Composer/performer Roger Latzgo will perform River of Steel, his musical tribute to the drama of Pennsylvania’s steel industry, at PNC Plaza at SteelStacks, Bethlehem, Pa. at 3:00 PM on Saturday, July 16, 2011. The performance is free and open to the public.
River of Steel is Latzgo’s musical sketch of the labors, hopes and joys of Pennsylvanians, many of them immigrants, as they pursued the American Dream in and around the steel industry. Latzgo’s singing will take you to the mines, mills and church picnics of the Keystone State and give you the rich musical flavor of an era defined by hard work and new possibilities.
Some of the songs on the program are Latzgo’s original compositions. “River Of Steel” recollects messages by significant women regarding life in an industrial town. In “Beth Steel Blues” you’ll hear the simple eloquence of blue-collar dignity and attitude. “Tame The Fire” deals with images and metaphors of steel making and its psychic space in our community. Latzgo’s song about Joe Magarac, the Paul Bunyan of Pennsylvania’s steel mills, appears on his newest CD, Wild Nights.
The performance will include Latzgo’s unique handling of traditional Slovak folk music, still a strong presence in Pennsylvania and intimately tied to the steel industry. His music, described playfully by American composer David Amram as ethnofunkology, is a blend of the folk traditions of Central Europe with Latzgo’s home-grown American influences.
“In my original compositions, I try to use metaphors such as wine, dance, nature and heroism that appear in the folk music of my ancestors who arrived in the Lehigh Valley about 100 years ago” says the Germansville resident. Staying focused on these traditions is the unifying thread of Latzgo’s music. “With it, I’m reaching out to audiences of today. By honoring the ‘musical gems’ of my grandparents, I bring them to people of my generation and their kids who might have missed them.”
For over 30 years, Dr. Latzgo has been performing his music on stages throughout the world. He is the recipient of an International Angel Award for “Best Composer” which was presented in a ceremony in Hollywood. His latest projects involve ancient Greek myths.