Music of the City

Music of the City

With the music of drills, hammers, saws and other construction instruments silenced , I’m more aware of the many other forms of music that surround us.

At 11:45am and 5:45pm daily, the carillon at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, half a block away, plays a few short pieces of music, followed by the tolling of the Angelus bell at noon and 6pm. The ringing of the Angelus bell is a call to prayer. Throughout history, the Angelus bell has been known as the “peace bell” and to ring the Angelus bell is pro pace schlagen (to toll for peace). The bells of Sacred Heart have tolled for peace here in the city since 1952.

It’s said that Lancaster has “a church on every corner.” While that may be a slight exaggeration, there certainly are a lot of churches in the city, and some of them also have bells and carillons that float music through the air.

Thanks to Music for Everyone, a local non-profit organization dedicated to “raising awareness and resources to strengthen the role that music plays in our schools and communities”, Lancaster city also has ten pianos placed throughout downtown, accessible to anyone who wants to sit down and play. These brightly painted old pianos, just sitting along busy city streets, work a kind of magic on people. I’ve seen a group of black-clad teens drop their skateboards for an impromptu jam session. I’ve seen a dad and his young daughter laughing hysterically as they played round after round of “Chopsticks”, picking up the tempo with each one. I’ve seen an elderly woman brush her fingertips across the keys, then play the first tentative notes of a classical piece she probably committed to memory decades ago. I’ve seen an older black man hold a huge crowd spellbound as he pounded out some rocking blues piano. I’ve seen a suit and tie-clad man walk hurry past one of the pianos, then return, dropping his briefcase, to play a quick ragtime number before hurrying on to wherever he was headed.

In addition to these daily, impromptu bits of music in the city, there are regular music events, as well as events that include music, around the city. Here are just a few that are happening this weekend alone. It’s an embarrassment of riches . . .


Bright Side Summer Fest
When: Fri July 15, 6pm – 11pm (rain or shine)
Where: Brightside Opportunity Center, 515 Hershey Ave, Lancaster, PA
What: Bright Side hosts this annual celebration of summer and invites the community to come and enjoy it. Friday night’s activities will include performances by the Temple Guard Drill Team (6:15pm), juggler Chris Ivey (7pm), Zumba (8:15pm), and a showing of the movie The Karate Kid (2010) at 8:45pm under the big tent. All of this plus great food and ice cream. Admission is free.

Theater of the Seventh Sister & Rock Ford Plantation: Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night
When: Friday July 15, 7pm
Where: Rock Ford Plantation – on the lawn (rain or shine); 881 Rock Ford Rd, Lancaster
What: An outdoor performance of “Shakespeare’s funniest and most human comedy”: Twelfth Night. Reserved seats are $15, or bring blankets and lawn chairs and pay what you wish (non-reserved seating is first come, first served). For reservations, call Rock Ford at 717-392-7223.
(Note: additional show dates are at 7pm on Sun July 17, plus July 21, 22 and 24)

3rd Fridays are Music Fridays in Lancaster. Just about anywhere you walk downtown, you can enjoy performances from both seasoned and up-and-coming musicians – on the sidewalks, in restaurants, in Penn Square, Lancaster Square, everywhere! Here are just a few of highlights for tonight’s Music Friday:

Music Friday – main event by the Mayor’s Office Of Special Events (MOOSE)
When: July 15, 5:30-8:30pm
Where: Lancaster Square – 100 block of N Queen St, in front of the Brunswick Hotel
What: Latin Night – Afro-Cuban music with Melena from 5:30-6:40 and 7:30-8:45; Salsa Dance lessons with Greg Fitzpatrick from 6:50-7:20. Food from Rachel’s Creperie and Kunzler, plus beer from Lancaster Brewing Company and wine from Tamanend Winery.

Music Friday: Millersville University Downtown
When: July 15, 7pm
Where: Millersville Univ – Downtown, 42 N Prince St, Grand Salon
What: Glorious America – a musical tribute to American freedom and patriotism

Music Friday: Millersville University Downtown
When: July 15, 7:30pm
Where: Millersville Univ – Downtown, 42 N Prince St, Steinman Hall
What: Prestissimo International Music Festival Concert with the Festival String Orchestra and St Petersburg Quartet

Music Friday/Ladies Night Out
When: July 15, 7pm – 9pm
Where: Building Character (342 N Queen St)
What: Ladies Night Out including free live music, free 5 minute chair massages, free dessert samples and great shopping with the 30+ vendors at Building Character

See the complete list of all Music Friday events for Fri July 15


Bright Side Summer Fest
When: Sat July 16, 11am – 6pm (rain or shine)
Where: Brightside Opportunity Center, 515 Hershey Ave, Lancaster, PA
What: Saturday’s schedule at this summer celebration includes Zumba (11am), kickboxing (11:30am), juggler Chris Ivey (noon), dunk tank (noon-5pm), TalentFest – featuring musical and other performances by a wide range of talented locals from 1pm-4pm, Drumming for Peace (4pm) and loads of great food, Turkey Hill ice cream and kids activities throughout the day.

Foreign Film Series
When: July 16, 10:30am
Where: Lancaster Public Library, 125 N Duke St, Lancaster
What: “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”

Millersville Four Corners Summer Festival Event-Downtown
When: Sat July 16, 7:30pm
Where: Millersville University-Downtown, 42 N Prince St, Lancaster
What: Music Theatre – including favorites from Broadway to opera. $5 per ticket. Call 717-872-3811 for tickets or visit the 42 N Prince St campus between 8am – 4:30pm, Monday to Friday.
NOTE: Millersville’s Four Corners Festival continues through July 31, with music, theater, dance and art events and venues both downtown and on the main campus. See their website (link above) for details of other events.


Chestnut Hill Café Music Sundays
When: Sun July 17, 3pm – 5pm
Where: Chestnut Hill Café, 532 West Chestnut St
What: AJ Grey- performing “folk-rock-alt-roots-music with elements of pop”

Theater of the Seventh Sister & Rock Ford Plantation: Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night
When: Sun July 17, 7pm (see details in Friday’s entry above)

Long’s Park Summer Music Series
When: Sun July 17, 7:30pm
Where: Long’s Park, 1441 Harrisburg Ave
What: Danny Kortchmar: A singer-songwriter & guitarist who’s written for and performed with Crosby & Nash, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Carole King, Jackson Browne and others.
NOTE: There are free outdoor concerts at Long’s Park every Sunday night throughout the summer. See their website for details (link above)

So, we’re “spoilt for choice”, as the saying goes. With a forecast of pleasant temperatures and low humidity for the weekend, plus full moon, it should be a perfect time to get out and enjoy some of what this musical city has to offer!

Posted by Melanie Tagged as: city life lancaster pa

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