A series of Noonday Recitals is held in the spring and fall of each year. Mainly presented in the Hintz Room, the concerts are held on Wednesdays from 12:05 – 12:30 p.m. and feature a wide variety of musicians and musical styles. All of our recital programs are recorded for broadcast locally in the Reading area and published on our website and YouTube channel. You can subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified when we have new programs available.
2019 Spring Noonday Recital Series
May 1 – A.J. Merlino, percussion
Hailed as, “One of New York’s most exciting musicians…” A.J. Merlino’s versatile performing style has made him a highly sought after percussionist and educator. As a touring musician, he has played in Scotland, Croatia, Greece, Thailand, Australia, and Argentina. He has also presented masterclasses at various seminars and colleges in the United States, Argentina, Australia, and Canada. While residing in Las Vegas, he performed on the Las Vegas strip with popular music artists such as Jay-Z, Ronnie Vannucci of The Killers, Eric Marienthal, and Cee Lo Green.
Merlino has worked as music director, composer and performer for many projects held at The Venetian, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, and Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, as well as the production show Resurrecting Sin City, which premiered in Las Vegas and traveled to Adelaide, Australia.
A strong supporter of new music, Merlino uses his diverse skills on dozens of percussion instruments to commission new works from up-and-coming composers, such as a work for six-mallet marimba and choir by Los Angeles composer Justin Raines and works for marimba by Casey Cangelosi and Pius Cheung. His work with new music also extends to numerous premieres utilizing various instrumentations by David T. Little, Virko Bailey, Jim Barnes, Scott Steele, Eric Whitacre, and Michael Daugherty.
Merlino holds percussion performance degrees from Kutztown University and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where he earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree. A.J. Merlino was a 2017 and 2018 quarterfinalist for GRAMMY Foundation’s Music Educator Award for his work as the founder, president, and music director of his 501(c)(3) non-profit, Reading Samba School. Merlino is currently the Music Department Co-Chair, Director of Music Industry Studies, and Assistant Professor of Music at Albright College.
May 8 – Stephen Williams, organ
Stephen Williams is Canon for Music Ministry and Performing Arts at Cathedral Church of the Nativity in the Diocese of Bethlehem, PA. Originally from South Carolina, he has studied organ at Brevard College, Westminster Choir College of Rider University, The Juilliard School, and West Chester University. He was Director of Music and Organist at St. John’s Lutheran Church in downtown Allentown 1990-2014, and College Organist, Director of Chapel Music, and Organ Instructor at Muhlenberg College 1993-2015.
Embracing challenges of major projects, he has performed the complete works of Johann Sebastian Bach (2001-02, 2004, 2016-17), the complete organ symphonies of Louis Vierne, and the complete organ works of Johannes Brahms. His 2014 CD recording Platinum explores the beautiful organ at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Allentown and has received enthusiastic reviews. Stephen has been an American Guild of Organist Chapter Dean for three separate terms, and continues to be involved as a recitalist, adjudicator, and clinician. Beyond Cathedral life, he stays busy with collaborative projects with instrumentalists, ensembles, and choirs, plays solo recitals when time permits, teaches a handful of diligent organ students, and heads out for a round of golf at every possible opportunity.
May 15 – Christa Beveridge, soprano; Jeffrey Lentz, piano
Christa Beveridge is a young and upcoming soprano with a commanding voice of stylistic versatility. Her outstanding rich tone quality, compelling stage presence, and extensive acting experience landed her many leading-lady operatic and musical roles. She is on a life path to refine her artistry through as much experience as she can acquire.
Christa is originally from Northumberland, Pennsylvania. Her high school singing credits include many number one placements in the PMEA district and regional choruses, and she earned positions in the Pennsylvania State Choruses in 2012, 2013, and 2014. She was also chosen to participate in the NAfME All-Eastern Honors Chorus in 2013 under the direction of Dr. Janet Galvan. She performed Rutter’s Gloria and Te Deum under the direction and tutelage of Maestro John Rutter himself at Carnegie Hall in the spring of 2012. Christa’s high school musical performances include Annie (Grace), Carousel (Julie Jordan), Me and My Girl (Lady Jaqueline), and 9 to 5 (Judy Bernly).
During all of her semesters at Albright College, Christa was granted the opportunity to participate as a singer and arranger in the mixed chorus and both the Albright Angels and Mane-gels a cappella groups. She studied voice privately under the guidance of Mr. Adlai Binger, Ms. Tamara Black, and Mr. Jeffrey Lentz. While taking a semester in Grenoble, France, she also studied under Ms. Karin Senellart de Vrière, with whom she intensively worked on French diction and expression. While at Albright College, Christa was also fortunate to work under the direction of Mr. Jeffrey Lentz in two operettas; The Pirates of Penzance as Mabel, and Candide as Cunegonde. She was nominated for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival’s Irene Ryan Acting Competition for her work as Mabel. She additionally participated as a chorus member in the Berks Opera Company’s productions of Amahl and the Night Visitors and Cenerentola. Throughout college, Christa also volunteered at the local Olivet Boys’ and Girls’ Club as a vocal instructor as well as with the Catholic ministries on Albright’s campus as worship coordinator and pianist.
Christa currently resides in Reading, Pennsylvania and works as an international Conference Coordinator for AMI as well as the Soprano Choral Scholar at Trinity Lutheran Church in Reading. Christa Beveridge will be attending graduate school for a Masters in Music in Vocal Performance in the Fall of 2019.
Jeffrey has graced many of the world’s finest opera and concert houses including: Lincoln Center, Barbican Hall, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Theatre de La Monnaie, The Glyndebourne Festival, San Francisco Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and the Garsington Festival. Specializing in new works, Jeffrey first garnered international attention in the opera world during his European debut at the Opera de Monte Carlo performing the title role in the world premiere of Lowell Liebermann’s opera, The Picture of Dorian Gray. He made his West End Theatre debut at London’s Almeida Theatre in the world premiere of John Casken’s opera, God’s Liar. Jeffrey’s performances on PBS include the world premieres of both Andre Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire, and the Dratell/Torke/Beaser triptych Central Park for GREAT PERFORMANCES, and a LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER broadcast of New York City Opera’s production of Britten’s Paul Bunyan.
In 2004, Jeffrey received a Grammy Award nomination for his work in Ed Thomas’, Desire Under the Elms. Under the baton of Maestro Lorin Maazel, Jeffrey debuted at the Kennedy Center in his signature role, Peter Quint, in Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw — a role he has also played at the New York City Opera and at the Teatro Municipal in Santiago, Chile. Later that summer, he returned to Glimmerglass Opera to play the role of Heurtebise in Philip Glass’ opera Orphée. In May 2009, he returned to South America to debut at the Teatro Avenida with the Buenos Aires Lirica as Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress.
Recent projects include a debut at Opera Virginia as Heurtebise in Glass’ Orphée, a multi-media performance project by both the El Paso Opera and The El Paso Museum of Art entitled, The Birth of Opera, and the release of the world premiere opera recording by Pulitzer Prize winning composer, Lew Spraitlin, entitled, Architect, about the life of the famed visionary, Louis Kahn. Jeffrey has also received national acclaim as a stage director. Along with his producing partner, the Mexican visual artist, Cocol Bernal, he has directed over 40 productions for the Domino Players Company as part of his ongoing work as Albright College’s Senior Artist in Residence for the Departments of Theatre and Music, a position he has held since 2002. During his tenure, Albright College has twice been honored with our country’s highest award for production excellence in college theatre at the Kennedy Center’s annual American College Theatre Festival — the first award came in 2007 for his production of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, and then again in 2016 for his production of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer-Prize winning play, Clybourne Park. Jeffrey makes his home in Wyomissing, PA.
May 22 – Wyomissing Area High School Camerata, Sharon P. Luyben, Director
Elizabeth Luyben and Grace Gleason, Student Directors
This ensemble is the highest select ensemble at Wyomissing Area SH School. This ensemble is primarily rehearsed by the student directors. The Camerata performs for Wyomissing Area School athletic and community events, Reading Royals hockey, Reading Phillies games, and various concerts. They have performed in Disneyworld, Sea World, Universal Studios in Florida: The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, St. Malachy’s Cathedral, St. Paul’s Church, the Empire State Building, and the United Nations in New York City as well as in Disneyland, California. They have also performed on the cruise ship, The Norwegian Sea, in the Bahamas, and the Royal Caribbean Cruise ship, Sovereign of the Seas.