Celtic Classic 2k16

The sun was shining, the rich smell of fried food filled the air, and the different styles of kilts was unnumbered. My group of equally inexperienced friends walked across the bridge on the left side of South Bethlehem to check out everything that was the famous 2016 Bethlehem Celtic Classic Festival located on the North side of Bethlehem along the canal. While walking, we passed more festival goers with their arms wrapped around their new goodies. After researching and interrogating some of our other friends about where to go, what to eat, and when to go first, we had a general idea of what we wanted to get done in the two hours we had to explore. I was not only ready for an adventure, but I was also very hangry.



Knowing we needed at least ten tickets to really get our hands dirty in Celtic Fest food, I opted for buying twenty . The price per ticket seemed a little steep at first but when I realized everything I could do with them, I knew it was all worth it. Note to self and others: Next time I’ll remember that it is crucial to get there in the early afternoon so that once you arrive, the events are in full swing and the crowd is pumped.

We spent more time talking about what the throwers had previously volunteered for in the previous years and then decided to get the famous Aw Shucks corn together. I felt compelled to document my shining moment with this special corn- they pulled the husks of the corn down to create an Au natural handle and then put them in the oven full of boiling water. A group of ladies artistically painted the hot, cooked corn with melted butter and I saw it drip down the bright yellow kernels and onto the husk. Side note: it was a good thing they had gloves on and wrapped paper towels around the husk handle otherwise they would have had butter dripping down their arms, but for some people that may not have been a bad thing. The last station of people was the shaker station. Bright red powder flurried from their shakers and fragrant, chunky Parmesan cheese fell onto the corn, any excess fell onto a mound of spice on a pan below.  We traded tickets with the woman manning the ticket box and were given corn-on-the-cob-extreme-deliciousness. I watched my friend take a bite and corn juice jetted everywhere. With my red-orange lips stained with spice, I realized that this was the toughest part: eating the corn oh-so gracefully without leaving streaks or spurts of spice and corn juice everywhere.

We proceeded to check out the little shop stands that were strategically placed right next to the food. I see what they did there. Besides staring at the homemade cookies and biscuits, I noticed that there were trinkets galore! Precious stones, craft jewelry, scarves, clothes, and even swords lined the pathway. There were so many things to buy but as a college student, my pockets were a little barren to consider an investment like the sword my eyes lingered on. What can I say? I saw a lot of people with swords on their backs. I probably didn’t need it but there’s always tomorrow so I decided to sleep on that purchase.


Update: I did not buy the sword. To be honest, I completely forgot about it when I attempted making the Aw Shucks corn spice and came sufficiently close. Not as good, but it will have to do until next year.

After lingering around for a bit longer, two of my friends parted ways but I stayed with my boyfriend. Feeling snacky, we decided to use our leftover tickets to try something a little bit more traditional. We settled on the Irish Nachos. The name doesn’t say much but I did say they were a little bit more traditional. Irish Nachos entailed a mass of chip fries smothered in gravy, cheese sauce, lamb, and beef with a green onion garnish. They were amazing! We inhaled them within minutes while watching a bunch of different bands play like The Gothard Sisters and No Irish Need Apply.

During the walk back, it was starting to hit me that I was a senior and won’t have the easy option to be able to experience this festival again. I kicked myself for not showing up earlier but appreciated everything I was able to see and especially, eat. If my stomach were any bigger, I would have spent another hour contemplating what to try as my last meal of the day. Between the jumbo turkey legs, traditional Irish meals in a cup, and even the eclectic Haggis, (or really anything from the authentic Scottish Cottage stand for that matter), there were so many traditional and non-traditional options that any foodie would appreciate. Come with an empty stomach, you’ll thank me later!

This festival is so enveloped in Irish culture and is definitely something that will entertain you and if you’re not Irish, will make you appreciate another culture and its traditions. If you are around next year during this beautiful time of year and find yourself looking for something to do, the Celtic Classic Festival is three days of Irish fun that you won’t want to miss. Check out the links to the incredible vendors and musicians we saw if you want to find out more about them! The Celtic Cultural Alliance has been hosting this event for years and definitely deserve so much recognition for their effort and passion for establishing this tradition and sharing their culture with the rest of us. If you’re looking to volunteer at the next festival, head over to the CCA website to learn more about the opportunities! Please feel free to comment about your own experiences at the Celtic Classic, anything else that I should explore next time, or if you have any questions about what else it has to offer.

Thanks for reading about my experience and helping me reflect on it! It was a truly not-to-miss event that I was so fortunate to have the opportunity to go.

Bye for now folks!



August Wilson’s ‘Gem of the Ocean’ continues

The Lehigh University Department of Theatre’s run of August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean continues April 13-16, 2016

“August Wilson at the top of his form—a touchstone for everything else he has written.”
~The New York Times

Photo from Lehigh University Brown and White

Photo from Lehigh University Brown and White

Lehigh University’s Department of Theatre continues its 2015-2016 season with the Award-winning playwright August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean. Directed by Akin Babatundé, the Theodore U. Horger ’61 Artist-in-Residence for the Performing and Visual Arts, the performances will be held in Diamond Theater on April 8, 9 and 13-16 at 7:30pm; with a 2pm performance on Sunday, April 10. Tickets are $12 ($5 students) and available at zoellnerartscenter.org.  There is a special “Pay-What-You-Wish” performance on Wednesday, April 13 at 7:30pmContact Ticket Services for details.

Gem of the Ocean is the ninth play in Wilson’s ten-play Pittsburgh Cycle that chronicles a century of African American life, an unprecedented dramatic series that includes Fences and The Piano Lesson.  Set in Pittsburgh, PA in 1904, it is the eve of the 287th birthday of former slave, Aunt Ester, a keeper of tradition and a cleanser of souls.  When Citizen Barlow comes to her home seeking asylum and redemption, she sets him off on a poetic and spiritual journey to find the City of Bones at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, a repository of the memory and tragedy of the Middle Passage. According to Babatunde, “Celebrated playwright August Wilson has created an aunt, a mythical, uncanny, wise yet human figure in the character of Aunt Ester. Her home at 1839 Wiley is a place of release, rejuvenation and resurrection of purpose. She cocoons the legacy of tragedy, triumph and transformation of an enslaved people embodied in her 285 years of spiritual wisdom. I invite you to embrace the journey she may take you on this evening-a journey of revelation intertwined with hope, joy and recognition.”

Director Akin Babatunde’ is the Theodore U. Horger ’61 Artist-in-Residence for the Performing and Visual Arts at Lehigh University’s Department of Theatre, where he teaches. Babatundé, a native of Brooklyn, is an accomplished actor, director and writer whose theatrical career spans off-Broadway, regional theatre, film and television. He has been a resident company member of prestigious theatrical institutions throughout the country: Trinity Rep (Providence, Rhode Island), Alley Theater (Houston, Texas), La Mama Theater (New York City) and the Dallas Theater Center. He is founder and artistic director of Vivid Theater Ensemble of Dallas and founder of Ebony Emeralds Classic Theater Company. Babatunde’ was the first African American to direct for the Dallas Shakespeare Festival in the celebrated diverse production of Taming of the Shrew in 1993. As a writer, his work has been commissioned by Florida Stage, La Mama Theater, the Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, Brown University, the Black Academy of Arts and the and Core Ensemble. His most recent work Shakespeare – Midnight Echoes tours in Texas paying homage to black performing artists who performed Shakespeare from slavery to the present. He has toured extensively with Core Ensemble in Of Ebony Embers – Vignettes of the Harlem Renaissance. His one-man show, Before the Second Set – A Visit with Satchmo has received critical acclaim at theaters across the country. Babatundé along with Dr. Alan Govenar wrote and starred in Blind Lemon Blues, which toured in Europe (Paris, Geneva, Brussels, Amsterdam) and received rave notices in The New York Times at its 2004 New York premiere at Central Park’s Summer Stage. His television appearances include Law and Order and the PBS family-oriented literary television series, Wishbone. Babatundé’s work has been awarded a Dallas Observer Best Actor Award (the first African American to receive this distinction), 1991, 2004, 2015 Dallas Critics Forum Award, the 2004 Legacy of Success, and the Alvin Ailey Performing Arts Award. He received the prestigious Individual Artists Grant from the Palm Beach County Cultural Council to create a new work Harvest of Voices based on oral histories. He is a renowned arts educator, having undertaken five long-term artist residencies in underserved communities in Florida, creating new music theatre works alongside at-risk teens and community members. Theatre impresario Ellen Stewart of LaMama Theatre describes him as “one of those rare geniuses who comes into our lives.” Babatundé holds a Master of Arts degree in Arts and Humanities from the University of Texas at Dallas.  Babatunde’ is the brother of Tony Award nominated and Emmy Award-winning actor Obba Babatunde’.

August WilsonAugust Wilson (April 27, 1945 – October 2, 2005) authored Gem of the Ocean, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars, Fences, Two Trains Running, Jitney, King Hedley II, and Radio Golf. These works explore the heritage and experience of African-Americans, decade-by-decade, over the course of the twentieth century. His plays have been produced at regional theaters across the country and all over the world, as well as on Broadway. In 2003, Wilson made his professional stage debut in his one-man show, How I Learned What I Learned. Wilson’s works garnered many awards including Pulitzer Prizes for Fences (1987); and for The Piano Lesson (1990);a Tony Award for Fences; Great Britain’s Olivier Award for Jitney; as well as eight New York Drama Critics Circle Awards for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Fences, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars, Jitney, and Radio Golf. Additionally, the cast recording of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom received a 1985 Grammy Award, and Wilson received a 1995 Emmy Award nomination for his screenplay adaptation of The Piano Lesson. Wilson’s early works included the one-act plays The Janitor, Recycle, The Coldest Day of the Year, Malcolm X, The Homecoming and the musical satire Black Bart and the Sacred Hills.

The cast features Lehigh University professors Kashi Johnson as Aunt Ester and Darius Omar Williams as Solly Two Kings, Lehigh University students Ovie Ojeni (Citizen), Kelly Petty, Jr. (Eli), Donavon Harris (Caesar), Ryan Higgins (Rutherford Selig), Katie Pettis (Black Mary), with Josiah Murrell, Jamir Connelly and Jamal Connelly as Ensemble of Bones along with LU staff member Karen Sims.

The design team includes, Andrew Southard, production manager; Matt Faragrasso, assistant technical director; professor Erica Hoelscher costume and set designer; Pam Richey, costume coordinator; Laura Bickford, lighting design; Phil Ingle, sound designer; Sara Vreeland, stage manager; and Jamil Barillas, assistant stage manager.

For further reading:
More about Babtunde’s residency in the Lehigh University College of Arts and Science blog post, Master Class.
Lehigh’s Brown and White also produced this preview for your interest.
More about the production at the Lehigh University Communications article here.

Tickets to Gem of the Ocean are available for $12 ($5 students/$10 Lehigh faculty & staff). There is a special “Pay-What-You-Wish” performance onWednesday, April 13 at 7:30pm.  For information, call 610-758-2787, ext. 0, visit Zoellner Ticket Services, Tuesday 12-6 pm, Wednesday – Friday from 12 –5 pm, 2 hours before curtain, or order online.  Senior, student, group and LVAIC discounts are available.

LU Jazz Rep & Nicole Henry on April 16th at 8pm

Nicole Henry

“There’s plenty for jazz and funk fans to savor here, and Warfield’s Hell’s Kitchen Funk Orchestra delivers a tasty meal for the ears.”
~Bill Milkowski, contributor to Down Beat & Jazziz

“Vocalist Nicole Henry pleasingly brings together a range of styles—smooth and mainstream jazz, along with pop and gospel.”
~ All About Jazz

Lehigh University Music Department presents its annual spring jazz performance with Bill Warfield and the Hell’s Kitchen Funk Orchestra featuring vocalist Nicole Henry with Lehigh University Jazz Repertory Orchestra on April 16 at 8pm in Baker Hall. Tickets are $15; general admission. WDIY is the Lehigh University Music Department media sponsor.

Nicole long Badgley Mischka dress 2015 - by Rafael BalcazarSM 1Nicole Henry has established herself as one of the jazz world’s most acclaimed vocalists, possessing a potent combination of dynamic vocal abilities, impeccable phrasing, and powerful emotional resonance. Her passionate, soulful voice and heart-felt charisma has earned her a 2013 Soul Train Award for “Best Traditional Jazz Performance,” three Top-10 U.S. Billboard and HMV Japan jazz albums. Heralded by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Japan Times, El Pais, Jazz Times, Essence and more, Henry tells real stories through repertoire from the American Songbook, classic and contemporary jazz, contemporary standards, blues and originals.

She has captivated audiences in over 15 countries, headlining at venues in cities including New York, Tokyo, Madrid, Moscow, Paris, Shanghai, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and Miami. Ms. Henry has also performed in more than 30 music festivals worldwide and in some of the world’s most famous venues including Blue Note, NYC; Jazz at Lincoln Center; Blues Alley; Arsht Center; Feinstein’s; Green Mill; Madrid Jazz Festival; the Regattabar; and Catalina Jazz.

Bill playingBill Warfield, since his 1988 opus, the New York City Jazz, trumpeter-composer-arranger has been widely known as a dyed-in-the-wool big band guy culminating in last year’s Trumpet Story, with special guest Randy Brecker. This time out, Warfield had something completely different in mind. As he explained, “The original idea was to do a mid ‘60s Miles kind of thing, and as I got more into it and started thinking about it, my roots are really in rhythm ‘n’ blues. All the bands I played in growing up in Baltimore were Motown bands and funk bands and Atlantic Starr kinds of bands. Baltimore is like the Oakland of the East Coast in that regard. That funky side of things is well represented on this project dubbed ‘The Hell’s Kitchen Funk Orchestra’ by their intrepid leader, who resides in the Hell’s Kitchen section of Manhattan. But to call it just a funk band is far too limiting for this remarkably versatile outfit. Indeed, few other bands have the wherewithal to go from Joe Zawinul to Tito Puente, Fats Waller, Eddie Harris and Snarky Puppy in a single record.

Warfield has released nine previous albums leading his own ensembles and has appeared in the horn sections of numerous other albums, including two by the acclaimed Bill Kirchner Nonet. Over the years he has performed with such artists as Ornette Coleman, Mel Torme, Mel Lewis, David Liebman and Sonny Stitt. He received a commission from the Spanish government to arrange and produce “Hollywood Jazz” for the 1992 Olympics in that country, and has also been commissioned by the Berlin Radio Orchestra and the US Air Force “Airmen Of Note.” In addition, Warfield is the founder and director of the New York Jazz Repertory Orchestra as well as its offshoot, the New York Jazz Octet, and also the Lehigh Valley Jazz Repertory Orchestra.

Tickets for April 16 are $15; free for Lehigh students.  For more information, call 610-758-2787, ext. 0 or visit Zoellner Ticket Services, Tuesday 12-6 pm, Wednesday – Friday from 125 pm, two hours before curtain, or online at www.zoellnerartscenter.org.  Senior, student, group and LVAIC discounts are available.

A Night with “Spotlight” Star Marty Baron ’76: Cultivating Community, Advocacy, and Entrepreneurship through the Arts


(Image credit: NiemanLab)

Though it has been two months ago, I felt this arts event was important to document, as it exhibits everything we have been learning in our ENTP 123 Art Community Entrepreneurship class: finding entrepreneurship opportunities, cultivating community, and advocating through the lens of the arts, and fostering the spirit of Lehigh from the local to the international scale—all of which was accomplished through a Thursday night movie screening and Q&A with a Lehigh alumnus. On February 18, 2016, the Lehigh, wider South Side and Lehigh Valley communities had the immense pleasure and a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch a screening of the Oscar-nominated and then winning film Spotlight with Marty Baron ’76 and then speak with him.

While I do enjoy the opportunity to watch movies alone with an audience, as some do by themselves but with Netflix, I felt an opportunity such as this—specially geared towards the Lehigh community by a Lehigh graduate—required the opposite of solo time. It would be silly not to engage this event with friends made at Lehigh, and I didn’t have to convince my friends to go. Lehigh’s official communications department sent an announcement then two reminder emails to the campus, so my friends had already heard of it, all of us watching the trailer and reading about it in anticipation. By the time I had arrived—contrary to most events, tickets and early arrival were recommended, as my friends and I quickly learned as we struggled to find seats together—I saw other friends from my first year, those who I hadn’t seen in a long time. They made room for us in the second row, seats that we were fortunate to snag, as the balcony was overflowing and others were being turned away at the main entrance.


(Image credit: Lehigh University)

As seniors, my friends and I barely had time to grab a bite to eat beforehand, yet we abided by the old saying: “you don’t know what you don’t know.” We didn’t find the need for the typical popcorn and butter, nor did we even know we were hungry because of the excitement of the event, whose promise all of us had genuinely and sincerely looked forward to in the months then weeks leading up to it. A film starring A-list actors in the running for six Academy Awards with relevance that extended to our elementary school years, then live audience participation and Q&A with the editor of the Spotlight team? These three hours into the night would not be among those we would groan at on a school night. We, however, would groan together at the politicking of antagonists as a middle-aged alumnae muttered, “Now that’s how all [the corruption] begins” to our “hmm’s” in agreement. And we would also do double and triple takes at Liev Schreiber’s striking resemblance to the night’s honorary guest, then upon realization, rise up in a standing ovation at his entrance.

The night was spent in rapt attention, from Vice Provost Patrick Farrell’s opening remarks, viewing on a screen that rivaled those from Carmike 16, AMC, and Regal, and discussion with Chair of the Journalism and Communications Department Professor Jack Lule and the man of honor himself. While attending blockbusters such as the University Productions-sponsored screenings of The Avengers and Monsters University on the UC front lawn at the beginning of the year and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire with fellow Lehigh friends were obvious first-year orientation and community-building choices, engaging Spotlight at the seat of the respected university of the leader was more special and engaging. Very little can compare to watching a film recognizing a Lehigh alumnus amongst friends and colleagues, all with a connection to Lehigh, for the first time. Alumni had traveled hours to reconnect—and they did, introducing themselves and calling out to Baron as old Brown and White staff members—and current students literally rubbed shoulders with an audience of varying ages. Though movies have been criticized for being purveyors of passive consumption and interaction, I’d counter that events like this have done more to build solidarity across age groups and graduation years than forced networking events. In the closed Packer auditorium, it was an intimate environment, and the feeling of collegiality swept over everyone.

As a second-semester senior and soon-to-be alumna, I believe these events like these are the strongest in espousing the principles of Art Community Entrepreneurship. Though it is not always that an award-winning film is made about an alumnus, similar events engaging current students, alumni, and the wider community before and after clearly yield positive returns on multiple fronts: personal student inspiration in seeing a successful example of who they wish to become, advocacy for significant matters whose embodiment we wish to see in leaders, university and arts finances, and community building. From the perspective of a student and recent graduate whose schedule is becoming increasingly inflexible and selective, this is an event that I would not miss. As classmate Brent Lorraine mentioned, community members will secede from the community if they do not feel that they belong, if their participation matters. Ongoing interactions with alumni address this concern and can fuel greater solidarity, school spirit, and donations. In using a movie recognized by a major U.S. and international cultural organization for a movie- and media-heavy culture, the post-film momentum to host a participatory Q&A giving audience members the agency to offer insightful questions and the intimacy for answers, and fostering an atmosphere of excellence and intellectualism, this was an excellent case study in entrepreneurship. This is by far my favorite art event this year and of my top three in my Lehigh career. After this, I am excited and energized to see what else there is to come for alumna like me.

Marty Baron returns to Lehigh for “Spotlight” Screening from The Brown and White on Vimeo.

—Sunny Huang, Class of 2016

Spring Semester 2016 PREVIEW at Zoellner Arts Center

Listed chronologically, the performing arts events of Spring 2016 to consider for course connections, or cultural exploration. Each event or production is linked to page with program information and performance details. Future posts will provide background reading or music review lists for each.

Please note:

  1. Those with * are free and open to the public
  2. Those with ^ are free to LU students with ID
  3. Dept. of Theatre offers “pay what you will” for the Wednesday show during their production.
  4. We can work with faculty or program directors on tickets for group sales.

January 23 M-PACT (on-stage seating, 2 shows)

January 31 TAO: Seventeen Samuriai

February 6 Billy Childs: Map to the Treasure-Reimagining Laura Nyro

*February 11 Documentary Film: The Winding Stream

^February 12 LU Jazz Faculty

February 13 Larry Harlow & The Latin Legends of Fania

February 14 (1 & 4pm)Moon Mouse: Lightwire Theater

February 16 (4:30) and 19 (7:30) Raphael Xavier: The Unofficial Guide to Audience Watching Performance

February 20 NY Jazz Repertory Orchestra

February 21 Polish Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra – All Tchaikovsky

February 26 – March 5 Department of Theatre: boom 

^February 26 & 27 LU Philharmonic Concerto Marathon

^March 4 The Branderson Duo

March 5 Avner the Eccentric: Exceptions to Gravity (1PM Sensory-Friendly & 4PM)

^March 6 East Winds Quintet: Celebrating Creative Lehigh

*March 8 Documentary Film: Rebel

March 10 STOMP

March 19 Moscow Festival Ballet: Giselle

^March 20 Michael Jorgensen Violin Recital: A Classical Romance

*March 23 Notations: Jennifer Whitaker

*April 1-2 LU Choir, Dolce & Glee Club: If Music Be the Food of Love

April 3 Mnozil Brass: Yes, Yes, Yes

*April 5 Notations: Dennis Lehane

April 8-16 Department of Theatre: Gem of the Ocean

*April 14-15 Notations: Michael Milligan – Side Effects

^April 16 LU Jazz Repertory Orchestra and Nicole Henry

*April 19 Documentary Film: Deaf Jam

^April 23 LU Jazz Ensemble, Funk Band and Combo

April 24 Compagne Finzi Pasca: La Veritá

^April 29-30 LU Philharmonic: Dramaville

^May 1 LU Wind Ensemble: From the Past to the Future

^May 6-7 LU Choral Arts: Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem

May 8 Bullets Over Broadway

Art & Food

How do you like to get excited about going to a show? Do you think about what to wear? What about dinner or drink plans before or after? For our season opener last week, Silagh White (Director of Arts Engagement and Community Cultural Affairs) shared how she got ready to fully enjoy Sheila E. Read here how she tapped into local retailers and a smart Lehigh Alum food blogger.


Michelle Rittler – Taste As You Go Food Blogger, Lehigh University, ’02

Or if you don’t want to read that post, here’s what you should know. Lehigh alum, Michelle Rittler (’02) is a successful food blogger who has done her research on the Zoellner Guest Artist season to share great food/cocktail pairings for the shows. She’s come up with inspiring recipes that are kitchen tested and presented with techniques beautifully photographed for the experienced and novice cook.

We are hoping to share her ideas with you, and encourage you to sign up for Michelle’s newsletter, right on the top of her blog. Here are Michelle’s ideas for this weekend:

Potato Gratin

Potato Gratin


Friday night – Morgan James.
Potato Gratin. Recipe here.
WHY? Morgan James is from Idaho!

Local dining alternative: Try the tater tots at Molly’s. Always crispy, always delicious. They also have a “loaded” version of tater tots worth experimenting.



Melon Ball Cocktails

Saturday night – Bill Warfield & the Hell’s Kitchen Funk Orchestra; Mercy, Mercy, Mercy
Melon Ball Cocktails. Recipe here.
WHY? Hard bop has its origins in the 1950s. This was a popular cocktail during this time.

Local dining alternative. Try any of these five establishments highlighted by another Lehigh Valley blogger (Cheryl Doll) on her “5 Best Cocktail Bars in Bethlehem” list. Two on the list are within walking distance of Zoellner Arts Center (hint: Social Still and Bookstore Speakeasy), We also suggest trying Molinari’s: tell them Zoellner sent you!


Sunday afternoon – Faculty Recital: Paul Salerni – Music from Three Continents
Rugelach (a popular Jewish dessert) – Sign up for Michelle’s newsletter to get the recipe
WHY? The program includes works by Israeli-American composer Ofer Ben-Amots. And this concert is in between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. (Happy Sweet New Year)

Local dining alternative: Head to Molinari’s for some great Italian dining. Paul Salerni proudly celebrates his Italian heritage.

Steeples and Steel tours are back!

If the reader already knows about these tours and wants to skip to ordering tickets, click here.
Reflections from 2014 Tour:

I had the good fortune of experiencing a full days of these tours last year. It was a delight to walk in the holy spaces where the ancestors of Bethlehem’s rich and diverse culture held their European traditions. Some of the churches on the tours were closed in 2009, so it’s with extraordinary effort that the opportunity is available again for a limited time. Half of the churches on the list are within blocks from campus.

Added benefit to the tours of the churches, are the stories shared by retired steelworkers as the bus roams through the former Bethlehem Steel plant. To hear about the working conditions and the multiple generations of families that dedicated their lives to making the steel that built America is to see the heroism and nostalgia of the place now converted into new community assets with the ArtsQuest arts compound and the Sands Casino/Mall.

What other treats of surprise stories were from my fellow travelers. As we shared a cozy bus ride, I heard many childhood memories of growing up in South Bethlehem. Where they once played, swam (Mohler Lab had a swimming pool when it was a synagog!!), and shopped. The original Banko Beverage was in a little shop in South Bethlehem. This is the same Banko that is now one the area’s generous supporters of the arts and community. There’s so many more delights of knowledge, but I don’t want to take the joy of discovery for the reader. You’ll just have to experience it.

Steelworker's Overtime Lunch

Steelworker’s Overtime Lunch

I will dish on lunch; the Steelworker’s Overtime Lunch. Yes, you’ll know what that means – but here’s a picture of what was offered. Can you spy the local tastes of A-Treat soda and Tastykakes in addition to the robust sandwich, hard boiled egg, chips and wedge of cheese? Yummy and filled my up for the second tour (Ok, I saved half of it for dinner!). It was a great day.

The tours start up again this weekend. Few spots left. See you on the bus!

From the Steelworker’s Archive press release:

Guided by the Steelworkers’ Archives, Inc. and the South Bethlehem Historical Society, these mini-bus tours 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.

This is the second year of Steeples and Steel tours. Last year’s tours were very successful. Tourists on last year’s tours commented:

“We three were blown away today by the beauty of the churches and the depth of knowledge we learned about the Steel”,

“We can understand the pride you must all feel in your lovely house of worship. We feel no need to go to Europe to see amazing churches; they are in our own backyard. Thank you.”

“This day provided a rare opportunity to regenerate the Bethlehem cohort of cultures who worked collectively in Bethlehem Steel with a love for faith who built treasured and illuminative churches in Bethlehem.”

The tours are scheduled for Saturdays (see dates below). 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 a church member guide. 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.

June 27
9:30 – Incarnation of Our Lord Parish (formerly Sts. Cyril & Methodius Roman Catholic Church)
1:00 – Packer Chapel

July 25
9:30 – Holy Ghost Roman Catholic Church
1:00 – St. John African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

August 22
9:30–Concordia Lutheran Church
1:00—St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church

September 26
9:30 –Fritz Memorial United Methodist Church
1:00 – Cathedral Church of the Nativity

October 31
9:30 – St. Michael’s Cemetery <- this is a special link to a short film created by Lehigh faculty Michael Kramp and Stephanie Powell Watts. See description below.

A photo montage of St. Michael’s Cemetery in South Bethlehem shows the current state of disarray and still the the abiding dignity of the space. The cemetary, started in 1867 on land donated by Asa Packer, belongs to the Holy Infancy parish. Overgrown with broken and shifted grave markers, it was made famous by a 1935 photograph by Walker Evans, “Graveyard and Steel Mill.” The film recreates a visual metaphor of the Evan’s photo by scanning over the life of the South Side (where people live), work (the now defunct Bethlehem Steel) and death in the cemetery. Made in part with support from the Southside Film Institute, PBS 39 and Lehigh University.

1:00—Holy Infancy Roman Catholic Church <- link to historical reference page created by the South Bethlehem Historical Society.

Tours will leave from St. John’s Windish Lutheran Church, 617 E. Fourth Street at 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 pm.
A free, public OPEN HOUSE held at St. John’s Windish Church from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. will include table displays of historical materials and artifacts from local community agencies and churches. A free tour of St. John’s Windish Church will be held at 12:15 p.m. Refreshments will be available.
Ticket prices for the mini-bus tours are $15 per person.

Advance reservations are required. Tickets can be ordered through: http://www.steelworkersarchives.com 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.

Zoellner’s Gala 2015 artist announced – Patti LaBelle

Patti Labelle_1Zoellner Arts Center at Lehigh University proudly presents Patti LaBelle for Gala2015 on Saturday, October 17, 2015.  LaBelle is a Grammy Award-winning, Hollywood Walk of Fame, World Music Award Legend who pushes everything she sings over top, from Lady Marmalade to On My Own or If Only You Knew to a New Attitude, she has inspired generations of singers and sold over 50 million records worldwide.

The Godmother of Soul’s “love of the spotlight is legendary, but she earns it with her astonishing force and control; when LaBelle’s voice simmers in its churchy low register, it’s usually a sign that she’s about to leap up and howl the roof off.” (Rolling Stone)  LaBelle and her band will perform favorites from her heralded career. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she first found fame in the sixties with The BlueBelles at The Apollo Theater in Harlem with remakes of songs such as You’ll Never Walk Alone and Somewhere Over the Rainbow. The group transitioned to LaBelle in the seventies and found major success with their song about a New Orleans seductress, Lady Marmalade. When LaBelle launched her solo career in the eighties and nineties, she released hit after hit including The Best is Yet to Come, On My Own, Stir It Up, New Attitude and If You Asked Me To, among others.

In addition to her success as a singer, LaBelle has also written several books, including the autobiography Don’t Block the Blessings (1997), the diabetic cookbook LaBelle Cuisine: Recipes to Sing About (1998) and Recipes for the Good Life (2008). She has also recently launched her own line of sauces called Patti LaBelle Good Life.  LaBelle has starred in numerous stage and screen productions, including roles in the films A Soldier’s Story (1984) and Beverly Hills Cop (1984); an appearance in the Broadway gospel musical Your Arm’s Too Short to Box with God (1982); and a recurring role in the television series A Different World (1990). More recently, LaBelle appeared on the popular series American Horror Story in 2014 and Dancing With the Stars.

Concert-only tickets go on sale to the general public in mid-July.  Tickets will be available at $75 and $150 and include the 8 pm performance and a post-performance dessert reception. There will be a limited number of tickets available at $55 for all full-time students. Zoellner Arts Center subscribers and donors will be able to purchase concert-only tickets in advance of the general public. To become a subscriber or donor, contact Ticket Services at 610-758-2787, ext. 0or www.zoellnerartscenter.org.

Gala Evening tickets are on sale now.Tickets for Zoellner Arts Center’s premier fundraiser are $550, which includes a cocktail reception, elegant dinner, preferred concert seating and a post-performance dessert reception. To purchase gala evening tickets call 610-758-2691 or email gala2015@lehigh.edu for purchase information.

Funds raised at Gala2015 support the arts at Lehigh University and Zoellner Arts Center’s presentations of world-class guest artists, community service initiatives, educational and family programs. Gala2015 Committee members are Oldrich Foucek III, chair, Philip Basnage, Crystal Daye, Valerie Johnson, Kirk Kozero, Brenda McGlade, Tina Nester and Alex Tamerler.