The “Dead” of Winter?


Last night, the temperature was 18 degrees, minus the wind chill — a clear indication we are in the throes of what can be called the “dead” of winter. But inside, The Campus Theatre in Lewisburg bathed us in warmth, and people were very much alive, thanks to the joyous music of Romano Drum, of Hungary.

The theatre was filled to capacity with people of all ages, from very young children to senior citizens, and most were clapping, dancing or running around to the spirited rhythms of Romano Drom’s Gypsy music! Many had gathered before the concert to partake of the free dance class, led by Stephen Kotansky, and their enthusiasm was palpable as the rest of us entered the theatre.

Romano Drom is one of the most prominent representatives of the contemporary Gypsy culture in Hungary. The band, whose name literally means “Gypsy’s road,” plays in original Olah Gypsy language with modern musical scoring.
Whether or not you’re familiar with Gypsy music, know this: the ensemble’s renditions are electrifying. They uniquely fuse their own centuries-old musical culture with Catalan rumba, Arabic, Balkan and even pop rhythms to emerge with a style all their own!

They utilize guitar, bass, and an eclectic array of percussion instruments that range from Bongo-like drums to the traditional pot and spoon to achieve a captivating sound. It was inspiring to witness the artistry of people who play their instruments with a speed, alacrity and skill that is nothing short of amazing.

For an hour and a half, and a couple of encores, they held us spellbound with their music and the joy with which they played and shared it — egging us on with arm gestures to get up and dance, or at least clap, to the music. But it wasn’t long into the performance before the band had us laughing with their infectiously positive spirit.

The music was inspirational for other reasons —

It reminds us how lucky we are to live in and around the Lewisburg community, whose proximity to Bucknell University offers us urban-caliber experiences we’d otherwise have to drive three hours away to access.

It reminds us how lucky we are that Bucknell University spared no expense in renovating The Campus Theatre into a beautiful, acoustically sound venue that allows us to enjoy in comfort everything from movies, talks and seminars to live entertainment.

And it reminds us how lucky we are that The Weis Center has blossomed under the direction of executive director Kathryn Maguet, community outreach and marketing director Lisa Leighton, assistant director of operations Johanna Kodlick (whose yoga classes in the Weis Center lobby are amazing – more on that later) and the rest of their staff.

It’s not an exaggeration to say the performing arts center has experienced a rebirth of originality and inspiration in the variety and caliber of music and entertainment experiences they bring to us.
The concert at The Campus Theatre last night was just one more reminder how fortunate we are to call this region home.
I clapped and laughed all the way home, the spirit of Romano Drom still with me. The concert was just what I needed, after a two-day migraine, to remind me that life is wonderful, that this “dead” of winter, too, shall pass, and I have so much to be grateful for. What are you grateful for?