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Arts Around Town: Art show at Historic Easton Cemetery stirs up legendary spirits

By Susan Kalan, WFMZ.com Arts Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 20 2014 10:20:51 AM CDT

Today is the first day of spring, a perfect time to head outdoors and capture the spirit – or seven legendary Easton spirits who made an impact in the community. No one has brought their history alive better than Easton native/artist Preston Keith Hindmarch, whose upcoming art show, “History Lives Behind the Gate,” will be held most appropriately in the city’s recently renovated Chapel on the 87-acre Historic Easton Cemetery at 401 N. Seventh St. Hindmarch’s original watercolor paintings and prints will be on view to the public on March 30, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Hindmarch’s spirit subjects are: Belle Mingle Archer (1858-1900), nationally known stage actress; Francis A. March (1825-1911), Lafayette College professor who was the first to teach English language and literature; J. Frederic “Fred” Osterstock (1884-1957), manager of the State Theatre for many years, and which the Freddy Awards program is named after him; Col. Theophilus Rodenbough (1838-1912), awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor during the Civil War; Herman Simon (1850-1913), internationally-known manufacturer of silk fabric; George Taylor (1716-1781), signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Col. Charles A. Wikoff (1837-1898), most senior ranking American Army officer killed in the Spanish-American War.

“It just might be the most fun show in Easton,” said Hindmarch, a resident of the west ward whose years of historic research and detail make him a fitting ambassador for his community.

Hindmarch is known to show his art in unusual venues around town. Last March, he captured the ghosts of Easton past, reaching as far back as the early 1800s, in a series of watercolors titled “Catch the Spirits!” exhibited at Easton’s Two Rivers Brewing Company. His subjects included the infamous Charles Getter, hanged in 1833 on what’s known today as Getter’s Island in the Delaware River for the murder of his wife; the ill-fated steamboat, “Alfred Thomas,” whose tragic explosion on the Delaware claimed 10 lives, and Judge Force Crater, who mysteriously disappeared in 1930 after leaving a New York eatery.

The idea for having his upcoming art show in the cemetery chapel, which was built in 1875, originated with Easton’s Kay Wolff of Friends of the Cemetery, a new volunteer group formed to help run tours and raise public awareness. Wolff also arranged for re-enactors and local experts to be available on the day of the show to talk about historic figures buried there. Re-enactors include Jeffrey E. Finegan Sr. on George Taylor, Phil Mitman on tavern owner Jacob Bachman, Paul Luongo on Herman Simon, and the State Theatre’s Frank Kutch on Fred Osterstock.

“The cemetery, established in 1849, is still a working cemetery,” said Wolff, who hopes visitors will be encouraged to learn more about the site which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. As the final resting place of more than 29,000 people, the cemetery is noted for its design, architecture, landscaping and funerary art.

“We may be located at a dead-end of North Seventh Street, but we’re very much alive and happy to share a history of our great community,” Wolff said.

The cemetery is very much a part of Wolff’s family history, with her husband Marshall’s great-great-grandfather, George Transue, a superintendent who lived in the superintendent’s house at the entrance to the cemetery.

Hindmarch has long been intrigued by Easton’s history with a passion to preserve it as best he can. His watercolor renderings of the city’s historical structures adorn the walls of his graphic design business, Aardvark Graphics. He also is an illustrator who teamed with Finegan for the 2012 book project, “Colonel Washington and Me,” which tells the relationship between President George Washington and one of his slaves, William Lee. Hindmarch said he and Finegan will be releasing a second book, “’Tis Well,” this spring on Washington as told by his doctor and lifelong friend/physician, Dr. James Craik.

Admission to the art show is free. Hindmarch’s original watercolors and prints will be for sale; a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Historic Easton Cemetery. There will be beer sampling from Two Rivers Brewery Company, plus wine and light snacks.

For further info: 610-253-3133          

 

ARTS ROUNDUP

Allentown’s 57th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade will be held Sunday at 1:30 p.m., beginning at the Allentown Fairgrounds. A free, inaugural Irish Cultural Community Day will be celebrated on Saturday from noon to 5 p.m., at the Fairgrounds’ Annex at the Agri-Plex. Entertainment includes the O’Grady-Quinlin Academy of Irish Dance, Pipe Major James Ruhf, Dapper Dan the Clown, artist Angela Faidley, and George Miller and Kate Scuffle of Selkie Theatre.

For further info: allentownstpatricksdayparade.com

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Violinist Nigel Armstrong performs with the Reading Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Andrew Constantine on Saturday at 8 p.m., at the Santander Performing Arts Center in Reading. Armstrong is recognized as the highest-ranked American prize-winner in the 14th Tchaikovsky International Competition. The native Californian made his solo debut at age 12 with the Baroque Sinfonia in Santa Rosa and has performed worldwide with major orchestras.

The evening program features Vaughan Williams’ Five Variants of “Dives and Lazarus,” as well as Sibelius’ “Symphony No. 1.” Also performing will be the Reading Symphony Junior String Orchestra under the direction of Brian Mishler.

Footnote: The Reading Symphony Youth Orchestra will perform a live concert including the music of Ludwig van Beethoven on April 27, at 10 a.m., on the campus of Alvernia University in Reading. The event will be held during the “Beat Beethoven!” 10K Race and 5K Race/Walk; the challenge for participants is to complete the course before the concert ends. Approximate performance time is 62 minutes for the 10K, and 31 minutes for the 5K. Registration closes April 23.

For further info: readingsymphony.org

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A 2,000-square-foot exhibit, “The Vietnam War: A Conflict in Time,”  honoring veterans of the Vietnam War opens Saturday at 1 p.m., at the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum, 432 W. Walnut St., Allentown. Prior to national release on the National Geographic Channel, a documentary by award-winning Lou Reda Productions titled “Brothers in War” will be shown. The film was inspired by the book, “The Boys of 67: Charlie Company’s War in Vietnam.”

In 1967, the boys of Charlie Company, or “band of brothers,” went to war in the Mekong Delta, the homeland of the Viet Cong. Nearly 50 years later, the men have united to share their stories of courage under fire with the world. The film is narrated by Charlie Sheen, who portrayed a Vietnam soldier in the 1986 film, “Platoon.”

The exhibit, running through Sept. 28, includes a selection of rare documents and letters dating back to the Eisenhower administration, plus original pins and buttons from the war era worn by supporters and protesters. Original photographs, artifacts and military uniforms also will be on display. Curators have created a display wall to memorialize military personnel from Lehigh and Northampton counties who died in the war.

For further info: lehighvalleyheritagemuseum.org

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Miss Maggie Sings! (Peggy Gernerd) will perform Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., as part of the “Pea’s & Q’s Children’s Series” at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks’ Creativity Commons in Bethlehem. The program is titled “Think Spring with Miss Maggie!”

Miss Maggie Sings! also performs Sunday from 2 to 2:30 p.m., at the Allentown Art Museum with “One World, One Song.” It’s all part of the museum’s Spring Family Festival in its Kress Gallery.

For further info: artsquest.org           allentownartmuseum.org

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An opening reception for the exhibit, “Michelle Neifert: Reaching Out,” will be held Friday from 5 to 8 p.m., at Studio B, 39 E. Philadelphia Ave., Boyertown. Neifert’s work is described as interactive and an emotional conversation between the viewer and the art’s color and form. Her abstract work has shapes and forms generally self-created and often resembling landscape or human form.

For further info: studiobbb.org

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“A Band of Exiles on the Wild New England Shore: The Place of Peter Frederick Rothermel’s The Landing of the Pilgrims in National Memory,” opens Monday and runs through May 24 at the Williams Center Gallery at Lafayette College in Easton.

One of the great American history paintings of the 19th century, The Landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, 1620, is the centerpiece of the Kirby Collection of Historical Paintings in the college Art Collection. The Grand Manner composition from 1854 is recognized as a masterpiece work by renowned Philadelphia artist Peter F. Rothermel (1812-95). The exhibit will focus attention on the picture, the historical, literary and artistic contexts in which it was produced, and the echoing of its image in American visual culture.

Curator Mark Thistlewaite will present a talk on the art of Rothermel on Thursday, March 27, at 4:10 p.m., in room 108 of the gallery, followed by a reception.

For further info: 610-330-5361

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The Camerata Singers will present their annual spring concert on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., at First Presbyterian Church, 3231 Tilghman St., Allentown. The program will feature the monumental “Mass No. 3 in F Minor” by Anton Bruckner and including the Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra, conducted by Allan Birney, and soloists Elizabeth Weigle, soprano; Patricia Risley, mezzo-soprano; Owen McIntosh, tenor, and Dashon Burton, bass.

For further info: PACamerataSingers.org

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Tom Angleberger, author of “Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue! An Origami Yoda Book,” will hold a book signing and talk on Tuesday at 4 p.m., at Let’s Play Books! 379 Main St., Emmaus, Lehigh Co. Ticketed event; limited seating.

For further info: letsplaybooks.com

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Emerging theatrical talents are on display through Sunday in Allentown at Muhlenberg College’s “New Visions” Emerging Artists’ Festival. Plays are directed by senior directing students in the college’s Department of Theatre & Dance. Still to catch is Tom Stoppard’s “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour” directed by Benjamin Wald, Matt Dicken’s original one-man show, “butyou’reaman” directed by Arthur Strimling, and Steven Dietz’s “Still Life with Iris” directed by Alex McKhann.

For further info: muhlenberg.edu/theatre

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Grammy-winning bandleader/pianist Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra return to Lafayette College in Easton on Wednesday at 8 p.m., at the Williams Center for the Arts on campus. The concert is part of the college’s Jazz Masters series.

For further info: williamscenter.lafayette.edu/performance

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