Music in the Square 2023

Join The ARTS Council for this summer’s Music in the Square concert series on Thursdays in July and August from 6-8pm. This year’s series features local folk and traditional music favorites. Check out the lineup below!

  • Jul


    Allegany River Seneca Dancers

    Founded in 1979, the Allegany River Seneca Dancers have become one of the best-known Native dance groups in the United States and Canada today. The group has traveled throughout North America, sharing traditional Haudenosaunee social dances. The group is also well known for its repertoire of Intertribal “Pow wow” style dances. Their performances often feature the hoop dance done by Bill Crouse. This dance uses 30 hoops to make various formations or designs representing things from nature. Through group performances (which often include audience participation) and lecture presentations, this group has taught large audiences about Seneca history and culture.

    Thursday, July 06, 2023, 6:00 pm—8:00 pm

    Centerway Square, Corning, NY

  • Jul


    Cayuga Klezmer Kapelye

    Cayuga Klezmer Kapelye includes violinist Rima Grunes, Deborah Justice on the hammered dulcimer, and clarinetist Jennie Lavine. 

    Rima Grunes grew up in Ithaca, where she began studying the violin at three years old as one of the first Suzuki students of Sanford and Joan Reuning. Later teachers included Pamela Gearhart at Ithaca College, Margaret Pardee at The Meadowmount School of Music, and David Cerone at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Rima performed as a child at The Eastman Theatre, SUNY Buffalo, and Carnegie Hall at ten years old. After a hiatus of 22 years, she began to play again in the spring of 2003, inspired by the arrival in Ithaca of world-renowned klezmer clarinetist Joel Rubin.

    Deborah Justice has been playing hammered dulcimer since she was 12 years old. She fell in love with the sounds of the shimmering strings and has played dulcimer in all kinds of styles, from Irish and old-time to classical and klezmer. Deb and co-author Pete Rushefsky published a book, Klezmer for Hammered Dulcimer, through New York City’s Center for Traditional Music and Dance. When not chasing her two-year-old, in addition to performing, Deb also teaches lessons in Ithaca or online)!

    Clarinetist Jennie Lavine, a native of Ithaca, started playing clarinet 30 years ago, inspired by the Cayuga Klezmer Revival. Since then, she has performed classical, jazz, and klezmer around the country with stops in Atlanta, Ann Arbor, and most recently, New Orleans with the band Inner Fire District. Jennie has performed and toured in the U.S. and beyond, playing songs of Yiddishland and Revolution. She’s happy to be back in her hometown making music.

    Thursday, July 13, 2023, 6:00 pm—8:00 pm

    Centerway Square, Corning, NY

  • Jul


    The Wilson Family and Isaiah Smallwood

    Image of the Wilson Family in a church.Betty, Barbara, and Junior Wilson are siblings who perform sacred and secular music. Singing has always been a part of the Wilson family, and their mother sometimes sang jazz and blues in local nightclubs. Junior Wilson was a member of the Torinos, a well-known Elmira-based R&B group that gigged regionally in the 1980s. Today, the Wilsons are known throughout Elmira for singing at churches, weddings, and funerals.


    Image of Isaiah Smallwood signing.Isaiah Smallwood is a son, a proud husband, a brother, a leader, and more. Isaiah learned he could sing at a young age and claims he drove his family crazy with the many sounds he could make. He started taking singing seriously at the young age of 8 and has not looked back since. Growing up, Isaiah was involved in many church choirs. While in school, he joined every chorus class and began pursuing music at the collegiate level. Isaiah is passionate about all types of music but particularly enjoys R&B, Gospel, and Soul. He invites you to come to this show with an open heart, listening to the art that comes from his.

    Thursday, July 20, 2023, 6:00 pm—8:00 pm

    Centerway Square, Corning, NY

  • Jul


    Doolin O'Dey

    Image of Doolin O'Dey band members holding their instruments. Doolin O’Dey is an exciting mix of traditional and original Gaelic-inspired music. Instrumentation of violin, guitar, Celtic whistles, octave mandolin, uilleann pipes, and keyboard combine to make your listening experience unforgettable. You will be captivated by this band’s jig, aire, and waltz arrangements. Before picking up her instruments, Nora Star organized festivals and concerts. She plays in several groups in the Ithaca area. Her motto: “Foot Stompin Fun.” Susan Murphy comes from a cabaret and Celtic background from playing in bands from New York City before moving to the Ithaca area. Deborah Justice has been playing hammered dulcimer since she was 12.

    Thursday, July 27, 2023, 6:00 pm—8:00 pm

    Centerway Square, Corning, NY

  • Aug


    Venissa Santi

    Image of Venissa Santi singing. Venissa Santi’s artistry stems from the necessity to express the many influences that have nourished her spirit as a Cuban American. Born in Ithaca, New York, Venissa hails from a long line of Cuban artists. Her grandfather, Jacobo Ros Capablanca, a Cuban composer, instilled in her a life-long passion for music.​ After completing high school, she enrolled at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and majored in Jazz Vocal Performance. After graduation, she became actively involved in Philadelphia’s Latin community and music scene through her career as a vocal instructor with the Asociación de Músicos Latino Americanos, better known as AMLA. Over time she performed with many Latin, jazz, and world music groups. The support and encouragement of this community inspired Venissa to embark on the first of four life-changing visits to Cuba, where she conducted research and studied Afro-Cuban song, dance, and percussion.

    Thursday, August 03, 2023, 6:00 pm—8:00 pm

    Centerway Square, Corning, NY

  • Aug


    Top Shelf

    Image of Top Shelf performing.

    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 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 to today.

    Thursday, August 10, 2023, 6:00 pm—8:00 pm

    Centerway Square, Corning, NY

  • Aug



    Image of Metku band members holding their instruments. Metku formed from a shared inspiration between the band members’ shared Finnish ancestral heritage and interest in traditional Finnish music and dance. Richard Koski, button accordion and fiddle, was awarded a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts in Folk and Traditional Arts for his years of work in Finnish folk music. Richard was a mentor to Katrina Mackey and Michael Ludgate, thanks to a NYSCA Folk Arts Master and Apprenticeship Grant. Michael plays mandolin, kantele, and banjo, and Katrina plays the flute and fiddle. Katrina and Mike also play as a duo but often are fortunate to have the guitarist Philip Robinson join a trio. Richard, Katrina, and Michael are compiling a tune book based on their master and apprenticeship experience. Once finished, the completed book will be available to the public. In addition to the traditional Finnish repertoire, Metku plays traditional music for contra dances, square dances, private parties, and weddings. 

    Thursday, August 17, 2023, 6:00 pm—8:00 pm

    Centerway Square, Corning, NY

  • Aug


    Gerard Burke

    Gerard Burke performing.Delta bluesman Gerard Burke has entertained listeners across New York’s Southern Tier and Central New York regions with a unique brand of acoustic blues played in the style of the old masters, such as Son House, Charley Patton, and Robert Johnson. Gerard recalls his mother encouraging him and his siblings to take music lessons, and his first instruments were clarinet and saxophone before making his way to the guitar. Over the past 15 years, Gerard has developed an approach to his music that pays homage to its originators while leaving room for his 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. Gerard’s playing features slide and finger-picking styles performing on resonator and standard acoustic guitars in open and standard tunings.

    Thursday, August 24, 2023, 6:00 pm—8:00 pm

    Centerway Square, Corning, NY