FINEVIEW — The Densmore Church Sunday Concerts series kicks off June 23 with three local musicians the featured act.
The concerts in the series, 10 total, are at 7 p.m. at historic the Densmore Church, 45129 County Route 100-A, Wellesley Island, located on the Alexandria Bay end of the island. This year, the series will offer a variety of music, from folk to Broadway and country to Celtic. Some artists will be performing at Densmore for the first time.
June 23 Popular local trio
On June 23, an acoustic trio consisting of Meredith Gould, of Pullman Island and Maple Island, Win Price of Thousand Island Park and David Knapp of Wellesley Island and Murray Island, will perform. They’ve been together for decades. Singer/songwriter Ms. Gould, who resides full-time in Nashville, plays several instruments. Mr. Price writes original songs and provides keyboard accompaniment. Mr. Knapp composes songs and provides guitar accompaniment for the group. He also is a member of Alexandria Bay’s Dawg Brothers band and he and Mr. Price are members of the river-based Buoy Rockers.
The June 23 opening concert also features the annual wine and cheese reception on the lawn of the church, beginning at 6 p.m.
June 30 The spirit of jazz
On June 30, Alexandria Central School’s Jazz Ensemble and Mardi Gras Spirit Brass Band, under the direction of district instrumental music teacher Daniel Hammond, will perform traditional, modern and New Orleans-style jazz. The two ensembles perform regularly at school and community events, including participating in the 2018 Jazz in the Classroom performance at the Clayton Opera House last September as part of Clayton’s annual Jazz on the River Festival.
July 7 Piano and violin
Pianist Jim Burr of Watertown will team up with violinist Kathy Sommer of Redwood. They will perform jazz, Americana, Celtic, Argentine tango, Brazilian chorus and light classical music. Mr. Burr is known locally as a solo pianist for a variety of events, performing in multiple genres.
Ms. Sommer, a member of The Buskers, has attended camps taught by the Turtle Island String Quartet, Latin jazz maestro Eddie Palmieri, national fiddlers Matt Glaser, Mark O’Connor and Jay Ungar and mandolinist Peter Ostroushko. Her playing is recorded on several CDs, she has played for contra and square dances and she has taught violin and hosted fiddle workshops.
July 14 Jay Nash debuts at series
Singer-songwriter Jay Nash will perform at Densmore for the first time on July 14. Mr. Nash travels across the U.S. and around the world sharing his original lyrics and melodies, but the St. Lawrence River has always been a place he considers “home.” Mr. Nash is a singer/songwriter who spent several years playing professionally and recording in California and is a Syracuse-area native. He now lives in Vermont. He founded the Rock for the River concerts which were held for several years and last year organized the inaugural River Take Me Home concert that benefited three area organizations. This year’s River Take Me Home concert is July 13 at Thousand Island Park.
July 21 Classic country
Also performing for the first time at the series will be Larry Lee Ebere. He was born and raised in Chazy, near Lake Champlain, and grew up in a home filled with music, whether for a gathering of relatives singing to guitar or piano music, getting together with his sisters and brother to sing a country tune or listening to the radio with his mother. He sang in his high school choirs at Chazy Central Rural School and performed in the annual musicals hosted by the school.
Years later, he began singing professionally as “Country Living Entertainment.” Having sung professionally for the past 19 years, he performs at county fairs, festivals, fund raisers, private parties, corporate functions and community gatherings. The highlight of his singing career was when he performed in the “Nashville Star” talent competition where he was voted 18th out of 600 competitors.
July 28 ‘here’ the bells
Diane Dick, handbell soloist, returns to the series with the Royalton Ringers Handbell Quartet, also featuring Linda Collett and Michael Dick, with accompanist Tim Socha.
Ms. Dick began her involvement with handbells as an ensemble musician in 1989 and as a solo ringer in 1994. She has performed throughout Western New York, including performances as a featured soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at the Christmas holiday community concerts. She has served on the board of Handbell Musicians of America Area 2, and has been a clinician for many handbell workshops.
The Royalton Ringers Handbell Quartet was formed in the spring of 2001, performing at churches and other venues throughout western New York.
Mr. Socha is a native of Royalton and is organist/choir director at St. Joseph Cathedral, Buffalo.
A native of Calgary, Canada, Ms. Collett discovered handbell performance while ringing for her high school bell choir in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2005, she auditioned and became a member of the Bells on Temple Square, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s handbell ensemble, where she played for 10 years. Since moving to Western New York in 2015, she founded Buffalo Bells, a community handbell ensemble.
Mr. Dick has been ringing handbells for 27 years. He has sung with the Buffalo Schola Cantorum and the Genesee Chorale.
Lip Service is an award-winning women’s barbershop quartet registered with Harmony Inc., and affiliated with Northern Blend Chorus, Watertown. In November 2018, Lip Service took third place at the Harmony, Incorporated’s International Quartet Competition in Orlando. In May 2018, the quartet participated in the Area 3 Quartet Competition, where they qualified for the international competition and were also named Area 3 quartet champions. Lip Service is made up of Jodi Castello, lead, Cait Shadock, tenor, Mary Ann Wert, baritone and Taralee Lashway, bass.
The Thousand Islands Old Time Dance Tunes-Plus, featuring Keith and Judy Hunt with Fran and John Mallery, will perform.
Mr. Hunt grew up on Wellesley Island and attended off-season round and square dances in the 1940s in the Densmore Bay School and Thousand Island Park. Decades later, through the New York State Old Tyme Fiddlers Association, he learned to play the tunes he grew up with on the fiddle and called dances. Mrs. Hunt’s concertina career began with two years of classical music study in New York City. Her husband introduced her to old-time fiddle music. She plays in a Syracuse contra dance band and also with the New York State Old Tyme Fiddlers’ Association, of which she is secretary and publicity chairwoman. She also plays the piano, accordion and penny whistle.
Ms. Mallery has played the recorder, similar to a penny whistle, in several contra dance bands in Vermont and on the river. She grew up in Syracuse and on Murray Island in the summer, playing clarinet in her high school band.
Mr. Mallery played piano as a youth, but playing the ukulele and guitar taught him chords and their relationship to melody. When he was in high school, he used his guitar knowledge to learn jazz piano. When he was 40, he was introduced to contra dancing and its music, performing as part of weekly sessions, leading to his playing at dances featuring Celtic and old-time music traditions
Jordan Davidson will present a concert of musical theater and “American art song.” He is a second prize winner of the international Lotte Lenya Competition, created by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music and has pursued opportunities in opera, operetta, musical theater, concert and recital. He holds doctor of musical arts and master of music degrees from James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va., and a bachelor in music education degree from SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music.
He has performed with companies and organizations all around the country, most notably the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre, Hawaii Performing Art Festival, Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar, Opera Saratoga and College Light Opera Company. Mr. Davidson graduated from Indian River High School in 2008 and spends summers in Alexandria Bay.
South Bay, formerly known as Hutch, Greene and Pennington, is a five-person band that performs acoustic covers of blues, pop, country and bluegrass plus original songs by Alan Hutchinson. Known for their tight harmonies and uplifting performances, the band plays regularly for events at the Thousand Islands Arts Center and at other local venues.
Alan Hutchinson, Clayton, plays guitar, provides lead vocals and writes several of the group’s songs. Phil Pennington, Clayton and Pennsylvania, plays harmonica, often attending blues workshops in Clarksdale, Miss., and Huntington, W.V., to fine-tune his skills. Chris Rosier, Clayton, offers lead vocals and plays guitar. He recently completed a graduate degree in fine arts at SUNY Plattsburgh. Jim Rooney plays upright bass, mandolin and banjo and often performs with various bluegrass bands in upstate New York and Pennsylvania. Erin Greene is a lead vocalist.