Encore performances and a Battle of the Bands are among highlights of the Mohawk Valley Collective’s 2016 Summer Music Series at Unity Hall this summer. Five concerts are on tap during the nonprofit’s third annual series, which kicks off on Saturday, June 18, with Singer/Songwriter Night at 19 Center Street, Fort Plain.
Musicians from the local folk group, Stone Soup, and New York City-based singer-songwriters Leah Shaw and Aviva Jaye will be the first performers to take the stage that night. Doors open at 5:30pm, with music starting at 6pm. Tickets are $7.50 and can be purchased at the door. Once again, refreshments will be available for purchase, and the Erie Station Bar & Grill will be on hand to provide wine and beer.
Mohawk Valley-based Stone Soup, featuring the talents of Suzanne Bladek, Joe Sinchak, Pete Liljeberg, Nick Frirsz, and David Bladek, performs American Roots music with a blend of folk, blues, gospel, traditional country, zydeco and the like. A crowd favorite, the acoustic group performed “unplugged” the last time they were in Unity Hall’s second floor performance space – once the sanctuary of the Universalist Church. To hear a sample of their music, go to http://bit.ly/1VgGmxw.
Also turning up that night are returning artists Shaw and Jaye, who often perform together. Jaye, a trained vocalist, employs her voice, guitar, piano, ukulele and harp “to share raw material with simple, haunting motifs and transparent lyrics.” Her influences include old movie-musicals, classical music, Motown and pop. For samples of her music or more information about her, visit http://avivajaye.com.
The multi-‐talented Shaw, who moved to New York from North Carolina, performs original music that pulls from soul, folk, country and pop influences. To learn more about her, visit her at http://leahshawmusic.com or go to http://bit.ly/1qGJxSg to hear a studio recording.
Other concerts include the July 16 Battle of the Bands, which features $500 in prizes. The current lineup includes Phil Arcuri, Stanley Hall, Heathcliff and Front of the House. Interested performers are asked to contact the MVC at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (518)993-5506 in order to sign up.
On July 30, Pat Ruddy, Leslie Kubica and the Matchstick Menagerie, The Eugene Tyler Band, and the Screaming Rebel Angels will hit the stage for Matchstick Menagerie and More; and on August 13, the fourth annual River Through Time celebration in Fort Plain’s Haslett Park will take place from 12pm to 5pm. Performance groups include Christie Belanger, Cosby Gibson and Tom Staudle, The Kennesaw Mt. Boys, and Caitlin Bingham, whose performances are offered at no cost to the public. Also featured during the event are the well-liked raffle drawing, which features Kayak and bike giveaways, face painting, vendors and a pulled pork barbecue.
The series will conclude on August 27 as Tumbleweed Highway, Steven Albert Wood, and Aircrafting perform during New York Country Night.
The local musicians support the mission of the non-profit MVC to host arts and cultural events in Montgomery County. The organization is dedicated to the restoration and adaptive reuse of Unity Hall and one of the area’s other historic architectural gems, the former West Hill School in Canajoharie.
Funding for 2016 programs and the River Through Time event has been made possible, in part, through grants by the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, the NYS Canal Corporation, and additional funding from the Montgomery County Occupancy Tax administered by the Montgomery County Legislature, the Stewart’s Foundation, and the Dominion Foundation. Also partnering in support of the concert programming is the Erie Station Bar & Grill of Fort Plain.
Go to http://mohawkvalleycollective.com/upcoming-events/ for more information, advance tickets (cost doesn’t include third-party ticket seller’s processing fees), links to performers’ websites, and schedules. All proceeds go toward future event programming and preservation efforts.