Northampton Press

Saturday, May 25, 2019

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).

School board adopts proposed budget

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Local News

$110.5 million spending plan has 2.69-percent tax hike

The 2019-20 proposed general fund budget for Northampton Area School District was approved May 6 by a vote of 7-2 by the NASD Board of Education with a tax hike of 2.69 percent.

The proposed general fund budget is $110,527,281.

The vote approved the athletic fund of $251,935 and the food services fund of $2,414,163.

Also, the vote authorized the NASD administration to advertise and make the proposed budget available for inspection to the public.

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.

2.69% tax hike likely: School board is polled on budget

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Local News

Based on a straw vote of 7-1 by the Northampton Area School District Board of Education, a tax hike of 2.69 percent for the district’s 2019-20 general fund budget appears likely.

Seven school directors, in an informal poll taken by NASD Business Administrator Terry Leh at the April 29 school board meeting, said they support the administration-backed 2.69-percent tax increase.

School Director Roy Maranki was the lone holdout, voting instead for a 1.99-percent tax hike.

Field of education: Build it and students will grow

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Local News

Officials celebrate start of new school construction

Alton Ziegenfuss looked out over the large field he knew so well season after season, plowing and planting in spring and harvesting in the fall.

This spring, behind a shiny silver chain-link construction fence, the earth had been turned over once again — this time, not for oats and wheat. Instead, a new school was putting down roots.

As he sat on one of the folding chairs set up for the April 29 groundbreaking ceremony for the new Lehigh Elementary School, Ziegenfuss, 87, reminisced, “My dad and I used to walk the rows of mustard weeds.”

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.