Berks concerts will mark Juneteenth; ensemble of local theatrical productions [Spotlight] – Reading eagle

Berks concerts will mark Juneteenth;  ensemble of local theatrical productions [Spotlight] – Reading eagle

The following concerts are scheduled to mark June 16, the national holiday commemorating the day the message of the Emancipation Proclamation was verbally delivered in Texas and the last slaves were freed:

• Guest conductor Andrew Cusano will lead the Reading Pops Orchestra in a free Father’s Day/Juneteenth concert next Sunday at 3 pm at the Green Valley Chateau Tent. Cusano is the son of former Pops bandleader Paul Cusano and Ann Cusano, who plays in the bassoon section. He has also performed with the RPO in the percussion section over the years. He is the group manager at Gov. Mifflin High School and was one of the founders of Berks Sinfonietta, where he shared conducting duties and performed as a member of the ensemble. The concert will feature singer John Coakley, music minister for West Lawn United Methodist Church, and vocal ensemble FreshWind, a group of women who, as members of the former Doxa Gospel Ensemble, shared their musical talents with audiences in their home town of Reading. as well as in Memphis, Nashville, New York, Orlando and Philadelphia.

• The Skip Moyer Quintet will perform a Juneteenth Jazz Concert on June 20 from 7-9pm at the Reformation Lutheran Church, Exeter Township. Joining Moyer will be Greg Wison, sax; Michael Burton, trumpet; Lars Potteiger, piano; and Leon Jordan, drums. Reverend Frank McCracken will give a lecture on the Juneteenth vacation.

• The Ringgold Band will present a Juneteenth concert on Monday, June 20 at 6:00 pm at the bandstand in Kutztown Park. The uplifting program will include music by Louis Armstrong, James Reese Europe and Duke Ellington is planned. The band will also pay homage to emancipation and the American Civil War.

All three concerts are sponsored by the Musicians Performance Trust Fund through Reading Local 135-211 of the American Federation of Musicians.


The Summer Concert Series at Gring’s Mill Recreation Area, Spring Township kicks off today with a concert featuring Emme Ryan, Butch Imhoff and Crow Hill from 1-7 p.m. Mad J’s Food Truck will be on site. Additional concerts are scheduled for July 10, featuring Miss Maggie Sings, Maggie Spike and Tom Montgomery; August 14 with Phyllis Chappell, The Beltones and Rick K & The Allnighters; and on August 26, with Fooling Ourselves: A Tribute to Styx.


The Genesius Theater is reenacting its 2014 production of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The 39 Steps” with the same cast June 17-18 and 24-26 in its performance hall at 153 N. 10th St.

Loaded with references to famous Hitchcock movies, as well as hilarious slapstick and a gripping spy plot, “The 39 Steps” is a delight for movie buffs and theater buffs alike. The production stars Brandon Reimer and Jonathan Erkert as the Clowns, comedic films that together play more than 150 characters. At the center of the play are James Haggerty as the charming investigator and Julia Elberfeld as the beautiful, yet mysterious, leading lady.

The two-time Tony and Drama Desk award-winning play is directed by Genesius Artistic Director LJ Fecho and features sets by Randall Hauk and Rod Snyder, costumes by Cathy Miller, lighting by Spencer Moss Fecho and Zack Spadaccia, a sound by Albert Garcia, and is directed by Sara Huard and Collin Bollinger.

Shows are at 7:30 p.m., except June 26 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults and $13 for children 13 and under at

Genesius also announced that it will be hosting another Spotlight Summer Theater Camp from July 5-29 at the Reading Liederkranz grounds. The camp will conclude with a youth production of “Schoolhouse Rock Live”, which will take place on the last two days of camp.

This is the 11th season of Genesius summer camp and the third year of partnering with Reading Liederkranz to offer the camp to ages 6-15.

Camp runs Monday through Friday and campers can attend for one, two, three or four weeks.

Prices, additional information, applications and payment options can all be found at


The 1st Street Players present “The Little Prince,” a musical based on Antoine de-Saint Exupéry’s French short story about reconnecting with your inner child, Thursday through June 26 at its performance venue at 301 E. First St. ., Birdsboro.

The production, which tackles the themes of friendship, innocence and the urge to create, stars Mike Pardo as The Businessman, Chris Pastor as The King and Elizabeth Fry as that of the rose.

Show times are 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The June 23 performance will be sensory. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for students. For reservations, visit


Berks Opera will present “These Valleys and Mountains: Berks Legends,” a new opera composed by Chris Heslop, with libretto by Vicki Haller Graff and direction by Joel Richard Gori, on Fridays at 7:30 p.m. at the Miller Center for the Arts in College reading area community.

The production centers on the legacy of two Berks County legends: Mountain Mary left a legacy of loving spirituality and deep healing. Matthias Schaumbacher left the opposite: a legend of greed and violence. How did the seeds sown in the stories of these two people, who lived such different lives, grow in this place we call home?

With Maria Damore, soprano, as Mountain Mary, and Connor McLaughlin, baritone, as Schaumbacher. Also featured are Thomas Killourhy, Emily Byrne, Mary Fetterman, Jennifer Laubach, Orin Strunk, Matt Mangus and Christopher Jon Hartung.

“I’ve always enjoyed staging the work of Heslop and Haller Graff,” Gori said. “This opera is no exception. The libretto and the music offer beautiful moments. The opera also has reflective and dramatic scenes with always surprising orchestration.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for students at A livestream is also offered at $25 per family.


York-based Concrete Mist Press has released a new “Director’s Cut” version of Spring Township author John Yamrus’ “Selected Poems” anthology, which was published last June and contains nearly 200 excerpted poems. of Yamrus’ 28 collections of poetry from 1970. .

“Selected Poems: The Director’s Cut” is an improved, enlarged and expanded edition, with 172 added pages (542 in total), 82 additional poems as well as illustrations by internationally renowned artist Janne Karlsson. It was edited by Eileen Murphy.

The new book costs $34.99 and is available, along with other Yamrus works, at amazon.comwhere last month it topped the list of new releases in the Epic Poetry category.


A new children’s book by author/illustrator Craig Schaffer (“Sketchbook A to Z: A Beginner’s Guide to Pennsylvania Wildlife,” 2021) is now available in print and online from Masthof Press in Morgantown. “See! A Picture Book (with Activities)” is a children’s pocket book with colorful illustrations designed for pre-kindergarten and early readers to seek and find fun objects and alphabet activities to reinforce recognition letters and language skills.

The book was illustrated and designed by Schaffer, an instructional designer, as a joint activity for parents, grandparents and teachers to discuss and teach alongside children. The book is available at select bookstores and on for $10. Booksellers can request a free copy from Masthof Press.

Marjorie N. McClure