Allentown Band strikes up the history at Waldheim Park
The 103rd anniversary of the Allentown Band at Waldheim Park, 2400 S. Hall St., Salisbury Township, will feature a salute to the spacious skies and amber waves of grain of America the beautiful.
“America’s Folk Songs ... Reflections of a Nation,” 7 p.m. Aug. 14, also features the music of Lehigh Valley folksinger, songwriter and recording artist Anne Hills.
“It would be a shame to miss this opportunity and the sense of community this concert will have,” says Pamela Varkony, concert organizer. “... This concert has a very long and proud tradition and it will be a lovely evening.”
Folk songs have played a significant role in Americana by capturing the fabric of the United States’ essence. The tunes on the set list for the show have inspired many who built the nation to roll up their sleeves and get to work when the work seemed impossible. The songs have also helped those same pioneers put down their burden as the sun was sinking low.
The concert will feature memorable songs that should have concert-goers singing right along. They’ll hear the footsteps of westward migration across the fruited planes in the haunting ballad of “Shenandoah,” the whistle-why-you-work and longing of waiting for “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” along with the upbeat, toe-tapping tempo of a country becoming a beacon of light to the world in “Alexander’s “Ragtime Band.”
The set list also provides a quasi-history lesson of life in the mid-20th century, when America was engulfed in World War II and began to spread its wings across the globe in the decade following.
“Listening to some of these songs is truly like stepping back into the 1940s and 1950s,” says Varkony.
While the sounds of the Allentown Band, under conductor Ron Demkee, will play a major factor in the evening, they will have plenty of help that night. Returning is the Color Guard of the 153rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Civil War. The Americana theme will be also be bolstered by Mountain View Rescue of New Tripoli, which has a very special guest who goes by the name of Tina.
“She is a mule who will be available for petting and apple-eating before participating in the program as the audience sings the ‘Erie Canal’ song. ... ‘I’ve got an ole mule and her name is Sal,’” says Varkony.
The program will also feature the music of Hills, who Varkony says she’s thrilled to have performing.
“Anne is a wonderful folksinger,” Varkony says. “She can often be found trying out new material at Bethlehem’s Godfrey Daniels when she’s not singing at venues and festivals across the U.S. and Europe.”
Hills and the Allentown Band will perform a few numbers together.
While the sweet sounds of music will dominate the evening, concert-goers will not have their taste buds neglected as the Waldheim Civic Association will offer homemade barbeque sandwiches and summer salads along with home-baked goods and ice cream treats for dessert.
The concert is free and open to the public. A free-will offering will be taken.