'Age of Aquarius' is still spreading the message of peace and love in Vandergrift
Music that defined a generation will be celebrated May 12 at the Casino Theatre , Vandergrift.
After a successful debut last fall, the "Age of Aquarius" show returns with fresh spirit, delivered by five Alle-Kiski Valley bands passionate about invigorating the classic sounds of the mid-1960s and early 1970s with renewed energy.
"Due to the overwhelming success of last year's show, we have decided to do it again. The audience was very enthusiastic. Music from 1965-1973 seems to be what people are looking for. We are super excited," says Linda Boarts, who, with Lenny Collini, Tim Henry and Jay Zanotti are among the core group of musician-producers of the event.
Boarts is a member of First Light who, with Sourmash, Heidi and the Hellcats, The Love Generation and FolkHammer comprises the bill.
"We have developed a wonderful camaraderie amongst the band members. We are very supportive of each other. We are anticipating a successful turnout. It has been a labor of love." she adds. "We all like to dress in the spirit of the era as well. We encourage the audience to do the same."
Actor-musician Rik Billock of Vandergrift and former Pittsburgh radio personality Susie Barbour will emcee the evening.
"It has been a great ride that we would love to continue as long as possible, changing songs as we go. There is so much music we haven't touched on yet," Boarts says. "We are working on doing the show at other small venues and outdoor festivals in the region."
The musicians want to be available for other organizations looking for a fundraiser or just an entertaining event.
"I'd like to see the show if I wasn't in it," says veteran rocker Lenny Collini, a member of The Love Generation. "There is so much talent. It's definitely fun to watch."
There are plans to expand and add more acts in the future, says The Love Generation's Jay Zanotti.
"These classic tracks are a staple to young and older generations that pertain to our everyday lives," he suggests.
"That music was and still is timeless in a lot of ways," Collini adds. "We would like to see this music go on the road, even to tri-state area venues. It's important to this tradition of music going throughout our lives. Whether you grew up in that time or learned about that time, the music and songs are altogether different from today's digital sounds. Both are still unique but miles apart. Our generation gap may be wide, but it's not broken."
Collini says both his son and daughter, born in the late '90s, listen to this classic rock, "which was some 30 years before their time."
Zanotti says, "Our goal is to spread the message of peace and love, something we desperately need in today's world that seems to have perished."
Rex Rutkoski is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.