Sunday Afternoon Music at Diehl’s

Local musician (and long time Make Music Upper Perk performer and volunteer) Tom Cooney will be playing “a fun mix of covers and originals in Pop, Americana, Blues and Jazz” with fellow guitarist Bill Kirkner today, Sunday, February 10, 2019, starting at noon at Diehl’s Real Teas (239 Main Street, East Greenville, PA – across the street from the Grand Theater). The music will continue until the place closes, at 3 p.m. this afternoon. (While you are there, you might want to try Diehl’s delicious cinnamon buns, along with something from their new stream-lined menu, and a nice pot of tea, coffee, or a smoothie.)

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First Friday, Groundhog Day, SnowBlast Arts Festival, and Theater!

First Friday in February and Bethlehem, PA once again has free art demonstrations (including blown glass), free live music, free kids crafts, gallery openings, and more, on the South Side (mainly in the Banana Factory , 25 W. 3rd Street).

Saturday, February 2nd is Groundhog Day, and the Barn at Mennonite Heritage Center in Harleysville (565 Yoder Road) is serving hot chocolate and coffee at 6:30 a.m. to start their “word and song celebration” as part of their morning long Harleysville Hank Groundhog Day Extravaganza – Hank is scheduled to make his appearance at sunrise (7:08 a.m.). Following Hank’s big moment and weather prediction, breakfast will be served (scrapple!), followed by children’s crafts and activities. Did we mention the groundhog carols? Free and open to the public.

Emmaus’ SnowBlast Winter Arts Festival gets underway at noon on Saturday, February 2nd, starting at the Emmaus Triangle with events and activities throughout town until 7 p.m.

 …artists of all skills and ages (are invited) to contribute their time and talent to design and create public art pieces during SnowBlast Winter Arts Festival

Outdoor activities during SnowBlast Winter Arts Festival  include many favorites such as an appearance by the SnowBlast Ice Princess; Triple Gold Medalist Laura Wetzel, live music and DJ sponsored by Wesley Works Entertainment, 4x International Extreme Wood Carver, Michael Blaine from Dreamwood, Giant Chalkboard Interactive Art and outdoor games! New to the lineup for 2019, an amazing fire performance by Flame Nouveau and Sculpted Ice Works will be doing a live ice sculpting demo in triangle park!  SnowBlast is loaded with fun things to do for the whole family. Many stores will be hosting live art demonstrations and special activities to warm folks coming in from the cold and local restaurants will provide “SnowBlast Chill Chaser” drink and food specials. SnowBlast Ice Bar hosted by Emmaus Main Street partners will feature drinks from Triple Sun Distillery and Funk Brewing Co. (21+, ID required). Fire pit warming stations will be setup to help us all stay toasty!  Support a winter hat & glove drive hosted by The Kindness Project, donate new hats and gloves to help local foster children stay warm during these cold winter months!

List of activities and times for the day’s event can be found here.

Doors open at 7 p.m. for the 28th annual Wine and Food Festival and Silent Auction benefitting the Upper Perkiomen Valley Library,  Saturday night, February 2, 2019.  Tickets ($55 per person) will be available at the door. There is free parking on site at Parents Hall, Perkiomen School, 200 Seminary Avenue, Pennsburg, PA, 7 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

 Robert Peters, “The Main Line Wine Guy”, will be back to lead us on a tour of wines. There will be heavy hors d’oeuvres and light dessert, a silent auction, and a cork pull.

If you prefer an evening of music this cold winter weekend, head over to Muhlenberg College for a free performance of English, Italian, and Spanish late Renaissance and Baroque music. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 2nd, at the Egner Memorial Chapel, 2400 W. Chew Street, Allentown, PA.

Quite a few shows are opening in local theaters this weekend;

Buyer and Cellar at Montgomery Theater in Souderton (Jan. 31 – Feb. 24, 2019), The Kitchen Witches at DCF Theater in Telford (Feb. 1 – 16, 2019), Nunsense at Steel River Playhouse in Pottstown, PA. More information on these shows and upcoming local shows and high school musicals can be found on the theater page. 

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Musician Registration for 2019 Make Music Upper Perk is Now Online!

Registration for Make Music Upper Perk 2019 is now online – Make Music Upper Perk (MMUP) is on Friday, June 21, 2019.

Registration closes on April 20, 2019. Please don’t miss out on your chance to be part of this year’s Make Music Upper Perk!

Music makers of all ages, abilities, and genres are invited to be part of this event.

Musicians may sign up for more than one venue , and play more than one set – we will do our best to place you where you’d like to be, when you’d like to be (but the earlier you sign up, the more likely you are to get your choice of location). There are 20 venues all across the Upper Perkiomen Valley this year.

Make Music Upper Perk (MMUP) is part of a world-wide celebration of music held every year in 108 countries on the summer solstice, June 21st; always free and open to the public. MMUP is an all-volunteer event. No one, not even the musicians, is paid.

Musicians come from the Upper Perk Valley and surrounding areas, and include amateurs and professionals; ranging in ages from 5 years old to 80+?, playing and singing all types of music from folk to Celtic to punk rock; jazz to pops orchestra to Sousa.

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My Favorite Oscar Nominated 2018 Movies (and a few that didn’t get nominated)

With the snow and cold temperatures proving that it really is winter, I’m ready to stay in and watch some movies. (I will make the exception and go out for a few films; just now showing up in the theater – On the Basis on Sex arrives at Civic Theater, 19th Street, Allentown on Friday, February 1st!)

More than a few of my favorite movies from 2018 didn’t get nominated for the Oscars this year. I have no doubt that I am not the only one saying that, which doesn’t mean that everyone else will agree with me, either. But, like so many others with a blog or any online presence at all, I’m going to list some of my favorite movies that you might be able to catch on DVD or Netflix or Amazon (or elsewhere) while staying inside this winter, under the blankets with your own movie snacks and drinks at hand.

I’ll start with ones that were nominated for something, though not necessarily Best Picture (and would be fun to watch again);

Ones that weren’t nominated but were highlights of my movie viewing this past year;

  • Blindspotting
  • Juliet, Naked
  • The Old Man and the Gun
  • Puzzle
  • Wind River (okay, this came out in 2017, but odds are you missed it)

Ones that weren’t nominated and I haven’t yet had a chance to see, but I still am looking forward to getting around to watching sooner rather than later;

  • First Man
  • The Hate U Give
  • The Miseducation of Cameron Post
  • Sorry to Bother You
  • Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse (currently playing at The Grand in East Greenville, PA)
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The Latest News for Make Music Upper Perk 2019!

While summer may seem far away, we’ve been busy growing Make Music Upper Perk (MMUP) and getting ready for the 7th Annual Make Music Upper Perk, taking place on Friday, June 21, 2019.

In July of 2018, the first official Board of Directors for Make Music Upper Perk met. At this meeting, organizational bylaws were approved and it was agreed that the organization should file Articles of Incorporation as a Non-Profit with Pennsylvania Department of State before the end of 2018. (This is the first step needed to become a recognized non-profit with the U.S.) The next board meeting is scheduled for January 12, 2019.

Representatives of the many venues where musicians play on June 21st as part of MMUP will meet on Thursday morning, January 17, 2019 to discuss this year’s event.

Volunteers, and those interested in volunteering with MMUP, are welcome to attend our first volunteer meeting of 2019 on Saturday morning, February 2nd, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. at Java Bake, 254 Main Street, East Greenville, PA.  We will be distributing MMUP flyers to post around the Valley, and signing up volunteers for various jobs leading up to June 21st, as well as volunteer positions needed on the day of Make Music Upper Perk.

Musicians of all ages, abilities, and playing any type of instrument (or singing “a cappella,” aka “without instruments”) may sign up online, beginning on February 1st, to be part of Make Music Upper Perk 2019. Registration closes at midnight on April 20, 2019. Check back at this blog or on the MMUP Facebook page for the link to the registration page on February 1st, 2019.



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This weekend’s craft and musical events!

“tis the season for more craft shows in one weekend than one can possibly attend. If you want to stay local, here’s some stops worth making;

Marlborough Elementary School Holiday Bazaar, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Route 29, Green Lane, PA – free admission. Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018

Annual Gingerbread Craft Show, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Church of the Holy Spirit 2871 Barndt Road (intersection Rt 63/Sunneytown Pike and Barndt Road), Harleysville, PA. In addition to crafts, tea, and cookies, there will be a jazz combo providing live music! Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018

Christmas Craft Show, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m., Woman’s Club of Quakertown, Train Station, 15 Front Street, Quakertown, PA. Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018

And on Saturday, 9:30 a.m. -4 p.m., Sunday, noon-4 p.m. (so if you can’t fit it all in today, it won’t be too late tomorrow!), Dec. 1st and Dec. 2nd, 2018 Goshenhoppen Historians and Mennonite Heritage Center Christmas Market; Mennonite Heritage Center, 565 Yoder Road, Harleysville, PA ; Goshenhoppen Historical Museum at Red Man’s Hall, 116 Gravel Pike, Green Lane, PA; Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center, 105 Seminary Street, Pennsburg, PA.

Spend a musical Sunday (Dec. 2, 2018), by going to Lansdale for an afternoon choir concert, and Sumneytown for an evening musical event featuring brass quintet and violin music, along with gifted solo vocalists and a chance to sing-along with a few holiday favorites.

The United Schwenkfelder Choir will present its 90th annual concert on Sunday, December 2nd. The 85-voice, non-denominational choir will perform a program of traditional and contemporary Christmas music at 2:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. at the Central Schwenkfelder Church, located at 2111 Valley Forge Road (Rte. 363), Lansdale, just north of Skippack Pike (Rte. 73). A free will offering will be taken.

On Sunday, December 2nd, the annual Valley Arts Concert and Carol Sing will be held in Sumneytown, PA at St. John’s Lutheran Church (Route 63/Sumneytown Pike). The 7 p.m. concert features the Suite Brass Ensemble, violinist Pastor Jennifer Ollikainen, soprano Pastor Susan Lynch, and tenor Kevin Schanely. Refreshments will be served afterwards in the social hall, and a free will offering will be taken to benefit the Adopt-A-Family program.

Read about future concerts and craft fairs this December (and check back for non-holiday related arts events in a post coming soon).



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Musical Interludes

The rush and bustle of the holiday season, like yesterday’s snowstorm, seems to have arrived earlier than in years past! Which may be all the more reason to set aside some time to stop running, take a breath, and enjoy some music.

The snow and ice are expected to melt and clear away by the end of today, by which time cabin fever may have already struck. Tonight, Friday, November 16, 2018, baritone singer Brian Ming Chur will be giving a concert in Harleysville at the Church of the Holy Spirit (2871 Barndt Road; corner of Barndt and Route 63/Sumneytown Pike). The free concert begins at 7:30 p.m. There will be a reception after the performance. A free will offering will be taken during intermission.

(The Church of the Holy Spirit welcomes) Brian Ming Chur, Baritone. Hailed for his “rich, authoritative tone” (Kansas City Metropolis), ”an impressive performer of wide range, agility, and expressive storytelling ability”(Monterey Herald), baritone Brian Ming Chu has been a soloist with numerous ensembles, including The King’s Noyse, Brandywine Baroque, Portland Baroque, Piffaro, The Dryden Ensemble, Kansas City’s Spire Ensemble, the Choral Arts of Philadelphia, Washington’s Cathedral Choral Society, the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, and the Carmel Bach Festival.

Next weekend, on Sunday, December 2nd, the annual Valley Arts Concert and Carol Sing will be held in Sumneytown, PA at St. John’s Lutheran Church (Route 63/Sumneytown Pike). The 7 p.m. concert features the Suite Brass Ensemble, violinist Pastor Jennifer Ollikainen, soprano Pastor Susan Lynch, and tenor Kevin Schanely. Refreshments will be served afterwards in the social hall, and a free will offering will be taken to benefit the Adopt-A-Family program.

The chamber music trio Illumine  returns to Pottstown on Friday, December 7, 2018 for a Christmas concert featuring the premiers of three new suites of traditional carols, “Winter” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and other Christmas classics. The musicians will also lead the audience in caroling at the end of the concert. The music begins at 7 p.m. at Shenkel United Church of Christ, 1580 Shenkel Road, Pottstown, Pa.

The Valley Choral Society invites the public to attend their winter concert, Ring the Bells, on the weekend of December 8 and 9, 2018. Saturday’s free concert begins at 7 p.m. at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Pennsburg, PA (81 Main Street), while Sunday’s concert is scheduled for the afternoon, at 4 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Perkasie, PA (19 S. 5th Street).

The wonderful student musicians in the Upper Perkiomen School District will be sharing their talents in a series of winter concerts in December. The Upper Perkiomen Middle School Holiday Winter Concert is Tuesday, December 11, 2018 at 7 p.m. The High School Band and Orchestra Winter Concert will be held the following night, Wednesday, December 12, 2018, from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. Finally, the many choirs of the Upper Perkiomen High School will take the stage once again on a Sunday afternoon, for their winter mix of sacred and secular music, this year on December 16, 2018, beginning at 3 p.m. All the concerts are held in the auditorium at the Upper Perkiomen High School, 2 Walt Road, Pennsburg, PA, and are open to the public.

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