It was "Sundaes on Friday" at the Summit Hill Heritage Center as the Hazleton Philharmonic Big Band played to a packed room old favorites and standards from the World War II era on a warm recent Friday evening. More than 80 people enjoyed two and a half hours of music and complimentary ice cream sundaes at the inaugural musical event at the Center.
"We were pleasantly surprised and deeply appreciative of the support from the community for this concert," said Heritage Board President Debra Ranck. "It was standing room only and while we expected a great crowd, we were elated to see the support from the area."
The 22 piece big band led by Robert Lagana entertained the audience with old favorites and familiar American songs during two one-hour sets and even though the warm evening could be felt in the room, it was melted away by the lively numbers. Several folks danced the night away while others sat and listened to the songs they grew up hearing.
After the concert ended, the Heritage Center served complimentary ice cream to the audience and band who were able to complete their sundaes with the usual variety of toppings. Folks enjoyed the ice cream and visiting with the band and each other before heading off into the warm evening.
"We have already had requests to have the band return," said Ranck who mentioned they already approached Lagana about returning in early 2011. "We were fortunate they had an opening in their busy schedule, but we will bring them back as soon as we can."
In the meantime thought, folks will be able to bide their time with a variety of music and other entertainment events currently being booked at the Center. "Watch for our schedule in the near future," Ranck said. "We are trying to offer something for everyone and are open to suggestions. If you want to see something in particular, tell our directors and we will do our best to book them. The Center's goal is to provide events for everyone and by doing so, we will continue to provide a home for the Food Pantry."
Some of the upcoming events include "Faculty Brass", a dixieland brass group on August 13th, a family comedy magic show "Explore the World and Read" by accomplished magician Joe Keppel on August 14th, a fall lecture series and our grand opening in early October as well as an old time Christmas Quitl and Craft Show the weekend of November 20th and 21st.
"We are also looking into a polka band and other big band groups that people are requesting," Ranck added. "Our membership drive will begin shortly and individual members will have opportunities to get their tickets for these and future events before the general public as well as many other benefits and the best part is their donation is tax deductible."
The Summit Hill Heritage Center is a 501c3 nonprofit service organization whose mission is to enrich the lives and communities of the Panther Valley and surrounding areas through entertainment, educational and social events, with its funds going to maintain and administer the building to support organizations like the food pantry, Boy Scouts and Quilting Guild. All donations and memberships are tax deductible contributions.