The Mountain Laurel Waldorf School in New Paltz is launching a new community event this weekend. “Music in the Field” will offer a relaxing way to enjoy live music this Saturday, September 17 from noon to 5 p.m. on the lawn at the Field of Dreams pavilion across from the county fairgrounds on Libertyville Road.
Tickets for the vendor-free picnic-style event cost $15 each or $25 for a family, payable by cash or check. Tickets are available at the event. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets and a picnic to enjoy.
Proceeds raised will benefit Mountain Laurel school with a percentage of the profits to be given to Hasbrouck Park. Students in grades K-8 at Mountain Laurel often spend part of their day at the village park, said Patty Gandin, parent of four children attending the school and part of the committee organizing this event. “We heard that the playground was being renovated, so we thought this might be a great way to say thank you to the community for letting us use the park on a daily basis.”
Organizers are hoping that Music in the Field becomes an annual event, she added, with future fundraisers to benefit other resources or organizations in the community.
The concert will open at noon with a drum solo by percussionist Omelyan Shuhan. Rye Straw Bluegrass Band will play next, followed by Howard Fishman and the Biting Fish Brass Band.
It will be a family-friendly event, but organizers specifically chose to present traditional music that all ages will enjoy. Bluegrass and New Orleans-style brass are fun for kids, said Gandin, but appeal equally to their parents along with seniors, teens and college students.
“The level of musicianship appeals to everybody. It’s quality music, and the people playing the instruments are so talented. The music is interesting to listen to.”
Rye Straw Bluegrass Band is made up of regional talent that first got together to play for a continuing education lecture at Marist College on the evolution of bluegrass music. Nick Novia is on guitar and vocals, Chris Brashear on fiddle and vocals, Terry McGill on banjo, Ben Fraker on mandolin and David Gandin on bass. They promise to deliver hard-driving traditional bluegrass with “no frills.”
Howard Fishman and his Biting Fish Brass Band are a high-spirited tribute to The Big Easy, Fishman’s former home. The band performs originals mixed with a classic brass band repertoire of spirituals, blues, gospel and funk featuring tuba, trombone, trumpet, drums and vocals. The Biting Fish have performed extensively in this country and abroad, including headlining at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Le Poisson Rouge and Joe’s Pub in New York City, Grand Opera House in Delaware, Garde Arts Center in Connecticut, Reston Community Theater in Virginia and Augustibluus Festival in Estonia and Storyville in Finland.
The event is sponsored by Ulster Savings Bank, New Paltz Health & Nutrition Center, Edward Jones financial services, Enchanted Toys, La Luna Farm, Skydive the Ranch, Imperial Guitar, From Hive to Table, Pegasus Shoes, Mountaintop School, FirstCare and Locomotive CrossFit.
“We were able to get enough sponsors to cover the costs of putting on the event,” said Gandin, “so every penny we make at the door and from t-shirts goes toward Mountain Laurel and Hasbrouck Park.” The t-shirts will sport the same whimsical drawing of musicians seen on the event poster, designed by Morgan Taylor, a Mountain Laurel parent whose wife Rachel teaches first grade at the school.
The Bruderhof community will provide face painting at the event and there will be a 50/50 raffle. CDs of music by the participating bands will be available. The pavilion is handicapped accessible, and there’s plenty of parking at the site along with porta-potties. The event is rain or shine.
“There are a lot of places in New Paltz where you can hear live music,” said Gandin, “but nothing like this is really being done where people can bring their own food and just hang. Years ago I used to go with my dad to SPAC (Saratoga Performing Arts Center), when they had events where you’d bring food and sit outdoors on the hillside to listen to classical music. I have such fond memories of that. I hope this event will create the same kind of memories for New Paltz families and seniors and everyone else who comes out.”
More information is available by visiting www.MountainLaurel.org or calling 255-0033.