Music in the Square 2021

  • Jul


    John Brown's Dream

    John Brown’s Dream brings you a Southern Appalachian string band sound — a celebration of the ongoing and shared history of anti-colonial struggles of African, Celtic, English and Indigenous people. Ryan Clover plays banjo, and grew up in a home in Cortland where his parents played old time music around the house. Annually, they traveled to large fiddler gatherings like Clifftop in West Virginia and Mt. Airy in North Carolina. As a teenager, Ryan began booking folk and punk shows through Ithaca Underground and his own collective house. During this time, Ryan met guitarist Liz Pickard, whose path from the Ithaca DIY folk/ punk scene began with anti-racist organizing work and a few guitar lessons from Ryan’s dad. These lessons were a gift Ryan asked of his dad on his birthday one year. Fiddler Nathan Vargo began playing old time music around Raleigh, North Carolina and recently moved to the region from New Orleans during the pandemic. Nathan has studied with John Teer of Chatham County Line, John Herrmann and John Engle.

    Named after a traditional tune honoring the acts and vision of radical white abolitionist, John Brown, John Brown’s Dream is building a musical repertoire that highlights the radical multi-racial elements of a genre that is often considered overwhelmingly white and quaint. The songs they sing tell stories of migration: leaving home and family to work a job, being displaced by the boom and bust of industry, starting anew and confronting the boss for dignified working conditions and a living wage, having your land taken from you by colonizing forces. As working class white people, they highlight Southern Appalachian tunes that illustrate the multi-racial origins of this music– the banjo itself being a prime example of West African and European cross-pollination.  They seek to use music as an organizing tool that can help people of all backgrounds see our shared struggles and shared humanity.

    Thursday, July 01, 2021, 6:00 pm—8:00 pm

    Centerway Square, Corning NY 14830

  • Jul


    John Walton and Family / The Wilson Family with Bucky Geter

    This evening’s performance highlights Black gospel music and some of the players and vocalist currently involved in the music ministry of Monumental Baptist Church, one of the oldest African American congregations in Elmira. Together, the two ensembles represent four generations of a local musical tradition that brings hope and joy in the face of struggle. Rooted in family, community and the Spirit. 

    John Walton has been playing piano and drums in local congregations since he was a teenager, and currently aids in the music ministries of Monumental Baptist Church and Frederick Douglas AME Zion Church in Elmira. Clarence “Bucky” Geter has been leading congregations in praise and worship through music for over 70 years. Self-taught, he began learning piano in his mother’s home in Elmira’s Eastside neighborhood, emulating gospel music he heard on the radio. Since then, he has provided accompaniment to choirs, preachers and congregants alike at Monumental Baptist Church, Frederick Douglass AME Zion Church, All Saints Church of God in Christ, Friendship Baptist Church and more. In 2021 he was honored by the Elmira-Corning branch of the NAACP for his life spent bringing joy, hope and praise to to the region. The Wilson Family is made up of Betty, Barbara, and Junior. Their mother, sometimes sang jazz and blues in local nightclubs. Singing has always been a part of the Wilson family, and they are known throughout Elmira for singing at church, weddings and funerals. They sing both sacred and secular music, and Junior Wilson was a member of the Torinos, a well-known Elmira-based R&B group that gigged regionally in the 1980s.

    Thursday, July 15, 2021, 6:00 pm—8:00 pm

    Centerway Square, Corning NY 14830

  • Jul


    Pat Kane & West o'Clare

    Pat Kane is a seasoned showman, being a singer, dancer, actor, and instrumentalist since childhood. On his farm in the hill country of the Canisteo River, he was raised in the traditions of the Grange and of his Irish family. Pat’s cousins still run the family farm in West Clare, Ireland, which Pat visits often. Hence, the name, West o’Clare. The band includes Rob Spence on vocals and percussion, Kathy Snedeker on piano and keyboards, Ken VanEtten on banjos, mandolin, harmonicas, trumpet, third vocals, arcane wisdom.

    Thursday, July 22, 2021, 6:00 pm—8:00 pm

    Centerway Square, Corning NY 14830

  • Aug


    Curt Osgood, Henry Jankiewicz and John Wobus

    Jankiewicz, Osgood and Wobus, share nearly 100 years of performing experience between them. On fiddle, hammered dulcimer and piano, at coffeehouses, festivals, grange halls and other folk venues you can hear them presenting selections from various musical traditions including Old Timey, French-Canadian, Celtic, Americana and more. They all regularly appear with contra dance ensembles about NY state and can be heard on various recording projects.  Henry Jankiewicz started his fiddling career in Philadelphia in the 1970s, playing old-time and Irish music. After relocating to Syracuse in 1972, he joined a group that would eventually become the Cranberry Lake Jug Band. Curt Osgood has been playing hammered dulcimer for 40 years performing at numerous northeast venues, including folk festivals, coffeehouses, opera houses, and arts councils.  He performs, teaches, leads workshops and facilitates jams. John Wobus is in demand as a piano player for contradances and English Country Dances. He accompanied  Cape Breton and Quebecois fiddlers and played fiddle himself at Irish sessions and music jams.

    Thursday, August 12, 2021, 6:00 pm—8:00 pm

    Centerway Square, Corning NY 14830

  • Aug



    Toivo is a dance band from Trumansburg, NY playing the traditional music of the Finnish community of the south-central Finger Lakes region. Much of this music was learned from Richard Koski and his father who both played for Finnish dances in the area from Spencer to Trumansburg. Besides the Finnish polkas, waltzes, and schottisches, the band also plays music from Cajun country and the Tex-Mex borderlands. Added to the mix are tangos, fox trots, classic country tunes, and plenty of Toivo originals. Toivo plays at local restaurants, bars, wineries, dances, and festivals, and has been the featured dance band at national Finn Fests in Hancock, Michigan and Buffalo, N.Y. The band consists of Richard Koski on button accordion, Jason Koski on mandolin, Jim Reidy on guitar, Stefan Senders on banjo, Harley Campbell on upright bass, Annie Campbell on snare drum, and Paul Martin on guitar. Toivo (pronounced toy-vo) is the Finnish word for ‘hope’. It is also a very common male Finnish first name. There are ‘Toivo & Eino (pronounced ay-no)’ jokes about Finns, just like there are ‘Pat & Mike’ jokes about the Irish. The band is very happy that Rich didn’t choose to call it ‘Eino’ Contact Richard or go to their website: .

    Thursday, August 19, 2021, 6:00 pm—8:00 pm

    Centerway Square, Corning NY 14830

  • Aug


    Gerard Burke

    Delta bluesman Gerard Burke has entertained listeners across New York’s Southern Tier and Central New York regions with his unique brand of acoustic blues, played in the style of the old masters, such as Son House, Charley Patton, and Robert Johnson. Burke recalls his mother encouraging him and his siblings to take music lessons. His first instruments were clarinet and saxophone before making his way to the guitar. Over the past 15 years, Burke has developed an approach to his music that pays homage to its originators while still leaving room for his own personal touch. Feeling free to substitute lyrics or chord changes in these early blues compositions, he’s an interpreter looking to adapt Delta blues stylings to modern day offerings. Performing on both resonator and standard acoustic guitars in open and standard tunings, Burke’s playing features both slide and finger-picking styles.

    Thursday, August 26, 2021, 6:00 pm—8:00 pm

    Centerway Square, Corning NY 14830

  • Sep


    Top Shelf

    Local favorite band, Top Shelf is a multigenerational group from the Finger Lakes Region that brings the old school dance floor funk, the Uptown hits of today and timeless, irresistible soul everywhere they go. Founded in 1983 by pianist Jim DePaul, its current lineup features vocalist Anita Lewis, drummer Joel Carberry, bassist Steve Webb, guitarist John Manfredi and, the newest edition, pianist Zach Hamilton.

    Although musical influences vary from member to member the group honors everything from the jazz genre, funk and pop from the 70s on through to today.

    Thursday, September 02, 2021, 5:00 pm—6:30 pm

    Centerway Square, Corning NY 14830

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