TAUNY Partnering to Celebrate Folk Music Collection
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TAUNY is spearheading a collaboration with Mountain Lake PBS, the Adirondack History Center Museum, and SUNY Plattsburgh Feinberg Library's Special Collections on an exciting and ground-breaking project to showcase and raise awareness of the folk music of New York’s Adirondack North Country.
The partner organizations are delving into a long-forgotten collection of North Country folk music that is housed in the SUNY Plattsburgh Feinberg Library's Special Collections. The songs in the collection, ranging from rare British and Irish ballads to native New York songs of the lumber camps and iron mines, were recorded in the 1940s and 1950s by the enigmatic Champlain Valley historian Marjorie Lansing Porter. The project is possible in part because of a recent initiative to digitize the entire SUNY Plattsburgh Porter song collection, an undertaking that took two years to complete.
Other important groundwork for the current project was laid by Lee Knight, a musician and friend of Mrs. Porter’s. For 20 years he has been researching the songs and singers Mrs. Porter recorded and transcribing the lyrics of the music he uncovered.
With this substantial work complete, the goal of TAUNY’s “Songs to Keep” project is to celebrate this timeless music and allow others the chance to hear and enjoy it, too. The project has a number of components; the hope is to reach as many people as possible with this newly uncovered link to our past.
- The tunes in the collection are interpreted and “reimagined” by favorite contemporary Adirondack musicians on a CD that includes 15 tunes from the collection performed by such North Country musicians as the Fraser Family, the Akwesasne Men Singers, Dan Berggren, and many more.
The Fraser Family of Harrisville recorded their version of
“The Irishtown Crew” at The TAUNY Center in early May.
The Frasers are among the North Country musicians who “reimagined” tunes
from the Porter collection for inclusion on the “Songs to Keep” CD.
- A PBS documentary will showcase Mrs. Porter, the collection, the music and musicians, and the Adirondack North Country that inspired them.
- A series of concerts will be presented across the North Country in late summer, featuring some of the region’s favorite musicians, including Dave Ruch, Dan Berggren, John Kirk, Trish Miller, Bill Smith, and Colleen Cleveland. (See schedule and details below.)
- An exhibit that explores the fascinating life and work of Marjorie Lansing Porter will be on display at the concerts and at venues around the North Country.
- A songbook that includes music, photographs, history and interpretation will be available at concert and exhibit venues, select retail outlets, and by mail.
The “Songs to Keep” project is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts, and and outreach and education grant from the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership.
An evening of folk music from a long-forgotten New York song collection reinterpreted by favorite contemporary Adirondack musicians. The old favorites come to life in these unique concerts.
Thursday, August 8, 7:30 p.m. - Clayton Opera House, Tickets $15
Featuring: Dave Ruch, Bill Smith, The Fraser Family and Friends, John Kirk and Trish Miller, Colleen Cleveland (Click here for ticket information)
Wednesday, August 21, 8 p.m. - Lake Placid Center for the Arts, Tickets $15
Featuring: Dave Ruch, Bill Smith and Don Woodcock, Jamie Savage and Sue Grimm, Dan Berggren with Alex Smith, Celia Evans, Bernard Ouimet (Click here for ticket information)
Featuring: Dave Ruch, Jamie Savage and Sue Grimm, John Roberts and George Ward, La Famille Ouimet, Colleen Cleveland
Saturday, September 14, 7 p.m., Edwards Opera House, Tickets $10
Featuring: Dave Ruch, Don Woodcock, The Fraser Family and Friends, John Kirk and Trish Miller, Lee Knight
Friday, September 20, 6 p.m., Adirondack History Center Museum, Elizabethtown, Tickets: $8 ($5 for museum members)
Evening of remembrances and song featuring Lee Knight, Sean Rosemeyer (Porter's granddaughter), and other special guests.
Saturday, September 21, 7 p.m. - Giltz Theater, Hawkins Hall, SUNY Plattsburgh, Tickets: $10 (available at Angell College Center* and at the door)
Featuring: Dave Ruch, Jamie Savage and Sue Grimm, Dan Berggren, Colleen Cleveland, Lee Knight, June Millington
*The Angell College Center Desk is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday until August 23, beginning August 24 the desk is open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m..
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