Irving Berlin music to grace Dietrich Theater stage

June 13th, 2015 9:45 am

The Music of Irving Berlin, the second event in the Dietrich Theater’s 2015 musical series, is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday, June 28. This event comes just in time for Fourth of July celebrations, featuring the quintessential composer of music in the American Songbook.

Who doesn’t know “God Bless America,” “White Christmas,” “Alexander’s Ragtime Band?” And these are just three of the 1,500 songs Irving Berlin composed. This free musical celebration is brought to the Dietrich stage by Phillip Atteberry and sponsored by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council. A free reception will follow the presentation, a chance to meet Atteberry and savor the afternoon of music.

This is a chance to learn more about “the greatest American composer who ever lived,” according the George Gershwin.

Atteberry teaches English and popular music history at the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville. For the last 15 summers, he taught seminars in jazz and American popular music at the Chautauqua Institute. In addition to the numerous publications, Atteberry hosts a weekly radio program, “Sunday Night Jazz,” on WQLN-FM, Erie’s public broadcasting station.

So come and bring your family and friends and hear the story of composer who was born in Russia, but wrote the American music that has become the fabric of our lives. Irving Berlin’s career spanned six decades, enabling him to write 1,500 songs, scores for 19 Broadway shows and 18 Hollywood films. Musical excerpts from Berlin’s songs will remind us all that, as violinist Isaac Stern said, “American music was born at his piano.”

Founders Day, Saturday, June 27 will last into the evening by coming to Riverside Park for Shakespeare in the Park at 7 p.m., for “Hamlet,” performed by Gamut Theatre Group, of Harrisburg.

The new pavilion at Riverside Park is the perfect outdoor stage for this acclaimed ensemble and its 90-minute version of Hamlet, using Shakespeare’s text and added narration. Blankets or lawn chairs are required for comfortable viewing. An always popular talk-back with the actors will follow the performance.

Sponsored by the Overlook Estate Foundation, Shakespeare in the Park is free.

Breaking news: Now Jewelry for Kids at 3 p.m. Tuesday, June 30 is free for ages 7-12. This class will be taught by Sarah Sidorek and is sponsored by Toni Hockman. Thank you, Toni, for your generosity.

Summer Camp sign-ups are in full swing. League of Heroes Theatre and Visual Arts Camp coordinates beautifully with the Pennsylvania Libraries summer reading theme Every Hero Has a Story. Hidden Treasures Theatre and Visual Arts Camp is another opportunity for 5-12 year olds to use their imaginations on the stage or expressing themselves artistically. See the full list of camps at

Enhance your summer by coming to one of the many summer offerings at the Dietrich Theater. You will be so glad you did.