Smyrna’s Knopf joins with musical storytellers this weekend

It will be a meeting of the musical minds this weekend when area favorite Sol Knopf joins fellow esteemed musicians for another in the series of “Songwriters and Storytellers” concerts.

The first show takes place Saturday night at the Smyrna Opera House with a second one set for Sunday afternoon at Bridgeville’s Heritage Shores.

For this fourth edition of the series, Mr. Knopf is joined by some heavy hitters.

Highlighting the show is Michael Johnson, best known for his ’70s hits “Bluer Than Blue” and “This Night Won’t

Local singer/songwriter Sol Knopf, of Smyrna, not only has two shows this weekend but is putting finishing touches on a new album and is beginning a new YouTube program called "Sundays with Sol." (Submitted photos)

Local singer-songwriter Sol Knopf, of Smyrna, not only has two shows this weekend but is putting finishing touches on a new album and is beginning a new YouTube program called “Sundays with Sol.” (Submitted photos)

Last Forever.” Don Henry, who claimed the Grammy for the Kathy Mattea tune “Where’ve You Been,” and Craig Bickhardt, who has written top-10 hits for The Judds, B.B. King and Martina McBride round out the quartet.

“A lot of times the songwriters are unknown to the masses,” said Mr. Knopf, of Smyrna.

“But these are all phenomenal musicians who have won Grammys and have had No. 1 hits. I love doing these shows because I always have the best seat in the house.”

As in the past, the musicians will take turns telling a story about how a song of theirs came to be and then they perform it. They each take three turns before intermission and three turns afterward.

“Typically the audience will run the gamut of emotions during these shows. Someone will tell a story where the tears will flow and then you turn around and the audience is hooting and hollering after a crazy story,” Mr. Knopf said.

“After one of these shows, I always get people coming up to me as they are heading out the door, saying they had no idea it would be this good or it was one of the best shows they’ve seen in the last 10 years. But truthfully, I can’t believe there is anyone who enjoys the shows as much as I do.”

Mr. Knopf is particularly excited to be joined on the bill by Mr. Johnson this time around.

Best Bets logo CLEAR copy“I’m so thrilled. When I was a kid, ‘Bluer than Blue’ was a huge hit and I just love that song,” Mr. Knopf said.

“I’ve always loved his voice, and overseas, he is still revered. He’ll play a place like the Philippines and fill a venue the size of the old Spectrum in Philadelphia.”

He’s also a big admirer of both Mr. Bickhardt and Mr. Henry, whose most recent hit “All Kinds of Kinds,” released in 2014 by Miranda Lambert, was Music Row Magazine’s song of the year.

“Even though all of these guys have had hits and awards, no one ever looks down on you. I’ve never had any big hits or a record deal but they are all so kind and no one is a prima donna or demanding,” he said.

“They are all just regular guys.”

Michael Johnson, a singer-songwriter best known for the 1970s hits such as “Bluer than Blue” and “This Night Won’t Last Forever,” will perform at this weekend’s “Songwrters and Storytellers” shows at the Smyrna Opera House Saturday and at Heritage Shores in Bridgeville Sunday.

Michael Johnson, a singer-songwriter best known for the 1970s hits such as “Bluer than Blue” and “This Night Won’t Last Forever,” will perform at this weekend’s “Songwrters and Storytellers” shows at the Smyrna Opera House Saturday and at Heritage Shores in Bridgeville Sunday.

Along with his typically busy schedule of performing at area venues from Smyrna to the beach area — he’s on the verge of wrapping up his 29th season at Sambo’s in Leipsic — the multi-instrumentalist is putting the finishing touches on his third CD and starting his own YouTube program.

The album, called “Rehoboth Beach,” holds a special place in his heart as 10 percent of all proceeds will go to the Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley Chapter.

“My mom (Dolores) passed away from Alzheimer’s in May of last year and it was just devastating to watch it all unfold. And I realized that I wanted to be involved in the charity,” Mr. Knopf said.

“I’m performing all of the time so I was trying to think of a way I could give of myself. So every time we raise $2,000 for this album, we’re giving $200 to Alzheimer’s. We’ve raised over $4,000 so far, so they have been given $400.”

Like his previous album “Sea Change” in 2013, he is crowd funding for the money to produce the recording with special incentives at each level. He has a goal of $8,000 and expects the record to be out by the holidays.

Another project he’s especially excited about is his new “Sundays with Sol” program on YouTube. With two episodes already available and a third on the way this Sunday, Mr. Knopf plans to interview people in the area and beyond who are making a difference in their community.

“A lot of what we see on television and the Internet is so negative and built on bombast, scandal and outrageous behavior,” he said.

“But I know there are so many wonderful people out there doing wonderful things and giving of themselves to make the world a better place. I would rather watch videos of those folks rather than a lot of what is out there.”

Mr. Knopf’s upcoming guests include musician and social activist John Flynn, Herb Konowitz of the Dover Interfaith Mission for Housing and popular local Elvis Presley performer Bob Lougheed, who successfully battled pancreatic cancer.

Tickets for Saturday’s 8 p.m. show at the Smyrna Opera House, 7 W. South St., are available by calling 653-4236 or visiting www.smyrnaoperahouse.org.

They are $20 for general admission, $18 members, seniors and military, and $8 for children under 12.

Sunday’s show at Heritage Shores are $10 for residents and $15 for nonresidents. For tickets, call 337-9926.

For information on Mr. Knopf’s upcoming album and his YouTube program, visit www.solknopf.com.

Schwartz twinbill

More music can be found this weekend at Dover’s Schwartz Center for the Arts.

The Country Jamboree comes to the venerable theater tonight at 7:30.

The show features a cast who have performed with some of country music’s most popular artists, featuring the music of Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette, Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard and more.

Tickets are $22-$25.

On Saturday, Deanna Bogart, an award-winning multi-instrumentalist and multifaceted musician, will take the stage at 7:30 p.m.

As a bandleader/singer/songwriter/producer/pianist/saxplayer, Ms. Bogart combines boogie-woogie, contemporary blues, country and jazz. She has won three consecutive Blues Music Awards as Horn Instrumentalist of the Year.

As an added attraction, the show will feature Dover’s own James Napier.

Known locally as the owner of Capital Shoe Repair and Leather Work on Loockerman Street, Mr. Napier is also an accomplished singer.

He will be leaving Dover soon to join his band on the road and Saturday night’s performance, where he’ll do a couple of songs with Ms. Bogart, is a first for him, according to Schwartz Center Executive Director Sydney Arzt.

“He has a voice like Sam Cooke, sweet and soulful, and has never been paid to perform in Dover,” she said.

Tickets are $24-$27.

For more information on both shows, visit www.schwartzcenter.com, call 678-5152 or head to the box office at 226 S. State St., Dover.

Cheesetoberfest Saturday

Cheesetoberfest, a grilled cheese and macaroni and cheese competition featuring 30 Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Philadelphia restaurants, will be held Saturday at Dover’s Fordham & Dominion Brewing.

In keeping with the theme of the event, the Philadelphia German Brass Band will provide the entertainment for the event, which runs from 1 to 5 p.m. with VIP admission at 12:30.

The brewery will be pouring its award-winning Octoberfest, along with Spiced Harvest Ale, Oak Barrel Stout, Rams Head IPA, Copperhead Ale and Helles Lager.

Yours truly will be one of the judges who will help decide the Grand Cheesemo winners of the cheese competitions.

VIP tickets are sold out but you still can buy general admission tickets for $30, which includes a beer stein, four beer tickets and food samples.

A designated driver ticket is $20, which includes bottomless soda and food samples.

Tickets for the rain-or-shine event will be available at the gate Saturday and the brewery is at 1284 McD Drive off Horsepond Road in Dover today.

For more information, visit www.cheesetobefest.com.

Symphony starts season Saturday

Finally, the Dover Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Donald Buxton, will kick off of its 2015-2016 season at 7 p.m. Saturday at Calvary Assembly of God in Dover.

“A Taste of Italy” will feature Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4, his Italian symphony. This symphony will be complemented by Rossini’s “Overture to The Barber of Seville” and Tchaikovsky’s “Capriccio Italien.”

Again this season, sweet treats will be sold at the bake sale.

Season tickets are available: adults $75, seniors/students/military $55.

Single tickets are also available for all concerts. Prices are adults $20, seniors (62-plus)/students/military $15. Children younger than 16 are admitted free with a paying adult.

For tickets, visit www.doversymphony.org or call (302) 270-1903. Tickets also will be sold at the door.
Calvary Assembly of God is at 1141 E. Lebanon Road.

Now showing

New this weekend in theaters is Hugh Jackman in the fantasy film “Pan 3D” and the tightrope action-adventure “The Walk.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday are the epics “Jurassic World” and “San Andreas.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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