Posts Tagged ‘music’

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Benny Rolfe: ‘World’s Greatest’ Trumpeter

4A  BARolfeHatIn 1918, pioneer of silent films Benny Rolfe left Metro Pictures (later MGM) and formed his own Rolfe Productions, quickly scoring a coup by signing Harry Houdini to a film contract. The hugely popular escape artist was featured by Benny in The Master Mystery, a “super-serial” produced in fifteen parts. After viewing the first installment, Billboard reported: “This enthralling picture will be followed eagerly from week to week and will draw like a house afire. Has unlimited advertising possibilities. Grab it quick.”

The business appeared to be flourishing, but cash flow was becoming a problem. Rolfe’s extravagant productions were expensive, and the battle against other companies to secure actors resulted in costly bids for their services. Benny was losing money, forcing the reduction of an ambitious schedule that had led to the completion of more than fifty films. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas in Essex, Where Santa Arrives By Ferry

TaylorHaskins_newThere are many ways to spend the holidays, or those few frantic weeks just before, that truly ring in the year with quaint Adirondack charm. Schroon Lake’s Olde Tyme Christmas, Lake Placid’s Holiday Stroll and Christmas in Essex are just three celebrations that are prepared to make everyone’s countdown to Christmas just a little more merry.

Though Friday nights do hold a few scheduled happenings, the main events take place over the weekend for most locations. According to Christmas in Essex Co-Organizer Kenneth Hughes, this year’s festival on December 13th is a mixture of traditional activities and new events.

“Christmas in Essex has been happening for at least 20 years so we have the traditional activities people look forward to, like the Reindeer Run and Pancake Breakfast, but we added some things that are brand new. This is the first year that I’ve been an organizer,” says Hughes. “My other Co-Organizer is Susie Smith.” » Continue Reading.



Monday, December 8, 2014

Benny Rolfe of Brasher Falls: Pioneer of Silent Films

3A RolfeHdlineJolsonIn early 1910, Benny Rolfe‘s latest vaudeville release, The Rolfonians, received high praise from the New York Dramatic Mirror. “B. A Rolfe has given vaudeville several entertaining productions, but his latest, which be has named after himself, and in which he appears, is the best he has yet turned out. The Rolfonians is novel if nothing else, while it is decidedly refined and of a truly high-class order.… Mr. Rolfe is to be sincerely congratulated. The Rolfonians is … so admirably staged, and so entirely harmonious from a musical viewpoint, that it will undoubtedly become one of vaudeville’s most sought for acts.” » Continue Reading.



Monday, December 1, 2014

Vaudeville Star Benny Rolfe of Brasher Falls

2A BARolfeBandHatIn April 1900, the 24-piece Brasher Falls Military Band was organized, with Benny Rolfe as leader. He also served as manager of the Rolfe family business. Life was looking pretty good for the Boy Trumpet Wonder of Brasher Falls.

Within a month, he received an offer of $30 a week ($860 in 2014) to lead the famous military band of Lowville, about 100 miles southwest of Brasher Falls. For the time being, Benny remained in his hometown, performing locally, playing solos in appearances with area town and city bands, and perfecting the laundry business.

But in early January 1901, it was announced that Benny had purchased the Lowville Steam Laundry, and would soon become the leader of Lowville’s popular band. What’s more, his father, mother, and Nellie Morse were all accompanying him and would be welcome additions to the band. After moving some laundry equipment to Lowville, Benny sold the Brasher Falls business and completed the move in April, becoming the most famous bandleader in Lewis County at the grand old age of 21. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Benny Rolfe: Boy Trumpet Wonder of Brasher Falls

1A BARolfe01The community of Brasher Falls, located on the St. Regis River in northern St. Lawrence County, can be described as “in the middle of nowhere,” defined here as about halfway between Potsdam and Hogansburg. No insult intended. Remoteness, after all, is a desirable attribute for many North Country folks, and at just a couple miles north of Route 11, it’s not really the boondocks. It’s a small community, and in 1880 had a population of about 240, making it all the more remarkable that a nationally famous musician and a true pioneer of vaudeville, movies, and radio is a Brasher Falls native.

Benjamin Albert Rolfe was born on October 24, 1879, to Albert Benjamin and Emma (Ballard) Rolfe. Both of his parents were interested in the performing arts, taking part in local theater productions. Both were also musically inclined, providing entertainment regionally as Rolfe’s Full Orchestra, and introducing their young son to the joys of playing musical instruments. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bluegrass Jam Features Sam Bush, Del McCoury

bluegrass-01-01The first-ever Lake Placid Bluegrass Jam will be held on Saturday, October 25th, in the 1932 Rink at the Olympic Center, and discounted pre-sale tickets are available now.

Co-headliners are Grammy winners Sam Bush and The Del McCoury Band. Sam Bush, a bluegrass mandolin player, is considered an originator of the Newgrass style. He has taken home Grammys for Album of the Year, Best Country Performance by a Duo and Best Pop Instrumental Performance. The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) has named Sam Bush Mandolin Player of the Year four times in 1990, 1991, 1992, and 2007. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mudd Club Meets Bird Land At Lake George Jazz Weekend

Jazz RecordRaymond Scott, the electronic music pioneer, composer of film scores and classic cartoon music as well as jazz suites for big bands, and whose music will be performed at this year’s Lake George Jazz Weekend, is said to have been one of most lasting influences upon downtown, avant-garde rock composer John Zorn.

As it happens, some of the musicians who have played and recorded with Zorn and his shifting collective of jazz, rock and classical performers will also be at this year’s festival, which will be held September 13 and 14 in Shepard Park.

They include trumpeter Steve Bernstein, who has put together a combo called SexMob to play the music of Nino Rota, the composer who scored Fellini’s most famous films, and drummer Billy Martin, who replaced Anton Fier as the percussionist in the legendary Lounge Lizards. » Continue Reading.



Friday, August 29, 2014

HoboFest And Farm2Fork: Fresh Food, Fresh Music in SL

HoboFestThe term hobo means different things to different people conjuring up images of the Depression, freight jumping, and an independent spirit. For my family it brings up my grandfather’s stories as an orphaned runaway immigrant living on the streets of Brooklyn. His stories were colorful and glossed over a hard street life. After spending a brief time on the rails, he lied about his age to join the military where he would recall the first time he ate a meal until he was full. Years later he was able help others and always fed anyone that passed by or knocked on the door.

With Farm2Fork and the HoboFest, Labor Day weekend in Saranac Lake brings together three elements that my grandfather would love: fresh food, music and railroads. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Ermina Pincombe: When Music (Like Food) Was Local

Ermina PincombeI’ve learned so much about the history and culture of my state (NY) and local communities in which I reside (Buffalo NY and Piercefield NY in the Adirondack Mountains) through the traditional music of these places.

Similarly, my interest in local and state history has informed my understanding and appreciation of the music of our forebears. Before mass media came into the home, you got your music as you got your food – from someplace local, mostly. The newspaper, perhaps. Travelling shows, yes. But also from people in your community. Family members, neighbors, coworkers. What did they sing about? And what can those long-forgotten songs tell us about a community? » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Free Lake George Music Festival A Big Hit

LGMF pictureFor the fourth year the Lake George Music Festival is providing guests and residents live concerts, workshops and outreach events throughout the Lake George community this August 14-21.

According to Lake George Music Festival President Alexander Lombard there will be a variety of events over the August 14-21 festival. This year Lombard has brought in over 70 young professional musicians to participate in the open rehearsals, chamber concerts and workshops around Lake George. In addition there are new activities such as a formal collaboration at The Sembrich in Bolton Landing on August 16 and a late (9-11 pm) casual show at the Lake George Boathouse Restaurant on the 18th. » Continue Reading.



Friday, August 8, 2014

RondeauFest Scheduled For August 16th

Sons of Octomom 4The Town of Long Lake has announced the line up for the 3rd Annual RondeauFest Summer Music Event. The roster of acts include Alex Smith and the Mountain Sound, Terry Chaiken, Fade to Blues, Dogtown Cadillac and the Sons of Octomom. These regional Adirondack musicians will showcase a variety of music from rock, blues, country, mountain surf and folk. The event will be held August 16th from 4 to 10 pm at the Mt. Sabattis Pavilion in Long Lake.

Jennifer Raymond, formerly of Decadence, is the lead singer and band leader of Dogtown Cadillac. Jennifer calls Schroon Lake her hometown and country music her first love. Dogtown Cadillac features Tim Howe, Dickie Ogden and Archie Anderson from the South Glens Falls, and Albany area. » Continue Reading.



Monday, July 14, 2014

Sandra Hildreth: Our History In Art And Music

redTo understand how America was made, one need only go back and look at what people created, their responses to the events and environments they lived in. There are currently two unique opportunities available that will take you back to other times in very different ways. Both are based on things that occurred around 60 years ago – one building on centuries of songs and the other forging a path into the world of contemporary art, ironically, going on at almost the same time.

A one time opportunity to learn about our past through the arts is a performance tonight, (July 14) of “RED”, a Pendragon Theatre production that is making a one day tour to VIEW, in Old Forge. “RED”, a Tony award winning play by John Logan, is a two-person performance that brings you into the 1950’s world of Abstract Expressionism in New York City. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Lake Placid Blues and Heritage Festival This Weekend

LPBluesFestJune 20-22, 2014 will mark the beginning of a new music experience as Lake Placid plays host to the inaugural Lake Placid Blues and Heritage Festival presented by Miller Lite.

During this first-time event, the village will sway and rock to the sounds of 20+ notable blues bands from throughout the northeastern U.S. Spread out at nearly 10 different venues.

The festival will celebrate exceptional music and the rich heritage of the Lake Placid area and include local and regional bands. Some of the local entertainment groups include Spring Street, Lucid, The Harbingers, the Back Porch Society, Sven Curth and friends, Big Slyde and Fade to Blues. Regional and national acts include The Roxy Perry Blues Band, George Boone, Rhett Tyler and Early Warning, George Kilby Jr. with special guest Barbecue Bob, Murali Coryell, Jerry Dugger, and many more. » Continue Reading.



Monday, June 9, 2014

Glens Falls Opera Star Robert Perkins: Conquering Europe

02A PerkinsDarmstadtOperaHouseAfter a month visiting with his mother in Lake George, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Perkins moved to New York City. In 1911, he was among the soloists in the first production of Quo Vadis? at the Metropolitan Opera. While working in the grand opera scene, he also studied with Sergei Klibansky, one of the world’s leading voice coaches. Perkins was among his many students who performed at the Carnegie Chamber Music Hall.

While performing nonstop for several years, Robert also studied under Bertha Frigau, a renowned language and singing instructor. American productions of foreign operas sometimes suffered through interpretation, falling short of the gold standard performed at leading venues in Germany, Italy, and elsewhere in Europe. Many American opera singers improved their work after studying under Frigau. Like some, Robert Perkins sought the most challenging venue for his new language skills: the stages of Europe. In January 1913, he and his wife sailed the Atlantic. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Westport Community Concert Series Announced

Soundwaves WestportSoundwaves: The 19th Annual Westport Community Concert Series on the shores of Lake Champlain at Ballard Park in Westport, NY, will be held on Thursday evenings at 7:30 from July 3rd to August 27th, 2014.

North Country resident and veteran Jazz trumpeter Taylor Haskins is serving as curator and organizer for this year’s event, taking over after the community lost state funding for the events. » Continue Reading.



Monday, June 2, 2014

Robert Henry Perkins: Opera Star from Glens Falls

01A RPerkinsImagine the drama of the moment: in a courtroom, Edward Perkins battled against the city of Beacon, New York, desperate to win on behalf of his poor family. The charge? They had been cold-heartedly evicted from their apartment by city officials, and for several chilly, rainy June days, he had searched for new housing. Meanwhile, Edward’s wife and son suffered and his daughter fell ill, presumably from the terrible living conditions. The damages sought (in 1915) were $15,000 from the city, along with $30,000 from the police chief who had deposited all the family’s belongings on the sidewalk. The $45,000 total was equal to $1.1 million in 2014.

The squalor his family had endured was graphically described in court: “Heaps of refuse on the floor, chicken heads, pieces of bones, decayed meats, swarms of flies, and a terrific odor. In another room, live chickens were kept.” There was no bathroom. Indoor residue and an outdoor pile revealed that the slop bucket had been routinely dumped from a window.

When Edward’s testimony ended, the court called Mrs. Perkins to the stand, and that’s when it happened: simultaneously, two women stood. It was the stuff of future movies, but this was reality. Confusion reigned, and Perkins’ wife of several years, the mother of his two children, appeared bewildered. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Adirondack Community Outreach Center Benefit Concert

adkoutreachA “Spring Fling” concert to benefit the Adirondack Community Outreach Center (ACOC) will include Dan Berggren, Carolyn Bischoff, Mike Corey, Beatriz de Mello, Jeffrey Schanzer, Bernadette Speach, Dan Studnicky and dancers, Ling Minucci and Willow Logan, all performing in a potpourri of romantic and patriotic tunes in concert, followed by a reception provided with sweet and savory treats and wine from local restaurants. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, May 15, 2014

Dan Berggren: ‘Bucket o’ Smudge’

Dan BerggrenWhen my parents would plant the garden they’d usually have a smudge burning. They’d stand near this fire of grass and green leaves and let the smoke infiltrate their clothes, hoping it would deter the black flies. And when I worked with DEC forest ranger Lawrence West, he had a novel approach to the smudge: making it in a metal fire bucket so we could carry it around as we worked in a particular area.

The tune “Bucket o’ Smudge” is in memory of Lawrence, my folks, and all who battle the bugs with smoke.

You can listen to it here: https://soundcloud.com/berggrenfolk/bucket-o-smudge



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Nelson Mandela Tribute Concert On Saturday

SK_website2Sharon Katz and The Peace Train, a four-piece band from South Africa, will perform at The Grange in Whallonsburg on Saturday, May 17 with their Afro-pop sound in a special tribute to the late South African leader Nelson Mandela who died in December.

Growing up under apartheid, Sharon Katz formed a multicultural, multilingual group in 1993. After Nelson Mandela’s release from prison and as the apartheid regime disintegrated, Katz set off by rail across the country with 150 performers, including the legendary group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.  Called “The Peace Train,” they gave concerts at every stop, promoting an end to violence and a peaceful transition to democracy.  In 1994, she was commissioned by the Independent Electoral Commission to write songs in many of South Africa’s languages to support the first free election in the new nation. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, May 1, 2014

Pete Seeger Tribute Planned For Saranac Lake

Dona-Crawford-autunm_040The 3rd Annual Earth Care Coffeehouse in Saranac Lake will feature the music of Pete Seeger (who died this year at age 94) and will raise funds for the Hudson Sloop Clearwater and the environmental education programs Seeger helped to found over 45 years ago. This Saturday, May 3rd at 7:00 pm, in the Saranac Lake Presbyterian Church Great Hall, local musicians will celebrate Pete Seeger’s life and vision in a free event.

Each performer will lead songs that Pete Seeger sang and play original music based in the folk tradition. Musicians include: Alex Smith, Mason Smith, Curt Stager, Celia Evans, George Bailey, Duane Gould, Keith Gorgas, Nancy Bernstein, Lisa Meissner, Alex Markland and friends, and teenage fiddler Dana Holmland. Storyteller Karen Glass will share a Seeger favorite – Abi Yo Yo. » Continue Reading.



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