Posts Tagged ‘Saranac Lake’

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

WWI Exhibit to Be Open Free on Veterans Day

Tomorrow, November 11, Historic Saranac Lake will open its exhibit on World War I in Saranac Lake to the public 2 – 4 p.m. to commemorate Veterans Day. The community is invited to a free viewing in the John Black Room of the Saranac Laboratory at 89 Church Street. Light refreshments will be served.

Following is a press release from Historic Saranac Lake describing the origins of Veterans Day:

Veterans Day marks the date of the armistice between the Allied nations and Germany. On this date in 1918, WWI, the “War to end all wars” finally came to end. It was a war that took the lives of over 9 million military men, and left an indelible mark on the Village of Saranac Lake. Almost 300 residents of Saranac Lake served in some capacity in World War I.

The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words (quoted from the website of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs).

“Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

“Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

“Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday:

“Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.”

Photo: WWI officer John Baxter Black, provided to Historic Saranac Lake by his family.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

History Channel to Feature Saranac WWII Veteran

A History Channel documentary will feature an Adirondack veteran of World War Two: Archie Sweeney of Saranac Lake. The 10-hour series WWII in HD, which will air over over five consecutive nights from Sunday through Thursday, November 15-19 will be narrated by Gary Sinise.

Archie Sweeney was a resident of Saranac Lake Village (where one of his sisters still lives; another lives in Glens Falls), who came to the series late in production according to Larry Miller, who did research and character development for most of the men and women in the series. “I had finished preliminary work for six characters when I got a call from the producer who told me that they wanted a character who was killed early in the war, preferably in North Africa,” Miller told me. “That was going to be a problem for several reasons. Men who died early in the war had very little time to write letters or diaries so there would probably be very little material to work with. There would be no oral histories recorded and obviously no book written.”

What Miller hoped to find was a man who had surviving family members and who had saved information relating to his experiences. “Almost immediately, my thoughts turned to the Adirondacks,” Miller says. “My chances to find surviving relatives were better if I could find someone from a small town rather than, for example, Manhattan. These families were, at the time, less mobile than those from larger cities. A side benefit would be that I could work and be in the Adirondacks simultaneously.”

Miller began his search by reading the casualty lists published in the New York Times where he found three men from the Adirondack region who had been killed in action in North Africa. A search of their obituaries told Miller that two of the men were survived by only their parents – the third was Archie Sweeney, whose several siblings survived the war. “After several months of researching newspapers, public records, service records and interviewing his surviving relatives, I had gathered enough information about the young man to write a narrative of his short life and brave death,” Miller said.

Larry Miller sent the short biography he wrote about Archie Sweeney to the Almanack. Here it is in its entirety:

Corporal Archie Sweeney was twenty one years old when he graduated from Saranac Lake High School in Saranac Lake, New York. He was not their best student. Once he teasingly told his two little sisters that when you did well in high school they used the word “flunked”, so when he came home one day and told his mother that he had flunked math, the girls greeted him with hugs and congratulated him.

“Polite” was the term most often attached to his name. It helps to be polite when you share your living space with eight brothers and sisters. And it becomes a survival skill when you are separated from your family, Archie to one relative and his two younger sisters to another, because your mother has died and your father is too ill to care for you. (His mother died from cancer and his father has a broken neck that he sustained while digging trenches along the roadside. After his accident, he spent many months in a body case.)

At the time of her death, Archie was working two jobs and attending high school. He loved his days spent on his father’s farm in Lawrenceville, a tiny village in upstate New York almost as much as the times he and his brothers spent at their dad’s hunting camp Floodwood, a speck on the map located in the Adirondack Mountains, where they hunted and fished during the fall and winter when the farming was idle. It was during those frigid winters that his sisters remember Archie bundling them up, seating them in a sleigh, hitching the horse up and driving them to church.

When the war broke out, Archie was the first young man whose number was called in the draft lottery held in nearby Lake Placid. But Archie has enlisted the previous day. On New Years Day, 1941, he told his older brother that this was a good way to start the year. It was time to move on; to see what life had in store for him. Two days later he walked to Lake Placid a few miles away, to report for his physical.

He took a train, the first time he had ever been on one, to Fort Bragg, N.C. where his politeness was put to the test training with the 39th Infantry, 9th Division.

By the middle of March, he had been assigned to Company H and proudly sent his company photograph home. There he stood, right next to the company flag, all 5’ 11”, 145 pounds of him, standing ram-rod straight and looking quite serious.

Early that summer, Archie returned home and stayed at the farm. One of his sisters took a snapshot of him standing proudly in front of their barn. That evening, as she was preparing for bed, she saw Archie, standing as comfortably as if he had been sitting, watching as the sun set. “What are you looking at?” she asked. “I’m just looking. I don’t know if I’ll ever see this again.”

On 25 September 1942 the 39th, the Fighting Falcons, boarded 5 ships and sailed out of New York harbor. On the 6th of October 1942 and about 4,000 miles later, the convoy dropped anchor in Belfast Harbor. The 39th moved to Scotland and awaited the departure of the 47th and 60th Infantry Regiments from the US and their first D-Day.

The 9th Infantry Division saw its first combat in the North African invasion when its elements landed at Algeria in Ain-Taya 15 miles east of the city of Algeria on November 8, 1942. Moving swiftly the 39th defeated the Vichy-French troops and had the city surrounded.

The next three months were spent guarding communications lines along their front.

Company B picked up a new rifle platoon leader during this period, Lieutenant Charles Scheffel.

The war was not going well. The Germans were retreating but we couldn’t face Rommel’s tanks with our big guns. The units that tried that at Kasserine Pass suffered a devastating defeat.

The U.S. plan involved the U.S. 1st and 9th Infantry Divisions, to occupy the hills on opposite sides of the El Guettar Pass which would enable the armored troops to pass through the valley without being fired on from its flanks. This force attacked Hill 369 on the afternoon of 30 March but ran into mines and anti-tank fire, losing 5 tanks. The tanks were removed, and the 1st and 9th attacked again the next day at 06:00, moving up and taking several hundred prisoners. However an Italian counterattack drove them back from their newly gained positions, and by 12:45 they were back where they started with the loss of 9 tanks and 2 tank destroyers. A further attempt the next day on 1 April also failed, after barely getting started.

Captain Scheffel recalled that, “On March 27, 1943, my first wedding anniversary, I took out Ruth’s picture and wished I was back in Enid. I kept thinking what a shitty place to spend an anniversary. At least we weren’t fired on during the first night, and for that, I was grateful.”

On April 1, Archie was writing a letter home. “It’s very quite here this evening. I think the war may be coming to an end.” [see p 7 of my notes-when the skirmish occurred a few days later.]

His older brother, Harold, received a telegram on May 8th, 1943 informing him that Archie was “Missing in Action”. Two days later an Army chaplain arrived at his door to tell them that Archie had been killed the same evening he wrote his letter.

He was twenty five years old; the first Saranac Lake Village soldier to die in action.

Photo: Saranac Lake’s Archie Sweeney during World War Two. Photo provided.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sea Serpents in the Adirondacks? You Bet!

Scandinavian folklore has described eskers as being formed by large sea serpents crawling inland to die. Celtic lore describes eskers as being formed by monks carrying baskets of sand inland from the sea as a form of penitence. What are eskers?

They’re glacial features that kind of look like an up side-down riverbed. As a glacier retreats, it leaves behind outwash deposits of sand, gravel, and stone that may form long, interrupted, undulating ridges. Sometimes, just like a river, they branch off and there may be two or three in a roughly parallel arrangement. Colloquially, they have been called horsebacks, hogbacks, serpent ridges, and sand dunes.

Luckily, these interesting features are commonly encountered while paddling (and carrying) in the Adirondacks. Most Adirondack eskers run in a NE to SW arc, starting near the N. Br. of the Saranac and extending to Stillwater Reservoir, with the highest concentration within the combined St. Regis/Saranac basin. Others are found in the drainages of West Canada Creek and the Schroon, Moose, Hudson, and Cedar Rivers. The Rainbow Lake esker bisects that lake; A. F. Buddington, an early geologist, says this is one of the finer examples of an esker and considers it to extend (in a discontinuous manner) for 85 miles.

There is a long discontinuous esker from Mountain Pond through Keese Mill, passing between Upper St. Regis Lake and the Spectacle Ponds, and continuing to Ochre, Fish, and Lydia Ponds in the St. Regis Canoe Area. Other very interesting eskers are found on the lower Osgood, at Massawepie Lake (you drive on the esker to get to this lake), near Hitchins Pond on the Bog River/Lows Lake trip, and along the Saranac River near its namesake village. An esker in the Five Ponds Wilderness can be paddled to (though is usually hiked to). It bisects theses ponds and, at 150 feet high, is among the tallest.

Examples of twin or double eskers are those at Rainbow and Massawepie Lakes and there are triple ridges near Jenkins Mountain and Cranberry Lake. Eskers make for great hikes. They generally support tall stands of white pines. You can often see related glacial features such as kames, kettle holes, and kettle ponds. If you’re lucky, you might also find some sea serpent scales. If you can’t find these, put on your penitent face and bring along a basket of ocean sand on your next paddling trip.

Map of the Rainbow Lake esker (to come) by A. F. Buddington, 1939-1941. Esker ridges are indicated by yellow shading. Source: Geology of the Saranac Quadrangle, New York, a 1953 New York State Museum bulletin (# 346)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene:Open Minded Mic, Songwriters, Jam Bands and "Aida"

Sarnac Lake wins for musical events this weekend. I’ll be attend every one of them. I’d also love to get to Potsdam to see Aida on the big screen.

Tonight, October 22nd:

In Saranac Lake at BluSeed Studios, open minded mic night is back. Sign up is at 7 pm and The Dust Bunnies host, starting at 7:30. This is the best open mic I’ve ever regularly attended. Musicians and attendees alike are truly supportive amidst originals, cover songs and poetry.

Friday, October 23rd:

In Saranac Lake at the Waterhole Upstairs Music Lounge, Rachel Van Slyke returns. She charmed us all this past spring with her lovely voice, solid guitar playing and haunting lyrics. Another musician I admire was riding by and actually whipped his bike around upon hearing her voice—he never got to where he was going. The song “Where I Want To Be” is a real pretty one, and I like the video that accompanies this version. She filmed most of it herself while biking around the country. According to her myspace page she starts at 6 pm.

Saturday, October 24th:

In Potsdam, the Met Live in HD is being played at the Roxy Theater and begins at 1 pm. The Verdi opera Aida is about an Ethiopian Princess who is captured and brought to Egypt as a slave. The Pharaoh’s military commander falls in love with her and must choose between his love for her and for his leader. As if this wasn’t heavy enough, the Pharaoh’s daughter is in love with him. This is one of the most popular operas in history—only La Boheme has been performed more by the Met. If you check out this link you’ll find details about fantastic meals you can get in conjunction with these performances.

In Glens Falls the band Live Without Annette is playing at the Full Moon Bar and Grill. They are a cover band that’s been voted best party band by the Post-Star for a few years in a row. You can check out some of their covers on youtube. I like their sense of humor. They start at 9:30 pm.

In Saranac Lake , celebrate Devito’s Birthday with two jam bands at the Waterhole in Saranac Lake. Jatoba and Raisinhead! The first is acoustic and the second reminiscent of the Grateful Dead, both are a lot of fun. As usual there will be a special cocktail hour at 9 pm to get everyone in the dancin’ mood, and some of the best bartenders are coming out of retirement for this special occasion.

Sunday, October 25th:

In Potsdam, The Met’s Encore presentation of “Aida” in HD is at the Roxy Theater. It will begin at 1 pm and end at 5 pm, just in time for dinner.

Photo: Rachel Van Slyke

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Adirondack Family Activities: The Pines

To us, Big Game Season means something other than hunting. I’ve never been hunting and make an active choice not to be part of the hunted. With that decision comes the autumn neon wardrobe introduction and fashion faux pas but I am doing what I can to keep my family safe. Our lovely orange vests are kept conveniently in the car so I can cloak child or dog in festive array. In the Northern Adirondacks, Big Game Season starts this Saturday (October 24) and runs through December 6th.

The first of many safe walks I’ll be posting is the 12-acre lot in the heart of Saranac Lake called The Pines. The Pines is an area dedicated to the memory of Dr. Lawrason Brown, a pioneer in tuberculosis in the late 19th Century. The 12-acre plot is owned by the Saranac Lake Voluntary Health Association (SLVHA) and was deeded in 1937 to the organization while it was still called the Saranac Lake Tuberculosis Society, Inc., hence the connection to TB and Dr. Brown. SLVHA is a not-for-profit organization established in 1897 that continues to provide healthcare initiatives and scholarships for Saranac Lake residents.

Their property, known as The Pines, consists of a network of trails and old roadways easily accessible from any of three points. The first entrance is on Pine Street diagonally across from the railroad track crossing. Entrance two and three are on Forest Hill Road and Labrador Lane, off Moody Pond.

The trails are a mild walk with the most challenging hill being the entrance on Pine Street. The Pine Street entrance is a moderate incline to a then flat open path that runs along as esker. There is no view along these wooded paths, just a beautiful trail under a canopy of trees.

Somewhere hidden in the forest is the stone foundation of an old social club. There is no trail map or marked path available, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference. Each path seems quite short, less than a ¼-mile, intersecting and weaving together. The wide, flat path is easy enough to maneuver a jogging stroller or even the toddler venturing out on his/her own.

Volunteers maintain the trails so please carry out what you carry in, even the half-full coffee cup set carefully to the side of the trail.

The Pines is open to the public, though some restrictions do apply like no camping or motorized vehicles. Please be respectful of other people’s land as private property surrounds The Pines. Please heed the No Trespassing signs. For more information contact SLVHA at 518-891-0910.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Saranac Lake Community Store Closer to Funding Goal

Last week we received word from the people behind the Saranac Lake Community Store project that a recent fundraising surge has brought investment capital to $395,000. They need to sell $500,000 worth of shares to launch the store.

If organizers don’t reach half a million by the initial offering deadline of December 17, board vice-president Gail Brill said they will apply for an extension on the offering. “We are so close,” she said in an e-mail, “and light years ahead of Greenfield, MA, which started well before we did.”

Shares cost $100 each and may be purchased by residents of New York State only. Individuals may buy up to $10,000 worth of shares. Organizers had hoped to have the store open by this summer but the economy appears to have rescheduled those expectations. When $500,000 is reached, backers will choose a location, hire staff and purchase inventory.

The business is expected to be about 5,000-square-feet, located downtown and carry department-store-type retail items not currently available in Saranac Lake. Organizers say they will ask local people what they want the store to sell. The village has been without a department store since Ames closed in 2002 but citizen groups have thwarted efforts by Wal-Mart to open a big box. Hardware and drug stores have been filling some of the retail gap.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene:Hip Hop, Blues, Modern Folk and Opera

We have a few interesting shows to choose from this weekend in the Adirondacks. I’m excited to check out Bruce Hayes in Upper Jay on Friday. His energy is so infectious I could feel it through the internet. The other event I think will be fascinating to check out is the Met Live in HD in Potsdam on Sunday. If the weather stays as it has, a few hours listening to amazing music in a movie theater sounds cozy.

Thursday October 15:

In Lake Placid at LPCA, Ball In The House is in concert at 7:30 pm. There are five singers in this vocals only band. Their studio album is tight as tight can get. You can check out the song “Trust Me” here. Students are $10 and adults $14.

Friday October 16:

In Upper Jay at The Recovery Lounge, Bruce Hayes starts at 8 pm. I listened to what I could of his music online and I really enjoyed it. An accomplished mandolin, acoustic and steel guitar player, he also has a wonderful voice. I love that he lists Jimi Hendrix and Lyle Lovett as influences.

Saturday October 17:.

In Saranac Lake Saranac Village at Will Rogers, in conjunction with Lazar Bear Productions, presents Tao Rodriguez-Seeger in concert at 7:30 pm. Pete Seeger’s grandson enjoys taking old time songs and giving them a modern twist. It’s interesting to hear electronic sounds mixed with a classic like “Sally Gooden”, which you can hear if you check out the above link. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door.

Later in Saranac Lake at the Waterhole, The Tim Heron Band starts at 10 pm. The doors open at 9 pm for cocktail hour. Brandon Devito features a special cocktail during this pre-show hour to get you in the dancing mood.

Sunday October 18:

In Potsdam at the Roxy Theater the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD is offering an encore showing of Puccini’s “Tosca” at 1 pm. The story consists of an opera star, a free-thinking painter and a sadistic police chief—just your typical love triangle . . .
Click here for tickets.

Wednesday October 21:

In North Creek at barVino, The Tony Jenkins Jazz Trip will be playing from 8 – 10 pm.

Photo: Bruce Hayes

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Adirondack Family Activities:Pendragon Theatre goes to the LPCA

We are huge fans of live performances whether musical or theatrical in nature. My children dress up and put on long, sometimes arduous, routines where we usually have to break for intermission. They are not formal in their script. They only require an avid audience because that is what they give when they go see a performance.

For our household watching a professional performance has many additional benefits to the live show. The scripts are reenacted for days after highlighting the favorite bits. Questions are asked about stages, costumes and lightening. Conversations are initiated about the story line. Even the music or soundtrack make guest appearances in our house. The children are entertained and feel the need to continue to entertain long after the curtain has closed.

For the month of October Pendragon Theatre is in residence at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts for what is being billed as Fall Foliage Theatre. The three remaining performances are not all for the very young. If a good babysitter is available then there is no reason to forego these last few remaining performances.

Time is running out to see the Pendragon’s production of Bus Stop. Theatre Reviewer Connie Meng of North Country Public Radio says, ‘Artistic Director Susan Neal has done a fine job of staging and directing this unclassifiable play. Bus Stop is part gentle comedy, part small tragedies and wholly human. This is a good evening of theatre and a solid production of an American classic.” On a scale from one to five Meng gave Bus Stop 4 1/3 pine trees. (Click here for the full transcript.)

The Wizard of Oz is a beautifully streamlined production that allows the audience to focus on the various characters and dialog. The theme is still relevant today that “there is no place like home.” If children have seen the classic film there will be differences. This is not a musical, the sets are simple and the journey is one of imagination. There are still plenty of quests for a heart, a brain and some courage and least I forget, the best-loved message that there really is, “no place like home.” That still holds all the power with a simple click of Dorothy’s ruby slippers.

Lastly the comedy Candida is performed in its entire original Victorian splendor as two men vie for the love and loyalty of Candida. Written by playwright George Bernard Shaw, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925, Candida must choose her husband or the much younger poet. Clever and witty dialog stands the test of time.

So bring the children (to OZ) or take a much-deserved night out and enjoy a Pendragon performance, the Adirondack’s only year-round professional theatre.

All evening tickets are $14.00 for adults and $12.00 seniors and students. Oz tickets are $10.00 for adults and $8.00 for children ages 15 and under. Call LPCA for reservations at 518-523-2512.

Fall Foliage Theatre Schedule
Bus Stop by William Inge: October 16 (Friday) and October 17 (Saturday) at 8:00 p.m.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: the classic L. Frank Baum story adapted by Michelle Vacca: October 18 (Sunday) at 2:00 p.m.
Candida by George Bernard Shaw: October 23 (Friday) and October 24 (Saturday) at 8:00 p.m.

Photograph of a performance of Candida performed at the Pendragon Theatre

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene:Folk Music, Early Music and Coffeehouses

For most of the musical events happening this week – besides JamCrackers at BluSeed tonight – one has to travel a bit. With a little effort you can listen to some interesting music just outside the park. Saratoga, Burlington and Potsdam all have performances this week. Of course, if you’ve been hoping for some down time this might be the weekend. I, for one, will probably be checking out the play Greater Tuna again, this time at LPCA, because the acting was so brilliant.

Thursday October 8th:

In Saranac Lake at BluSeed Studios, Jamcrackers gets going at 7:30 pm. This is an evening of Adirondack folk music featuring Dan Duggan, Peggy Lynn and Dan Berggren. Dan Duggan is a renown dulcimer player and composer you can even hear his work on Paul Simons CD, “You’re The One”. Peggy Lynn and Dan Berggren are both singer/ songwriters. These three have a wonderful time performing together and BluSeed loves them. For reservations call 891 -3799.

Also a reminder that in Jay at the Amos and Julie Ward Theatre every Thursday at 7 pm, the Acoustic Club, sponsored by JEMS, meets. For more information call, Janet Morton at 946-7420.

Friday October 9th:

In Colton -exciting just because they so rarely have any event for me to post – the Zion Episcopal Church is starting their Fall into Fall Coffee House series. This one will feature a Brian Nichols and Keith Galluchi a high school musical duo and Chase Simmons comedian from the 6th grade. Sounds like something wonderful to support. It’s free and you can call (315) 353 – 2427 for more information.

In Saratoga – if you must see professionals – The Gibson Brothers are pretty sweet. They’re playing Lillian’s Restaurant at 8 pm and tickets are $20. Advance sales only. Call (518) 581-1604 to reserve.

Saturday October 10th:

In Potsdam at 1 pm at The Roxy Theater, The Metropolitan Opera will Broadcast Live a performance of Tosca. You can call (315) 267-2277. Tickets prices range from $18 to $12.

In Canton at 2 pm at St. Lawrence University, there will be an Early Music Singers Concert : “Salve Regina”. Here is part of the description I was sent by the Director of Music Ensembles, Barry Torres: Four varied settings of the Salve Regina (Hail, Queen of mercy), the most popular, and arguably the most beautiful of the great anthems to the Virgin Mary in the Roman Catholic liturgy. Each of the settings is based on the chant, which is believed by scholars to have been written by Hermann of Reichenau (1013-1054). Interspersed between these works will be songs by Antoine Busnoys (c. 1430-1492) and other instrumentals played by a recorder trio consisting of Laura Rediehs, Lynn Waickman and Barry Torres. For more information call: (315) 229 – 5184.

In Glens Falls at the Charles R. Woods Theater a Tribute to Bette Midler and Barry Manilow called “You Gotta Have Friends” will be performed. There are two shows one at 3 pm and one at 7:30 pm. For more information call (518) 798-9663.

Also in Potsdam at 8 pm, the New Hope Community Church holds it’s Second Saturday Coffeehouse. For more information call (315) 566 – 9413 or email:

Tuesday October 13th:

In Burlington, VT at the Fletcher Free Library, Robert Resnik is performing from 11 – 11:30 am. I’ve been reading up on this man and he sounds great. He’s the director of the library and hosts a weekly folk and world music show on VPR. This is for all ages, if I were in Burlington on Tuesday I’d go in a second. Call (802) 865 – 7211 for more information.

In Saranac Lake at 7:30 pm until 9:15 pm, The Adirondack Singers are holding rehearsals for their Holiday Concert on Dec. 4th. The rehearsals are open to anyone who wants to sing. No auditions and any ability is welcome. It’s happening at St. Bernard’s Roman Catholic Church every Tuesday night. Call 523 – 4213 for more information.

Photo: Dan Berggren, Peggy Lynn and Dan Duggan

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene:Country, Classical, Bluegrass and a Jam Band

There are plenty of good shows to choose from this weekend. My personal favorites are Julie and Larry Friday night in Lake Placid followed by – if I find my second wind – Lucid in Saranac Lake. Then I will do what I can to see Jay and Molly’s Family Band in Edwards on Saturday.
On Sunday I’d like to make it down to The Adirondack Harvest Festival in Blue Mountain Lake with some kids I know to say hello to Roy Hurd , see lots of pumpkins and taste some fresh pressed cider.

Friday, October 2nd:

In Lake Placid at The Station Street Bar and Grill from 7 – 9 pm, the bluegrass country duo Julie Robards and Larry Stone will be playing and singing their hearts out. Julie plays acoustic guitar and Larry plays some very cool sounding vintage guitars. I’ve seen both of these fine musicians individually or in other bands and have always enjoyed myself. Together they’re bound to give a great show. Call 837-5178 for more information.

In Saranac Lake, the band Lucid will be playing at the Waterhole. I really like the sound of these guys. A horn section is always a treat and they know how to get a good groove on. I heard the last show had some pretty visuals as well, thanks to one of my favorite percussionists Chris Shacklett from the band elephantbear.

In Indian Lake at the Indian Lake Theater, Tom Akstens & Neil Rossi with the Kossoy Sisters are in concert! Remember that awesome version of “I’ll Fly Away” from the movie O Brother Where Art Thou? Well, that was the Kossoy Sisters. Oh, and just so you don’t think I’m loosing it Allison Krauss and Gillian Welsh are on the CD (thanks Ned). It starts at 7:30 pm and costs $15. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Art Center at 352-7715 or through this link:

Also in Lake Placid at 8 pm there is a LPCA Concert: Dire Straits co-founder David Knopfler. The evening will begin with music by Jeff Ross formerly of Badfinger. Tickets are $16 in advance.

Saturday October 3rd:

In Edwards at The Edwards Opera House, Jay Unger and Molly Mason will be performing at 7 pm. This show includes Mike and Ruthie. I just met and spent time with this wonderful family at an Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp. I was impressed, not just with their excellent level of musicianship, but with the generosity and warmth they give to everyone they meet.

In Redford there will be a Square dance held from 7 – 10 pm at The Assumption of Mary school. Don Perkins and Friends will be providing the music. He’s an excellent fiddler who also happens to be the uncle of Saranac Lake’s Joel Perkins who’s been teaching violin here for years and heads the popular group Inisheer. For more information call: (518) 846-8402.

In North Creek Trio Casals will be performing at 7:30 pm. This will take place at the Tannery Pond Community Center. For information call: (518) 251-2633.

In Saranac Lake Tony Trischka at Will Rogers in Saranac Lake starting at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Click here for more information.

Saturday the 3rd and Sunday the 4th:

Popular local folk and country singer/songwriter Roy Hurd and fiddler Frank Orsini will be giving two concerts each day in Blue Mountain Lake. On both days the shows are at 11 am and 2 pm at the Adirondack Museum. This is part of the Adirondack Harvest Festival which also includes pony rides, pumpkin painting and a barn raising!

Sunday the 4th:

At the Glens Falls High School at 4 pm, the Glens Falls Symphony will give it’s opening concert titled “Chasing Light…Degas and Music”.

Monday the 5th:

In Glen Falls at The Hyde Collection Art Museum, The Walden Chamber Players will give a concert at 7:30 pm. This is part of the Degas and Music series. For $20, not only can you listen to music composed by friends of Degas but you can see the collection starting at 6:30pm.

Photo: Jay and Molly’s Family Band – that’s little Will on Ruthie’s tummy!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene: Organs to Opera and Rock and Roll

Cooler weather and changing colors seems to bring out the classical concerts (my that’s a lot of “c’s”). There are so many great performances to choose from this weekend. I feel a bit more intelligent just writing about them; imagine how you’ll feel if you actually get out to hear these great musicians and instruments.

Tonight in Jay is a meeting of the Acoustics Club at the Amos and Julia Ward Theatre at the junction of routes 9N and 86 next to the Village Green. The meeting starts at 7 pm and is for beginner musicians to play, learn and share experiences with music and sound in a casual setting. Any and all instruments, including the voice, are invited. Call Janet Morton at 946-7420 with any questions.

Friday in Glens Falls a Beeman Organ Concert will be held at the First Presbyterian Church. Organist Alan Morrison will play at 7:30 pm. Mr. Morrison has a very impressive resume having played at most of the fine concert halls and cathedrals in the States and Canada. You can call 793 – 2521 or go to for more information.

In Lake Clear on Friday, local favorite Steve Borst will be performing at Charlie’s Inn. Steve has written some lovely original songs and is great at taking requests. He starts at 6:30 pm and you can call 891 – 9858 for more information.

Saturday in Keene Valley, Adirondack Brass will be holding a concert at the Congregational Church at 4 pm. Check out their myspace page – they sound great. Keene Valley has some cool restaurants to check out after going to what is sure to be an inspirational evening of music. The event is sponsored by The East Branch Friends of the Arts. For more information call 576-4769. A donation is appreciated.

On Saturday in Saranac Lake, High Peaks Opera will be performing Italian Opera at Will Rogers. This is the same group that blew folks away in Tupper Lake earlier this year and features Metropolitan Opera bass George Cordes. What a fantastic voice—I’ve heard him before and you can check it out for yourself by clicking on the link. The performance starts at 7:30 pm. A donation is appreciated.

Later on Saturday in Saranac Lake at the Waterhole the Rev Tor band gets going around 10 pm. This is in the great-to-play Upstairs Music Lounge, where the cocktails start flowing at 9 pm when the doors open. There aren’t a lot of places to sit, but at that hour it’s usually more fun to dance and sway then stay planted anyway. Rev Tor has some fine musicianship going on in their band. I’m particularly impressed with the keyboards and guitar solos.

Also on Saturday in Glens Falls the Saratoga Chamber Players are giving another Degas and Music concert at 3 pm. The performance is at the Hyde Collection Art Museum located at 161 Warren St. Call 584-1427 for more info.

You have two chances to hear Dan Gordan “International Man of Saxophone.” The link I connected to is all about a book he wrote detailing his journeys as a street musician in Europe. It looks fun—I’d like to read it—and it gives a little insight as to why he considers himself an international man of sax. This is the beginning of the new Piano By Nature season, which means that pianist Rose Chancler—who will be accompanying Mr. Gordon—is back presenting and giving concerts in her community. The Saturday concert starts at 7 pm and the Sunday one at 3 pm; both take place in the Hand House Parlor in Elizabethtown. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for 15 and under. Reservations are required due to limited seating: 518-962-2949.

Lastly, there are two chances for some open mic action this weekend: First, there is an ongoing Coffee House and Open Mic that happens on the last Saturday of every month at the Universal Unitarian Church in Queensbury. It is held 7:30 – 10 pm and you can call 793-1468 for more details. Then on Sunday at 7 pm there is an Open Mic being held in Lake Placid. The Luna Java Coffee Shop is located at 5794 Cascade Road. I can’t find a phone number for them so… I’ve no other details other than to say, Go and perform or cheer on the local talent. Thriving open mic scenes are essential for a musical community.

Photo: Alan Morrison

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene: Fall Festivals Offer Polka, Blues and Jazz

It appears that most towns in the Adirondacks like throwing Fall Festivals. Makes sense given how lovely trees look in all their colorful glory—the weather is usually pretty cooperative too. That said, I was still surprised to find out how many are on this weekend. Music and food—can’t beat that combination as far as I’m concerned.

It all starts today with the last Art Walk of the season in Saranac Lake, starting at 4:30 pm. Galleries will be open late. There will be music and artists on the street. The Stoneman Blues Band will be playing on The Waterhole patio from 6 pm until no one wants to hear ’em anymore—in other words, until quite late. With two very interesting guitarists, strong vocals and a solid rhythm section I find it hard to stay seated when they have the stage.

On Saturday there will be a Pig Roast, Apple Festival and Concert in Willsboro. What more could one want? It will be held at the 1812 Homestead Farm and Museum I don’t eat pig and I don’t even know anything about the concert but it still sounds like a good time. Try calling Jack Swan at 963-4071 for more information.

Inlet is having their annual Fall Festival. Saturday 10 am – 5 pm and Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm. It takes place in Fern Park and features crafts, food, with music provided by Dave Ruch and Fritz’s Polka Band. Any band with lyrics like “Grab my accordion and stretch it out” obviously knows how to party.

In Lake George from 1 to 6 pm on both Saturday and Sunday; Jazz At The Lake will be under way. With three groups a day I’m sure jazz fans will be satisfied. It’s going to be held at Shepherd Park and admission is free.

Also on Saturday the 19th in Saranac Lake, the popular Jamie Notarthomas returns. He starts at 7pm. He’s a one-man band with large repertoire of originals and covers. This also happens to be the last patio show of the season at the Waterhole, which pretty much guarantees a rockin’ party.

A quick mention goes out to Lowville – holding their Cream Cheese Festival on Saturday from 11 am – 6 pm. There will be live music all day and the “World’s Largest Cheesecake”! I checked out some tunes from the Bad Weather Blues Band, who play at 2:30 pm. Their lead singer, nicknamed “Hop”, is quite good and they sound super tight in their recordings.

On a sad note: The Ten Dollar Radio Show has been cancelled. Their blog will continue for now but this is truly a blow for our local listeners and even a few in NYC and LA. They weren’t even given a chance to have one last show. I don’t get it and will write more on this upsetting turn of events later. At least, for now, we have the archives.

Photo: Fritz from Fritz’s Polka Band

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene:Kris Delmhorst, Backwoods PondFest, Fiddle Jamboree and Radio Show Anniversary

This weekend I have two “won’t miss” shows. First, is Kris Delmhorst at BluSeed, she has a gorgeous voice and just glows on stage. Second, is the 2nd anniversary of the Ten Dollar Radio Show, which has introduced me to many new artists and reminded me about some of the greatest songs in music history.

Friday and Saturday at the Twin Ponds Campground, 208 Fuller Road in Peru, the Backwoods Pondfest is happening. It begins Friday at 3 pm continues beyond 1 am. On Saturday it starts at noon and continues well past 1 am again. So many good bands—South Catherine Street Jug Band, Ryan Montbleau Band and Lucid among them—its a rock fest with lots of freestyle dancing to be had. They have a very very good website which I encourage you to check out. $60 will get you into both days of the festival, $40 just for Saturday.

Saturday at BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake Kris Delmhorst is giving a concert. She is out supporting her most recent CD, Shotgun Singer. My first listen to her beautiful voice was on the Red Bird CD ( incidentally I first heard it on The Ten Dollar Radio Show) and then live at BluSeed. The show starts at 7:30 pm. $14/12 for members.

Saturday and Sunday in Athol at the Veterans Memorial Field the 13th Annual Fiddlers Jamboree is going on. It’s a rain or shine even—bring your lawn chairs, shades or galoshes depending. On Saturday there’s a $7 cover but Sunday is free. Here are some of the great musicians you’ll be treated to on Saturday: The Silver Family at 12 noon, Don’t Quit Your Day Job at 1 pm, Sara Milonovich and Greg Anderson at 6 pm and Cedar Ridge at 8 pm. Sunday is Jamboree Gospel Day—starts at 1 pm with Tom Vissler, The Hartley Family at 3 pm and ends with the Jim Davis Band at 7 pm.

Here is a great way to cap off your weekend: Sunday is the second anniversary of the Ten Dollar Radio Show and I will be tuned in to Rock 105 at 6 pm while I’m making dinner. I have to admit it’s been awhile since I’ve caught it at the designated time—not because I don’t love the music. It’s just that I, like most people in the Adirondacks, don’t like being inside when the weather is beautiful. Later in the week, I’ll post an article based on an interview done with one of the founders of the show, Ned P. Rauch. Until then I’d like to remind everyone that we can always tune into the podcast to keep up with all of the great music Pete Crowley and friends like Kelly Hofschneider and Brandy Hobson keep playing each week.

Photo: Kris Delmhorst

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene: Irish Fest, Hobo Fest, Rock and Roll Musical

The end of summer is arriving fast and the musicians are in tune to say farewell! With several festivals this weekend I don’t know how one can catch all of the other events but it’s always worth a try.

This weekend is the last chance to see Smokey Joe’s Cafe at The Depot Theater in Westport. Performances are tonight, tomorrow and Sunday starting at 8 pm. The show is all Stroller and Lieber songs which are rock and roll tunes such as “Jailhouse Rock” and “Yakety Yak.”

So, the first day of the Irish Festival gets into full swing starting Saturday at 11 am at the Ski Jumps in Lake Placid. On Saturday favorite piper Michael Cooney starts playing at 12:10 pm. Also in the lineup is P.V. O’Donnel,an Irish fiddler from Donegal. Martha Gallagher will be there too she’s our own skilled harpist with a strong voice. Mike McHale a wooden flute player will be up from the Catskills. He doesn’t have a website but his resume is extensive and he was inducted into the Traditional Irish Music Hall of Fame in 2000. There all sorts of other activities including irish dancing, contests and storytelling. It’s going to be a great 2 days.

Saturday in Bolton Landing pianist Eric Trudel will be giving a recital of the 24 Preludes of Rachmaninoff. The recital starts at 7:30 pm and tickets are $25. This is the season ender for The Sembrich concerts this summer. I wish I’d known of it earlier as the list of performances was impressive. Eric Trudel happens to have been the true pianist in the movie The Pianist.

Saturday night at the Waterhole in Saranac Lake Sven Curth is going to be performing. Sven writes very good songs and is one heck of a guitar player (and what a pretty guitar it is!). He’s appreciated around the park as a solo performer and singer/songwriter for the popular band Jim. The only thing I’d like to change about his performances is that sometimes they are too loud. He’s so good he doesn’t need too much volume.

Sunday: HoboFest is happening in Saranac Lake at 28 Depot Street (behind Stewarts) and 7444 Gallery.
So many great musicians all day for FREE!!!! One act that you can catch all day is the recycled drums drum corp – a group of cool people have made all of their own percussion instruments and will be welcoming incoming trains – these are very good drummers Kyle Murray,Colin Dehond, Eric Van Yserloo to name the ring leaders. Big Slyde is playing – I’m a huge fan of their sound which includes cellist Chris Grant, multi instrumentalist John Doan, fantastic guitarist Mikey Portal and the fabulous voice of John’s daughter, Hannah Doan. Another wonderful local musician is Steve Langdon playing his great versions of old blues songs mixed with a few originals – I hope. The Startlights sing oldies with great energy and beautiful harmonies. Their song choice often inspire audience participation. Also featured will be Just Jills a new all female band consisting of two very different voices, mandolin, and fiddle. These ladies are new to performing but have an excellent repertoire – I’m looking forward to whatever train hobo related songs they’ve come up with. Then you have the big acts: John Cohen , an original New Lost City Rambler, is a wonderful addition to the line up. A true legend, he was at Newport when Dylan went electric and ticked everyone off. Brian Dewan is fascinating. I’ve seen him a few times and he always comes up with the most interesting obscure songs. He plays the accordion, autoharp and sings. Last we will be treated to Frankenpine a very good band from Brooklyn. These folks do excellent covers of old time songs and have some very special originals as well. Former resident Ned P. Rauch wrote a beautiful fun tune for one of our newest locals – Lila – who’s proud parents are sure to have her there for the public debut of this happy sing-a-long. On top of all this planned music there will be open jam times so you may be hearing people who just pop in to sing a train song or two – maybe you’ll be one of them?

Also Sunday in Bolton Landing Mike and Ruthie are playing at 12 noon. They are part of the Fabulous Folk Festival happening at the Roger’s Memorial Park Bandstand. All you have to do is listen on their lovely website and you won’t want miss this wonderful duo. Dan Berggren will also be there. Amazingly all of this is free to all who show up.

photo: Michael Cooney playing the uilleann pipes

Monday, August 31, 2009

Typhoid Mary in Saranac Lake Tonight

The Adirondack Center for Writing (ACW) will end its annual Summer Program Series with the one-woman performance of Irish writer and actor Eithne McGuinnes as Typhoid Mary. The event, which will be held at Bluseed Studios in Saranac Lake tonight, August 31 at 7pm is free and open to the public.

About Typhoid Mary (from an AWC Press Release) – In 1907, Mary Mallon, an Irish immigrant, who had, ‘worked her way up from nothing’, to cook for New York’s finest, was seized from her place of work by the NY Board of Health. Accused of being the carrier of typhoid fever, Mary was imprisoned without a trial on an island in the middle of the East River. Totally isolated, a mere ten minute ferry ride from her former home in the Bronx, Mary became a scapegoat; sacrificed to quell the rising public fear that a typhoid epidemic could spread beyond the poor. She became a pawn in the larger ambitions of George Soper; health official who was desperate to identify the first human typhoid carrier in North America. Was Mary maligned? Could she, as the authorities insisted, have carried typhoid, if she herself had never been ill with the disease? Here is the captivating story of a brave Irish peasant who fought tooth and nail for her freedom and took on the very powerful state of New York.

Eithne McGuinnes is an Irish writer and actor. Her plays include: Miss Delicious, workshopped at Abbey Theatre, Dublin 2007; Tin Cans, commissioned by Dublin City Council, 2006; Limbo, Dublin Fringe Festival, 2000 and 2001; A Glorious Day, public reading, Abbey Theatre, 2000; and Typhoid Mary, Dublin Fringe Festival, 1997, broadcast on RTE Radio, 1998 and revived in 2004. Published short stories: Feather Bed (Scéalta), Anthology of Irish Women Writers, Telegram Books, 2006. The Boat Train, Something Sensational to Read on the Train, Lemon Soap Press, 2005. Her favorite acting roles include: Mary Mallon, Typhoid Mary, 2004 and 1997; Sr.Clementine, The Magdalene Sisters (Golden Lion 2002), Gracie Tracy, Glenroe (RTE Television). Recent theatre: Meg, The Hostage, Wonderland, Dublin, 2009; Olive, Dirty Dusting, Tivoli Theatre, Dublin; and Earth Mother, Menopause the Musical, 2008. Recent TV: The Roaring Twenties, No Laughing Matter, 2008. Other theatre includes: The House of Bernarda Alba, 2002 and The Marriage of Figaro, 1997, at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. Cell, best production, Dublin Theatre Festival 1999 and Dublin Trilogy, Passion Machine – best new play, DTF 1998.

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