Parkland Press

Friday, July 3, 2020

Tribute: Dixie White a cultivator of causes

Sunday, June 14, 2020 by DAVE HOWELL in Focus

Dixie Dugan White, who passed away April 18, was one of a kind.

It would be difficult to find anyone in the Lehigh Valley who was more of an activist. She worked with countless organizations for economic equality, human rights and the environment. She was determined, but she always kept her sense of humor.

Her many socially-active involvements included President, Pennsylvania Chapter, National Organization of Women; Senior Field Organizer, Chicago Chapter, National Organization of Women, and first director, AIDS Service Center of the Lehigh Valley.

Virtual Curtain Rises: Livestream, podcasts drive Touchstone ‘Fresh Voices’

Friday, June 5, 2020 by DAVE HOWELL in Focus

Editor’s Note: The following article was published in the June 3 and 4 Lehigh Valley Press Focus print section prior to the following statement received June 4 from Touchstone Theatre: “In light of recent racist atrocities, our apprentices Adam and Sean, with the full support of the Touchstone Ensemble, are choosing to put this weekend’s performance of ‘Fresh Voices’ on hold.”

“Fresh Voices” is as innovative as ever this year, in one sense more than Southside Bethlehem’s Touchstone Theatre might have imagined.

Gigless in the Valley: Musicians stay active by being interactive

Friday, May 22, 2020 by DAVE HOWELL in Focus

Second of six parts

For Dave Fry, one of the worst days of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic lockdown was when he locked down his bag of children’s instruments.

Fry, a Southside Bethlehem mainstay and co-founder of the Godfrey Daniels concert venue who plays folk music and children’s music, uses the toy instruments to involve children when he performs.

“My music is interactive. When I play, kids can pick up instruments and shakers. I can engage with them and have the music sneak in behind it.”

Ironically, his ability to draw crowds cost him work.

Tribute: Dave Roper gentle giant of Lehigh Valley jazz scene

Friday, May 15, 2020 by DAVE HOWELL in Focus

Dave Roper never aspired to fame, although he had the talent for it, because he did not wish to leave the Lehigh Valley.

Roper, a Lehigh Valley music treasure, died April 8. He was 82.

Over the years, the pianist built a substantial following for the Dave Roper Trio’s many years at the Hotel Bethlehem, and before that, for 15 years at the now-closed King George Inn in South Whitehall Township.

Roper also played many times, usually annually in the “Jazz Upstairs” series in the Rodale Community Room, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown. He last played there July 19, 2019.

Gigless in the Valley: Kendal Conrad goes online, but longs for live audiences

Friday, May 15, 2020 by DAVE HOWELL in Focus

First of six parts

On the Lehigh Valley arts and entertainment scene, professional folk, country, blues, jazz, rock and pop musicians have been hit especially hard by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic shutdowns.

Concerts have been canceled, performance venues are temporarily closed and restaurants and bars aren’t allowed to open their doors.

While many area singer-songwriters and music entertainers have gone online for virtual concerts, there are no real substitutes for live audiences.

‘I’ve written a play and I didn’t think I could’ The wonder of Touchstone Theatre’s Young Playwrights Festival goes online

Friday, May 8, 2020 by DAVE HOWELL in Focus

You probably don’t think that a third-grader can write a play.

Most of them don’t think so either.

But Touchstone’ Theater’s Young Playwrights’ Festival proves that they can.

Because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the 15th Annual Young Playwrights’ Festival will be presented online, 7 p.m. May 9.

Links to the online festival will be posted at noon May 9 on Touchstone’s website:

The videos of the plays will be posted on Touchstone Theatre’s YouTube channel.

Coronavirus impact brings art, museums, libraries virtually to you

Friday, May 1, 2020 by DAVE HOWELL in Focus

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and resultant stay-at-home and nonessential business closings orders have increased the online offerings of arts and cultural organizations.

Here are some Lehigh Valley venues and organizations you can explore while observing social distancing guidelines from the safety and comfort of your residence.

Libraries in the Lehigh Valley are continuing their online services. Overdue times and library card expirations have been extended.

Erich Cawalla set to release ‘American Songbook’ album

Friday, March 20, 2020 by DAVE HOWELL in Focus

Editor’s Note: The concert by the Erich Cawalla Quartet, 7:30 p.m. March 20, in the “Jazz Upstairs” series, Rodale Community Room, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown, was canceled because of concerns about the Coronavirus.

It has taken four and one-half years, but Erich Cawalla is releasing his first solo album in March: “Erich Cawalla - The Great American Songbook.”

The new album’s official release date is scheduled for March 25 at a Berks Jazz Fest preview show with a 25-piece big band and orchestra.

Concert Review: Guitarist Steve Hackett still the heart of Genesis

Friday, March 20, 2020 by DAVE HOWELL in Focus

It’s been announced that Genesis is reforming with Phil Collins, but without Peter Gabriel or Steve Hackett.

Anyone in the audience at Steve Hackett’s concert March 12, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown, might well think that the new group will not be the true Genesis.

Genesis was the epitome of progressive rock until, for better or worse, Gabriel and Hackett left and the band took a commercial pop direction.

Curtain Rises: ‘Silence! The Musical’ LV premiere April 3-11 at Civic Theatre

Friday, March 13, 2020 by DAVE HOWELL in Focus

Civic Theatre of Allentown’s “Silence! The Musical,” April 3 - 11, Civic Theatre514, Allentown, is based on the 1991 film “Silence of the Lambs,” starring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster.

At first glance, this stage adaptation might not seem like a good idea.

But “Silence!” is so over the top, the psychological horror does not hit home in the way it does in the film, and it is overshadowed by laughs.

Civic Theater of Allentown Artistic Director William Sanders, who’s directing the show, says, “It is really in good fun. The violence is silly.”