East Penn Press

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CONTRIBUTED PHOTOAdam Rippon, 2016 Gold Medal National Skating Champion, stars with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra in “Symphony on Ice Holiday Spectacular,” 7 p.m. Dec. 1, PPL Center, Allentown. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOAdam Rippon, 2016 Gold Medal National Skating Champion, stars with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra in “Symphony on Ice Holiday Spectacular,” 7 p.m. Dec. 1, PPL Center, Allentown.

Classical Ice: Allentown Symphony proves a good skate for debut concert, PPL Center ‘Holiday Spectacular’

Friday, November 25, 2016 by DIANE WITTRY Special to The Press in Focus

Great images come to mind when you think of a “Symphony Orchestra on Ice.”

I can see the tuba player skating along next to the piccolo player, and maybe the cellists sitting on chairs being pushed by the percussion section, but it got a little tricky when I tried to figure out how they would hold their music, skate and play their instruments all at the same time.

So, when we say it is a “Symphony on Ice” I have to admit that although the members of the Allentown Symphony will be performing great holiday music while sitting on a platform on top of the ice at PPL Center in downtown Allentown, we won’t actually be the people on the skates.

The first “Symphony on Ice Holiday Spectacular” is at 7 p.m. Dec. 1, PPL Center, Seventh and Hamilton streets, Allentown. With a cast of almost 400 people, including skaters, singers and symphony musicians, this is sure to be a night to remember.

“Jim and I wanted to create an event that would showcase the arts by bringing together the Allentown Symphony Orchestra, local choirs and figure-skating groups for an exciting performance of what we hope will grow to be an annual tradition,” says Rob Brooks, co-owner, BDH Development LLC.

“We believe this is a great way to support the strong arts community we have here in the Lehigh Valley and we hope that this event can expand the reach and viewership of one of the Valley’s great assets: The Allentown Symphony,” adds Jim Brooks, co-owner, BDH Development.

Joining us for this fun-filled evening of holiday cheer will be Adam Rippon, the 2016 Gold Medal National Skating Champion, and about 100 members of the Penguins Figure Skating Club.

Rippon, 26, is famous for his effortless triple axels and his signature quad lutz. The Scranton native was propelled into stardom when in 2008 he won the U.S. Junior Skating title and also Gold medals in the Junior Worlds competition. He continues to excel and just a few weeks ago won the bronze medal in his international season debut in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he set a new International Skating Union personal best score and was credited with landing his first quad toe loop in competition.

The Penguins Skate Club has been part of the Lehigh Valley for more than 75 years. The Penguins Skate Club, formed originally at the Allentown Ice Place in 1941, the club moved to the Steel Ice Center, 320 E. First St., Bethlehem, in 2004. The Penguins is the second oldest figure skating club in the Pennsylvania.

Members of the Penguin Figure Skating club range in age from 5 to 75, and the club offers programs for skaters in all disciplines. Many of the club’s skaters have gone on to great success, receiving gold medals at regional and national competitions.

Also performing with the Allentown Symphony for “Symphony on Ice” is the William Allen High School Chorale, Easton Area High School Concert Choir and Parkland High School Women’s Select Choir. They will help us “sing in the holidays,” performing popular melodies like “Deck the Halls” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

Highlights of the concert include selections from the Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Ballet, Rimsky- Korsakov’s “Dance of the Tumblers,” Vaughan William’s “Greensleeves,” Victor Herbert’s “March of the Toys,” along with other more contemporary pieces like “The Christmas Song,” “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Sleigh Ride” and the Mannheim Steam-Roller version of “Silent Night (Stille Nacht).”

Tickets: PPL Center box office, 701 Hamilton St, Allentown; PPLCenter.com; 610-347-TIXX

Diane Wittry is Music Director and Conductor of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director (USA), International Cultural Exchange Program for Classical Musicians, Sarajevo Philharmonic, Bosnia, and author, “Beyond the Baton” and “Baton Basics” (both, Oxford University Press).