Tag Archives: Lehigh Valley Music

Meet the PennMArt PA Dutch, Polka, and Rock Committee

As we continue working toward making the inaugural Great Pennsylvania Music and Arts Celebration (PennMArt) a memorable experience for all, we want to introduce you to a few of the folks making it all possible.

Our Pennsylvania Dutch, Polka, and Rock Committee has been meeting for months now, planning a weekend full of musical programming that spans the many diverse genres and cultural nuances of our Commonwealth. These folks are accomplished local and regional music personalities, who each bring their own brilliant ideas to the table.

They are:

Keith Brintzenhoff – Keith is an expert on Pennsylvania German music, dance, instruments, and folklore. Keith has served as musical advisor for the Kutztown PA German Festival, and has performed at Hershey Museum, Historic Schaefferstown, Der Dutch Peddler Homecoming (Ohio), Berks. County Heritage Festival, Lyons Fiddle Festival, Mayfair, the Mercer Museum, Reading Liederkranz, Landis Valley Farm Museum, Musikfest, three tours in Germany, and at the 700th anniversary of Switzerland Fescht in his ancestral home town.

A teacher by trade, Keith’s programs can be completely educational to completely entertaining. They can be discussion workshops, musical, PA German, kids, folklore, the Belsnickel, and various combinations. He performs a lot, sometimes by himself, sometimes with his wife, or a fiddle or banjo player, and sometimes with his band, The Toad Creek Ramblers. Full bio here.

Dave Follweiler – As chair of the committee, Dave had a large role in assembling a team of volunteers to this committee, each of whom brings a unique perspective to the musical landscape of the Commonwealth. Dave is the keyboardist of TimeWhy?s, a rock and roll band with a heavy 1960s influence who plays a wide variety of enjoyable originals and covers. TimeWhy?s was recently nominated for the Discover Lehigh Valley “Discovered Artist” Award at the 19th Annual Lehigh Valley Music Awards in Bethlehem.

Gerard Longo – Gerard is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Lehigh Valley Underground, the premier community resource for local music and entertainment news in eastern Pennsylvania. Gerard’s accomplishments include the successful launch of the Lehigh Valley Underground First Friday Concert Series in South Bethlehem, in partnership with SouthSide Arts District, as well as the honor of three 2018 Lehigh Valley Music Awards (Outstanding Music Website, Outstanding Music Supporter (Organization), Outstanding Music Supporter (Individual). Gerard also gives spotlight to independent musicians on his own weekly radio show, The Quinn Spinn, Mondays at 7 p.m. ET on WLVU: The Sound of The Underground.

Michael McKenna – Michael is the committee’s resident “music historian,” with decades upon decades of experience as a music journalist and promoter. Michael is an award-winning author for “Reelin’ in the Years: The Valley Music Vault 1960-1990,” a book about the history of Lehigh Valley music, bands, entertainers, radio, DJ’s, clubs, concerts, venues and other related subjects. In addition, Michael is a five-time award-winning journalist for his work on Nor’easter Magazine.

Stay tuned for exciting updates, as we bring a wide array of music to life at the historic Allentown Fairgrounds during PennMArt this Memorial Day Weekend. And, if you’d like to get involved, join us on Wednesday at Allentown’s Historic Benner Mansion for our first open volunteer meeting. Details are available here.

Restoring Lehigh County As One of Two Beating Hearts of PA Dutch Heartland

Hands down!   My new favorite destination is the PA German Cultural Heritage Center at Kutztown University.  Tucked behind the stately main Kutztown campus buildings is a Pennsylvania Dutch farm replete with the magnificent hex signs created by national hex sign expert and author Heritage Center Director Patrick Donomeyer.  We of the 2018 Great Pennsylvania Music & Arts Celebration at the Historic Allentown Fairgrounds on Memorial Day Weekend are honored to collaborate with Patrick – on a multiple year initiative to catalog and restore Lehigh County’s fast disappearing Hex Signs.

Patrick describes Lehigh County as the lessor known leg of the “two legged pants” of the PA Dutch Heartland – coupled with Berks County – better known for its PA Dutch bonafides.  Lancaster is distinguished by its rich concentration of Amish and Mennonite religious sects while sister counties York, Northampton, York, Montgomery and Bucks share in PA Dutch traditions.  By the time of the American Revolution, the PA Dutch constituted 1/3 of Pennsylvania’s population.

While Berks and Lancaster counties especially have preserved and nurtured their PA Dutch roots – budding a healthy tourism industry around it (Lancaster has the second largest B&B market IN THE NATION) Lehigh has all but forgotten the pivotal role it played in Pennsylvania’s PA Dutch culture.

Through the Great Pennsylvania Music & Arts at the Historic Allentown Fairgrounds on Memorial Day Weekend the PA Music Preservation Society looks to revitalize Allentown and Lehigh County’s role in this important cultural tradition – especially through its educational and preservation focused Lehigh County Hex Sign Initiatives. Stay tuned!