Show your Support this Tuesday!

Public Informational Meeting
Tuesday, September 18 at 7:00 PM
Town Hall, Caroga Lake

Caroga Arts presents future plans for property


Join us at the Town Hall in Caroga Lake on Tuesday, September 18 at 7:00pm.

Caroga Arts Collective Artistic & Executive Director Kyle Price and members from the Caroga Arts Board & Advisory Council will present future plans for the Sherman’s property.

Price has been planning creative ideas for the use of Sherman’s since Fall 2014. Now four years later, George Abdella who made a conditional donation of Sherman’s to the Town of Caroga has agreed to assist in allowing the Town to transfer Sherman’s to Caroga Arts so that it could become a first-class performing arts venue. Additionally, an anonymous donor recently pledged a $125,000 matching grant for construction of a new performing arts venue.

Message from Barbara Lee

As most of my friends know, I am a member of the Board of Directors of the Caroga Arts Collective (CAC), a recently formed not-for-profit corporation which is the parent organization of the Caroga Lake Music Festival. In August, the Music Festival concluded its 7th season. This was our most successful summer yet, with an extended concert season, a variety of music, and an expanded number of performance venues. Best of all, we have had ever-increasing audiences for our concerts, including town and local residents and people from as far away as Albany and beyond.

Those of us on the Board of Directors and the Advisory Council work very hard all year to ensure that the Music Festival is a wonderful experience for our musicians and our audience. We don’t only perform concerts; we have workshops for musicians and outreach programs in local schools and organizations, and we do a lot of teaching. Our concerts are free, but we appreciate donations, and have performed concerts for the benefit of local organizations, like the Caroga Lake Fire Department.

We have been extremely fortunate to be able to perform in a variety of venues, including the Canada Lake Store, Nick Stoner Inn, the Caroga Chapel, the Concordia Club, and numerous local and nearby restaurants and venues. For the past two years we have rented the grounds at Sherman’s from the town and have held a Sherman’s Revival Concert Series. Members of our board, members of our advisory council, and members of the community have volunteered countless hours at Sherman’s to work on the bumper car pavilion to bring it up to code and on the grounds of the property to make it beautiful again so that it can be used by the public. The money that has been spent has come out of the volunteers’ pockets.

The CAC has now offered to purchase the Sherman’s property from the Town of Caroga. George Abdella, who donated the property to the town amidst substantial controversy several years ago, has written a letter to the Town Board supporting the transfer of the property to the CAC. In this letter, he has stated that he will not sue the town for breaching the original donation agreement (which states that the property can never be sold) if the transfer is made to the CAC.

I know that this is a controversial and sensitive topic, and it has been one since the minute the Town of Caroga accepted the deed to the property. A Town Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 18th at 7:00 p.m. at the Town Hall to provide information about this proposed purchase.

Barbara Lee
Secretary, Board of Directors, Caroga Arts Collective

Thank you, Caroga!

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

The volunteers who help shape our Caroga Lake community

Caroga Arts sends heartfelt gratitude to Community:
Volunteers, Local Businesses, Board & Advisory Council Members

Now that the seventh season of the Caroga Lake Music Festival has concluded, it is time to reflect on the efforts of all of the individuals and entities who have helped the Caroga Arts Collective grow so swiftly and in such a positive direction! We could not exist without the bountiful and enthusiastic help of so many. The Caroga community, comprised of year-round residents, summer residents, and businesses, has truly become our home and has provided us with incredible support and assistance.

Over the years, the number of musicians participating in the music festival has increased, as has the length of the festival. During the inaugural years of CLMF, the musicians resided in Grandma Joyce Barrett’s house and enjoyed her delicious meals and beloved “sticky buns”. But as the festival reached upwards of twenty people in 2014, the community was called to help. Residents of Caroga stepped forward and volunteered to host our musicians in their houses and camps, thereby affording us a unique opportunity to become a part of the community in which we performed. Mary Peck, a member of the Board of Directors, has spent many hours reaching out to potential host families and placing our musicians in their homes. Our musicians and their hosts formed warm bonds, and many have kept in touch throughout the years. Several of our musicians have returned to the Festival, renewing friendships formed in the community during previous seasons.

Town residents have also been incredibly generous in feeding our musicians. Martha Price, a member of the Advisory Council, has assumed the daunting task of soliciting, organizing, and coordinating lunches and dinners for the duration of the Festival, and has earned our deepest gratitude. Volunteers have hosted our musicians for meals at their homes and have delivered meals to Nick Stoner Inn, as well. Often, there have been more than thirty people to be fed at a time, and those who did so provided plentiful, delicious meals.

Concerts presented by Caroga Arts Collective are free, although we gladly accept donations. One way in which we earn revenue is through the sale of Caroga Arts Collective merchandise. Kathy Manning, a member of the Advisory Council, is in charge of our merchandising and deserves our special thanks. Kathy researches, orders, and prices all of our merchandise. She goes to all of our concerts and spends hours organizing and selling our hats, shirts, tote bags, coolers, and other goods. It is a year-round job, and we are grateful for all of her help. Anita Miller, Joyce Barrett, James Long and the Fincke family have provided invaluable assistance to our artists and to the concert-going experience through archiving concert programs, transporting artists to and from Albany International Airport and opening their house for additional rehearsal spaces.

We are now the lucky owners of MyHil, also known as the Schine Property, thanks to the magnanimous donation made by Bruce and Richard Veghte. We have started clearing the property, and have made substantial progress. We have also been working to revitalize the Sherman’s Amusement Park site, and have brought the pavilion that formerly housed the bumper car ride back up to code. Nancy Purcell, a board member, and countless others have spent numerous hours working at Sherman’s. We have cleaned up the site, taken over the mowing of the lawns, and have done substantial landscaping. All of this work has been accomplished thanks to community volunteers who have believed in our vision, and have donated their money, time, tools, skills and labor. All of these efforts have allowed us to use the bumper car pavilion and the grounds for the Sherman’s Revival Series concerts, which included Sawyer Fredericks, Matthew Whitaker, Saunders Fest and more.

Special thanks must go to our local businesses, many of whom have gone above and beyond in providing us with their backing and assistance.

Charlie and Becky Ward, the proprietors of the Nick Stoner Inn & 19th Hole, have spent two years beautifully renovating the premises and refreshing the rooms of their establishment. They have generously opened the Inn to us, housing our musicians and giving us full use of their first floor, thereby providing us with a rehearsal and performance venue unlike any other in the area. They have offered their unstinting support, and have gone out of their way to welcome the Caroga Lake Music Festival, hosting concerts and Encore! Jazz Sessions.

The Fielding family, owners of the Canada Lake Store and Marine, have been extremely supportive of the Caroga Arts Collective, as well. They host The Barge at Canada Lake concert series and provide a unique venue on the shore of Canada Lake where our audience can relax on the beach or in a boat, listen to great music, and watch the sun set. The Fieldings have also provided invaluable assistance in working out the logistics of transportation and parking for our concert events.

Other local businesses who assisted and supported the Caroga Arts Collective include Campers Corner Store, The Boat House, Vroomans Hotel, Pine Lake Lodge, and Pleasant Lake Inn. Along with Nick Stoner Inn and the Canada Lake Store and Marine, these establishments sponsored the Caroga Arts Collective and provided discounts and coupons to our artists as well as feeding them delicious meals and setting up food stands at some of our concerts. Kim Hart, Advisory Council liaison, has taken the lead on promoting Caroga Arts to local businesses and coordinating these partnerships seamlessly. They also opened their establishments as performance venues for us. We greatly appreciate their assistance in promoting and bolstering the Caroga Arts Collective.

We would be remiss if we did not thank the Caroga Lake Evangelical Chapel, which offered us our first rehearsal and performance venue in 2012. Thanks to Jack DeWeese, an Advisory Council member, we have continued to use this beautiful building as a site for our concerts. Our gratitude also goes to the Caroga Historical Museum, which has welcomed us to its exhibit barn for concerts.

As always, we send our deepest appreciation to our Board of Directors and Advisory Council members. Almost of all of our members are year-round or summer residents of Caroga Lake, and are actively involved in every aspect of our organization. They work tirelessly throughout the year to ensure that we have ever-expanding opportunities to teach, learn, and perform. It is because of this group of dedicated individuals that we are able to share our joy of music with our community.

Caroga Lake is where we live. We started here with a dream, and that dream has grown and flourished so beautifully because of the people who share this dream with us. When we arrive every summer, it is a homecoming for us. We know the names and the stories of so many of the people who share this home with us, and they know ours, as well. We cannot thank you enough for welcoming us, housing us, feeding us, hosting us, helping us, working with us, contributing to us, and listening to and loving our music. We look forward to strengthening our bonds in the sunny lakeside seasons to come.

The Caroga Lake Miracle

A letter from Board member Hon. James Hopkins

Anonymous donor pledges $125,000 matching grant for construction of a performing arts venue

This is the Cinderella story about how 7 years ago Kyle Price, an 19-year-old cellist, got a few of his friends together to give free concerts while spending their summer at his grandmother’s house on Caroga Lake, population 518, in one of the most economically depressed areas of Upstate New York. They ambitiously called the concerts the Caroga Lake Music Festival (CLMF). They convinced the local Pastor to allow them to play at the Caroga Lake Chapel, where they would accept donations. Each summer the CLMF attracted an increasingly larger group of admirers and artists. Soon the number of musicians outgrew Kyle’s grandmother’s house and local families began to house and feed them.

Two years ago the CLMF became a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charity, the Caroga Arts Collective. They ventured to Switzerland, Florida and Maine to give concerts. A year ago they revitalized the Nick Stoner Inn, a shuttered building in Caroga Lake that now houses some of the artists and has become a thriving restaurant/bar/inn/music venue. They also began to revitalize Sherman’s, a lakeside amusement park that had been closed for many years, by getting local community members to donate countless hours and services to make it a concert-worthy venue.

This summer Caroga Arts hosted a week-long InterArts Showcase, a multi-discipline symposium; the two week-long National Summer Cello Institute; and gave 40 concerts in Upstate New York, Vermont and Florida involving over 90 artists from around the world performing a variety of music genres, from classical music to gypsy jazz. The artists were housed and fed by over 80 local families. Sherman’s was the site of a revival series of free concerts including Sawyer Fredericks, 2015 The Voice winner; Matthew Whitaker, the 17 year old blind jazz pianist who has also performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, the Apollo Theatre, and the Newport Jazz Festival; and Saundersfest, an event hosted by an incredibly talented local family that includes a Grammy-Award winning bassist, a backup singer for Chance the Rapper, and the CEO of L.L. Bean who is on the Board of Caroga Arts. The Caroga Arts Board is led by a successful local businessman and also includes a former dean of the Juilliard School; a nationally prominent trial lawyer and her husband, a retired federal judge; and several locally prominent supporters.

There have been exciting recent developments for Caroga Arts. An anonymous donor has pledged an $125,000 matching grant for construction of a performing arts venue, even though a capital construction drive has not yet been announced. At the same time the successful lawyer that made a conditional donation of Sherman’s to Caroga Lake four years ago has agreed to assist in allowing the Town of Caroga Lake to transfer Sherman’s to Caroga Arts so that it could become a first-class performing arts venue.

The Town of Caroga is holding a public hearing on the proposed transfer on September 18th at 7 p.m.

CLMF in The Leader-Herald

Read supporter Anita Potocar’s Letter to the Editor

“Amazing how they were able to transform the Caroga Chapel or the living room at Nick Stoner Inn, into concert halls, right here in Caroga Lake.”