ArtsAlive now open to returning students!

This post for returning Lehigh students only:

Have you ever wanted to hit a reset button on your first Lehigh experience? There are quite a number of students who – for whatever reasons – don’t get a chance to try one of the preLUsion programs. There is an incredible number of programs now designed to give students a chance to get on campus early, meet others with similar interests and try new things.

One other advantage to doing a preLUsion program is the chance to try things that you might not have had time to try during the academic year. Let’s face it, when classes get started, co-curricular activities heat up, and the social life barely gets any time, trying something new is really had to fit in. How many alumni wish they could go back to campus and check off a few things on their bucket list?

The Office of First Year Experience is letting us try a little experiment for returning students.

ImageViewerIf you are interested in trying some really cool activities with a group of students interested in similar things, we have a few spots open in the ArtsAlive 2014 program. What does that mean?

You can try activities like theater improv, dancing, stage make-up, glass blowing or pottery, and take a couple of off campus trips to either Martin Guitar or a Museum. We explore the arts scene on campus, and lots of cool venues close by. $300 covers all fees, transportation, supplies and meals. You get to move into your room early, and enjoy a few creative adventures before the intensity of the semester begins.

Here’s a recap post from last year’s program. And here’s a link to another recap with a cool photo album at the bottom.

If you’re interested, don’t hesitate. We’re only keeping the registration open for two more weeks. Here’s a link to act now: CLICK RIGHT HERE, Mr. Mouse. If you have any questions, please email Silagh White directly at

What?!? ANOTHER festival in Bethlehem?

Just when you thought, “there couldn’t possibly be any room, time or resources to launch another festival in Bethlehem,” the Lehigh Valley Chamber is trying out one more. It’s happening this Thursday, July 10th from 6-8pm in the Sun Inn Court Yard. Come se dice, ‘Italiano’?  Yes, that’s right – we’re trying out an Italian Festival on for size. And why not?

Bethlehem LOVES festivals. We love community building celebrations that involve food, merriment, music and any other reason to gather folks near the businesses to support the local economy. So why Italian? Well, there are the four Italian restaurants on Main Street that will be open before, during and after the concert. And there are other Italian restaurants close enough to list because they are all within one or two blocks access to the Sun Inn Courtyard. Here’s a list of places with links to their websites: Mama Nina’s, Molto Pazzo, The Brick, Tre Scalini Ristorante, and Little Italy on Main.

Anyone who’s spent time on a college campus knows that pizza is a staple food item, right next to Red Bull and coffee. Maybe it could be said that college students are definitely pizza tasting experts. But have they really tried comparing pizzas available on the north side to the amazing South Side places? Here’s a good chance to do that. Oh, and a few of them offer gelato. Just sayin’…….

Lehigh Valley Italian-American Band

Lehigh Valley Italian-American Band

To get folks in the spirit of the festival, the Lehigh Valley Italian American band will perform. The Brick will be selling pizza and beverages in the Courtyard. But any one who really wants to form a qualified opinion about the variety of Italian dining in Bethlehem should really try all of them. Can’t eat all that pasta in one night though. Looks like you might have to make a few trips across the river to check things out. Heck, you just may want to leave your car on campus to walk off all the carbs.

So practice your Italian accent, or learn to talk with your hands. Here’s a few phrases to get you started:

  • Buongiorno! (bwohn-johr-noh) (Hello! and Good morning!)

  • Arrivederci! (ahr-ree-veh-dehr-chee) (Goodbye!) (Formal)

  • Ciao! (chou) (Hello! and Good-bye!) (Informal)

  • Salve! (sahl-veh) (Hello! and Good-bye!) (Neutral)

  • Buonasera! (bwoh-nah-seh-rah) (Good afternoon! Good evening!) (Formal)

  • Buonanotte! (bwoh-nah-noht-teh) (Good night!) (Informal)

  • Come si chiama? (koh-meh see kyah-mah) (What is your name?) (Formal)

  • Come ti chiami? (koh-meh tee kyah-mee) (What is your name?) (Informal)

  • Mi chiamo…(mee kyah-moh) (My name is. . .)

  • Come sta? (koh-meh stah) (How are you?) (Formal)

  • Come stai? (koh-meh stahy) (How are you?) (Informal)

  • Bene, grazie. (beh-neh grah-tsee-eh) (Fine, thank you.)

Hope to see some Lehigh swag in North Bethlehem on Thursday night.


YouTube about to change drastically – things you should know

Independent career networking and promotion in the arts via YouTube is going to be changing drastically. Soon. Announced just days ago,

youtube-logo2“YouTube is preparing to radically change the site, adding a subscription service that is intended to help them compete in the streaming music industry. The Google-owned video site has already signed new licensing deals with all of the major labels, but many independents are refusing to take part.” (read more in the Forbes article by Hugh Macintire) and the subsequent post by Ellen Huet (keep sculling under the first article) in which she describes more directly what is happening:

“YouTube is launching a paid subscription streaming music service to compete with Spotify and Pandora later this summer. It will be integrated with the free, ad-supported YouTube users are used to, but with added features available to paying subscribers.”

As an arts administrator, I use YouTube daily for research and for audience development. I’m not exactly sure how this change will impact the tools for the trade. I use YouTube videos to help people get a sense for artists they’ve never heard of; musicians, dancers, spoken word, speeches. I link to videos frequently for relevant content on social media sites. Curating art content would be a huge hit if the independent artists I support are going to have new limits on how we get to know them in a virtual world. I’m wondering what local musicians are thinking.

Before any conversation though, I’m now looking up artists like Dina Hall, Not for Coltrane, Dave Fry (this is not his channel, but a really cool TEDx Talk he gave worth a listen)*, Philadelphia Funk Authority *, Jon Fadem, Large Flowerheads, Dave Doll (And his band Beautiful Distortion), Alisa B Anderson, …

Paul Salerni, Bill Warfield, Steven Sametz, Eugene Albulescu, Michael Jorgensen, and the list can go on to include all the performance faculty, composition students current and alumni…. or even precious videos of Lehigh University’s ensembles.

After that brief research exercise, I found some names listed above have their own channels, others were tagged so that I could easily find videos in which they appear. By golly, if the capacity to gather these sounds in order for their artistry to speak for itself is limited – we’re all going to have to rethink how we touch the music. How will this change our habits, our constant need to have everything available through the keystrokes of our devices? Might we actually see more live music and … PAY FOR IT?!?!?

Some reflection in view of my vinyl record collection is required. Maybe I’ll up my biannual contribution to public radio. Thoughts are running by so furiously – I’m not sure where to end this post. Maybe I’ll just stop typing and turn on some music I actually paid for.

[any and all thoughts and conversation welcome here or in person if you see me at the next Farmer's Market in Campus Square, before a show at Godfrey Daniels, hanging around the Sun Inn Court Yard, the City Hall Sculpture Garden, Levitt Pavillion at Steelstacks or in the Zoellner lobby] Trust me – this issue is just as compelling as Net Neutrality.

Maybe John Oliver will do an episode on this, too.

* internet searching always gives me a few distractions that lead down unexpected rabbit holes. But they also trigger other ideas and connections. Like, the TEDxTalk I’m dreaming about – and the fact that the Philly Funk Authority is playing in the Sculpture Garden 6-8pm on Friday.

Touchstone Theatre – FRESH VOICES


[From the Touchstone Theatre Newsletter:]
For over a decade, the Fresh Voices apprentice showcase has been an audience favorite – always fresh, sometimes provocative, never ordinary. The show gives apprentices a chance to explore their artistic voices and capabilities as solo and ensemble performers. This year’s apprentices explore the theme of Beyond Worlds in their exciting new works-in-progress…

A movement piece about the monotony of routine

THE GIRL WHO WAS ANGRY by Mallory deForest
A girl’s journey through a mystical valley and what she finds there

I’LL FLY AWAY by Catherine Restivo
A dying woman and her burning desire to fly like a bird

WORLD TRAVELERS by the Apprentices
An ensemble-created adventure about three weirdos in a creepy carnival…

For the first time, this year’s Fresh Voices also includes work-in-progress by this year’s journeyman; Kyle Lewis caps off his second year with Touchstone by writing and directing Spare the Rod, a short play about a retired state trooper in his final day on death row, exploring the grey area between selflessness and selfishness in good actions.

A few thoughts form the Director of Arts@Lehigh:

I’ve had the best of luck to see this year’s apprentices in a new light; beyond  their appearances in the Touchstone productions this year. Last summer, my own children participated in the Camp Touchstone and were really engaged in exploring the world of theater. The success of their experience was the impact and care the apprentices made in getting to know the kids, and seeing them as individuals – not as my off spring. After last summer, each time the kids saw a Touchstone Apprentice, they made sure to say hello and let them know they were coming back to Camp Touchstone again.

I also had the great fortune to see some of the Apprentices work in the recent production of Mock Turtle Marionettes, “The Morning Time of Now.” It was a tender moment of deep connection between the poetry of Opal Whiteley and the music of Michael Smith. The Apprentices did a wonderful balancing act of puppetry, dance, singing and movement as the play touched the hearts of the audience.

Touchstone Theatre is an art organization the captures the soul of our community and gives it a voice through original work. Each class of Apprentices hones their skills, but also makes their mark on those of us who know what an asset this Theater company is for our community.

If in the midst of all the choices we have for leaving our work behind and being a part of some special moments you come across the idea of seeing the FRESH VOICES: BEYOND WORLDS performances, please give them your consideration.


Allentown Art Museum Waives Admission Fee for the Summer

Director’s Note – Silagh White.

When was the last time you went to a museum of art? If it’s been a while, the Allentown Art Museum is offering one of the biggest enticements for you to get there this summer, aside from their amazing collection and … oh, yes – the climate control! According to local news, The free admission — a savings of $12, adults, and $10 students and seniors — means access for everyone to the permanent collection, special summer exhibits, events and activities for adults and children that complement the exhibits. (Thanks, Morning Call) *

Regular hours are Wednesday-Saturday, 11am-4pm and Sunday, 12pm-4pm.

Did you know that art museums MUST have a controlled climate to protect the art? That means this is a great place to escape the heat and humidity while giving yourself the gift of time to plop in front of a masterwork and stare at it until it smiles back at you.

Sound silly? Maybe. When the writer of this post worked at the Toledo Museum of Art, escaping to the galleries was the best job perk ever. (and now the writer slips into first person). As a docent trainer, I knew were the folding stools were stashed. I also knew where the Cloister gallery ambient sound system was hidden so that I could turn up the volume ever so slightly. The Gregorian chant music resonated with the tapestries and reliquaries. I didn’t just escape to the Cloister. Each gallery was a mini vacation through time and foreign lands. It was a truly magical place. I found serenity in front of so many friends.

Monet - Water Lilies 1922

Monet – Water Lilies 1922

Yes, those art objects became my friends. As I would sit in front of the objects, I would imagine the artist struggling with their vision. I’d be asking questions about their process. Which line of the portrait did they draw first? Did they carve the marble from the top or the middle? Where did they really want my eyes to linger on the landscape? The objects became precious not just for their placement in the display case, but because they survived thousands of years and became the keepers of history.  I can still conjure up details of brushstrokes in Monet’s Water Lilies. While I stared, my mind would wander into the daily to-do list, lesson plans, performance reviews.We bonded over time spent together, reading each others’ minds. I remember so many ideas of how to engage with the work from the brilliant storytelling of the curatorial staff. Art historians would translate the iconography of Netherlandish Renaissance paintings, list the details of Greek mythology with as many plot twists as could be imagined by J.R.R. Tolkien, or animate two-dimensional Expressionist painting by instructing me to watch the layers play off each other.

When the secret of looking at negative space, or the expansion of a line outside the frame was shared along with the wave of an arm, it was like a magic wand took away a veiled sense of unknowing. This opened my eyes to new levels of wonder.

Seeing art in person is to understand the work of an artist on an intimate level. The picture of Monet’s work here is just a reference marker, just like the words you are reading are a reference to the memory I’m sharing. This memory comes to life when the reader and I do not have a computer screen between us. The memory comes to life when we are talking to each other, face to face over a cool drink in the shade on a breezy summer afternoon in the sculpture garden. (wait… Lehigh has a sculpture garden?…. Yep.)

Or the memory becomes the reader’s, as you venture into an art gallery to have your own private affair with art. Summer loving? Yes – and for a few fleeting weeks, the Allentown Art Museum is offering you, dear reader, a chance to place a piece of art in your heart.

* Check out the Allentown Art Museum website to plan your visit. Then, when you come back to campus – visit the Lehigh University Art Galleries. Same climate control, some opportunity to make a long time friend who is right now, literally hanging around just waiting for you to introduce yourself.

Steeples and Steel Tours

steeples(*) Anyone who has enjoyed the view of South Bethlehem from Rathbone Dining Hall, Rauch Business Center, the top levels of any campus parking garage, Iacocca Tower, or even the Lehigh Lookout may be curious about all of those steeples that spike across the city scape not too far from the blast furnaces. Most of these churches were built by ethnic immigrant laborers who worked at the steel. In 2008, the Catholic Diocese in Allentown closed four of the churches, but sold the buildings to other organizations; keeping the buildings (ref article here.)

We see South Bethlehem history every day, and now there’s a chance for us to learn more about the people who built these magnificent structures and how they became icons of the multi-ethnic character of this rich community. For the next four months, on one Saturday each month, we can learn about the people who worked, lived and prayed in these magnificent buildings.

[printed from press release received June 13, 2014]

Guided by the Steelworkers’ Archives, Inc. and the South Bethlehem Historical Society

These mini-bus tours, sponsored by the above-organizations, will provide historic interpretation of work at the Bethlehem steel mill, the South Side Bethlehem churches, and the connections between steelworkers, their churches, and the South Side’s ethnic, steel working communities.

The tours are scheduled for Saturdays on 6/28, 7/26, 8/23, 9/20. Tours will leave from St. John’s Windish Church at 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. The initial one-hour section of the tour, guided by a representative from the South Bethlehem Historical Society, will tour steelworker neighborhoods and churches on Bethlehem’s South Side. One church will be entered each tour, with the guide being a church member. This will be followed by a one-hour steelworker-guided tour of the Bethlehem Steel site. A “steelworker’s overtime” bag lunch will be provided to tour participants for take-out or to eat at St. John’s Windish Kaiser Auditorium.

Tours will leave from St. John’s Windish Lutheran Church, 617 E. Fourth Street at 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 pm

The Archives, SBHS, and local churches and community-based organizations will have table displays of historical materials and artifacts at the Kaiser Auditorium from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each tour day. A tour of St. John’s Windish will be held at 12:15 p.m. This open house is open and free to the public. Refreshments will be available.

Tours are scheduled as follows:

June 28.
9:30 a.m. The in-church tour will visit St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church.
1:00 p.m. The in-church tour will visit Holy Ghost Roman Catholic Church.

July 26.
9:30 a.m. The in-church tour will visit Sts. Cyril & Methodius Roman Catholic Church (now
1:00 p.m. The in-church tour will visit Holy Infancy Roman Catholic Church.

Aug. 23.
9:30 a.m. The in-church tour will visit Concordia Lutheran Church.
1:00 p.m. The in-church tour will visit St. Ursula Roman Catholic Church.

Sept. 20.
9:30 a.m. The in-church tour will visit St. John African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.
1:00 p.m. The in-church tour will visit Cathedral Church of the Nativity.

Ticket prices for the mini-bus tours are $15 per person. Advance reservations are required. Tickets can be ordered through: or at 610-861-0600. All ticket sales are final. Special thanks to Northampton County’s Department of Community and Economic Development and Lehigh University’s South Side Initiative for their generous support.

(*) So glad to have discovered this image taken by Bob Thompson for the post.
For more background interest, read Lynn Olanoff’s article from the Express Times.

11th Annual Southside Film Festival – Opening Night

It’s time once again to arrange our schedules to gather in well air conditioned spaces on campus and not too far from campus to enjoy watching independent films. The volunteer staff have been busy working since the day after last year’s successful festival, choosing quality films that will delight, inspire and perhaps even touch our hearts.

Opening night features a party at the Gander Room and a hilarious full feature film called, “The Bachelor Weekend.” It’s been a few years since the festival opened with a comedy. The last time, the laughs were harder because we were together. Time for a great community laugh on Tuesday night at 8pm in Broughal Middle School auditorium. The subject matter might sound familiar, but the SSFI (SouthSide Film Institute) are certain this one is just a bit different. Personally, I’m more than a little delighted that it’s an Irish film. Here are a few trailers if you want a peak:

Fans of the BBC series, might recognize Andrew Scott who plays Jim Moriarty in the BBC series Sherlock (with Benedict Cumberbatch). It’ll be nice to see him in a different role; one less creepy. Anyhoo.. if you’re interested in reading a full review of the film, here’s one.

Hope to see lots of community folk and film lovers come out. It’s going to be a great night in South Bethlehem.


PA Presenters Dance Showcase

Here’s a hot little news item for our readers: the Pennsylvania Arts Presenters is holding their semi-annual conference right here in Bethlehem. As a part of this conference, the dance showcase is open for folks in our community to see five (check that, FIVE) amazing dance companies in one performance for a very reasonable price – $10 (for general public) $5 for students.

Who is being showcased?

Photo by Lois Greenfield.


Across the nation and around the worldPHILADANCO is celebrated for its innovation, creativity and preservation of predominantly African-American traditions in dance. The Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO) presents the highest quality of professional dance performance , showcasing the works of  important choreographers  from  Ulysses Dove to Christopher Huggins and Jawole Zollar to name a few,  while increasing the appreciation of dance among its many communities.


Photo by Marion Taylor-Wiles.

Karole Armitage and the dancers  Armitage Gone! Dance extend the mandate of innovation and the perception of contemporary dance by combining ballet with new thinking about the geometry and rhythm of dance steps. Armitage explores this realm of movement while simultaneously remaining connected to the sensuous sweep of classical dance.


Image by Matt Karas.

Camille A. Brown & Dancers soar through history like a whirlwind with high theatricality, gutsy moves, and virtuosic musicality. The company’s work explores typical, real life situations ranging from literal relationships to more complex themes with an eye on the past, present and future. Making a personal claim on history, through the lens of a modern female perspective, Camille A. Brown leads her dancers through dazzling excavations of ancestral stories.

Special Note to Faculty Readers: Camille Brown will be on campus on March 21, 2015 as part of the 2014-15 Zoellner Guest Artist Series. This would be a great opportunity to see the performance, if you are considering academic course connections. Here is a link to her company website for more information.


Photo by Ayodele Casel.

Photo by Ayodele Casel.


Founded by Ronald K. Brown and based in Brooklyn, New York,EVIDENCE focuses on the seamless integration of traditional African dance with contemporary choreography. EVIDENCE provides a unique view of human struggles, tragedies, and triumphs. Brown uses movement as a way to reinforce the importance of community in African American culture and to acquaint audiences with the beauty and spirituality evoked in his unique blended style.



Copyrighted photo by Adam Reign.

Copyrighted photo by Adam Reign.


Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre is really the type of performance you have to see to believe. Known for its diverse ensemble that consists of some of Miami’ s most brilliant performers and creators ranging in genres from theater, performance art, opera, drag, and contemporary ballet, RHDT has had the privilege of performing 2 ADF commissioned pieces and premiering them at the festival as well enjoying unprecedented success in Miami.



When and where is this happening?
Friday, June 6th from 10am-noon in Zoellner Arts Center, Baker Hall. The box office is operating in summer hours, so you can stop by between noon and 5pm Wed-Thu, before the showcase, or order tickets online here.

So… who is the PA Arts Presenters?
According to their website:
Pennsylvania Presenters is a consortium of arts presenters and others working in the performing arts. An organization dedicated to performing arts presenting, serving presenters throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and surrounding areas. Members have direct input into the operations and planning process of the organization. Members collaborate on programming, block booking and grant opportunities. They establish dynamic peer-to peer connections, expand existing and create new networking occasions.

If you’d like to know more about the Spring Conference, click here and take pride in knowing that there are amazing arts presenters and venues in South Bethlehem – awesome enough to bring important arts decision makers to our community and our campus.