Band has been a Lehigh Valley institution for 190 years. Ezra Wenner has been an institution in the Allentown Band for 75 years.

That’s 75 years of holding down the trombone chair in one of the United State’s finest concert bands. Wenner, 90, is believed to have played with the Allentown Band for more years than any other musician in the band.

Wenner has received recognition for his longevity in recent years.

In 2015, the Allentown Band board of directors named the band’s west Allentown headquarters Ezra Wenner Hall.

Guest view

Wednesday, March 28, 2018 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Opinion

Let’s get real about protecting the public

As a retired teacher and a former U.S. Army officer, I’d like to weigh in on the subject of arming teachers.

Let’s set aside the idea that schools ought to be welcoming, nurturing places with an atmosphere of warmth and encouragement.

Let’s take the best-case scenario — which is definitely not the case. We have all the teachers voluntarily armed and all well trained in both marksmanship vis-à-vis a moving target and the use of deadly force.

Eric Mintel had a jazzy youth

Thursday, March 15, 2018 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

The Eric Mintel Quartet brings its unique style of jazz to Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown, 7:30 p.m. March 16, as part of the “Jazz Upstairs” series in the Rodale Community Room.

Audience members can expect to hear “originals and a lot of Dave Brubeck’s music ... ‘Take Five,’ ‘Blue Rondo a la Turk,’ some television themes like ‘Mission Impossible’ and ‘Mannix,’ plus a standard or two,” says Mintel in a phone interview.

Mintel’s jazz roots go way back.

Simon Mulligan in ‘Jazz Upstairs’ series for fifth time

Thursday, February 15, 2018 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

The fifth time is the charm.

Pianist Simon Mulligan returns to Miller Symphony Hall’s “Jazz Upstairs” series for the fifth time at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16, accompanied by Gene Perla, bass, and Dave Willard, drums.

Mulligan has classical and jazz chops. He studied music at St Paul’s School and the Royal Academy of Music, both London, and the International Piano Academy, Lake Como, Italy.