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Stanley Clarke at the Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe, PAStanley Clarke, the all-universe bassist who took the instrument from the back to the front of the stage, and set the standard to which all jazz bassists aspire, brings his trailblazing trio to town on Friday, June 27. If you want to hear one of the greatest musicians of our time in the ultimate listening environment, come to the Opera House and enjoy this exclusive show.

The article that follows is taken from Amazon.com.

Stanley Clarke at the Mauch Chunk Opera House, Friday, June 27, 2014Clarke was barely out of his teens when he exploded into the jazz world in 1971. Fresh out of the Philadelphia Academy of Music, he arrived in New York City and immediately landed jobs with famous bandleaders such as Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson, Pharaoh Saunders, Gil Evans, Stan Getz and a budding young pianist-composer named Chick Corea.

Stanley Clarke at the Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe, PAAll of these musicians immediately recognized Clarke’s ferocious dexterity and complete musicality on the acoustic bass. Not only was he an expert at crafting bass lines and functioning as a timekeeper – in keeping with his instrument’s traditional role – but the young prodigy also possessed a sense of lyricism and melody distilled from his bass heroes Charles Mingus, Scott LaFaro and others, as well as non-bass players like John Coltrane. Clarke envisioned the bass as a viable, melodic solo instrument positioned at the front of the stage rather than in a background role, and he was uniquely qualified to take it there.

The vision became a reality when Clarke and Corea formed the seminal electric jazz/fusion band Return To Forever. RTF was a showcase for each of the quartet’s strong musical personalities, composing prowess and instrumental voices.

“We really didn’t realize how much of an impact we were having on people at the time,” Clarke recalls. “We were touring so much then, we would just make a record and then go back on the road.” The band recorded eight albums, two of which were certified gold (Return To Forever and the classic Romantic Warrior). They also won a GRAMMY (No Mystery) and received numerous nominations while touring incessantly.

Stanley Clarke at the Mauch Chunk Opera House, Friday, June 27, 2014Then Clarke fired the “shot heard round the world,” the one that started the ‘70s bass revolution and paved the way for all bassists/soloists/bandleaders to follow. In 1974, he released his eponymous Stanley Clarke album, which featured the hit single, “Lopsy Lu.” Two years later, he released School Days, an album whose title track is now a bona fide bass anthem.

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On the face of it, this seems quite simple: the aggrieved sons of Jim Thorpe would like his father’s remains repatriated to Oklahoma from a little town in Pennsylvania that he likely never visited.

Surely, this is simply a family issue, and there must be some heinous exploitative intent here. This part of the story is the only part that news articles (and even stories from outlets like NPR) have covered. Even Keith Olbermann (who I otherwise personally admire) joins the chorus of the outraged.

Jim ThorpeI don’t want to join the usual throng of media bashers, but they never report that there is another half of Jim Thorpe’s family that inconveniently doesn’t want him moved. It never reports that while Jim Thorpe’s three daughters were alive, they became big boosters of the town and visited it often.

It wasn’t until the daughters died, that the issue of where he should be buried reared its head again. It is as if the part of the family that remained is waving and shouting from behind soundproof glass, while the press conveniently looks the other way.

The notion that his body was being “shopped” around and ultimately came here is hard to believe. If he was simply going to the highest bidder, then why would this town have won the supposed sweepstakes? It was virtually penniless in the 1950’s (and 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s …). If it was that crass, then why wouldn’t he have been buried in the center of town, where everyone would see his mausoleum, and burgers and drinks could be named after him?

Instead, his memorial is on the east side of town, all the way up the hill on the way out of town, in a place where he is actually honored, where ceremonies take place on his birthday.

You’ll never find a burger or drink with his name attached to it. This is exploitation? The way the story is typically told, it is loaded with irony, but there are many questions like these that never see the light of day.

Here is a note to me from John Thorpe, a grandson currently residing in Lake Tahoe, California:

..you (the town of Jim Thorpe, PA) are doing the right thing!… My friend’s name is Spirit Wolf of the Standing Buffalo Nation, Lakota Sioux. He holds the same position now as Crazy Horse did in his time with the tribe. He believes my Grandfather is at rest…

A more detailed look at how another family member feels is contained in this letter written to Carbon County Magazine by Mike Koehler, a grandson who was appointed by Grace Thorpe, Jim Thorpe’s daughter, to be the spokesman for the family after she passed away.

He explains his relationship to Jim Thorpe and the side of the family he comes from. He goes on to say that the legal arguments themselves don’t conform to the wishes of at least half the family and appear to stand on shaky legal ground at best. Jim THorpe

John Thorpe explained to me that he would be attending The Sundance Native American Gathering in Texas towards the end of July and that various tribal elders would be weighing in on the matter with the goal of reaching a conclusion. In effect, he says, the issue has long since transcended the status of family matter to one that affects all Native Americans.

Quite simply, Koehler has said that if Jack Thorpe had actually visited the town (as his sisters did, many times) and met the people involved with keeping Thorpe’s memory alive, there would never have been a dispute in the first place.

I’ve made these seemingly relevant aspects of the story very much available to the press that has contacted me, but somehow it doesn’t seem to find its way into the actual reporting. In fact, one major newspaper lamely indicated to me that it was left out because of “space limitations.”

But it just isn’t as attention-getting or heart-rending a story when you tell all of it. Then there would be none of that smirky irony.

Personally, in my opinion, one of the very few journalistically fair articles I’ve read is here, by the Associated Press.

I do understand that article real estate in major papers is expensive, but it’s hard to square that with the press’ supposed responsibility to give the public at least an arm wave attempt to tell the whole story. What I’m describing here aren’t just wrinkles or a nuances, I think it’s fair to call them glaring omissions, journalistically at least.

At least that’s what half of the Jim Thorpe family would say, if that matters to anyone.

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Mark your calendars on Sunday, September 29th, at 2:00 PM for a movie premier at the Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. The film, Jim Thorpe: The Old Mauch Chunk History Tour, a new documentary will be shown, appropriately, in the town’s Victorian theater, followed by a reception.

Jim Thorpe History - Old Mauch ChunkThe film takes you on a walk among Victorian homes and into private historic gems such as the Asa Packer Mansion, the Molly Maguire courtroom, the Inn of Jim Thorpe, the Mauch Chunk Opera House, the Mauch Chunk Museum, and St. Mark’s Church. No other filmmaker has attempted to cover Jim Thorpe’s Historic District.

Jim Thorpe History - Old Mauch ChunkAt the premier the 90 minute DVD will be available for sale. Jim Thorpe: The Old Mauch Chunk History Tour is already on sale at the Mauch Chunk 5 & 10, Sound Check Records, and the Mauch Chunk Museum. Price $15. For the website, see JimThorpeHistoryTour.com.

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Country Cruise

The opportunity for adventure is upon us! With bluebird days and mild spring time temperatures, the time is right to explore uncharted territories or that new section of pavement to the unknown.

In this article I am trying something new for the readers and the folks who just are looking for a nice road bike ride while spending time in the Jim Thorpe area. Most cyclists nowadays use a GPS unit to keep track of their ride data, and or download rides to their GPS unit when traveling into a new area where the roads are unknown.

Jim Thorpe PA bike rideBelow is a link to a very nice, 25 mile road bike ride that starts and ends in Jim Thorpe.

The ride takes cyclists on a warm-up towards the Mauch Chunk Lake to a short punchy climb into the Mahoning Valley. Riders will then hit some rolling terrain through the Valley towards the grueling climb up the South side of Flagstaff Mountain.

After summiting, riders will descend back into Jim Thorpe.

Enjoy the ride and remember to keep your path bright!

Ride link:  http://connect.garmin.com/activity/292662692

Submitted by Treadhead 5/8

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St. Patrick’s Day in Jim Thorpe isn’t just about the parade (held the weekend before). Far from it!

On Sunday, March 17 at 5 PM, the Manhattan Lyric Opera presents a St. Patrick’s Day program of familiar Irish songs and Broadway classics at the Mauch Chunk Opera House.

Anne Tormela

When the Opera House was built in 1881, performers couldn’t lean on microphones to project their voices – they had to do it themselves. So the typical singer of the day was trained operatically, in the skills used to project so that everyone in a venue could hear.

In that spirit, while this performance is certainly about an amazingly talented operatic singer, Anne Tormela, and also baritone Nat Chandler and pianist Renee Guererro, it is also about beautiful music being performed as it was meant to be.

For a fascinating interview with Anne Tormela, founder and artistic director of MLO, click here.

To learn more about the show, and to buy tickets, click here, or call 570-325-0249.

Tickets only $20 for adults, $15 seniors, and $10 children under 12. Doors 4 PM, show at 5 PM.

There will be a complementary shuttle from the downtown train station to the venue, before and after the show. If you’d like to reserve in advance, call (484) 226-0007.

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February 15 click here to read a Morning Call story on the Allentown Band

A prominent feature of nineteenth-century musical Americana is the concert band, and the renowned Allentown Band has kept that tradition alive for over two hundred years. Drawn from within a fifty-mile radius of the Lehigh Valley, the band’s musicians share one common goal: to create and preserve concert band music at a level of excellence rarely heard from a community band.

You will be able to hear that sound on Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 5 PM at the Mauch Chunk Opera House in a performance organized by the Jim Thorpe Chamber of Commerce. Theaters such as the Opera House were built for community bands, and John Philip Sousa and his band were regular performers here.

Get program as Word document

Allentown Band - Mauch Chunk Opera House

DONNA FISHER / THE MORNING CALL / November 10, 2011

Many of the Allentown Band’s members teach music in schools and in private studios. Others are engaged in engineering, accounting, sales, insurance, medicine and dentistry, or in various office work or building trades. When they meet to perform, however, all effort is concentrated toward creating the most enjoyable sounds these exceptional musicians can produce—whether it be an overture transcribed from opera, a modern composition written especially for concert band, or a Sousa march.

John Philip Sousa’s influence on the band and its distinguished history is profound. More than twenty local musicians were recruited to perform with Sousa, and then returned to Allentown remembering and sharing stylistic traits unique to the famous Sousa band.

Allentown Band - Mauch Chunk Opera House

DONNA FISHER / THE MORNING CALL / November 10, 2011

Significantly, Albertus L. Meyers, cornet soloist with Sousa in the mid-1920s, later served as conductor of the Allentown Band for fifty years. Today, under the direction of Ronald Demkee, the Sousa style continues as an integral part of the band’s twenty-first-century sound.

Their schedule typically includes around forty annual performances. The venue fluctuates—from concert stage to baseball park, from church picnic to university commencement, from Allentown’s Symphony Hall to New York’s Carnegie Hall. In addition to providing free concerts for the greater Lehigh Valley’s younger school children, the schedule includes a yearly event where talented secondary-school student musicians are invited to sit in for joint performances.

Frequently seen on local television, the Allentown Band is recognized worldwide, having twice appeared on national TV—Charles Kuralt’s Good Morning America, and the PBS series The American Experience in a feature called “If You Knew Sousa.” They are regularly heard on Philadelphia’s WRTI, and as far away as Sydney, Australia, for a program called “Music That Is Band.” In addition, the band has undertaken four European concert tours, performing in four Swiss cities, two in Austria, and, most recently, La Croix Valmer, France.

Many leading figures of the music world have appeared as guest conductors with the Allentown Band, most notably early greats of the concert band tradition—Herbert L. Clarke, Edwin Franko Goldman, and Arthur Pryor. More recently, such world-renowned musicians as Frederick Fennell, Donald Hunsberger, and W. Francis McBeth, as well as many of the past and present conductors of the United States military bands of Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Allentown Band - Mauch Chunk Opera House

DONNA FISHER / THE MORNING CALL / November 10, 2011

The honors and awards they have accumulated over the years, from various state and national music and music educators’ associations to the John Philip Sousa Foundation, are too numerous for complete listing here. Words from the 1991 Allentown “Arts Ovation Award”—“significant contributions to the cultural life of the community”—summarize the Allentown Band’s commitment to the community at large.

Tickets are available online at MauchChunkOperaHouse.com, and at SoundCheck Records in downtown Jim Thorpe, either by visiting or calling them at 570-325-4009. You may also call the Opera House box office at 570-325-0249.

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On the face of it, this seems quite simple: the aggrieved son of Jim Thorpe would like his father’s remains repatriated to Oklahoma from a little town in Pennsylvania that his father likely never visited. This part of the story is the only part that news articles (and even stories from outlets like NPR) have covered, in part because there is the easy irony that media outlets love..

Jim ThorpeNot to be a media basher, but it is almost never reported that it turns out there is another part of Jim Thorpe’s family that inconveniently doesn’t want him moved. It is as if they are waving and shouting from behind soundproof glass while the press looks the other way.

The notion that his body was being “shopped” around and ultimately came here is hard to believe. If he was simply going to the highest bidder, then how would this town have won the supposed sweepstakes? After all, the town of Mauch Chunk, PA was virtually penniless in the 1950’s (and 60’s, 70’s, 80’s,90’s …).

If it was all really that crass, then why wouldn’t he have been buried in the center of town, so that he could be exploited properly, and burgers and drinks could be named after him? After all, it was a decrepit town then, and people were desperately searching for ways to lift themselves up.

But instead, his memorial is on the east side of town, all the way up the hill on the way out of town, in a place where he is actually honored, where ceremonies take place on his birthday. The way the story is typically told, it is loaded with irony, but the real questions never see the light of day.

The other inconvenient fact, is that while Jim Thorpe’s daughters were alive, they were big supporters of their father being memorialized here. In fact, Grace and Charlotte Thorpe used to visit once a year when we would celebrate Jim Thorpe’s birthday.

We never heard from the brothers. Then the daughters died – the last, Grace, passed away in 2012.

Here is a note to me from John Thorpe, a grandson currently residing in Lake Tahoe, California:

..you (the town of Jim Thorpe, PA) are doing the right thing!… My friend’s name is Spirit Wolf of the Standing Buffalo Nation, Lakota Sioux. He holds the same position now as Crazy Horse did in his time with the tribe. He believes my Grandfather is at rest…

A more detailed look at how another family member feels is contained in this letter written to Carbon County Magazine by Mike Koehler, a grandson who was appointed by Grace Thorpe, Jim Thorpe’s daughter, to be the spokesman for the family after she passed away last year.

He explains his relationship to Jim Thorpe and the side of the family he comes from. He goes on to say that the legal arguments themselves don’t conform to the wishes of at least half the family and appear to stand on shaky legal ground at best. Jim THorpe

John Thorpe explained to me that he would be attending The Sundance Native American Gathering in Texas towards the end of July and that various tribal elders would be weighing in on the matter with the goal of reaching a conclusion. In effect, he says, the issue has long since transcended the status of family matter to one that affects all Native Americans.

Quite simply, Mike Koehler has said that if Jack Thorpe had actually visited the town (as his sisters did) and met the people involved with keeping Thorpe’s memory alive, there would never have been a dispute in the first place.

I’ve made these seemingly relevant aspects of the story very much available to the press that has contacted me, but somehow it never seems to find its way into the narrative. In fact, one major newspaper lamely indicated to me that it was left out because of “space limitations.”

But it just isn’t as attention-getting or heart-rending a story when you tell all of it. None of that smirky irony.

I do understand that article real estate in major papers is expensive, but it’s hard to square that with the press’ supposed responsibility to at least give us an arm-wave attempt to tell the whole story. What I’m describing here isn’t just a wrinkle or a nuance, I think it’s fair to call it a glaring omission.

Personally, one of the few journalistically fair articles I’ve read is here, by the Associated Press.

At least that’s what at least half of the Jim Thorpe family would say, if that matters to anyone.

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