Smyrna Opera House offers preview of Ladybug Festival

Retro-pop group Hotsy Totsy will play the Smyrna Opera House Saturday night. (Submitted photos)

Retro-pop group Hotsy Totsy will play the Smyrna Opera House Saturday night. (Submitted photos)

For the past five years, The Ladybug Music Festival has been a summer hit in downtown Wilmington with a one-day collection of female acts covering a variety of musical genres.

Saturday night, the Smyrna Opera House gets a taste of those tunes when three acts who regularly appear at Ladybug will perform.

Best Bets logo CLEAR copyHotsy Totsy, No Good Sister and Nalani and Sarina will light up the venerable South Street theater.

With Ladybug growing every year, concert and festival co-organizer Jeremy Hebbel said it only made sense to try to expand its reach into Smyrna.

“I think this really demonstrates the level of talent in our music community,” he said.

“We got 2,100 submissions for Ladybug this year, which we’ve had to narrow down to under 50. We’ve done a couple of these smaller shows recently and it helps to get the word out and show off their talent to the area at large.”

Mr. Hebbel is chief operating officer and co-founder of Gable Music Ventures, a Wilmington-based event production and music booking company.

For the past year, Gable has programmed a large portion of the shows at the Smyrna Opera House, bringing in acts

Nalani and Sarina are identical twins and multi-instrumentalists.

Nalani and Sarina are identical twins and multi-instrumentalists.

from Wilmington and the Philadelphia area, covering rock, comedy, choral music and more.

Mr. Hebbel’s Gable group is also responsible for the popular downtown Smyrna at Night music event, which will be held for the third year on June 10.

Two of the three acts on Saturday night’s bill should already be familiar to Smyrna audiences.

Hotsy Totsy played at the opera house’s Gable-sponsored tribute to Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline in October while No Good Sister was front and center during last year’s Smyrna at Night.

Hotsy Totsy started as an a cappella Andrews Sisters tribute trio assembled to accompany a World War II exhibit at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 2001.

Originally supposed to last one month, the group proved so popular, they hung around for seven months and stayed together after their casino contract ended.

The group has since become a popular retro-pop novelty act, penning original songs reminiscent of a bygone era, as well as reinventing today’s hits to fit in with that sound.

No Good Sister is an Americana trio from the Philadelphia area.

No Good Sister is an Americana trio from the Philadelphia area.

“They are a super talented group that produce really strong vocal harmonies,” Mr. Hebbel said.

“Plus they just look really cool with bright colors and retro sunglasses really fitting into that era.”

No Good Sister, an Americana trio out of Philadelphia, began in 2012 when a mother, a teacher and a waitress decided to get together and perform their original music.

Since the formation of No Good Sister, Meaghan Kyle, Jess MacDowell and Maren Sharrow have performed at World Cafe Live, both in Philadelphia and Wilmington, and appear regularly in the Four Seasons Lounge in Philadelphia.

In January 2014, they were selected by World Cafe Live at The Queen in Wilmington as the Unsung Hearo standout performer of 2013, and won a slot in Hearo.fm’s 2014 South by Southwest showcase. They are currently recording their original music and will be releasing their first EP by year’s end.

Nalani and Sarina are 22-year-old identical twins from New Jersey who blend soul-rock with modern pop.

“They are just a powerhouse,” Mr. Hebbel said. “They produce incredible harmonies and can play everything from piano to guitar to ukulele. They are also mirror twins in that one plays guitar right-handed while the other plays left-handed.”

Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are $16 for adults and $8 for children younger than 12.

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

This year’s Ladybug Festival is set for 5 to 10 p.m. July 21 from Second to Fourth streets on 12 stages. Last year’s free event attracted 3,000 people with more expected this year. The lineup will start to be announced later this month. For more information, theladybugfestival.com.

Saturday’s show is the latest Gable event at the opera house. The partnership has been a good one, Mr. Hebbel said.

“It’s been going great,” he said. “With the exception of just a few, every event has translated as well as we hoped it would. Comedy nights have really taken off. It’s been fun to do music but comedy has gone surprisingly well. We have partnered with Blue Hen Comedy from Newark on some great lineups.”

The next comedy night will be May 27 at 7 p.m., featuring Doogie Horner, Sidney Gantt and Dover’s Keith Purnell.

“I think we’ve really hit our stride in terms of combining our events with the community events, like Smyrna’s Citizens Hose Company Band, who was brought in by the board and sold out the place,” Mr. Hebbel said.

He expects this year’s Smyrna at Night event to be bigger than in years past.

Pittsburgh-based Lovebettie will play this year's Smyrna at Night festival.

Pittsburgh-based Lovebettie will play this year’s Smyrna at Night festival.

“We’ll be shutting down Market and Main streets this year and two connecting streets. We’ll have more venues taking part as well as having a small acoustic stage on Main Street,” he said.

The event, which has drawn about 2,000 people each year will be adding blues this year to the assortment of country, folk, rock and bluegrass.

Mr. Hebbel also expects the number of acts to grow from about a dozen to 15 or 16.

While the artists have not been officially announced yet, Mr. Hebbel did let loose that Pittsburgh-based “swagger rock” band Lovebettie will be making its return.

The group has made a couple of Smyrna appearances in recent years and quickly has attracted a rabid local following.

“They really consider Smyrna their home away from home. Outside of Pittsburgh, this is where they are the most popular. There is a lot of enthusiasm for the group in Smyrna and we’re really excited we could bring them back this year.”

The list of acts for this year’s Smyrna at Night is expected to be announced in early May.

Time Jumpers in Harrington

As we told you last week, along with the Triple Threat BBQ, Beer and Music Festival taking place on the neighboring Delaware State Fairgrounds, The Time Jumpers featuring Vince Gill, Kenny Sears and “Ranger Doug” Green will perform at Harrington Raceway and Casino’s Exhibit Hall at 8 tonight as part of the On Stage – Harrington series line-up.

The current lineup includes Mr. Gill (vocals, electric and acoustic guitars), Mr. Green (vocals, acoustic rhythm guitar), Mr. Sears (vocals, fiddle), Brad Albin (upright bass), Larry Franklin (fiddle), Paul Franklin (steel guitar), Andy Reiss (electric guitar), Joey Spivey (fiddle, vocals), Jeff Taylor (accordion, piano) and Billy Thomas (drums, vocals).

The four-time Grammy-nominated Time Jumpers, a country swing band, was established in Nashville in 1998 by an assemblage of high-dollar studio musicians who wanted to spend some spare time drinking beer and jamming with their sonically gifted buddies.

Tickets are $49 and can be purchased online at harringtonraceway.com, by calling (888) 887-5687, ext. 5246,, or stopping by the Casino Gift Shop.

‘Impossible’ at Schwartz

On the heels of last week’s extremely well-received weekend of shows at the Schwartz Center for the Arts that saw Smyrna’s Sol Knopf and four other renowned singer-songwriters entertain with “Songwriters & Storytellers” and local favorites Love Seed Mama Jump perform the following night, Mark Nizer moves into the Dover theater tonight with his 4D-show “Expect the Impossible.”

Since winning the International Juggling Championships Mr. Nizer has taken his one-man show to thousands of venues around the world. Spinning lasers, comedy, music and technology will combine for a family friendly evening — glasses included.

Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are $14-28 and can be purchased at schwartzcenter.com, calling 678-5152 or visiting the box office at 226 S. State St.

White Top at Wesley

On Sunday afternoon, Wesley College presents The White Top Mountain Band and Sandy Shortridge at 4 p.m. at the Wesley College Chapel, Division and Bradford streets in Dover.

A traditional dance workshop follows the free performance.

From the Crooked Road, Virginia’s music trail, the White Top Mountain Band presents traditional music such as string bands, blues, 300-year-old ballads, bluegrass and more.

For more information contact Stephanie Holyfield at Stephanie.Holyfield@Wesley.edu or call (302) 736-2407.

Now showing

New this weekend in theaters is the Melissa McCarthy comedy “The Boss” and the action fantasy film “Hardcore Henry.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is the horror film “The Forest.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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