Parkland Press

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Allentown Band back at Waldheim Park for historic 102nd concert

Friday, August 4, 2017 by Paul Willistein in Focus

The Allentown Band’s 102-year journey to Waldheim, Park, Allentown, continues with “A Musical Journey through American History,” 7 p.m. Aug. 8.

The Band performs historic, patriotic and popular tunes with special guests George B. Miller and Kate Scuffle, founders of Selkie Theatre, who will provide historical readings.

“In between each music piece, they’re going to reading something relevant to the period,” explains Pamela Varkony, concert chair for the Allentown Band concert conducted by Ron Demkee.

“For instance, for the Revolutionary War, they’re going to be reading an exchange from the letters of John and Abigail Adams.”

Almost every war in United States history will be represented. “Wars are really defining moments. And we want to honor our veterans and those people who have protected out country over the centuries,” Varkony says.

The 153rd Pennsylvania Volunteers, Civil War re-enactors, will present the colors during “Star Spangled Banner” and retire the colors during “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

World War I will be represented with a local connection. “We’re going to be talking about how Camp Crane was set up at the Allentown Fairgrounds. Harry Trexler and John Philip Sousa visited the boys, to encourage them. So we have this wonderful, local touchstone for World War I,” says Varkony.

“During the World War I medley, it’s going to be a sing-along. The words will be in the program,” Varkony says.

Mezzo-Soprano Patricia Risley will sing Gershwin tunes.

The World War II medley includes Glenn Miller tunes “In the Mood,” “I’ve Got a Girl in Kalamazoo,” “Serenade in Blue,” “Moonlight Serenade,” “At Last,” “Little Brown Jug,” and “Anvil Chorus.”

Referencing the Vietnam War, “The Ballad of the Green Berets,” a 1966 hit by Sgt. Barry Sadler, will be premiered by Allentown Band.

The concert takes place in the Waldheim Tabernacle. “The atmosphere up here in the woods in the outdoor tabernacle that’s hard to equal anywhere else.”

“It’s a very special place. Those of us who are lucky enough to have a cottage here really appreciate it and value it,” says Varkony.

It’s recommended concert-goers arrive 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. That will allow purchase of home-made baked good and ice cream treats. “The ladies of Waldheim Park really know how to bake,” says Varkony, who succeeds Diane Ungerer, who has organized the event for the past several years.

Free Parking is available. This year, a golf cart is available for transport. The concert is free. Donations will be received.