CPS Concert Features Premiere of Musical Suite Celebrating North Country Farmers

03.25.14

Daniel Kelly
Composer and pianist Daniel Kelly was commissioned by CPS to write “Voices of the Farm: A Tribute to the Farmers of the North Country.” The piece will debut Sunday, March 30 at 3 p.m. in Snell Theater.

Inspired by the stories of North Country farmers, a music project commissioned by the Community Performance Series will soon hit the stage. "Voices from the Farm: A Tribute to the Farmers of the North Country" will premiere on Sunday, March 30 at 3 p.m. in the Sara M. Snell Music Theater at SUNY Potsdam's Crane School of Music.

Composer and pianist Daniel Kelly began his "Voices from the Farm" project several months ago, when the Brooklyn-based jazz artist sat down with North Country farmers and members of the agricultural community to record their personal stories. Using their experiences as inspiration, Kelly composed an hour-long musical suite that celebrates the rich agricultural heritage of Northern New York. During the concert, recorded interviews with farmers will weave throughout each piece of music, giving context and authenticity to the composition.

Prior to the show, 2013 St. Lawrence County Dairy Princess Brooke Rastley will share locally produced cheese in the Snell Theater lobby.

Renowned fiddler Gretchen Koehler will take part in the performance and "was an integral part of the creation process," according to Kelly.

"When I began exploring the music of this area, her knowledge of the traditional music and the community itself was invaluable. I am so thrilled that we have had an opportunity to collaborate on telling the story of hard-working North County farmers," Kelly said.

"This is one of the coolest things I've done in a long time, and Daniel is lovely to work with," said Koehler. "Daniel has taken traditional music and infused a contemporary flair. The performance will be a great mix of traditional fiddling, storytelling and jazz."

"This has been an extraordinary opportunity for CPS," said Executive Director Amy Flack. "We were chosen as one of six presenters from across New York State to take part in a project like this. Not only were we given the opportunity to present a group of phenomenal artists, but we were also blessed with an opportunity to showcase the true roots of our community. We are very grateful to our friends at Traditional Arts of Upstate New York, North Country Public Radio, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the dedicated farmers who have provided support for this project's development."

Tickets are now on sale, and can be purchased through the CPS Box Office, currently located in the lobby of SUNY Potsdam's new Performing Arts Center, or at Northern Music & Video in downtown Potsdam. Tickets can also be purchased by calling (315) 267-2277, or by visiting www.cpspotsdam.org. Prices are $15 for adults and $10 for students.

CPS is a college-community partnership presenting world-class performing artists and arts education opportunities in Northern New York. This rich mixture of programming links communities, classrooms and audiences of all ages and preserves access to the performing arts for future generations. For more information, visit www.cpspotsdam.org.

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of only three arts campuses in the entire SUNY system. SUNY Potsdam's arts curriculum offers the full palette: music, theatre, dance, fine arts and creative writing. No matter the discipline, people from all backgrounds can find their creative compass at Potsdam, with myriad arts immersion experiences available for both campus and community.