Diane Wittry and Diane Scott of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra talk of its new directions in music to the Allentown Rotary Club’s at the August 17th meeting
Friday, August 17th was music day part two for the Allentown Rotary Club.  Last week we heard all about the Allentown Band from its music director and conductor Ron Demkee.
It was followed at this week’s meeting by a presentation from the Allentown Symphony Orchestra’s music director Diane Wittry and Diane Scott, its interim executive director. ARC is proud to have two of its members, Ibolya “Ibi” Balog and Ethel-Drayton-Craig on the Symphony Association’s board.
The venue the board oversees, Allentown’s Miller Symphony Hall is a wonder. Built in the 1890s as the Central Market Hall, that concept apparently fell through when local farmers decided they would rather sell their goods free at Center Square, where they always had, then having to pay for a space at the hall.
By 1900 the Central Market Hall had been transformed into the Lyric Theater, whose stage has been graced by a galaxy of American talent, and two U.S. presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, twice and Woodrow Wilson once, in its over 100 years of existence. From the 1930s to the 1950s it was kept alive by burlesque “stars” with “nom de theatre” like Ding Dong Bell and Busty Russell.  
Saved from the wrecker’s ball in the 1950s by ardent local music and theater lovers as a home for the Allentown Symphony, it was transformed and updated several year-ago without losing its charm. The Miller is appealing to the new Strata Loft Generation as well as those who have come to love it over the years.

After a brief talk by Scott about the selection of a new executive director, following the recent resignation of Shelia Evans, she turned the “mike” over to Wittry.  Here are some of the upcoming events at the Miller that she outlined for the Allentown Orchestra.
We Have Music 2018-08-18 04:00:00Z 0
Posted by Lou Bottitta on Aug 15, 2018

Throughout the coming year, we will share information about what your Committees are doing "behind the scenes" - let's start with the newly formed Communications and Public Relations Committee.  Although no meetings have been held yet, lots of hours are invested every week in external and internal club communications,  Here are some highlights:

 Social Media:

   •     Facebook "reach" was up over 500% during the last month - the Romper Day and Allentown Band posts were the big reasons for this jump.  To further extend our impact, we encourage members to "Share" our Allentown Rotary posts on their personal timelines.  "SHARE A SMILE" - it is much more powerful than just a LIKE!   The Facebook stats below show how we are extending our message, "#People of Action" far beyond our Friday meetings and project days!

Thanks to Chris Bauder and Ethel Drayton-Craig for providing  

Spreading the Good News about Allentown Rotary Lou Bottitta 2018-08-15 04:00:00Z 0
Posted by Frank Whelan on Aug 14, 2018

Ok here is the question, what band is the oldest civilian community concert band in the country?  Give up?  Well, times up.

It’s the Allentown Band which celebrates its 190th birthday this year. 

That was on July 4, 1828 folks. Andrew Jackson would replace John Quincey Adams in the White House, Noah Webster published the first edition of his dictionary and in far off Vienna 31year old music great Franz Schubert would meet an untimely end,

On a happier musical note Ronald “Ron” Demkee, conductor and musical director of the Allentown Band came by the Allentown Rotary Club on August 10th to fill ARC members in on the band past and present.

Demkee, who is in his 41st year in his current post began his career with the Allentown Band as a tuba soloist in 1964 and was elected conductor in 1977.

Ron began by a general overview of the band’s roots.  The oldest conductor’s photo that Ron could find

Rotary Welcomes Allentown Band's Mr. Music, Ron Demkee Frank Whelan 2018-08-14 04:00:00Z 0
This Week's Song - Jamie Kratz James Kratz 2018-08-14 04:00:00Z 0
Posted by Frank Whelan on May 18, 2018
 A lot of people who have achieved success in later life tend to forget how difficult the struggle was.  Roger Mullin did not.  As CEO of Mack Trucks, he had achieved a place in 20th century corporate America that many would envy.  But he wanted to make it easier for others.  And he decided to do it through the Allentown Rotary Club Foundation.
So, in 1988 he created the Roger and Louisa Mullin Scholarship.  “Kids with talent should get what they deserve,” he said.  Since that time ARC has seen to that.  Working with guidance counselors at William Allen, Central Catholic and Dieruff high schools the students are selected on the basis of financial need and community service.
 At its May 18th meeting the club awarded this year’s scholarship to Christina Mitry of Dieruff High School.  Mitry, who came to the the U.S. from Syria with her parents in 2010 will receive $3000 per year for four years, which she plans on spend at Muhlenberg College studying bio-chemistry which she hopes to use toward a degree in medicine.  She is pictured here with some Rotarians from the Allentown Rotary Scholarship Committee.  Below, Judy Lovett Belaires presents the scholarship to Christina.
 She hopes to use that degree to work with children.  She feels in this way she can make a contribution to society.  “Working with children is my passion,” she says.
Although she and her family left their native land before the current unrest struck it many of her family members have been displaced by it.
As she told of a cousin who was in the army but has apparently disappeared, her eyes became tearful.  “Maybe he was captured by ISIS, we just don’t know,” she said with sadness in her voice.  “My major wish is for peace in Syria.”
Another feature of the day is hearing from past recipients of the scholarship. On hand for the event was Derek Reynoso the 2016 scholarship awardee.
An art student from William Allen High School Derek is using his scholarship at the University of West Virginia to study potter making and art. He is now a junior and has sold several of his pieces, has shown his work in Hawaii and is currently getting ready to spend a semester in China.
 Derek’s family are from the Dominican Republic originally. “When I was in middle school and high school I assumed that like the rest of my family when I graduated I would enter the workforce,” he says. “But now I am the first member of my family to go to college,” he says. “It is an incredible feeling.”       
2018 Mullin Scholarship Winner for Allentown Rotary Frank Whelan 2018-05-18 04:00:00Z 0
Music has been an important part of leading an ordinary life for students at the Music School for Children With Disabilities in Honor of Paul Harris in Lublin, Poland. Founded by Rotary members, the school serves 20 students with various disabilities, including Down syndrome, autism, and visual impairments. The Rotary Club of Lublin-Centrum-Maria Curie-Sklodowska has provided funding with help from Rotary Foundation Matching Grants and the Henryk Wieniawski Musical Society, which houses the school.
After their son Mateusz was born with underdeveloped eyes, Mariusz and Joanna Kania looked for ways to help him be active. When he showed an aptitude for music, they looked for a teacher and were thrilled to find the Paul Harris music school.
Helping people with disabilities make their own music 2015-05-01 00:00:00Z 0
For years, Angalia Bianca had slept in abandoned buildings throughout Chicago. She stole. She did drugs. She spent time in and out of jail for forgery, theft, trespassing, and possession of narcotics. But after she landed in prison for the seventh time, something changed -- Bianca knew she wanted a better life. She just didn’t know how to make it happen.
After serving her time, Bianca sought help from a local homeless organization, A Safe Haven, and moved to its shelter in the Rogers Park neighborhood. Bianca followed the program closely -- she attended all the required meetings, passed drug tests, and volunteered at every opportunity.
Finding Safe Haven 2015-05-01 00:00:00Z 0
What is it like taking a large team to Africa?  It has probably been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. In mid February, I began leading Rotary members from all over the East Coast of the United States through Ghana. I’ve tried to give the team a warm Ghanaian welcome like I’ve received on my earlier trips. A large trip is a real blessing because each person sees Ghana and our work in a different way.

A highlight for the team was greeting the chief of Sagadugu. The team got excited about buying goats and food for children in the villages where I support eight churches. It was good to see the pastors of most of the eight churches, and I had to explain that we were just passing through on our way to Bolgatanga.
Saving lives in Ghana 2015-05-01 00:00:00Z 0
Throughout India and around the world, Rotary clubs are celebrating a major milestone: India has gone three years without a new case of polio. The last reported case was a two-year-old girl in West Bengal on 13 January 2011. To mark this historic triumph, Rotary clubs illuminated landmarks and iconic structures throughout the country with four simple but powerful words, "India is polio free."
The three-year achievement sets the stage for polio-free certification of the entire Southeast Asia region by the World Health Organization. The Indian government also plans to convene a polio summit in February to commemorate this victory in the global effort to eradicate polio.
India celebrates three years without polio 2014-02-26 00:00:00Z 0