One Summer Night

Doo Wop singerThere is more to say about the iPhone and an update on WiFi, but this posting is to share some information about summer music. One aspect of blogging is serious business and technology information but another dimension is just archiving some of life’s experiences and creating something that the grandkid’s kids may enjoy reading some day.
The Pocono Mountains in Northeast Pennsylvania area is where we hang out in the summer and some weekends during the year. There is a lot to see and do on the lake, on the trails, and riding the trike. Earlier in the month we went to the Wildflower Music Festival at the Dorflinger-Suydam Wildlife Sanctuary in White Mills shown below.

White Mills:

The concert was performed by three young musicians who call themselves Time For Three. All three were trained at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. It was an amazing performance which blended bluegrass, classical, jazz and original compositions from Brahms to the Beatles. The talent and creativity were electrifying.

Not sure I had ever been to Stroudsburg, PA other than passing by on Interstate 80. It is a small Northeast Pennsylvania town not far from the Delaware Water Gap. Parking on Main Street was no problem and the Gaelic dinner at the Siamsa Irish Pub was outstanding. A bonus on the way to the Pub was seeing a benchmark placed in 1958 in the concrete base of a cannon in a small park a block from Main Street. Speaking of 1958, that is when of the evening’s performers were rising stars. Built in the 1920’s, theSherman Theater in Stroudsburg, was host to “One Summer Night” a “Doo-Wop Spectacular featuring classics of the 50s & 60s. It was a real trip down memory lane with The Passions (“Just to be with You”), Kenny Vance and the Planotones (“Looking for an Echo”), Vito Picone and the Elegants (“little Star”, The Del-Vikings (“Come go with Me”), and Cleveland Still and the Dubs (“Could This Be Magic?”). Amazing how these guys keep going, some of them have been singing for more than fifty years!
The Origins of Doo-Wop are debated but most would agree that it evolved from a merging of pop, gospel, blues, jazz and swing elements in the late 1940’s and early 50’s. Doo-Wop music is innocent, joyous, romantic and, some would say, almost spiritual. The harmonizing is awesome.

Watching these performing groups on stage was inspiring. A little arithmetic can quickly show that most of the performers were in their late 60’s — at least — and some more than 70. Some looked it, some did not. All of them had great voices and rhythm. If you look at their concert schedules on the web sites you can see that they are performing almost constantly — one group claimed 208 concerts last year. Why are they doing this? Why don’t they stop and retire? It is possible some lived past their means or did not invest in their future during the hay days and now need the money. Others may do it out of loyalty to other members of their group. Some may not know what else to do. I believe the vast majority however, are doing it because they love it. You could see the sparkle in their eyes and the spring in their step. As the audience raved, the performers were inspired, and the cycle continued. It was a great night.
The next night was a change of pace at the Mountain Laurel Center for the Performing Arts in Bushkill. In spite of the cold and rainy night, thousands of people came to enjoy Keith Lockhart conduct the famed Boston Pops in favorite tunes from Hollywood and Broadway. These songs were not by my favorite composers nor was this the kind of music I like. Nevertheless, the performers and conductor were outstanding as usual and the standing ovations brought two encores and a wrap-up with Stars and Stripes Forever. Hard to top that!