Northampton Press

Friday, October 20, 2017

Concerts Review: Bethlehem Bach Festival gives ‘To God Alone The Honor’

Thursday, May 18, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

What’s best about the Bach Festival of Bethlehem is its surety of purpose, its certainty of artistry, its expectation and fulfillment of inspiration.

The 110th Bethlehem Bach Festival, continuing May 19 and 20 with the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, Festival Orchestra and world-renowned soloists, is billed as a celebration of the human voice.

Movie Review: ‘Guardians’ turns up the ‘Volume 2’

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

“Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2” brings the usual crew of galactic misfits back for an entertaining mix of 1970s-era mix-tape music, galactic shenanigans and a summer movie season of bountiful quips.

The best part, though, is that writer-director James Gunn was to the movie superhero spoof genre born (writer-director, “Guardians of the Galaxy,” 2014; “Super,” 2010; “Slither,” 2006; writer, “Dawn of the Dead,” 2004; “Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed,” 2004; “Scooby-Doo,” 2002; “The Specials,” 2000; “Tromeo & Juliet,” 1996).

Crowded Kitchen Players’ ‘Smile’ commemorates World War I Centenary

Friday, May 12, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

It was the “War to End All Wars.”

It was “The Great War.”

It was “World War I.”

World War 1 was waged from July 28, 1914, until Nov. 11, 1918.

The First World War Centenary is observed in 2017 in the United States, which on April 6, 1917, joined Britain, France and Russia to fight Germany.

ASO to play that funky music and hits of the 1970s and ‘80s

Thursday, May 11, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The “ASO Pops Series” is popping.

The latest iteration is the Allentown Symphony Pops’ “Rock On! Classic Rock & Pop from the 1970’s and 1980’s,” 7:30 p.m. May 13.

ASO Associate Conductor Ronald Demkee conducts the concert, featuring vocalists Lakisha Jones, Rob Evan and Morgan James, accompanied by backup vocalists and a rock backup band.

The “ASO Pops Series” has expanded in recent years from one to two to three concerts and, for the 2017-18 season, four concerts.

Bach reimagined: Renowned Bethlehem Choir marries tradition, innovation for 110th edition of Festival

Thursday, May 11, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

In the 34 years that Greg Funfgeld has been artistic director and conductor of the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, he’s found new ways to showcase the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, the Leipzig cantor whose music, you might say, “baroque” through to lay the foundation for classical music.

“We’re always thinking about how we want to present Bach’s music and how to engage and how to intrigue the listener,” Funfgeld says.

Review: ‘The Circle’

Thursday, May 11, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Will “The Circle” be unbroken?

Based on the ambiguous conclusion of the movie, “The Circle” is broken.

The up-to-the-minute examination of the cyberworld we live in stars Emma Watson. Shedding her Hermione Granger robes of the “Harry Potter” movies, Watson plays Mae, a smart twentysomething who becomes a valued employee of The Circle. It’s a Google-Facebook-Twitter Silicon Valley, Calif., social media company that seeks to make the world a better place through “transparency.”

School board OKs 2.99% tax increase

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Local News

NAHS athletes are named Cement Belt champions

As expected, the Northampton Area School District Board of Directors approved a 2.99-percent tax hike for the 2017-18 general fund budget for Northampton Area School District.

But the big news is that Northampton Area High School athletes are “Cement Belt champions.”

NASD Athletic Director Shaun Murray displayed the championship belt, to be on display for the school year at NAHS, at the May 8 school board meeting when the administration and school directors honored student athletes.

Movie review: ‘Born in China’

Thursday, May 4, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

For fans of Disneynature films, documentaries and the great outdoors, “Born in China” is a must-see.

This and other Disneynature films hark back to Disney’s “True-Life Adventures” series (1948 - 1960) and Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom” TV show (hosted by Marlin Perkins,1963 to 1985, and now a web series) and are a nostalgia nature trip for Baby Boomers and parents and are a fine introduction to the splendors, realities and mysteries of nature for children and grandchildren.

Better ‘Angels’: Civic presents 20th anniversary production of landmark Tony, Pulitzer Prize-winning play

Thursday, May 4, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

William Sanders saw the writing on the wall.

Or, more accurately, he saw the poster on the wall.

“I was trying to think of a play for the end of season. Somebody else was doing one play. And we couldn’t get the rights to another.

“And I was sitting in my office. And I looked at the poster of ‘Angels in America.’ And I realized it would be the 20th anniversary of Civic’s production. And I thought, ‘Why don’t we do that?’”