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Happy New Year and Happy News! 

Happy New Year, Symphomaniacs! This time of year always naturally comes with some reflection as it's the time of year when the gigs slow down, the holiday hustle is over, and we start to book out the rest of the year.  Our years tend to fly by with wild abandon, considering we are not only musicians, but also have full-time jobs, partners, and some of us, children. This past year was filled with some fantastic gigs and we hope to see you at those same venues and even some new venues this year.  We are also actively (and speedily) booking weddings for 2019 and 2020.

We in the band have some happy news to share: our lead singers, Christine & Ricky, have also gotten engaged to one another. The two met when Ricky was auditioning for Christine's former band, She Said Sunday, and more or less sang together before they actually conversed.  Almost eight years of harmonizing later, Christine and Ricky are now actively planning their own destination wedding in Turks and Caicos for June 2020.

Both Ricky and Christine's experience in performing at weddings and working with our local vendors has facilitated their own wedding planning.  If you're considering having live music at your reception, we encourage you to reach out to a real couple who knows the ins-and-outs of the wedding business here in the Lehigh Valley.  

Contact us for our rates and details about our wedding entertainment options and hurry! We're running out of dates for 2019 and booking now for 2020.

We're just looking for some Tush  

It's our craziest time of the year! Summer for Sunshine Symphony involves playing tons of community events, festivals, and weddings in the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia areas. This summer is no exception! We've managed to cram another special event into our schedule this week.

Tonight, we head to Toll Man Joe's bar in South Philadelphia to compete in the WMGK House Band competition. If you're not familiar with WMGK, it's a classic rock radio station out of Philadelphia. Many of the DJs have been on the air for multiple decades. In fact, morning show host John DeBella was one of the DJs I listened to that inspired me to get into radio. In any case - this is huge and legendary for me personally, that we could be the house band for a radio station I've been listening to for a long time. 

We are required to play a 25-minute set of classic rock tunes, and one of them must be Tush, the 70s song by ZZ Top. We don't play a whole lot of blues tunes (we tend toward pop and 80s stuff), but boy, was this song fun to learn (and easy - it's only 2 minutes long!).  We were racking our brains trying to think of ways to make our version accurate but different, and we decided to play up Ricky's experience on blues harmonica. He does a killer solo that fits right into the feel of the song.

Listen to our version from rehearsal and let us know what you think! 

UPDATE: Well, we didn't win the semi-final round, but put on a performance to be proud of. Congrats to the guys in The Mad Trio, who move on to the finals. They were a 3-piece rock group that made a lot of noise! Also, fun to see Raised on Radio, and Retro 45. Some killer pipes and musicianship among all the bands.

White Wedding 

Summer and fall weddings - seems like everyone's having one. And while there is something beautiful about being outside, or under a tent with the moonlight overhead, I believe there's something equally magical about a December wedding and it's a wonderful option that more brides should consider.

This past weekend, we performed at  Jen & George's wedding at Cairnwood Estate in suburban Philadelphia, PA. This venue is stunning in every detail - from the long driveway as you approach, to the giant front door that makes you feel like you're walking into a castle. And you are, in essence, as Cairnwood is the former country mansion of the Pitcairn family, the founder of Pittsburgh Plate Glass (which you may know now as PPG).
 

Best Thing About Winter Weddings #1: Holiday Decorations 

One of the most beautiful things about the mansion is that it was decked out for the holidays, with a giant Christmas tree in the main room, plus lights on the giant staircase, greenery, and candles everywhere. By the time the guests started arriving and the reception started, the sun was retreating for the day, but the candelabras gave a soft ,glowing ambience that couldn't be matched at any other time of the year. I can understand that non-Christian brides and/or grooms may not be thrilled by the idea of a giant Christmas tree in your reception space, but most of the decorations were non-denominational and more "wintry" - think pine greens and candles. 

Best Thing About Winter Weddings #2: Winter Accessories
There is something especially beautiful about a bridal gown with a vintage fur stole, modern faux fur look-alike, or woolen coat or wrap to keep your arms warm in your wedding dress (or bridesmaid dresses!). Bride Jennifer wore a beautiful stole over her dress and passed out pashminas to her guests to keep warm if they were chilly. 

Best Thing About Winter Weddings #3: Winter and Christmas Songs
For Jennifer and George's wedding, the Sunshine Symphony duo performed a set of acoustic love songs, and it was fun for us to be able to throw in holiday songs like "Baby, It's Cold Outside," or "Let it Snow." Your favorite classic holiday songs also work well as mixes for cocktail or dinner music, think Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis, Bing Crosby, Burl Ives or Tony Bennett.


If you love historic mansions and want to visit Cairnwood, they offer afternoon teas once a month and lots of events that are open to the public. You can find more information on their website:  http://www.cairnwood.org/

Don't Stop Believin'! 

We were so honored to provide entertainment for local radio station 100.7 WLEV's Little Pink Dress Party. The annual event brings together breast cancer survivors, friends and family, local organizations and businesses and this year benefited "Breast Friends of PA" and "Womens 5K Classic", two local support organizations.  

I've been performing for many years, and in all my years, I've never seen something as cool as this: a Flash Mob dance reminiscent of a music video, breaking out on the dance floor just in front of the stage.  Watch video evidence here!




Thanks to all the sponsors: Toyota, Morris Black Designs DeSales University Nursing, Sorelli Jewelry, State Theatre, Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Ideal Image, A&A Limo, Metro Design Center, Cooper Electric, Richard Kroll, Meera Salon & Day Spa, Massage Envy, Eight Oaks Distillery, Rockin' Remaley Photo Booth
Find out more about: Breast Friends of PA, Womens 5K Classic

Running Down a Dream 

We were so beyond thrilled to team up with Runner's World Magazine again and perform at the Half Marathon Festival this past weekend in Bethlehem. This is the 5th year of the festival, and it brings thousands to our fair town to run through our beautiful, hilly historic city streets.  Both Ricky and I are runners - and we enjoy participating in races to keep us feeling physically fit!

This year, we ran the 10k (and purposefully parked over a mile from the race start so we could get 2 extra miles in as part of our Half Marathon training plan).


The weather was spectacular all weekend long, and especially so for the long half marathon race on Sunday.
We had to be at SteelStacks, our beautiful arts facility on the south side of Bethlehem, bright and early at 7 am before the streets closed for the race. 

That allowed us extra time to set up and sound check in a very leisurely fashion, which was nice. We thoroughly enjoy performing on the Levitt Pavilion stage. The sound is phenomenal, the crew is great, and the space is gorgeous. 

We played our typical mix of current dance songs, threw in a bunch of 80s and 90s songs, too, for good measure and enjoyed watching the recovering runners dance and sing along as they ventured over to the beer garden post-race.

Congratulations to all of the runners who came from near and far to enjoy the Runner's World events!

We'll be back to play inside the ArtsQuest facility, at Musikfest Cafe for local radio station WLEV's Little Pink Dress Party benefitting breast cancer charities.

-Christine Bainbridge, Sunshine Symphony
 

Fall Weddings are Here! 

We had such a great experience at Musikfest. Did you see our write-ups here and here? We had such a great time on stage and backstage. 

Sunshine Symphony rocked Rachel & Greg's receptionWe kicked off our fall wedding season with Rachel and Greg's wedding on August 29th in Philadelphia at the Sheraton University City. The staff down there was 
fabulous, and they decorated the hotel ballroom beautifully and totally transformed it!

Then, just this past weekend, on September 26th, we were thrilled to participate in Beki & Jake's wedding at The Country Garden in Lehigh Township. Jake's Mom did an amazing job decorating the facility, and Beki had friends make her cake (which was lovely and delicious), plus homemade pie and lots of delicious treats. We have three more weddings coming up in the next two weeks and we've got several weddings booked for 2016 already!

Rachel & Greg's Wedding

Beki & Jake's Cake

Beki & Jake's Cake

Falling for You 

We've had such a great couple of months! Thanks for coming out to see our summer shows at Tunes at Twilight, Musikfest and Live at Riverside Park. Check out our silly video clip of what "backstage" at Levitt Pavilion looks like.

It's fall wedding season, and we're getting ready to entertain the guests at four weddings in the next four weeks.

We were super excited when Lehigh Valley Academy asked us to perform for their fundraiser on Friday, October 16th at Martin Guitar, the awesome guitar factory right in our backyard in Nazareth, PA. The Sunshine Symphony trio of Tim, Ricky and Christine will be performing.

Also, we're very excited to announce the full band will be back at the Levitt Pavilion stage on Sunday, October 18th for the Runner's World Half Marathon Festival. 

Some other big announcements are coming up later in the month - stay tuned!


 

Musikfest is THIS WEEK! 


Hard to believe it's already August. We are getting ready for our TWO Musikfest shows this week, and we'll have a special tribute to Musikfest artists at both performances.

Here are our shows:

THURSDAY, AUGUST 6th - 5 p.m. - Preview Night at Levitt Pavilion at Steel Stacks on the Southside of Bethlehem.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 7th - 7:30 p.m. - Opening Night of Musikfest at Levitt Pavilion Steel Stacks on the Southside of Bethlehem.

We'll have our brand new t-shirts for sale at the 'Fest as well!

Thanks to Matt Smith of the Express Times, who mentioned our shows at the 'Fest in a little article about new music.

Special Musikfest Double-Header 

We are thrilled to announce that we will be performing at Musikfest's Preview Night, Thursday, August 6th at Levitt Pavilion at Steel Stacks!

Musikfest has added 80s-rockers Duran Duran (one of Christine's FAVORITE bands as a youngster) on Sands Steel Stage, so we are thrilled to get you Duranies warmed up just "next door" at Levitt Pavilion.

Here's the schedule of events for Preview Night August 6th:

5 p.m. - Sunshine Symphony on stage -
7 p.m. - M80 on stage - TD Bank AmericaPlatz - Levitt Pavilion at SteelStacks
8:30 p.m. - Duran Duran at Sands Steel Stage

Don't forget - we'll also be at TD Bank AmericaPlatz/Levitt Pavilion at Steel Stacks on Musikfest's Opening Night - Friday, August 7th starting at 7:30 p.m. for a free show.

What IS Musikfest, you ask? Well, it's just one of our humble little city's shining moments - a 10-day arts and culture festival featuring free outdoor concerts (and only a few that are NOT free), food and crafts. It's one reason I moved to Bethlehem! It's a lot of fun and a little crazy and despite the occasional parking woes, it brings a great deal of income and recognition to Bethlehem. We're so thrilled to be a part of the festival, which is celebrating it's 30th anniversary this year.

Here are some informational links about Musikfest:
Directions and Parking
Festival Map - our performances are on the "South Side"
Musikfest FAQs

Hope to see you there!
Peace, Love & Rock n Roll,
Christine

Endless Summer Nights! 

We've had an exciting month here in the 'Symphony, with news about two summertime shows that made us practically radiate happiness. 

Tunes at Twilight, in our humble opinion, is one of the best events that the Downtown Bethlehem Association hosts every year.  Set up in the beautiful and shaded Sun Inn Courtyard in Downtown Bethlehem, this easily accessible small park seats hundreds, and makes for a lively place for a free concert. Surrounded by Bethlehem's downtown restaurants, breweries, wineries and more, there are great places to dine before-hand or afterwards, or, enjoy food and drink from the Tunes Bar, which serves wine and beer, often regional offerings.  They've extended the concert series this year through July, which gives you more chances to enjoy a warm summer evening.  Sunshine Symphony will be there on July 2nd. We're looking forward to our 2nd year at this event.


Musikfest is Bethlehem's signature musical event, and it's been going on for 30 years now! Imagine an entire town turned into outdoor music venues for free concerts of all genres!  Plus, the event features every portable culinary delight you can think of. Pickle on a stick? Yep. Barbecued meat skewer? Yes. Vegan taco? Sure. Totally my idea of heaven. The event brings thousands of visitors to town (and the boost to the local economy is noticeable), but it also makes me personally happy that I live in a place that so celebrates music.  Come see us at Levitt Pavilion on the South Side of Bethlehem (right in front of Steelstacks), the opening night of Muskiest, Friday, August 7th at 7:30.

Check our schedule for ALL of our upcoming shows.

See you out and about this summer!
Peace, Love & Rock n' Roll,

Christine Bainbridge, Sunshine Symphony