Keller returns to Smyrna Opera House with Along the Road

Along the Road, an acoustic rock band which includes former Smyrna Opera House Executive Director David Keller, third from left, will perform Christmas songs and more at the Opera House Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. (Submitted photo)

David Keller looks back fondly on his time as executive director of the Smyrna Opera House.

“I really do miss it there. I miss the people. There are a lot of great people in Smyrna and I made some great friendships,” he said.

“I think we took what was essentially a Mom and Pop operation, professionalized it and put it on the map. The Delaware Division of the Arts at one point said that other arts organizations should emulate what we were doing. I was really proud of that.”

Mr. Keller, who left in 2013 after five and a half years at the helm, will be back at the Smyrna Opera House Dec. 9 performing with his acoustic rock band Along the Road.

He can’t wait to return.

“I’m excited to see some familiar faces and just be in that space again. It has such history. The acoustics in the auditorium are unbelievable and should really capture the energy of the band,” said Mr. Keller, who is now a grant writer with the Pennsylvania Ballet and lives in Wilmington.

The origins of Along the Road actually started in 1983 when electric guitarist Andy Lefko, acoustic guitarist Pete De Blasi and multi-instrumentalist Paul Kranz met as freshmen at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania and first performed together at several coffeehouses under the name Peter, Paul, and Andy.

Mr. Kranz taught English at Woodstown High School where Mr.. Keller attended and eventually they formed the trio The Chain with Mr. De Blasi.

In 2011, Mr. Lefko rejoined the guys and drummers Scott Johnson and Ryan Huff along with bass player Fred Sparks was added to finally form Along the Road.

The way the band members came together is one of the reasons for the title.

Another is the geography that band members cover. Together, they hail from five states, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts.

Along the Road is also the name of a Dan Fogelberg song, for whom members share an affinity.

Having so many miles in between them makes it hard to rehearse. Often, the only time they hear each other perform live is in the actual concerts the band performs.

“We send MP3 files that we record on our smart phones a lot to let the others hear what we’ve been working on,” said Mr. Keller, who plays the guitar, mandolin and contributes vocals.

“It’s definitely a problem rehearsing with those constraints. I wish we had more time together but everyone is so crazy busy.”

Mr. Keller, Mr. De Blasi, Mr. Krantz and Mr. Lefko write songs for the group and sing lead vocal on the tunes they have written. All add harmonies.

Mr. Keller said, despite the distance between them, writing the songs is a very collaborative process.

“When we do get to rehearse, we’ll toss ideas around and everyone is open to trying new things and seeing if it works. I think it has to be done this way to make the music sound as good as we can,” he said.

The Dec 9 concert will feature music predominately from their 2012 album “The Days Draw Close to Christmas,” which has many original
Christmas songs but also the band’s take on a few classics, including “Silent Night,” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”

They will also do songs from their 2016 collection of original music entitled “Enjoy the Ride” and a Bob Dylan cover by special request.

Tickets for the 2 p.m. concert are $16 general admission’ $14 for Opera House members, senior citizens (65 and over) and military members; and $8 for children 12 and under.

To purchase them, visit SmyrnaOperaHouse.org, call 653-4236 or visit the box office at 7 W. South St. Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Smyrna Singers

Staying at the Smyrna Opera House, The Smyrna Singers, a multi-generational community choir, open to all ages beginning in seventh grade, will present their December concert at the venue Saturday at 7 p.m.

The group will perform an eclectic mix of traditional choral repertoire and holiday music.

The ensemble is directed by Andrea Stewart Davis and assistant director is Jared Badalamenti. They are accompanied by Marie Reynolds.

Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Tickets are $16 general admission, $14 for SOH members, senior citizens (65-plus), military, $8 children for 12 and under.

They can be purchased at smyrnaoperahouse.org, by calling 653-4236 or the box office at 7 W. South St.

Home for Holidays Parade

The 2018 Home for the Holidays Parade will be held on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in downtown Dover.

The parade will be the second nighttime parade in Dover.

The parade will start at Legislative Mall, run west along Loockerman Street and turn onto South Queen Street where it will end at the Wesley College Johnston Hall.

There will be bands, floats, car/Jeep clubs, etc.

The fun starts at 5 p.m. with a Marketplace with food trucks, kids activities, entertainment, vendors and visits with Santa. That will run until 9 p.m.

Happy Holidays Dover

But before all that, The Biggs Museum of American Art hosts the third annual Happy Holidays Dover on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The main feature of the event is the “kids only” holiday shop, where children ages 4-12 can purchase gifts for their family and friends that range in price from $1-$10.

Features also include local children’s choir performances throughout the day, an expanded gift shop of handmade holiday items, from Delaware By Hand artists, available for purchase all day, live demonstrations from local craftsmen and a special display of miniature holiday themed doll houses by Delaware craftsman and a unique “poinsettia tree” in the lobby.

The Biggs Museum is at 406 Federal St.

Smyrna-Clayton Parade

Then on Sunday, Smyrna-Clayton’s Christmas Parade will be held at 5 p.m. Lineup starts at 4.

The parade will start at Clayton Elementary School and end at Eagle Group

For more information, contact Stacey Hutson at (302)-670-0064 or hutsonstacey0@gmail.com.

Lewes Christmas Parade

This year’s annual Lewes Christmas Parade takes place Saturday at 5 p.m. (rain/snow date: Saturday, Dec. 8 at the same time.) The parade’s theme is “Celebrating an Old Fashioned Christmas in Lewes.”

The parade lineup takes place from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. and the parade begins on Savannah Road at Sussex Drive and will end on Second Street. Entrants for Saturday’s parade are asked to commit to the rain/snow date on the following Saturday, if it is necessary.

After the parade, the tradition has been to officially illuminate the Christmas tree in Zwaanendael Park followed by candlelight caroling in the park, led by Christy Taylor with sound by Bill Larsen.

For the second year, the city has made arrangements to have a fresh-cut tree moved into Zwaanendael Park between the museum and the Fisher-Martin House. The tree lighting ceremony will commence shortly after the last parade entry passes by the judges’ reviewing stand in Zwaanendael Park.

‘Miracle on 34th Street’

As we told you last week, the Second Street Players present “Miracle on 34th Street” for its final weekend.

Curtain is at 7 p.m. for the Friday and Saturday shows and 2 p.m. for the Sunday shows.

All performances will be held at The Riverfront Theater. 2 S. Walnut St., Milford.

Tickets are $17 and can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com or by calling the box office at 800-838-3006. For more information visit secondstreetplayers.com.

In the show, Kris Kringle, an old man in a retirement home, gets a job working as Santa for Macy’s. Kris unleashes waves of goodwill with Macy’s customers and the commercial world of New York City by referring parents to other stores to find exactly the toy their child has asked for.

Seen as deluded and dangerous by Macy’s vocational counselor, who plots to have Kris shanghaied to Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital, Kris ends up in a court competency hearing. Especially at stake is one little girl’s belief in Santa.

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

Also on stage, The Possum Point Players will perform “It’s a Wonderful Life” starting tonight.

Director Jerry Gietka drew from 13 Delaware communities and one in Maryland to fill Bedford Falls in this Christmas classic.

Performance dates include Dec.1, 2, 7, 8 and 9; Friday and Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m. and sold-out Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25; seniors and students $24, and they may be purchased at www.possumpointplayers.org or at 302-856-3460.

Possum Hall is at 441 Old Laurel Road, Georgetown.

‘A Farmer’s Christmas’

Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village will present “A Farmer’s Christmas” on Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.

In the main building, young visitors can try their hand at a variety of holiday crafts and enjoy a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Later, take a stroll down the “Avenue of Trees” and step back in time to the authentic 1890s village. Carolers will be singing traditional holiday songs, with a live nativity scene at the church, a blacksmith hard at work in the blacksmith shop and the aroma of cookies baking in the farmhouse wood-stove oven.

Dixie’s Down Home Cooking will be on site to offer a variety sandwiches and platters.

Museum members admitted free; nonmembers pay regular museum admission ($3 to $7).

The Delaware Agricultural Museum is at 866 N. DuPont Highway in Dover.

Now showing

New this weekend in theaters is the horror film “The Possession of Hannah Grace.”

Coming to DVD and download starting Tuesday is “Mission Impossible: Fallout,” the horror film “The Nun” and Melissa McCarthy in the puppet-filled “The Happytime Murders.”

To share news of your entertainment event, venue or group, contact Craig Horleman at 741-8224 or chorl@newszap.com.

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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