Dear HVBA members, member bands, concertgoers, friends, and all bluegrass lovers,
On behalf of myself and the Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association’s board, I’d like to wish you a happy and healthy holiday season. As 2022 comes to a close, let’s reflect on everything the HVBA accomplished this year—and what it will accomplish in 2023.
This year’s concert schedule was a somewhat irregular one as we settled further into the COVID-19 endemic—but you wouldn’t know it by the insanely talented performances that our artists gave. Despite any tumultuousness, we were able to bring some incredible acts to perform for the HVBA, including Liam Purcell and Cane Mill Road, Chris Brashear, Mile Twelve, and more at the Poughkeepsie Day School’s James Earl Jones Theater.
Next year, I’m looking forward to even more amazing local and national acts grace the HVBA stage, starting with a return performance by Bees in the Barn in January. Later in the year, we’ll have Special Consensus in March and the Gibson Brothers in April. I’m also happy to announce that starting in fall 2023, the HVBA concert series will be returning to its pre-COVID home—the Unitarian Fellowship of Poughkeepsie. I can’t wait to enjoy more music with you in the coming year!
Speaking of next year, I’m thrilled to announce that the HVBA will be reprising its educational series on bluegrass music and its instruments at Vassar College’s Lifelong Learning Institute in the spring. The series will feature six classes—one for each of the six instruments—and be taught by some of the best educators in the HVBA universe. Stay tuned for more details about the series in upcoming HVBA newsletters. The series is a shining example of the Association’s commitment to its mission about bringing bluegrass music to the public, and helping to educate the public about its history and its future.
And that mission of educating the public about bluegrass music was a core theme of the HVBA’s activities this year. The HVBA’s house band, the Blue Mask Boys, made several educational performances this year, including at Reed Memorial Library in Carmel, NY (Putnam County) and at the Arlington Street Fair in Poughkeepsie, marking the HVBA’s 12th performance at that event. The rotating cast of characters in the Blue Mask Boys are some of the best pickers and enthusiastic bluegrass stewards I’ve ever had the pleasure of sharing the stage with—and the Boys will continue to make educational performances across the Hudson Valley region in 2023.
Jams also held strong this year, with the return of regular biweekly jams to the Manor at Woodside in Poughkeepsie. The HVBA also supported jams in Woodstock at the Bearsville Theater this year, and will continue to support those jams next year, plus new jams in Kingston.
I’d also like to thank the HVBA’s executive board. Our board has been so instrumental in conducting shows from collecting tickets and providing refreshments to setting up the sound system and ensuring our performers sound their best. They also keep the organization running by keeping our financials in order, helping with outreach, maintaining our website and social media presences, and so much more. Our board members consistently and selflessly offer their valuable time to sustaining the HVBA, and I couldn’t be more thankful for everything they do.
I’m so proud to be a small part of an organization with such enthusiastic members—and one that plays such an outsize role in bringing top-tier bluegrass talent to our own backyard. There’s nothing I cherish more than getting to experience bluegrass music with the HVBA’s members, and it’s what I’m looking forward to the most in 2023.
Thank you so much for your continued support of the HVBA, and happy holidays to you and your family. We will see you in 2023!