CLARKS SUMMIT — It is no easier to imagine the annual Clarks Summit Festival of Ice without music than it is to imagine Broadway without the same. So when this year’s festival theme of “Ice, lights, Broadway” was finalized, event music coordinator Barbara Cohen knew she needed to plan something extra special. And to her, utilizing local talent was a given.
“There’s a lot of very talented professional musicians who live and perform right here in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” she said.
The musical highlight of this year’s festival, titled “Broadway Cabaret,” will feature several of these area artists. Set for 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19 at the First Presbyterian Church of Clarks Summit (FPCC), it will include a jazz orchestra and vocal ensemble. The orchestra is comprised of Rev. Bill Carter, piano; Bill Washer, guitar; Joe Cole, bass; Marko Marcinko, drums, and Julian Sparacino, horns. Vocalists are Erin Malloy-Marcinko, Chris DiMattio and Cohen.
According to Cohen, the cabaret will showcase “everything from Gershwin to ‘Rent,’ the last century to present day.”
She described the FPCCS as “the perfect venue” for the performance, as it is not only home to Carter’s PresbyBop jazz group, but also a “hub” for an array of other musical performances throughout the year.
A number of other venues throughout the Abingtons will also host a variety of live musical acts throughout the weekend, a tradition that has been a part of the festival since its inception.
“Music’s ambiance has the ability to transform any event or space and dial it up a notch,” Cohen said when asked about the importance of this aspect of the festival.
Frank Spager, lead vocalist and guitarist for the band Lights Out, which will perform from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18 at La Tonalteca, 821 Northern Blvd., South Abington Township, said he agrees.
“It (music) just adds to the whole event,” he said. “It keeps a lot of the spectators around and adds a nice flair to it.”
Spager said his band plays mostly classic rock tunes, covering “anything from B.B. King to Bob Seger” with a “fun” stage presence.
“We add a flare of blues in there – that’s our thing – blues and jazz,” he added. “That’s what makes it unique.”
The band also consists of Frank’s cousin Ben Spager on bass guitar, John Andrews on drums and Sparacino on saxophone.
For a full list of musical performances, see the festival schedule of events.