PALUMBO CATCHING MOSQUE BOOKINGS
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA) - Thursday, August 15, 1991
Author: PETER B. KING
"Probably a majority" of the DiCesare-Engler concerts that would have been staged at the Syria Mosque will go to the A.J. Palumbo Center if the Mosque is torn down. That's the news from DiCesare-Engler 's Ed Traversari. It's bad news for the city's pop music fans.
Even before the Mosque's imminent demolition, DiCesare-Engler is shifting shows that would have played the Mosque to the Palumbo. Perry Como's Christmas concert, held last year at the Mosque, will be performed this year at the Palumbo on Dec. 6.
"At this point, we don't know for sure (about the Mosque)," Traversari says. "But we can't wait around. So that's why we went ahead and booked the show."
Traversari says DiCesare-Engler is looking at ways to improve the Palumbo's acoustics, which many critics and fans (myself included) think are awful. But I'm skeptical DiCesare-Engler will be able to accomplish much, short of doing to the Palumbo what Presbyterian University Hospital is about to do to the Mosque.
For the Como show and others in a 3,500-seat configuration DiCesare-Engler is calling the A.J. Palumbo Theatre, Traversari promises theatrical curtains that will give the place a cozier atmosphere. He also says the bleacher seats will not be used.
These are miniscule blessings. As a critic, I see a lot of concerts, and I've become accustomed to the comfort and acoustics of the Mosque. The prospect of listening to music in a basketball court instead of a real theater is depressing.
I just returned from two blissful weeks of vacation at the National Guitar Summer Workshop in New Milford, Conn.
Held on the grounds of a prep school, the workshop draws a variety of players -- from rock to jazz to classical, from beginner to advanced.
But they all have at least one thing in common -- they're guitar crazy. They play the instrument from early in the morning to late at night. When they
put it down to grab a quick bite, they talk guitar. When they drift off for a few hours sleep, they dream it.
The faculty, largely from the New York City area, are almost all fine musicians and enthusiastic teachers. "Name" players like Frank Gambale, Adrian Belew and Pierre Bensusan teach special seminars and mingle with students in the dining hall. The atmosphere is friendly, but the pace is rigorous. The workshop is serious about teaching a lot in a little bit of time.
New Milford lies in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains -- a pretty resort area not unlike the Laurel Mountains. The dorm rooms at the Canterbury School are small and spartan, and the best thing you can say about the food is that it's, well, plentiful. (Also, they try to accommodate vegetarians.)
But if you want luxury, go to the Breakers or the Homestead. If you want to advance as a guitarist, the workshop is a great place.
Calliope: The Pittsburgh Folk Music Society is offering a variety of courses in traditional folk music beginning Sept. 30. Courses include guitar, tinwhistle, banjo, old-time fiddle, hammer dulcimer, harmonica, concertina, bodhran, singing, Irish flute and many others. There are also courses geared specifically to children.
Running both four weeks and eight weeks, the classes will be taught at The Carnegie Library of Lawrenceville. Registration closes Sept. 21. For a free brochure, write to Folk Music Classes: Fall 1991, Calliope, Suite 200, 279 Fisk St., Pittsburgh, Pa. 15201.
Force Field chosen
Force Field, the band led by Dave Iglar and Shari Richards, made it to the semi-finals of the national Long Beach Blues Festival Talent Search. Based on an audition tape, they were chosen to compete at Buddy Guy's Legends nightclub in Chicago on Aug. 4.
A more traditional Chicago R&B group beat out Force Field to advance to the finals in Long Beach, but Iglar is happy nonetheless.
''We thought our style of blues could have been a little modern and a little rock-oriented if they were looking for something a little traditional. But we felt that we did well, put on a good show, made some connections and kind of broke into the scene a little bit."
Force Field performs this Saturday at Al's Cafe, Bethel Park. In their acoustic incarnation, Dave and Shari perform at Moondog's, Blawnox, on Friday, and at Al's Cafe Sunday.
Shower of Stars Ad 1964
Pat DiCesare in 1972. Before DiCesare-Engler he called his business "University Attractions" and "Pat DiCesare Productions"
Rich Engler in his Stanley Theatre Office
DiCesare and Engler at the Stanley Theatre with Sha Na Na
Stanley Theatre lobby. DiCesare-Engler owned and operated the theatre between 1977-1984
DiCesare-Engler took over management of the Syria Mosque from 1984 -1991
IC Light Amphitheatre was home to DiCesare-Engler summer concerts from 1989 - 2006