East Penn Press

Monday, October 22, 2018

Anne Hills reflects on music moments

Friday, August 10, 2018 by STEPHEN ALTHOUSE Special to The Press in Focus

Folk music can be as warm and inviting as a winter fire or as potent and exhilarating as an August thunderstorm. Anne Hills, an accomplished Lehigh Valley-based folk singer and songwriter, is a master of both settings.

“Music touches us in a place that ordinarily we do not experience,” Hills says prior to her Aug. 14 performance of “America’s Folk Songs ... Reflections of a Nation” at Waldheim Park, Salisbury Township.

Hills has the ability to offer a new take on old folk ballads, and also capture the driving rhythm and up-tempo beat of dancing tracks. She has performed not only across the Lehigh Valley, but has taken her talents on a journey through music festivals across the United States and Europe. Her voice has been described with soaring adjectives such as “exquisite” and “glorious.”

Hills, who was born in India and raised in Michigan, began her love affair with folk music thanks to encouragement from her grandmother and an appreciation for folk legends Harry Belafonte and Joan Baez, along with soaking in the insights of several American poets.

After attending the Interlochen Arts Academy and forming her first folk trio, Hills moved to the burgeoning Chicago folk scene in 1976. Many substantial folk recordings followed that brought awards and accolades within the folk community over the next several decades. Hills is an accomplish songwriter, penning many folk classics over her four decade-plus career.

During her performances, Hills puts her “heart and soul” into her music.

“When I’m performing, we’re in this moment together,” Hills says of her connection to concert-goers. “...As an artist, we have an idea, but once it’s out there in the world it can take on another meaning.”

Hills says the Waldheim Park concert will feature her own set list and few numbers with The Allentown Band, the oldest civilian concert band in the United States.

The evening “should have a little bit of history” for those in attendance,” Hills says. She adds the park’s setting will provide a cozy and charming backdrop for a late summer’s evening of music and fun.

The concert is free and open to the public. A free-will offering will be taken.