HVBA Year In Review

While everyone seems to have given 2009 the bums rush out the door, I looked back and there were many great aspects to this past year.  I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the many people who contributed to make 2009 a banner year for the HVBA.

Seems like only yesterday that we were singing harmony in Lynn and Steve Lipton’s parlor with the great Ernie Sykes at a vocal workshop.  Earlier that morning Ernie conducted a bass workshop, as well. Thanks to Lynn and Jerry Oland for setting this up.

Our Bluegrass in the Schools program at Poughkeepsie Day School was a huge success.  We brought bluegrass music to dozens of kids at the Poughkeepsie Day School over the course of two months.  Many musicians gave their time to demonstrate their bluegrass instruments playing songs and discussing the history and dynamics of the music.  The program culminated on November 20 with a concert by Special Consensus in the school’s James Earl Jones Auditorium.  Special thanks go to Mike Foley for overseeing the program, Ted Ansbacher for writing the successful grant, the Dutchess County Arts Council for funding  the program, Fred Robbins for filming, editing and posting video, so we all can experience what the kids did, and finally, to Lynn for her moral support.

The first weekend of October was special in the Hudson Valley.  The Walkway over the Hudson opened and the HVBA provided music at “Sunday in the Park” at a new park at Highland Landing.  Not sure I can remember all the bands that played… Mama Tried, Blue Plate Special, Red Dirt Road, Rich Hines and The Hillbilly Drifters, No Brakes, and the Hudson River Sloop Singers.  Thanks to all.

That same weekend we hosted a book signing with Gene Lowinger and his fine book, “I Hear A Voice Calling: A Bluegrass Memoir.”  This included a community jam with CB Smith, Red Dirt Road, Grass Roots and Wickers Creek.  And, of course, fiddling Gene Lowinger.  Thanks to all.

The HVBA provided musicians to play aboard the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater as she sailed in a flotilla from Poughkeepsie to Kingston.  Thanks to Bob Stump, Peter Conklin, Terry Ghee, and Lynn Lipton for sailing and playing.

As usual, the HVBA held its annual fundraiser at River Station.  This year we gathered on May 31 to hear Too Blue, No Brakes, Big River Band, Mama Tried, Red Dirt Road, Oxford Depot.  Without these bands we’d have no fundraiser, so thank you.

Seems like ancient history, but we celebrated Danny Paisley’s birthday, his 50th no less, in style at the United Methodist Church.

Finally, in 2009 a few board members stepped down, Secretary Leslie Bates, Bob Stump, Ron Bellis, Rob Bradley, Levi Albert, and Gary DiGiovanni.  But we have a new treasurer, Kate Mitchell, and board members Pete Conklin, Mike Foley, Frank Dietrich, and Dave Cobb.  Thanks to all board members past, present and future!

Whew!  I’m exhausted just recounting all that.  But my ears sure are ringing with great music and memories.  And did I mention the scores of articles, concert reviews and tips available at our extensive website, www.hvbluegrass.org/old,  Thanks to Mel Paskell for his contribution as News Editor and to Doug Mathewson, our present News Editor.

If you are “on email” like me, you’ve been bombarded for charitable giving as 2009 closed out and people sought tax shelters.

Well, I dropped the ball.  I should have reminded you of HVBA, its volunteers and members, that have provided great music to music lovers like yourselves over the past year.

If you are inclined and able to afford a small donation, would you please consider sponsoring our Gibson Brothers concert on Saturday April 17?  Great music like that played by the Gibson’s doesn’t come cheap.  But we are committed to bringing you the best in bluegrass in 2010.  I know, I know, April seems like the future!  But believe me, the days are lengthening and spring is just around the corner.  Just behind those next few snow storms.

Thanks everyone for making it a great year.

Jeff Anzevino
Founder and President

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