Allentown Band Oral History Collection

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Allentown Band Oral History Collection


Allentown Band


The Allentown Band and Muhlenberg College, longtime Lehigh Valley institutions and partners, embarked on a collaboration to gather members’ oral histories. The partners creating this collection included members of the Band, students, and faculty in an integrative learning course involving archival science and documentary fieldwork. The course resulted in an ongoing digital scholarship project site.

The collection consists of oral histories that speak to the traditions and treasured memories of the Allentown Band. The oral histories provide narratives that speak to the evolution of the Band in the past 50 years. Starting with the tradition of playing for community and church groups, the Band is now also playing at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and at various European venues. A more recent tradition, noted in the oral histories, involves outreach to musically talented Lehigh Valley youth.


Allentown Band


Trexler Library, Muhlenberg College




Dan Burg '20; Riley Cassidy '19; Haley Hnatuk '20; Emily Robinson '19; Anthony Dalton; Susan Falciani Maldonado; Dr. Kate Ranieri


Copyright for these oral history recordings is held by the interview subject. They are made available with a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0). The public can access and share the interview for educational, research, and other noncommercial purposes as long as they identify the original source.

This oral history project was supported by a grant from the Lehigh Valley Engaged Humanities Consortium (LVEHC).



Collection Items

Interview with Ron Demkee, July 26, 2018
Ron Demkee discusses his early life with music and playing the tuba, K-12 education, career as a music teacher, and joining and becoming the director of the Allentown Band. Ron also discusses the youth outreach programs, as well as the evolution of…

Interview with George Kirchner, July 26, 2018
George Kirchner discusses his early life with music, K-12 education, music involvement, time spent in the Allentown Band, and music as an avocation.

Interview with Ezra Wenner, August 9, 2018
Ezra Wenner discusses his early life with music, K-12 education, playing the trombone, music involvement and joining the band; evolution from all-male to male and female members, and youth outreach.

Interview with Susan Wagner-Hartney, August 9, 2018
Susan Wagner-Hartney discusses her early life with music, K-12 education, playing the piano and flute, music involvement and
joining the Allentown Band. Susan also spoke about the demographics of Band members over time and the youth outreach…

Interview with Beth McElroy, October 19, 2018
Beth McElroy discusses how she became interested in music, her school and professional career as a musician, her involvement with the Allentown Band as a percussionist, how music affected the trajectory of her life, her advice to beginning musicians,…

Interview with Kara Young, October 29, 2018
Kara discusses her early interests in music and her music career, how she got involved with the Allentown Band, her insights and thoughts on the Band's future, and her advice for beginning musicians.

Interview with Caitlin Heckman, October 31, 2018
Caitlin Heckman discusses her interests in music, playing the trombone, and her overall experiences and impressions of involvement with the Allentown Band. She described memorable moments with the Band as well as her thoughts on the future of the…

Interview with Deb Heiney, August 9, 2018
Deb Heiney discusses her early history playing a saxophone as a child and in Parkland school district playing the bassoon, teaching music in school, and playing with the Allentown Band as a member and business manager. She also discusses the…

Interview with DeVaughn Roberts, October 19, 2018
DeVaughn Roberts discusses growing up playing the trumpet and how he became involved in the Allentown Band. He talks about some of his favorite memories with the band, including venues where they played and people he has met. He also talked about the…
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