[Return to Home Page] [Subscriptions] [Newsstands] [Contact Us] [Archives]

Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, June 22, 2006

After two years
Carman wins county race

By Jarrett Carroll

GUILDERLAND — Fort Hunter finally has an elected Albany County representative after nearly two-and-a-half years.

Republican Lee Carman beat incumbent Democrat Gene Messercola 510 to 508 for the county’s 29th District, after last week’s tie and a federal judge’s order to open two contested ballots. Both of the ballots were for Carman.

The two absentee ballots were from an original 40 contested ballots from the 2004 race between Carman and Messercola.

The ballots were singled out because they were faxed to their recipients, which in the past has been ruled illegal according to the State’s Election Laws.

Carman was sworn into the county legislature on Friday morning.

"I’m grateful for the outcome because the voters didn’t have their rights taken away," Carman told The Enterprise yesterday.

"I’m very active in various community activities," he said. He plans on hearing his constituents’ concerns the old fashioned way — by listening. "I’ll talk to people just like I always have," he said.

The state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, ruled that the disputed absentee ballots should be invalidated, which, turned the contested election into a heated partisan debate between Albany County Democrats and Republicans. Democrats sided with the state court saying the 40 ballots were invalid because they were mailed out or faxed using the original 2003 special election applications.

Once the election was postponed until the following April because of legal challenges over redistricting, the Court of Appeals said, new applications were needed because absentee ballots are only to be used if a voter cannot physically make it to the polls for that particular election.

Republicans wanted every ballot counted regardless of whatever mistakes were made by the county’s board of election in sending out the ballots. The Republican party turned to federal court because it said voters’ rights were being denied, making it a Constitutional issue.

"You can’t expect voters to raise legal challenges to ballots sent to them"They relied on the [county] board," said Carman’s attorney, Paul DerOhannesian. "There were no allegations anywhere that any voter acted fraudulent in any way"It was never an issue in this case."

The case was an issue of voters’ rights, DerOhannesian told The Enterprise, not of State Election Law.

"Dangerous Precedent"

Messercola doesn’t see it that way.

"I feel the judge made a decision and I respect his decision, but I don’t feel it was the right decision," said Messercola on Tuesday. "We were 508 to 508. We should have faced off and had another election."

DerOhannesian cited a similar case in Rhode Island where absentee ballots resulted in a contested election and the case was handed over to a federal circuit court that ruled the ballots be opened and counted.

"That’s not a fair election as far as I’m concerned," said Messercola, but he added of Judge Lawrence E. Kahn, "He made his decision and that’s it."

Having the federal court overrule State Election Law is a dangerous precedent, Messercola said. Before the absentee ballots were counted, Messercola was leading the race 490 to 486.

"The goal was to get the votes counted, regardless of the outcome," said DerOhannesian. "It’s not like when a machine breaks down. The election board made a mistake."

Messercola beat Carman in the 1999 race for the same seat, and that race was also too close to call, with absentee ballots having to be counted.

"I guess you could call me Al Gore and him George Bush," said Messercola, saying the election was decided by a federal court. "Now I know how Al Gore felt."

There was a four-month gap, during which time no one was representing Guilderland’s 29th District. Messercola was appointed by the legislature to fill his seat until the election dispute was settled.

"I didn’t accept back pay, I wouldn’t take it," Messercola told The Enterprise. "Even if I had won."

Messercola said he felt there should have been an appeal.

The Albany County Board of Elections’ Republican commissioner, John Graziano, said a stipulation was made that appeal would not be made once the federal court made a decision.

"We had no choice once the federal court said we had to open them," said Graziano.

The election debacle came from the redistricting controversy in 2003, Graziano said.

"This is all the result of redistricting," Graziano said. "The federal court in 2003 thought the redistricting was in violation of voter rights."

As a result, the special elections in November were pushed back to the following April. Messercola said that this resulted in a low voter turnout and an increase in absentee ballots.

"All of the state courts had ruled on this election, and then it went to federal court in denial of a person’s right to vote," said Graziano. "The federal court did not look at the state law as the overriding issue."

Graziano added, "When all the applications came in, we said, ‘Open them all.’ Then all of these lawyers got involved, and two years later, here we are."

All parties involved agree that the two-year-plus election case is unusual.

"Yes, it’s unusual, and it should be unusual. It should not be a regular event," said DerOhannesian.

When asked if he knew his new constituents’ concerns, Carman named issues like postal zip codes, the civic center, and nursing homes as his top issues now that the gas tax is out of the way. Carman became vague when asked about issues that affect Guilderland residents, whom he represents, saying, "My residents are a part of Albany County, so I will deal with Albany County issues."

When talking about his original campaign against Messercola, Carman stated simply, "My campaign was going door to door and giving people my qualifications."

Carman is a life-long Guilderland resident with degrees in finance and management from Clarkson University. He currently works for a private commercial investment group in Saratoga and is involved in the Guilderland YMCA board and its finance committee. Carman is also a member of the Guilderland Soccer Club board.

Messercola is also a life-long Guilderland resident who retired from the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 106, in 1999. He was the union’s president and business manager and was with the local for 41 years. Messercola also served on the Albany County Industrial Development Agency.

"I never rule anything out for the future. At this point I have every intention of running again," Messercola told The Enterprise. "I was a very effective legislator. I got things done."

Although Messercola is disappointed he won’t be returning to the Albany County legislature, he believes Carman will do well.

"I think my opponent ran a very good campaign. I wish him a lot of luck. He’s a great guy," said Messercola. "I think he’ll do a good job."

Town all in with Thomas’s plans

By Jarrett Carroll

GUILDERLAND — In a scene that could be compared to a poker game in an old western film, the town board worked out details with developer Jeff Thomas on his Western Avenue senior housing project.

The board agreed to re-zone the project in return for a public senior center at the old Bavarian Chalet. However, the details of the exchange were murky at best.

The re-zone changes the 5060 Western Ave. location from Local Business to Multiple Residence — but only for seniors.

Thomas plans to develop 13 acres on the western end of Guilderland off of Western Avenue into a large senior housing project, complete with open green space, a view of the Helderberg escarpment, and a community senior center.

The re-zone was granted with several stipulations, including:

— The units only be used by those 55 years old or older;

— The chalet be rehabilitated, with — a major sticking point — at least 4,000 square feet dedicated to the town;

— Sidewalks be constructed along Western Avenue connecting to other existing sidewalks;

— There be a maximum of 87 units;

— $750 per unit must be paid to the town’s Park Land Dedication Fund; and

— Thomas must pay all connection fees for water and sewage.

Supervisor Kenneth Runion said the re-zoning was conditional, meaning it could revert back to Local Business if the project were not completed or failed. He added that sidewalks would have to be included to make the deal work.

Thomas asked if two apartments could be included in the current chalet structure, to which Runion responded, "You’re going to condo-ize the Chalet""

Thomas and the board then went back and forth as the board tried to pin him down on specific numbers. First, Thomas said either 2,000 or 3,000 square feet or a third of the building would be given to the town.

"The senior-citizen center is a major consideration for the re-zone, so we have to be very specific," said board member David Bosworth.

"We’re looking for multiple rooms for multiple programs running at the same time," said Runion.

Runion said that he wanted the community center to be more than just one open room, which he compared to the town hall, where seniors currently hold events.

There was also some confusion on who would have rights to the center. Thomas said he was hoping that residents of the senior-housing complex could reserve the center on weekends. Runion said he wanted the public to be able to access the senior center all week long, and Thomas said he would like to look at the site with the town to plan in greater detail.

After some more haggling, Thomas promised the town of Guilderland a minimum of 4,000 square feet, but then asked for the $1,500 per unit fee the town charges developers to go to park land be reduced to $750 per unit because Thomas was including off-site sidewalks for the project.

Thomas estimated the sidewalk will cost around $30 a foot, which was equal to nearly $60,000 he said.

During the back and forth between Thomas and the board, one resident laughed out loud and yelled, "2,000, 3,000, 4,000. Going once, going twice," mocking an auction.

The last sticking point was the schedule. The board said the conditional re-zone would be active for two years, and Thomas asked for an extra year. Runion said that all Thomas would have to do was obtain at least one building permit within the two years in order to maintain the zoning, even just a permit for the chalet’s rehabilitation.

Thomas agreed.

The board passed the re-zone unanimously.

Tempers rise over flood plain re-zone

By Jarrett Carroll

GUILDERLAND — Emotions flared at Tuesday’s heated town board meeting when a unanimous decision was made to re-zone the Normanskill Flood Plain.

Angry residents complaining of over-development and the depletion of the town’s green space, who favored the re-zone, clashed with developers who said their investments would be ruined. The room’s tension boiled over after the town’s planner, Jan Weston, announced that 11 properties in the flood plain would not be included in the re-zone proposal.

Weston told the board she sent out notices to homeowners.

"I don’t have any notice that Miss Weston said she sent out," one resident yelled.

Supervisor Kenneth Runion told the crowd that, in addition to Weston’s notices, all of the town’s legal notices were published in The Altamont Enterprise and the Guilderland Spotlight.

"That’s really broadcasting it wide, isn’t it!" one person from the back of the room yelled. "It should be published in the Times Union," yelled another resident.

"That is all we are legally required to do," Runion told the crowd.

George Harder and Shelly Lupi, the two most outspoken developers against the re-zone proposal, asked the board if there was time for a petition to protest the zoning change.

"Not if we vote on it tonight," Runion said.

It was then that Runion asked Weston if she brought a map of the area in question, and, after she said no, residents once again became angry.

"How many excuses do we have to hear"" yelled one man.

"Do you have a copy machine" Let’s start running off copies," said another woman.

The hall then erupted into arguing as two men on opposite ends of the room began to yell at each other. The room was quickly quieted after the supervisor spoke up.

"If you can’t conduct yourself in a reasonable manner, you’ll be asked to leave," he told angry residents. No one was forced to leave and the meeting proceeded in an orderly manner.

The land, which runs along Guilderland and New Scotland town lines between Church Road and Schoolhouse Road, was changed from a residential zone with a minimum lot size of 40,000 square feet, to a zone with a required minimum lot size of three acres for development, to conserve natural resources.

Many of the arguments heard during the meeting were similar to ones made during the May public hearing on the flood plain re-zone. Local residents complained about traffic congestion, over-development, environmental impacts and said how the re-zone would help maintain their quality of life in the area.

Developers maintained that the re-zone would ruin their investments and destroy the marketability of the land.

"I don’t want a piece of land that I can’t market," said Harder. He then told the board if it wanted agriculture, then it should zone the area agricultural so he could at least build chicken farms for eggs and manure.

Lupi argued that her property was oddly shaped, being long and thin, and would already be hard to develop under the old zoning, but under the new zone, her property would be useless. She said her family has owned the property for three generations.

Once she realized the board was going to re-zone the property, she asked if the town would be willing to buy her property to keep forever wild. The board never responded.

Weston said that certain properties could not be part of the re-zone because many of them are currently under the three-acre requirement and would be non-conforming uses.

"My goal is really to make a tool for the planning board to use in order to protect the land that needs protecting," Weston said, whose statement was followed by a roomful of loud applause.

Both the town’s planning board and Albany County’s planning board recommended re-zoning the flood plains.

After the public hearing was closed, board member Michael Ricard questioned why Lupi’s family did not previously develop the land when there were fewer state and federal regulations and requirements.

"The time to strike to develop that land was 30 years ago," Ricard said.

Harder tried to approach the podium to speak to the board once more but was booed down and told to sit because the public comment period was closed.

Runion made the motion in favor of the re-zone and Ricard seconded the motion. A unanimous decision then followed to re-zone the flood plains. Board member David Bosworth took a moment to "recognize the diligent work the planning board has done," and to thank Weston for her work on the recent long-term planning and re-zoning taking place throughout the town.

Runion said he voted for the re-zone because it was "environmentally sensitive land."

While taking a brief recess, as the meeting continued late into the night, a passer-by thanked the supervisor, who responded, "You’re welcome; I hope it helps."

Other business

In other business the town board unanimously:

— Approved setting a public hearing for July 11 on amendments to the Mill Hill Planned Unit Development on Route 155;

— Appointed Richard Savage as director of animal control from the Albany County Civil Service list. Savage, who already holds the post, was the only applicant to take the test for the position;

— Approved setting a public hearing for Sept. 5 on a local law allowing commerical car washes to use municipal water;

— Adopted the conveyance of property for a portion of road known as Newman Road in order to legally access fire hydrants on the road;

— Approved tax assessments from the town assessor’s recommendations;

— Appointed Jane Schramm, director of the Guilderland Chamber of Commerce, as the chamber’s representative on the Economic Development Advisory Committee; and

— Adopted a resolution in support of the Altamont Free Library grant application for renovating the former Altamont train station.

Kozlowski "helps people who really need it" with the AIDS Council book sale

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

GUILDERLAND — Steve Kozlowski hasn’t been able to get his car in his garage for years.

It’s filled with 20,000 books.

Thirteen years ago, he coordinated the first used book sale for the AIDS Council of Northeaster New York.

"I started the project in 1993 when AIDS was in the news all the time," said Kozlowski. He had been a Literacy Volunteer, teaching English as a second language.

"I live near Stuyvesant Plaza and I wrote letters to various bookstores and libraries," he said. "Susan Novotny volunteered to hold a book drive in her vestibule."

Novotny is the owner of the "fiercely independent" Book House as it bills itself and, Kozlowski said, she has been "wonderfully supportive" over the years.

The project has grown to include other venues, too, and to include the selling of videos and CD’s as well as books. Last year, the project raised $80,000 for the AIDS Council of Northeastern New York to help meet special and emergency needs of its 1,500 clients.

The Book House has a "large and loyal clientele," which has been very supportive of the project, Kozlowski said. All year long, customers drop off used books at the store.

While Kozlowski said he will always accept more books, what he needs right now are more music, movies, and children’s books. He can be reached at 482-5602. And there is also information at the project’s website — www.HelpFightAIDS.com.

When Stuyvesant Plaza holds its two summer sidewalk sales, Novotny donates the space in front of her store to the "Help Fight AIDS Through Books and Music" project. The plaza’s Sidewalk Sale Days this year are on Saturday, June 24, and Saturday, Aug. 5, from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Three layers

There are now three layers to his project, Kozlowski said.

The first continues to be community book sales, which are also held at the Empire State Plaza and, during the Christmas holidays, at area malls.

The second is selling Entertainment Books at various local book stores. His project is the Capital Region’s number-one seller of Entertainment Books, which offer discounts to a wide variety of local venues. At the upcoming sidewalk sale, 2006 Entertainment Books will be given away free to customers who order a 2007 version, said Kozlowski.

The third layer is selling books on-line through eBay.

Kozlowski, who works near home for the state’s Department of Labor, returns to his book-filled domicile during his lunch hour to work on the project. He has a corps of 50 to 100 volunteers that work on the project.

Over the years, he’s been recognized for his extraordinary efforts; he was named a Red Cross Hometown Hero, among other honors.

"I like being my own boss," said Kozlowski.

He’s 55, his two children are grown — he now has two grandchildren and plenty of energy, Kozlowski said. He puts in about 1,200 volunteer hours a year on the project.

What keeps him at it"

"I like helping people who really need it," said Kozlowski.

School board puts surplus $400K in reserve funds

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

GUILDERLAND — The school board here had a lively debate Tuesday about what to do with a surplus of about $400,000 in its fund balance.

The rainy-day account would have totaled $1.99 million by the end of the year, which would have been over the 2 percent of next year’s budget allowed by the state.

Assistant Superintendent for Business Neil Sanders recommended putting $100,000 into a tax certiorari reserve fund the board set up last year, and creating a retirement contribution reserve fund for the remaining $300,000.

While some school-board members said the money should be returned to the taxpayers, the majority prevailed, in split votes, determining the surplus will be put in the reserve funds.

The board approved, by a vote of 8 to 1, putting $100,000 into the tax certiorari fund; it will be used to pay judgments and claims resulting from tax certiorari proceedings.

Board member Peter Golden cast the lone dissenting vote. He questioned the need for such a large sum.

Last year, the town of Guilderland revalued properties, resulting in a large number of tax challenges; $17,000 remained in the fund. With the added $100,000, the reserve fund will now total $117,000.

"Why not bring it back to where it was"" asked Golden.

Many of the challenges from homeowners have been settled in small claims court, said Sanders, but a number of challenges from commercial establishments remain.

While there are fewer commercial challenges, said Superintendent Gregory Aidala, they can cost more money.

Board split on retirement fund

The discussion over the retirement fund was longer and more heated. The board was presented with two recommendations — one to establish the fund, and the other to put $300,000 into the fund to finance retirement contributions.

In 2004, a plan designed by the state’s comptroller, Alan Hevesi, allowed school districts to set aside money to pay their share of retirement costs, Sanders told the board.

Guilderland’s state-required contribution to retirement plans has risen by $900,000 in the last five years, he said.

Board member Richard Weisz, long a proponent for spending the fund balance, opposed setting up the new reserve fund.

He began by praising Aidala and Sanders for "sound management," and said that more state aid than expected this year along with underspending on projects had led to the surplus.

"But it’s not our money...I hate taxing anyone to have money in our piggy bank," said Weisz. "I’m against creating another reserve fund."

He went on to say that the district had estimated there would be a 4.18-percent tax hike with the $79 million budget passed by voters this spring; the tax rates aren’t final until August.

Before spending the $300,000, Weisz said, he would like to know what the tax rate will be.

He said he understood all the good reasons for creating a reserve — such as evening out the impact of required increases — but he concluded of the tax rate, "If it turns out to be an iota more, I want to give it back."

Board member Barbara Fraterrigo had other ideas for spending the funds. "We have the extra money," she said. "We have had a diminution of our advanced courses...I want to see us beef up our gifted-and-talented program," she said, particularly with computer sciences.

"Our kids deserve better," said Fraterrigo.

Board vice President Linda Bakst favored establishing the fund.

"It gives us flexibility," she said.

Bakst said that, when Governor George Pataki did not sign legislation that would have increased the limit to 5 percent, he said he preferred creating reserve funds.

"Good management says 5 percent, not 2 percent," said Bakst, and a reserve fund is a way to add the extra security.

Board member Thomas Nachod said that, even if the current board chooses not to put money in the reserve fund, "I think we need to establish the fund...[and] allow future school boards to use it."

"It gives us the ability to do more for the kids...and the taxpayer," said Dornbush.

He also said, as voters went to the polls, "We didn’t promise a tax rate...We promised a spending ceiling."

Board member Colleen O’Connell asked about the consequences of being over the state-set 2-percent limit. She wondered if it would affect the district’s bond rating.

Sanders replied that the district would be sent a letter noting it had exceeded the limit and would need to submit a plan to spend it.

"It’s not our money," said Golden. "We didn’t earn it. We took if from people who worked for it."

Golden went on to point out that the board has a policy of not voting on resolutions at the same meeting in which they are presented; a vote at the same meeting requires a two-thirds majority.

"We’re facing a June 30 deadline," said Aidala, stating that information was sent to board members two weeks ago so they would have time to think about it.

"We’ve never held to that two-thirds standard," said Bakst.

"Then let’s get rid of the rule," said Golden.

President Gene Danese then hastened to call the vote on establishing the reserve fund. It passed by a tally of 2 to 7, with Golden and Weisz dissenting.

Danese then called a vote on the second resolution, appropriating $300,000 from the fund balance for the retirement reserve fund. That passed by a vote of 4 to 5.

Catherine Barber, Fraterrigo, Golden, and Weisz opposed the plan while Bakst, Danese, Dornbush, Nachod, and O’Connell approved it.

"Bridge" money

Earlier in the meeting, the board had authorized, by unanimous vote, issuing up to $3.8 million in Tax Anticipation Notes in anticipation of the receipt of taxes to be levied for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2007.

"We’re cash poor at the beginning of the year," Sanders told the board, stating that the notes help him "bridge" until the tax levy comes in.

Last year, the district borrowed $5 million and the year before, $5.2 million.

Sanders told The Enterprise later that the cost of interest for the $3.8 million in "bridge" money is roughly $45,000.

Asked if the district could save this annual interest cost if it had a larger-than-allowed fund balance, Sanders said, "If we had extra cash in hand, we wouldn’t need to borrow."

He pointed out, though, that to save the interest costs would entail having "a significant amount of money" in addition to the current fund balance.

Other business

In other business, the school board:

— Applauded and praised a documentary, The March on Washington: Standing Up for Freedom, produced by Farnsworth Middle School eighth-graders Casey Gerety, Sohee Rho, and Katie Wells.

The trio took home an "Outstanding State Entry Award" at the National History Day competition;

— Appointed and was introduced to Mary Helen Collen, the district’s new data consultant;

— Approved updated versions of state-required plans for professional development, safe schools, and academic intervention services;

— Adopted policies on ethics, purchasing, district-owned cell phones, expense reimbursement, meals and refreshments, and wellness;

— Honored retiring board leaders Bakst and Danese with accolades, plaques, and a punch-and-cookies reception. Each had served three three-year terms.

In praising Bakst, Weisz said that, in recent years, public discourse has fallen from the noble ideal of sharing a common goal to become a battle over winning or losing.

"With you," he told Bakst, "it’s not about winning and losing, but about what is best for the kids."

Weisz read a resolution that said Bakst’s actions and leadership were always "guided by higher moral principles."

Weisz also said of Bakst’s future plans, "In a way, you graduated or retreated." She will be working on policy for the New York State School Boards Association.

Nachod praised Danese, saying, "You have always, always championed what is best for youth."

A former board president himself, Nachod also told Danese, "You always conducted yourself with dignity and grace, sometimes in trying situations...I’ve been privileged to count you as a friend and a peer."

Nachod then read a resolution that lauded Danese for always grounding "his views in a thorough understanding of the district’s mission — empowering all students to succeed in the 21st Century."

Danese had the last word. "Everyone brings something to the table I respect," he said. "But it hasn’t always been fun"; and

— Heard from Nachod that he had, as the board asked, surveyed current members to see who wants to lead the board. Two want to run for president and no one for vice president, Nachod said, concluding, "So it looks like we’ll have a race."

The Enterprise asked Nachod after the meeting who the contenders for president are; he declined to name them.

The board will elect its leaders July 11, at its reorganizational meeting.

Going Out for Great Grooves
To play at Old Songs you got to have a fiddle and a band

By Jarrett Carroll

ALTAMONT — In its 26 years, the Old Songs Festival has embraced several generations, and The Great Groove Band will make sure there’s another.

The festival, which attracts crowds ranging from latter-day hippies to new-age musicians, inspires participation — singing, dancing, and playing music.

The Great Groove Band encourages school-aged musicians to come with their families, bring their instruments, and, after a little coaching, give a half-hour main stage performance with their teachers.

They will perform on the last evening of this weekend’s three-day festival at the Altamont fairgrounds

"It’s open to kids who play"Just for this weekend we have children coming from all over the Northeast," said Roger Mock, one of the event’s administrators. "They’re coached by teachers during the weekend, and they rehearse it Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of the festival, and then they play it on stage."

Playing with them are the students’ coaches and volunteer parents and friends, making a grand jamboree of fiddle music that has become an Old Songs Festival staple. The Great Groove Band was created by western Massachusetts fiddler and teacher, Donna Hebert, who founded the program in her home state.

"I felt it was time to move beyond just performing for children at folk festivals, to seek their deeper involvement as full participants in the music," said Hebert, an Amherst College fiddle instructor.

Schenectady fiddler and teacher Jane Rothfield is a band member and co-developer of the band’s curriculum, along with Hebert. Rothfield studied at Julliard and Hartt as a young musician before going on to becoming an old-time dance fiddler.

"We’ve arranged the music in rising levels of difficulty so new students can play a basic setting of the tune along with older, more experienced musicians who take on the tune in all its style and glory," said Rothfield.

"This is not a recital," she continued. "Instead, it’s a structured jam session. We teach different tunes each year, scoring them for fiddle, viola, cello, flute, clarinet, mandolin, guitar, banjo, and bass, and we arrange them on the spot when we arrive at the festival and see who shows up to play."

Recently, the American String Teachers’ Association has begun an initiative called Alternative Styles, which would bring fiddling into schools’ string curriculum.

The band cites Maura McNamara, a Saratoga Springs teacher, saying, "The Great Groove Band is an ideal place to introduce fiddling to string players and school musicians. They are surrounded by folk music the entire weekend, so it’s a total immersion, with many opportunities to play outside of the Groove Band rehearsals."

Some of the music that will be a part of this year’s performance in Altamont include "Amazing Grace," Norwegian waltzes, Irish jigs, and Scottish marches, as well as French-Canadian, New England, and Appalachian reels and songs.

For more information, or for families of young musicians who want to register for the festivals, the Great Groove Band’s website is: www.dhebert.com/greatgrooveband.html.

"The music you will hear is by and large under the radar of media or what you might hear on the radio or see on television," Mock told The Enterprise. "The music has been created in specific cultures and is passed on"It’s a way for people to come together and play music."

Old Songs events

Three main concerts will play at the festival — two at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and one at 3 p.m. on Sunday. The special guests for this year’s festival are Shetland’s Heritage Fiddlers from the Shetland Islands, who are all students of Tom Anderson, a well-respected teacher of the Shetland fiddle style.

Other music will include:

— Italian flat-picking guitar, by master Beppe Gambetta;

— Celtic music with appearances of Téada from Ireland; Lian de Cubel, a six-piece ensemble from Northern Spain; and William Jackson from Scotland;

— Old-time music represented by Allan Jabbour, Ken Perlman, the Raisin Pickers, and Jody Stecher and Kate Brilin;

— Blues by master Paul Geremia;

— Songs performed by singers in various genres including Michael Cooney, Byrne & Barrett, Peggy Seeger, Cris Williamson, Kim and Reggie Harris, Joe Hickerson, Enoch Kent, Margaret MacArthur, John Roberts, and George Ward; and

— Children’s music, including the Ivy Vine Players, the Jug Band Workshop, and Roger the Jester.


The Old Songs Festival will take place at the Altamont fairgrounds on Route 146 in the village of Altamont, this weekend on June 23, 24, and 25. Prices vary depending on how many days you attend and whether or not you purchase a camping spot. Tickets start at $30 for Friday and run to $90 for the entire three days. For additional information, call 765-2815.

[Return to Home Page]