Tag Archives: Music

A Black River Canal Musical Mystery

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Dave Ruch, a researcher of traditional and historical songs of New York who also teaches and performs that music, recently offered the lyrics to a canal song he believes may refer to the Black River Canal. The song was related by Des Powell (who was living in Arizona at the time) to folklorist Sam Eskin in 1946. According to Ruch at the bottom of Eskin’s notes he scribbled “Black River Canal”.

O! it’s nine miles to my darlin’, nine miles to go,
Nine miles on the old Rome haul
Gee this boat is slow
O! if ever I get back to my darlin
I ain’t gonna leave her no more
Gonna Settle down in old Rome town and open up a country story

First you pass a foundry and then you pass a mill
Then you pass Walt Waterbery’s place the other side of the hill
Then you pass a graveyard and then a bridge that’s low
Then it’s 9 more miles to my darling

O when last I saw my darlin, she was standin in the toll-house door
The tears run down her pretty little cheeks and they fell with a splash on the floor
O, if ever I get back to my darlin I ain’t gonna leave her no more
gonna settle down in old Rome town and open up a country store
By God and open up a country store.

If that second verse rings a bell, contact Dave Ruch at dave@daveruch.com.

Black History Month at Brooklyn Museum

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The Brooklyn Museum’s First Saturday attracts thousands of visitors to free programs of art and entertainment each month. The February 5 event celebrates Black History Month and the contributions of African Americans during the thirties, forties, and fifties with programs inspired by the exhibition Lorna Simpson: Gathered.

Throughout the evening, a cash bar will offer beer and wine, and the Museum Café will serve a wide variety of sandwiches, salads, and beverages. The Museum Shop will remain open until 11 p.m.

Some Target First Saturday programs have limited space available and are ticketed on a first-come, first-served basis. Programs are subject to change without notice. Museum admission is free after 5 p.m. Museum galleries are open until 11 p.m. Parking is a flat rate of $4 from 5 to 11 p.m.

Highlights include:

5-7 p.m. Music
The Fat Cat Big Band plays bebop and swing.

5:30 p.m. Film
The Great Debaters (Denzel Washington, 2007, 126 min., PG-13). True story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College in Texas who inspired students to form the school’s first debate team in the segregated South of 1935. Writer Trey Ellis introduces the film and leads a discussion following the screening. Free tickets are available at the Visitor Center at 5 p.m.

6-7 p.m. Discussion
Writer Kalia Brooks on Lorna Simpson: Gathered.

6:30-8:30 p.m. Hands-On Art
Create a triptych portrait inspired by the work of Lorna Simpson. Free timed tickets are available at the Visitor Center at 5:30 p.m.

7 p.m. Curator Talk
Sharon Matt Atkins, Curator of Exhibitions, on Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera. Free tickets are available at the Visitor Center at 6 p.m.

7-8 p.m. Interactive Project
Bring your photos to contribute to a collaborative artwork on African American history.

8 p.m. Young Voices Talk
Student Guides on American Identities: A New Look.

8-10 p.m. Dance Party
DJ Stormin’ Norman, resident DJ of Harlem’s Sundae Sermon, hosts a hip-hop and soul dance party highlighting African American contributions to music.

9-10 p.m. Artist Talk
Hank Willis Thomas discusses his installation Unbranded and issues of race and class in magazine advertisements.

9-10 p.m. Performance
The Small’s Jazz Club All-Stars play big-band music of the thirties, forties, and fifties.

Photo: Fat Cat Big Band. Photo Courtesy of the Artist.

Syracuse’s Clark Music Company, Melville Clark

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In Pulling Strings: The Legacy of Melville A. Clark, musician Linda Pembroke Kaiser explores the extraordinary career of Melville A. Clark (1883–1953), a musician, inventor, entrepreneur, community leader, and collector whose colorful story is largely unknown. The story is told by Kaiser, a musician who performs on the harp, piano, and guitar. She has published articles in the International Folk Harp Journal and has published and recorded an album of harp music, Lullabies for Earth Children.

Beginning with an account of Clark’s musical family, Kaiser chronicles the founding in 1859 of the Clark Music Company, of which Melville Clark became president in 1919. Originally just a tinkers shed, the business ultimately moved into a six-story building in the center of Syracuse. The Clark Music Company celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2010. Clark also combined his talents as a gifted musician and astute entrepreneur to start the first Syracuse Symphony Orchestra.

Kaiser recounts the development of the Clark Irish Harp, the first portable harp manufactured in the United States, that could easily play accidentals. There were other Clark inventions, such as the first nylon strings for instruments. In addition, Clark designed balloons that the British used in 1918 to drop more than 1,250,000 pamphlets over Germany.

Clark’s story unfolds in detail: a musical encounter with President Wilson, entertaining President F. D. Roosevelt, a visit to Buckingham Palace to present Princess Elizabeth with a music box, and the journey of a Clark Irish harp to Antarctica with Admiral Byrd.

Pulling Strings uncovers the life of a musical genius and also sheds light on a forgotten chapter in Syracuse history.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

Olana’s Annual Holiday Bonfire

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This Sunday, December 5th marks Olana’s 6th Annual Holiday Bonfire, with caroling by The Merry Minstrels. Explore the house at your own pace, with guides stationed in each room to answer your questions. Afterward enjoy a winter sunset, the company of neighbors and the warmth of the bonfire while enjoying the sounds of traditional Victorian caroling of The Merry Minstrels.

House tours 10AM-4PM (last tour starts at 3), Caroling from 2-4PM, Bonfire from 3-4PM. Call 518-828-0135 for info.

Photo courtesy Olana State Historic Site, NYS OPRHP.

JAY-Z to Appear at Brooklyn Museum

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In a rare interview, multi-platinum, 10-time Grammy Award-winning artist and icon JAY-Z will speak with Charlie Rose, executive editor and anchor of the Charlie Rose Show, before a live audience in the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium at the Brooklyn Museum on Thursday, November 18, at 7 p.m. The conversation, which will be taped to air nationwide at a later date on the Charlie Rose program, will focus on JAY-Z’s book DECODED, to be published on November 16 by Spiegel & Grau, a Random House imprint. DECODED recounts JAY-Z’s life from his childhood in Brooklyn’s Marcy housing projects to becoming a world-famous performer and songwriter, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.

Tickets to the event will go on sale TODAY, Wednesday, November 10, at noon. They may be purchased online at www.museumtix.com (two-ticket purchase limit for this program) or at the Brooklyn Museum Visitor Center in person. Ticket prices are $50 for the general public, older adults, and students and $45 for Brooklyn Museum Members. Become a member at www.brookklynmuseum.org/support/membership_plans.php. Ticket price includes a copy of DECODED by JAY-Z that will be provided to the patron upon admission to the program the night of the event.

Printouts of tickets will not be accepted. Patrons must check in at the will-call desk (the night of the event) at the Brooklyn Museum to receive hard copies of their tickets and must provide ID matching the name on the ticket. There will be no standby line for this event.

Decoded Book Cover In his conversation with Charlie Rose, JAY-Z will speak candidly about his journey from drug dealing to becoming one of the best known hip-hop artists of his time. He will explore issues that informed him and his songwriting, including how visual art and poetry influenced his craft, how he became involved in politics and business, and how he managed to stay true to himself in the midst of extraordinary fame.

“When I first started working on this book, I told my editor that I wanted to do three important things. The first was to make the case that hip-hop lyrics-not just my lyrics, but those of every great MC-are poetry, if you look at them closely enough. The second was that I wanted the book to tell a little bit of the story of my generation, to show the context for the choices we made at a violent and chaotic crossroads in recent history. And the third piece was that I wanted the book to show how hip-hop created a way to take a very specific and powerful experience and turn it into a story that everyone in the world could feel and relate to.”–JAY-Z from DECODED

77th New York Regimental Balladeers at Olana

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Sunday, October 10th, from 1-3 p.m., at Olana State Historic Site, the New York 77th Regimental Balladeers will reenact musical selections from the Civil War era.

Co-founded by John C. Quinn and Michael Yates, the 77th New York Regimental Balladeers are dedicated to preserving the songs, history and spirit of the 1860s. John, Mike, and fellow Balladeers John Perreault, Jim Broden and Kathleen Ross use the original Civil War music arrangements and lyrics to convey the thoughts, motives, and sorrows of the men and women who lived during one of the most defining periods of our American heritage. The songs are sung as they would have been performed in camp or the family parlor 138 years ago.

A $5 per vehicle grounds fee includes the performance. House tours will be available on a first come, first served basis starting at 10 a.m., with the final tour of the day beginning promptly at 4 p.m. Come early to ensure tour availability and shorter wait times. House tour tickets are $12/adult, $10/student or senior. Children under age 12 receive free tour tickets! Call 518-828-0135 for information.

Olana, the home and studio of Hudson River School artist Frederic E. Church, is a New York State Historic Site and a National Historic Landmark. It is located at 5720 Route 9G in Hudson. Olana is one of six historic sites and 15 parks administered by New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation – Taconic Region. The Olana Partnership is a private, not-for-profit organization, which works cooperatively with New York State to support the preservation, restoration, development, and improvement of Olana State Historic Site. Call 518-828-0135, visit www.olana.org for more information.

Fort Montgomery to Host 18th Century Music

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Fort Montgomery State Historic Site will host an evening of music performed in Late Eighteenth Century America on Saturday, August 28th, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm.

Visitors will hear music popular during and after the American Revolution, performed by members of the Fort Montgomery State Historic Site staff and friends. This vocal, violin, and harpsichord performance will include music by Arne, Handel, Webbe, Linley the Younger, and others. Listeners will experience a concert similar to entertainments enjoyed by America’s founding fathers. The event is free.

The Fort Montgomery Visitor Center is located at 690 Route 9W,1/4 mile north of the Bear Mountain Traffic Circle in Fort Montgomery, NY 10922. For more information, call (845) 446-2134.

Music Series at Saratoga Battlefield

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Enjoy free music concerts at 12 noon on Tuesdays in August at Saratoga National Historical Park, located on Route 32 and 4 in Stillwater. Bring a bag lunch, take a seat on the patio or bring a lawn chair and enjoy a different concert every week. The performances, sponsored by Friends of Saratoga Battlefield are held at the park’s visitor center.

August 10 – Elizabeth Huntley: How much more elegant can things get?
Sublime music of the 18th century performed on the harp, sublime views of
the Saratoga Battlefield from the Visitor Center lawn. Enjoy classical
pieces played upon the Queen of Instruments performed by harpist Elizabeth

August 17 – Tom Akstens and Neil Rossi: Bet you can’t keep your toes from
tapping to these lively traditional tunes! Celebrate America’s musical
roots played on fiddle, banjo, guitar and mandolin by virtuosos Tom Akstens
and Neil Rossi.

August 24 – Fort Ticonderoga Fife and Drum Corps: Martial music at its
best! The Fort Ticonderoga Fife and Drum Corps perform tunes that wafted
over Revolutionary Battlefields while providing inspiration and commands to

For more information on this and other programs at Saratoga National
Historical Park, please call 664.9821 ext. 224 or visit their website at

‘Grace Coolidge Musicale’ To Feature 1920s, 1930s

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The music of the era in which Vermont’s native son, Calvin Coolidge, served as president will be featured at a free recital at his birthplace. Pianist Abigail Charbeneau and soprano Jane Berlin Pauley will perform at the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site on Sunday, August 8 at 3:00 p.m.

Their 45-minute program, “Tunes of the 1920s & 1930s,” will feature music by American composers George Gershwin and Cole Porter, as well as Russian composer and pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff. An afternoon tea follows at the site’s restaurant, the Wilder House. Continue reading

History of American Musical Theater Program

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The Franklin County Historical & Museum Society presents “America’s Song: A History of American Musical Theater in Word and Music,” a collaboration between Drew Benware and members of the Ithaca College School of Music, on Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 7 pm. Admission is $10.00 per person, to benefit the Franklin County Historical Society. The program of toe-tapping favorites will be held in the Bobcat Cafe in the Joan Weill Student Center at Paul Smith’s College.

Drew Benware is a native of the North Country, having grown up in Malone, New York. Upon graduation from Franklin Academy, he enrolled at the Ithaca College School of Music where he received a degree in Music Education with a concentration on Trumpet in 2003. For the next three years, Drew served as the Director of Instrumental Music at Saranac Lake High School where he worked with the Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, Pep Band, Parade Band, and annual Musical Theater Productions. Drew returned to Ithaca College to pursue a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting, working with the renowned Larry Doebler and Janet Galvan. Among the high points of this period was a performance of Verdi’s “Requiem” at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center in New York City. Drew’s choral degree was put to use during the 2008-9 academic year during which he served as Director of Choral Activities at the Peru Middle/High School. Since that
time, he has been on the faculty at the Ithaca College School of Music as an Assistant Professor of Music Education, instructing courses in woodwind and brass techniques, instrumental conducting, wind instrument pedagogy, and acting as supervisor to both Junior and Senior level teachers. Drew also works closely with the nationally acclaimed Ithaca College Department of Theatre Arts, serving as faculty accompanist for the Musical Theater Workshop and performing in Pit Ensembles. Drew continues to serve as an active pianist, performing as music minister at All Saints’ Church in Lansing and as a frequent artist-collaborator including the 2009 Saranac Lake First Night Celebration. He
is active as a singer also, performing with the Saranac Lake Madrigal Singers and the Cayuga Vocal Ensemble, Ithaca’s only professional choir. He has provided musical direction or pit performances for several works of Musical Theater, among them “Children of Eden,” “Parade,” “A Little Night Music,” “Once On This Island,” “The Music Man,” and “Les Miserables.”

The program will also feature performers from the Ithaca College School of Music and Department of Theatre Arts.

“America’s Song” is co-sponsored by The Franklin County Historical & Museum Society and Paul Smith’s College. The Franklin County Historical & Museum Society, founded in 1903, preserves the history of Franklin County, NY through its House of History Museum and Schryer Center for Historical & Genealogical Reseach, located in Malone. It is supported by membership dues and donations, grants, and municipal support. Paul Smith’s College, the College of the Adirondacks is the only four-year private college in the Adirondack Park and is commited to experiential, hands-on learning.

For more information, please contact Anne Werley Smallman at 518-483-2750. Visit the Paul Smith’s College website for directions.

Grateful Dead Exhibit at the NY Historical Society

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Tracing the career and achievements of a band that became one of the most significant cultural forces in 20th century America, the New-York Historical Society presents The Grateful Dead: Now Playing at the New-York Historical Society. The exhibition, on view until July 4, 2010, represents the first large-scale exhibition of materials from the Grateful Dead Archive, housed at the University of California Santa Cruz.

Through a wealth of original materials, the exhibition will explore the musical creativity and influence of the Grateful Dead from 1965 to 1995, the sociological phenomenon of the Deadheads (the band’s network of devoted fans) and the enduring impact of the Dead’s pioneering approach to the music business. Among the objects in the exhibition will be documents, instruments, audio and video recordings, album art, photographs, platinum records, posters, programs, newsletters, tickets, and t-shirts and other merchandise. Highlights will include the band’s first record contract, tour itineraries, backstage guest lists, decorated fan mail, rare LP test pressings, drawings for the fabled Wall of Sound amplifier array, scripts for the Grateful Dead ticket hotline, notebooks of Dead archivist Dick Latvala, life-size skeleton props used in the band’s “Touch of Grey” video and large-scale marionettes and other stage props.

“Despite the Grateful Dead’s close association with California, the band and New York have been an important part of each other’s history from the first time the Dead played here in 1967 to the band’s year-on-year performances in New York from the late 1970s through 1995,” commented Dr. Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. “This exhibition not only celebrates the band’s relationship with New York but its tremendous impact on American culture.”

“The Grateful Dead Archive is one of the most significant popular cultural collections of the 20th century,” said Christine Bunting, the head of Special Collections and Archives at the University Library at UC Santa Cruz. “We are delighted that the Historical Society is presenting this unprecedented exhibition, providing the public and the thousands of fans with such an exciting overview of the band’s musical journey.”

The Grateful Dead: Now Playing at the New-York Historical Society provides unique glimpses into the political and social upheavals and artistic awakenings of the 1960s and 1970s, a tumultuous and transformative period that shaped our current cultural and political landscape, and examines how the Grateful Dead’s origin in northern California in the mid-1960s was informed by the ideology and spirit of both the Beat Generation and the burgeoning Hippie scene, including the now-legendary Acid Tests. The exhibition also explores how the band’s refusal to follow the established rules of the record industry revealed an unexpected business savvy that led to innovations in a rapidly changing music industry, and also to a host of consumer-driven marketing enrichments that kept fans in frequent contact with the band.

Co-curated by Debra Schmidt Bach, Assistant Curator of Decorative Arts, and Nina Nazionale, Director of Library Operations at the New-York Historical Society, the exhibition will be organized thematically, beginning with an examination of the Grateful Dead’s early days in the Bay Area and its first performance in New York City. Other major exhibition themes include the band’s musical artistry, the business of the Grateful Dead, and the band’s special relationship with its fans.

Materials in the exhibition will be drawn almost exclusively from the extraordinary holdings of the Grateful Dead Archive, established in 2008, along with a small number of objects on loan from Grateful Dead Productions and private collectors. A series of public programs will complement the exhibition.

About the Grateful Dead Archive

The Grateful Dead Archive, housed at the University of California at Santa Cruz, University Library, represents one of the most significant popular cultural collections of the 20th Century. It documents the Dead’s incredible creative activity and influence in contemporary music history from 1965 to 1995, including the phenomena of the Deadheads, the band’s extensive network of devoted fans, and the band’s highly unusual and successful musical business ventures.

The Archive contains original documents, clippings, media, article and other publications about the Dead and its individual members, its tours and performances, productions, and business. Among the resources that will be invaluable for researchers are show files, programs, newsletters, posters, cover art, photographs, tickets and stickers. These artifacts document three decades of the band’s recordings and its performance of thousands of concerts. A collection of stage props, tour exhibit material, and, of course, tee-shirts gives dimension and visual impact to the collection. An unusual feature of the Archive will be the correspondence and art contributed over the years by supportive Deadheads and held as very important by the Dead.

The Archive, when processed, will be widely and freely accessible to fans and scholars It will be housed on the UCSC campus, and material from it will be prominently displayed and available for listening, viewing, and research in a dedicated Grateful Dead room located in UCSC’s new and renovated McHenry Library.

It is expected to take two years to process the Archive; parts of the collections will be debuted in stages as processing progresses. Material in the Archive will be physically preserved, its content described in detail in an electronically available finding aid, and digital copies, when appropriate, will be offered for viewing and listening from a UCSC Grateful Dead web site.

Photo: Amalie Rothschild, Fillmore East Marquee, December 1969. Special Collections, University of California, Santa Cruz. Grateful Dead Archive. Provided.

North Creek: Songs and Stories of Loggers, Miners

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Begin the New Year with an afternoon of engaging tunes and tales. Join the staff of the Adirondack Museum for “Working for the Man: Songs and Stories of Adirondack Lumberjacks and Miners.” The special program will be held at the Tannery Pond Community Center in North Creek, New York on Sunday, January 10, 2010 at 3:30 p.m. There will be no charge for museum members and children of elementary school age or younger. The fee for non-members is $5.00.

The historic work of loggers and miners was framed by dangerous conditions, back breaking work, long hours, and low pay. Although daily life was hard and often heartbreaking, it was also filled with music, laughter, stories, and strong community ties.

“Working for the Man” will feature musician Lee Knight singing traditional ballads of logging, mining, and rural life. Museum Educator Christine Campeau will join Knight to share historic photographs, artifacts from museum collections, and stories of work, family, and life in Adirondack logging and mining communities.

Born in the Adirondacks, Lee Knight now lives in Cashiers, North Carolina. He is a singer, storyteller, song collector, and teacher of folklore, folk life, and folk music. He performs regularly at concerts, folk festivals, and summer camps, where he tells stories, sings ballads, and calls dances. He has appeared with Pete Seeger, Jean Ritchie, Bill Monroe, Alan Lomax, and many others. He will play traditional hand-made instruments.

Following the program, Lee Knight will perform at the Copperfield Inn from 4:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Photo: Ruby Mountain Mine, North River Garnet Company. Collection of the Adirondack Museum.

Who Shot Rock And Roll Photography Exhibit Opens

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Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present, which will run from October 30, 2009–January 31, 2010 at the Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing, 5th Floor of the Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Parkway) features more than 175 works by 105 photographers, including many rare and never-before-exhibited photographs, that gave the music its visual identity. The exhibit is being billed as the first major museum exhibition on rock and roll to put photographers in the foreground, acknowledging their creative and collaborative role in the history of rock music. From its earliest days, rock and roll was captured in photographs that personalized, and frequently eroticized, the musicians, creating a visual identity for the genre.

The photographers were handmaidens to the rock-and-roll revolution, and their images communicate the social and cultural transformations that rock has fostered since the1950s. The exhibition is in six sections: rare and revealing images taken behind the scenes; tender snapshots of young musicians at the beginnings of their careers; exhilarating photographs of live performances that display the energy, passion, style, and sex appeal of the band on stage; powerful images of the crowds and fans that are often evocative of historic paintings; portraits revealing the soul and creativity, rather than the surface and celebrity, of the musicians; and conceptual images and album covers highlighting the collaborative efforts between the image makers and the musicians.

Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present is organized by the Brooklyn Museum with guest curator Gail Buckland.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated book by Gail Buckland titled Who Shot Rock and Roll: A Photographic History, 1955-Present, published by Alfred A. Knopf, with support from the Universal Music Group.

Photo: Henry Diltz (American, b. 1938). Tina Turner, Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles (detail), October 1985. Chromogenic print. © Henry Diltz

Dutch Concerts to Benefit Crailo Historic Site

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On Sunday June 7 and Sunday June 14, specially researched and custom designed Dutch concerts will be performed by two different musicians groups at the First Presbyterian Church at 38 Broadway in the city of Rensselaer at 3pm. The public is invited to take part and enjoy one very high style concert and, in contrast, one concert for the common folk. The concerts will benefit the Crailo Historic Site.

The first on Sunday June 7 features classical Dutch music of the Golden Age. Musicians of Ma’alwyck perform this Dutch repertoire on clavichord, traverso flute, cello, and violin-instruments popular in the first half of the seventeenth century. Director of Musicians of Ma’alwyck, music historian and virtuoso, Ann-Marie Barker Schwartz has researched and arranged a program fit for the Dutch wealthy middle
and upper classes of the first half of the seventeenth century. The popular regional musical group researched documents at Yale and in the Netherlands in order to present this concert.

The Bells and Motley Consort of Olden Music presents the second concert steeped in seventeenth folk tradition from the Netherlands and Flanders which will be held on Sunday June 14. John and Sondra Bromka, the musical couple that make up this distinctive group, have lived in the Dutch and Belgian countryside studying and teaching music of an earlier time. The instruments used in all of Bells and Motley’s performances are antique or created as authentic reproductions of early musical instruments. John has made many of the instruments himself and audience
members will be introduced to a different look and sound of music–a look and sound enjoyed by the common person of Holland and Flanders in the 1600s.

Gauging from the multitude of paintings depicting Netherlandish culture, music and dance was an important part of life in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, from rollicking village peasants on upwards. In truth, no part of Europe offers better documentation of the arts of musical pastime than the Netherlands during these years, thanks to the skilled and ambitious painters, musical publishers, and composers of this region. Artists’ images leave such a rich legacy of vivid musical scenes that we can almost hear the paintings come to life, be it a village celebration with festive bagpipes, or an intimate indoor scene including the gentle lute.

Crailo State Historic Site will add ambiance to the musical events by offering images of select Dutch paintings and staff members in historic costume.

These concerts are offered as a historic musical experience and to help ring in the Quadricentennial Commemoration and the upcoming permanent exhibit debut of A Sweet and Alien Land: Colony of the Dutch in the Hudson River Valley at Crailo State Historic Site on July 4 and 5 from 11am to 5pm.

Both concerts will be held at 3pm at the First Presbyterian Church at 38 Broadway just a block north of Crailo. Concert goers are invited to the lawns at Crailo following the concert for a reception of Dutch and Flemish cheeses, mustards and pretzels. Drinks will also be served. We plan to offer a sneak preview of Crailo’s very special Marketplace Museum Shop during the receptions.

Tickets are $22.50 per person per concert or just $17.50 per person per concert if purchasing the series. Child tickets are $12.00 each. Checks may be made out to Friends of Fort Crailo and receipt of your check secures your place at the concert or concerts. Checks may be mailed to Friends of Fort Crailo, 9 ½ Riverside Avenue, Rensselaer, NY 12144. For more information please contact Crailo at 518-463-8738.

Friends of Fort Crailo is a not-for-profit educational organization that supports the research and interpretive projects at Crailo State Historic Site. Crailo State Historic Site is one of 35 state historic sites and 176 state parks administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. For further information about New York State Parks and Historic Sites, go to www.nysparks.com.

Folk Concert to Benefit NY Folklore Society, May 29

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Witch tales from Otsego County. The famed Binghamton spiedie sandwich. Irish ballads sung in New York City. African-American spoken word genres. North Country quilting. The work rituals of Saratoga racetrack workers. What do all of these have in common? These are a few of the rich and varied traditions of New York State, which the New York Folklore Society has been documenting and helping to preserve since 1944.

To help celebrate sixty-five years of the Society’s work, and to coincide with the release of the latest issue of Voices, the Society’s bi-annual journal, the New York Folklore Society announces “Voices: Roots & Branches of New York Folk Music”, a benefit concert to be held on Friday, May 29, 2009 in Schenectady, New York at 7 p.m.

Featured performers include Joe Bruchac, Abenaki storyteller and flute player and his son Jesse Bruchac; Adirondack singer/songwriter Dan Berggren; multi-instrumentalist John Kirk and Cedar Stanistreet; ballad singer Colleen Cleveland; Sengalese drummer and dancer Fode Sissoko; and performer/interpreters Kim and Reggie Harris. The concert will be held at Proctor’s Theatre, 432 State Street, in Schenectady, NY.

A Reception/Meet the Artists party will precede the concert at 5:30 p.m. in the Robb Alley at Proctors. The concert begins at 7 p.m. (Reception and Concert: $41.50, Concert only: $21.50). All proceeds will benefit the New York Folklore Society, a service organization dedicated to the study, promotion, and continuation of New York’s diverse folklore and folklife. Tickets are available through the New York Folklore Society, at 518-346-7008, or at http://www.proctors.org/events. A portion of the ticket price is tax deductible.

Songs and Stories of Adirondack Lumberjacks and Miners

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Begin the New Year with an afternoon of engaging tunes and tales. Join the staff of the Adirondack Museum for “Working for the Man: Songs and Stories of Adirondack Lumberjacks and Miners.” The special program will be held at the Tannery Pond Community Center in North Creek, (Warren County) on Sunday, January 10, 2010 at 3:30 p.m. There will be no charge for museum members and children of elementary school age or younger. The fee for non-members is $5.00.

The historic work of loggers and miners was framed by dangerous conditions, back breaking work, long hours, and low pay. Although daily life was hard and often heartbreaking, it was also filled with music, laughter, stories, and strong community ties.

“Working for the Man” will feature musician Lee Knight singing traditional ballads of logging, mining, and rural life. Museum Educator Christine Campeau will join Knight to share historic photographs, artifacts from museum collections, and stories of work, family, and life in Adirondack logging and mining communities.

Born in the Adirondacks, Lee Knight now lives in Cashiers, North Carolina. He is a singer, storyteller, song collector, and teacher of folklore, folk life, and folk music. He performs regularly at concerts, folk festivals, and summer camps, where he tells stories, sings ballads, and calls dances. He has appeared with Pete Seeger, Jean Ritchie, Bill Monroe, Alan Lomax, and many others. He will play traditional hand-made instruments.

Following the program, Lee Knight will perform at the Copperfield Inn from 4:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Extend the afternoon and make it a party! Join friends and neighbors to enjoy good music and sample food and drink specials offered by the Copperfield.

Photo: Ruby Mountain Mine, North River Garnet Company. Collection of the Adirondack Museum.

Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Annex Opens Today

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Starting today, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s New York Annex will open its doors for a preview; the Annex will open officially December 2nd. Daily News Music Critic Jim Farber had an interesting piece this past weekend that included an online sneak preview of the exhibits and some details about the new museum.

Occupying 25,000 square feet at 76 Mercer St. in SoHo, the Annex takes up one-fourth as much space as the Ohio-based museum, though the new outlet charges four dollars more for entry: $26, to Cleveland’s $22… Upon arriving, visitors receive high-end headsets, designed by Sennheiser, which blast songs keyed to wherever you stand. Position yourself in front of a Bob Gruen photo of Freddie Mercury, and a Queen song pours forth. Stand by Bruce Springsteen’s 1957 Chevy, and you hear car songs by the Boss.

Six distinct galleries make up the $9 million structure. They’re divided into categories, like “Roots & Influences,” which traces sounds that connect — say, Billie Holiday to Amy Winehouse. Another more loosely defined gallery calls itself “Moments to Movements” and features things like Madonna’s Gaultier bustier. Naturally, there’s a significant “Guitar Hero” section, complete with Jimi Hendrix’s fading, handwritten lyrics to “Purple Haze” and Angus Young’s crushed- velvet schoolboy suit. A “Poets” section contains some of the Annex’s rarest artifacts, including a never-before-heard 1961 recording of Bob Dylan
playing a private show in the Village.

To suit its setting, the Annex devotes major space to New York rock. Besides the CBGB installation, it boasts wigs sported by Debbie Harry and turntables used by Grandmaster Flash. A handbill from the Fillmore East advertises a show any classic-rock fan would kill to have seen: Traffic, Fairport Convention and Mott the Hoople playing the East Village venue in June 1970.

Highlighting the New York section is a 26-foot scale model of Manhattan. It’s lit up in 24 places that mark key locations in rock history, ranging from the site of the Mudd Club to the St. Marks Place building pictured on the cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Physical Graffiti.” Touchscreens tell the history of each site.

Special exhibits will rotate every six months. This first will be about the British Punk group The Clash.

If you sign up at rockannex.com you’ll have an opportunity to win tickets to a private preview night on December 1st.

Historic Central Park Concert Numbers Questioned

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The historical memory of recent Central Park concerts has been called into question in a recent New York Times article. Apparently the great concerts of central park weren’t so great after all, at least in terms of attendence numbers.

Here is an official history of attendance at great public gatherings in Central Park: James Taylor played in Central Park’s Sheep Meadow in the summer of 1979, and officials announced that 250,000 people came. A year later, Elton John performed on the Great Lawn, and the authorities said he drew 300,000 people. Then Simon and Garfunkel performed in September 1981, and city officials and organizers reported that 400,000 people had packed into the park. Ten years later, it was announced that Paul Simon drew 600,000. The biggest concert of all, it seems, was by Garth Brooks, on Aug. 7, 1997, at the North Meadow, with a reported attendance of 750,000 people.

This month’s Bon Jovi concert was actually counted and seems to have put serious doubt in these numbers.

Bon Jovi played on the Great Lawn, and the city’s official head count came to 48,538 people — a number tallied by parks workers with clickers at the entryways to the lawn. This total includes only the people admitted to the 13-acre oval that makes up the Great Lawn, and not any of those gathered in the walkways and swaths of ground to the east and west of the lawn.

Still, the Bon Jovi crowd was a fraction of the colossal throngs that are part of the city’s collective mythic memory. If fewer than 50,000 people were able to fill the oval, how could a half million more people get anywhere near the Paul Simon concert held in the same space?

Apparently, they didn’t. Former city parks administrator Doug Blonsky explained the previous numbers like this: “You would get in a room with the producer, with a police official, and a person from parks, and someone would say, ‘What does it look like to you?’ The producer would say, ‘I need it to be higher than the last one.’ That’s the kind of science that went into it.”

The record corrected?

Treasure Trove of Vinyl Heads to Syracuse

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The New York Times is reporting that some quarter-of-a-million 78 records (one of the worlds largest collections of 78s) from the New York City vintage gramophone record shop Records Revisited will be headed to Syracuse University’s Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive:

Records Revisited was packed floor-to-ceiling with discs of a vintage and variety that drew a steady stream of record buffs to 34 West 33rd Street. The shop, more like an archive than a store, held approximately 60 tons of swing, big band jazz and other styles on vinyl, forming one of the largest collections of 78s in the world.

The shop has been closed since Mr. Savada’s death in February. Last Thursday, his son, Elias Savada, was poring over a cardboard box, one of 1,300 being filled with records and put on waiting trucks. The collection will be sent to Syracuse University’s Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive, which will now have the second-largest collection of 78s in the United States, after the Library of Congress, university officials said…

The Syracuse University archivists couldn’t be more pleased with the obscure records arriving in numbered boxes. Not only is there a huge swing collection, but also recordings of country, blues, gospel, polka, folk and Broadway tunes. Suzanne Thorin, the university’s dean of libraries, said the truckloads of Mr. Savada’s records — at least, the tiny percentage sampled so far — has revealed fascinating auditory treasures, including Carl Sandburg reading his own poetry while accompanying himself on the guitar, and Hazel Scott, the pianist and singer. There are also many rare recordings preserved only on V-Disc records produced for American military personnel overseas in the 1940s.

Strange Maps to Strange Ideas

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One of the blogs we follow here at the New York History Blog, is Strange Maps, a blog of some of the weirdest, wackiest, and thought provoking maps in the world. Here is are some samples of some recent posts you may not have seen, they are not all New York History related, but they do point to unique uses of mapping that NY historians can appreciate:

Federal Lands in the US
The United States government has direct ownership of almost 650 million acres of land (2.63 million square kilometers) – nearly30% of its total territory. These federal lands, which are mainly used as military bases or testing grounds, nature parks and reserves and indian reservations, are managed by different administrations, such as the Bureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the US Department of Defense, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Bureau of Reclamation or the Tennessee Valley Authority. [New York is tied with Iowa for 2nd from last at .8%; Connecticut and Rhode Island are tied for last with just .4% – of course they don’t count New York’s state lands (Adirondack, Catskills, and more), so the map is not really reflective of actual government ownership.]

Where News Breaks

Researchers extracted the dateline from about 72,000 wire-service news stories from 1994 to 1998 and modified a standard map of the Lower 48 US states (above) to show the size of the states in proportion to the frequency of their appearance in those datelines. New York is the largest news provider of the country, of course nearly all originating in New York City (pop. 8.2 million; metro area 18.8 million). Compare this to Illinois, home of the the nation’s third largest city, Chicago (pop. 2.8 million; metro area 9.5 million). Especially when considering metropolitan areas, Chicago/Illinois should be half the ‘news size’ of New York City/New York, while in fact it seems to be less than one fifth. Could this underrepresentation be down to another ‘capital effect’ (i.e. New York being the ‘cultural capital’ of the US)?

Area Codes in Which Ludacris Claims to Have Hoes
“In [the song “Area Codes”] Ludacris brags about the area codes where he knows women, whom he refers to as ‘hoes’,” says Stefanie Gray, who plotted out all the area codes mentioned in this song on a map of the United States. She arrived at some interesting conclusions as to the locations of this rapper’s preferred female companionship:

Ludacris heavily favors the East Coast to the West, save for Seattle, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Las Vegas.

Ludacris travels frequently along the Boswash corridor.

There is a ‘ho belt‘ phenomenon nearly synonymous with the ‘Bible Belt’.

Ludacris’s ideal ‘ho-highway’ would be I-95.

Ludacris has hoes in the entire state of Maryland.

Ludacris has a disproportionate ho-zone in rural Nebraska. He might favor white women as much as he does black women, or perhaps, girls who farm.

A World Map of Manhattan
This map celebrates that diversity by assembling Manhattan out of the contours of many of the world’s countries. Danielle Hartman created the map based on data from the 2000 US Census. In all, 80 different countries of origin were listed in the census. The map-maker placed the country contours near the census area where most of the citizens of each country resided.

The Comancheria, Lost Homeland of a Warrior Tribe
Under the presidency of Sam Houston (1836-’38, 1841-’44) the then independent Republic of Texas almost came to a peace agreement with the tribal collective known as the Comanche. The Texas legislature rejected this deal, because it did not want to establish a definitive border with the Comanche; for by that time, white settlers were pushing into the Comancheria, the homeland of one of the most fearsome Native American peoples the Euro-Americans ever had to deal with.

Thomas Jefferson’s Plan for the division of the Northwest Territory into 10 new states.

Regionalism and Religiosity

A Map of the Internet’s Black Holes

A Diagram of the Eisenhower Interstate System

Birthplaces of Mississippi Blues Artists

Ancient Mississippi River Courses