March 26, 2014 —
Having survived the flu and determined to join the real world once again, I had a spring in my step when Skytop Farm (www.skytopfarmny.com ) manager Jen Franklin called to inform me that there were new foals to visit, so I slipped a CD in the player, put pedal to the metal and drove myself to the sprawling acreage that is home to the thoroughbred horses that call Skytop home. The breeding farm that boasts “around the clock care for your mare during and after her pregnancy” is a bucolic setting nestled in the hills above Roscoe, NY, and the two new colts were as precious as possible. “At this point, they’re like giant puppies,” Franklin explained. “They wag their stubby tails, follow you around and are a little goofy.” With just a few days under their belts, the boys were nursing, napping and still a bit wobbly, but adorable doesn’t even begin to describe. The mares allowed me to get pretty close, snap some pics and nibbled on the treats I gave them while keeping a sharp eye on their babies. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect way to usher in the first day of spring and with a song in my heart, I nuzzled with three-day-old “Paddy,” waved my goodbyes and headed out, in search of adventure.
Having heard that world-renowned singer Dorothy Stone would be appearing in Hawley, PA (www.silkmillharmony.com ) I did a bit of research and instantly made a reservation. Stone has taught and performed in opera, musical theatre and recitals throughout the United States, Europe and South America, and having experienced her in person, now I know why. “Harmony Presents” producer Jill Carletti promised that Dorothy (www.vocedoro.org ) would present an evening of classical compositions mixed with standards and a bit of Broadway thrown into the mix, and Ms. Stone delivered all that and so much more. Her voice, which is (IMHO) beyond magnificent, is matched by her mesmerizing stage presence and impeccable acting prowess which, when combined, swept the audience up in an evening that gave me goosebumps and thrilled us all to the core. Acknowledging the small crowd seated at café tables in the Boiler Room, Stone put the mic aside, saying, “Let’s keep it nice and casual and pretend we’re all in my living room in Paris, sharing a glass of wine and espousing the pros and cons of amour.” Displaying an amazing range of emotions and techniques, Ms. Stone left the audience breathless with her renditions of “La Vie en Rose” and “Allez Vous-En” (please go away) before mixing it up with Amanda McBroom’s “Ship in a Bottle.” It’s not easy to combine German composer Robert Schumann with Irving Berlin, followed by Hoagy Carmichael’s “The Nearness of You,” but Stone made it seem so, effortlessly approaching each style with incredible skill and vocal prowess that had the audience on its feet cheering and clamoring for more. Why were there empty seats? I’ve no idea, and anyone who claims that there is no top-drawer entertainment and nothing to do on any given weekend here in the Upper Delaware River Valley is just plain wrong. Carletti’s claim that “The Gold Magnolias” performance (April 5) will be “amazing” and guarantees that the band’s “Brooklyn southern soul will make you dance, stomp and sing” sounds promising, so Dharma and I will be sitting ringside for that.
Still whistling a happy tune, I made my way to Narrowsburg, NY and the DVAA (www.artsalliancesite.org ) “Salon Series” presentation of Jazzmosis at the Krause Recital Hall. Having heard that these guys were “not to be missed” turned out to be true as Executive Director Elaine Giguere introduced band leader Greg Fiske (sax), Steve Schwartz (guitar), Tom Volpe (bass) and Mike Cervone (drums) to the sold-out crowd that turned out to show their support of the four guys who “explore and create a sound that has the energy of rock, the improvisational spark of jazz and the element of surprise that can go in any direction” (www.Facebook.com/Jazzmosis ). All of the guys are accomplished to a fault and play off of each other with great verve and style, but drummer Cervone deserves a shout-out for his impressive skills that wowed the crowd. Wishing that the same audience of music lovers had been in Hawley the night before, I made sure to tell everyone about Harmony Presents and their offerings on the other side of the river, before I left the building, humming, singing and feeling just plain good. Springtime in the Catskills? It’s like music to my ears.