A few months ago, we wrote a series of columns on the Ritz and Roxy theaters. We received a number of responses from our readers.
One of them was Ms. Joan Matura, wife of the late Steve Myers, a talented musician who played at numerous venues, including the Roxy.
Mr. Myers, a friend, was a former student of this writer at Northampton High School. He had a long journey with music. His repertoire ranged from classic, church, popular and rock music.
Steve started playing the piano at age 7. His parents were supportive. He studied the piano under the guidance of two excellent teachers. As a result, his abilities and taste for music were diversified.
As a teenager, he teamed up with a number of boys from the Bath area and formed a rock and roll band called The Mutations.
The group included Dwight Diehl, Joe Pusta, Gary Evans, Phil Rissmiller and Steve Myers. Some of our older readers may recall Jim Evans as a well-known home builder.
The boys’ practice studio was in one of the vacant homes in Woods Edge, Evans’ development, north of Bath. A new sound of music filled the air on practice nights in the quiet development.
A 1965 Home News article stated, “It may not be the older generations’ idea of music, but the boys are doing something constructive, together with the help of their parents.
Who knows, but one day The Mutations may replace The Beatles. Can’t you just hear the girls’ squeals now?”
After many practice sessions, they drove over to Nazareth to have an audition with the Notre Dame Bandstand and the Nazareth YMCA. One of their first engagements was a teenage hop in Bath. They were well received, and the loud applause gave them extra motivation.
Do our readers remember WSAN Radio? They sponsored a number of musical programs.
Mr. Myers and the group felt they were at Rockefeller Center when WSAN sponsored a live show on the stage of his home theater, the Roxy! The group was now known as Belleau Wood, and they shared the stage with Nazareth, another popular rock and roll group, on a Wednesday night with two shows- 7 and 10 p.m.
Early in 1970, Steve used his earnings to purchase a synthesizer to enrich their music. It was one of the first in the Lehigh Valley. A number of local bands would borrow the unit for their performances.
Steve also played the organ and needed more training so he audited a music class at Moravian College. He also was accepted as a student by Ludwig Lenel of Muhlenberg College. Mr. Lenel was, at one time, a student of a legend, Albert Schweitzer.
In two weeks, we will follow Mr. Myers’ music journey from rock and roll to church organist.