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Soaring and touring the Finger Lakes region

Soaring 4,000-feet in a glider plane above the picturesque Finger Lakes region of New York, we’re rewarded with a bird’s eye view of an area rich in museums, wineries, sports, history and more.

With the colorful foliage, manageable crowds and lower temperatures, the fall is a perfect time to visit some of the 11 lakes in west-central New York. About four hours from the Delaware Valley is the City of Corning which features a vibrant main street, called the Gaffer District, and is home to art galleries and restaurants, including the fantastic Gaffer Grille and Tap Room, as well as a world-class museum.

There are many cities that have been made famous by a single industry. Hershey, Pa., has its chocolate. Kohler, Wis., has its faucets. Corning has glass - and lots of it. In 1868 the Brooklyn Flint Glass Works moved to Corning, changed its name to Corning Flint Glass Work, and sold its cut glass all over the United States and abroad. Before entering The Corning Museum of Glass you shou…
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'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' at Upper Darby Summer Stage

By Amy A. Winnemore
   The epic tale of love, jealously, acceptance and perseverance takes the stage amongst a three-story cathedral, stained glass windows and tolling bells in Upper Darby Summer Stage’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

  Based on the Victor Hugo novel and songs from the 1996 Disney animated feature, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” showcases the film’s memorable score, as well as new songs by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Stephen Schwartz.

  Making its regional premiere this Mainstage show, which is a darker themed musical than prior Summer Stage productions, showcases a wide range of talents to close out the 42nd season.

  The musical tells the story of Quasimodo (Patrick J. Walsh), who is adopted as a baby by Dom Claude Frollo (Chris Monaco) and held in the bell tower at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. Quasimodo, the deformed bell-ringer, observes the city while kept locked away for his safety, according to Frollo. One day, while watching the boisterous gypsy …

'Jurassic Park in Concert' at the Mann Center

By Amy A. Winnemore
T he thundering roar of a Tyrannosaurus rex rang through The Mann Center for the Performing Arts last Saturday. The king of the dinosaurs, along with Velociraptors and a Brachiosaurus, were projected in high definition as part of The Mann Center’s “Jurassic Park in Concert.” With the Philadelphia Orchestra performing the score live, it brought a newfound excitement to re-watching the 1993 summer blockbuster.

   As part of the Movies at The Mann series, “Jurassic Park” fans were part of a full sensory experience as the Orchestra, conducted by Aram Demirjian, heightened the excitement and anxiety as they performed the award-winning score by John Williams. Even though I’ve seen the movie many times, listening to the memorable music being performed live made it feel like I was in high school again watching the movie for the first time. When the helicopter carrying Dr. Alan Grant, Dr. Ellie Sattler, Dr. Ian Malcolm and John Hammond approaches Isla Nublar, you’re swe…

‘Motown The Musical’ at The Academy of Music

By Amy A. Winnemore
   Bringing Detroit’s soulful music to the masses was the goal, and Berry Gordy was ready for the challenge by creating the melodies of Motown. Adapted from Gordy’s memoir, Motown the Musical is now onstage at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.
   The musical begins with a dejected Berry (Chester Gregory), feeling betrayed by his former stars and unwilling to attend the 1983 television special celebrating Motown's 25th anniversary. Both the harshness and opportunity of the music industry are shown throughout the show with flashbacks, starting with Motown’s first headquarters Hitsville U.S.A. Newcomers and superstars of Motown music take turns supporting each other and bringing each other down following one of Gordy’s mantra: “competition breeds success.” Tension between groups (The Four Tops vs. The Temptations) is a source of play-fighting throughout the show as their medley of songs is treated more as a sing-off battle than a project of harmony.

'The Full Monty' at Players Club of Swarthmore

By Amy A. Winnemore
The Players Club of Swarthmore brings six average Joes to the stage with their season finale musical “The Full Monty.” Based on the 1997 movie featuring six British blue-collar out of work steelworkers, the musical version has them living in Buffalo, N.Y. After seeing their wives’ enthusiasm for a touring Chippendales act, Jerry Lukowski (Brian Seaman) works to convince his friend David Bukatinsky (Joe Tabasco) and recruit several other down on their luck fellas to present a one-night only strip act.

   With his strong voice and self-deprecating attitude, Tabasco is great as the “Fat Bastard” Bukatinsky. The rest of the strip act, especially Ben Long is entertaining as the awkward laid-off steelworker Malcolm MacGregor. His excellent voice is showcased during “You Walk With Me.” The most laugh out loud moment was Noah “Horse” T. Simmons’ (Robert Harris) solo song “Big Black Man.” This was Harris’ first show at PCS after a 20-year hiatus, and the audience could…

Philly POPS ‘Sgt. Pepper Celebration’ at the Kimmel Center

By Amy A. Winnemore
   With the shine of the band’s pastel Sgt. Pepper uniforms reflecting from the stage, the Philly POPS, conducted by Music Director Michael Krajewski, performed a magical “Sgt. Pepper Celebration” featuring The Beatles tribute band Classical Mystery Tour last weekend at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia.
   Bringing The Beatles song lyrics to life were four members of the Classical Mystery Tour, who strolled out on stage wearing brightly colored Edwardian-style jackets.
   The concert celebrated the upcoming 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ eighth studio album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Recorded over nearly five months, the album was released on June 1, 1967 to critical acclaim during the time of psychedelics, the Flower Power Movement and the Vietnam War.
   Back in 1967, The Beatles knew (due to limited concert sound technology) that they would not have to perform many of the album’s tracks live, so they created an unique wr…

A stellar Philly POPS Christmas at Verizon Hall

By Amy A. Winnemore

With twinkling lights, classic Christmas carols and even a visit from Santa, you were swept up in the holiday spirit watching “A Philly Pops Christmas Spectacular Sounds of the Season” last weekend at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia.

Maestro Michael Krajewski conducted the sensational show featuring over 300 musicians and singers, including the 65-piece Pops orchestra, pianist and vocalist Tony DeSare, organist Peter Richard Conte, the Philly POPS Festival Chorus, the Philadelphia Boys Choir and the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir.

The Pops sounded exquisite as they performed amongst the twinkling trees on the stage and sparkling lighted snowflakes above. Pops member Matt Gallagher especially stood out as he played “Ding Dong Merrily on High” on the piccolo trumpet.

It’s always a special treat to hear The Philadelphia Boys Choir, especially during “We Need a Little Christmas.”

DeSare sang several beautiful carols includ…