In my humble opinion

Andrea Wittgens

Angst for the memories

Posted 4/11/23

I’ve been what my mother would have described as “in a mood” for a little while, but not without reason. I won’t bore you all with the details, but suffice it to say that …

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In my humble opinion

Andrea Wittgens

Angst for the memories


I’ve been what my mother would have described as “in a mood” for a little while, but not without reason. I won’t bore you all with the details, but suffice it to say that “Debbie Downer” ain’t got nothin’ on me.

That said, while deep in a “woe is me” moment, Dharma the Wonder Dog wagged in encouragement and reminded me of the old adage, “When life hands you lemons, get thee to the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (DVAA).”

At least that’s what I heard, so that’s what we did.

Now that the pooch is getting on in years, I’ve refrained from “tossing her into the truck” (so you can stop with the emails), but instead gently helped her into the car, and we made our way to the penultimate afternoon of the annual DVAA Salon Series and Andrea Wittgens. She was slated to perform new material in two sets, titled “Songs and Visions.”

I like to say that I know Andrea, but truth be told, we’ve only met once, and that was years ago. We have, however, stayed in touch via social media, so I reached out prior to the show. I’d read that the first set featured “a debut multi-media performance” of her music, accompanied by original video content, and that “audiences will experience abstract, layered videos created from lyric ink pieces and curious found footage [that she] collects.”

We chatted about those elements, and that she would be accompanied on vocals by actor/playwright Lena Kaminsky for both sets—the second described as “a more intimate and traditional singer-songwriter performance in which the audience will be engaged through selected stories relating to those songs.”

That description reminded me of what Andrea Wittgens does so well,  which is weaving tales with words and music that are incredibly intimate, touching, moving and oftentimes (IMHO) fraught with emotional intensity.

Glancing at my notes after the show, I saw adjectives like “painful,” “raw,” “beautiful,” and “heart-wrenching” in relation to ridiculously well-crafted songs like “Funhouse,” “Do You Want To Fall In Love?,” “All The Golden Girls Are Dead” and “If Love Then Mercy Too.”

Wittgens sings from the heart and shares tone-poems with the audience that are (admittedly) autobiographical, but magically resonate with us all, since many are based on universal themes and emotions like love, despair, sadness and happiness, too. Another glance at my notes revealed that I found Andrea’s music “painful and healing, simultaneously,” which is an interesting dichotomy, yet accurately describes my experience with her last Saturday at the DVAA.

“It can’t be just me,” I whispered to the dog, wiping a tear from my eye, just before Wittgens (with rich, beautiful harmonies provided by Kaminsky) sang “I wonder if she knows,” a hauntingly beautiful song about life after death that lingers in my reverie days later. As if on cue, Andrea shared with the crowd that she can “go a little dark sometimes,” before performing musical memories like “Candy From A Cash Machine” and “Hearts of Neon”—selections that illustrated her mastery with both the piano and the pen.

Wittgens repeatedly mentioned her collaborations with songwriters, her appreciation of the DVAA, her love for the Catskills and her friends who have a home here, with whom she often visits. She closed the show with a song that she wrote while visiting them on “an extended retreat” here in the Upper Delaware River region. “I feel a deep connection to this part of the world, so now my friends can’t get rid of me,” she shared. “I wrote this one [‘In the Deep of the Night,’] right here, in Cochecton Center.”

At one point, Wittgens thanked the audience as well, since we were “the first” to see and hear “Songs and Visions,” which she is honing now for a brand-new album, which should debut close to the end of this year. Meanwhile, one can learn more about her music and life as an artist at And by all means follow her (and Kaminsky) on all social media platforms (think Instagram and Facebook) near you.

A final crumpled note fished out of my pocket reminded me of another important aspect of the afternoon. “This is what DVAA does best,” it stated. “Presenting an incredible variety of exciting and vibrant art, music and theatrical performances that stir the imagination and feed the soul.” That’s pretty deep for me, but I was still vibing on Andrea Wittgens and her performance, which accomplished both.

For more on the schedule of events presented by DVAA, go to

 Ask the Google: Q—Who on earth is Debbie Downer?  A—“While a ‘downer’ has been used to refer to a ‘depressing person’ since the 1970s, the name Debbie Downer was popularized by a hit ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch starring Rachel Dratch. This character consistently ruins a group’s fun by sharing unsolicited sad remarks.”

Debbie Downer, Delaware Valley Arts Alliance, Dharma the Wonder Dog, Songs and Visions, Andrea Wittgens, Lena Kaminsky, DVAA


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