Backyard Music Festival

Get your grill on for the 2020 Backyard Music Festival! Caroga Arts is excited to bring you the Caroga Lake Music Festival experience to YOUR backyard in celebration of Independence Day! 

The Fourth of July Virtual Concert will feature a variety of world-class artists and musical selections from jazz to classical to ragtime to folk – and of course some classic July Fourth music! 

For the first time ever, thirty musicians from Caroga Arts Ensemble will perform virtually together to play the iconic Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, arranged by Caroga Arts artist Josh Henderson, and “Echoes Ring”, a piece commissioned in honor of MLK50 and composed by our very own Artistic Director Kyle Barrett Price. 

Taylor Swift’s Music Director and renowned jazz pianist David Cook will perform a jazz segment during the virtual concert. David has music directed notable artists including Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson, *NSYNC, KESHA, Halsey and Emmy/Oscar/Tony winner Ben Platt.

Making his first Caroga Arts appearance, Ethan Uslan is a ragtime pianist and 3-time winner of the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest! As a little sneak peak of what’s coming to Sherman’s in 2021, Ethan will play some music by Scott Joplin in celebration of the Sherman’s Centennial next year. 

A Vocal Quartet made up of CLMF Artists and opera singers Nicole Heinen, Logan Contreras, Jazimina MacNeil, and Armando Contreras will sing a heavenly arrangement of “America the Beautiful.”

Longtime CLMF Artists Andy Liang and Aaron Schwartz are taking the challenge of playing the notoriously difficult Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” for two violins arranged by B. Dukov. 

The talented vocalists and multi-instrumentalists of the Saunders Family Band from Canada Lake will also join for a performance of “This Land Is Your Land.” 

The Backyard Music Festival is a fundraising event to support Caroga Arts’ continued efforts to revitalize local culture, business, and life by providing unique experiences through collaborative performances, community engagement and education. All donations made to Caroga Arts between now and September 30, 2020 will be DOUBLED, thanks to a generous matching gift of up to $10,000 from Pat Lowry and Jim Hopkins.

Caroga Arts Collective is a tax-deductible 501(c)(3) non-profit organization

The event will also introduce the “Play It Forward Caroga Arts Challenge,” a fun and interactive way to show your support for Caroga Arts. Participants can make a donation to take the challenge and post a video of their creative making (playing music, dancing, crafting, cooking, reading poetry, etc.) on social media and inviting others to take the challenge.

The Backyard Music Festival is free and accessible to all with donations greatly appreciated. The Live stream will take place on July 3, 2020 at 5pm EDT on the Caroga Arts YouTube channel and Facebook page. If you miss the live stream, don’t worry, you can still watch it later on both platforms and on our website at carogaarts.org.

Snap a photo of your Backyard Music Festival and share with hashtag #CarogaArtsBackyardMusicFestival (or email to us at info@carogaarts.org)!
We’ll share your photo on our social media!


David Cook, jazz pianist

Pianist, composer and Musical Director David Cook was born in San Diego to a musical family and raised in Columbus, Ohio. Now living in New York City, he has enjoyed a varied career of performing, recording and producing.

A graduate of the University of Michigan school of music, David has Music Directed and/or played for many notable artists, including 10-time Grammy Award-winner Taylor Swift, Thomas Rhett, Emmy/Oscar/Tony winner Ben Platt, Maren Morris, Shoshana Bean, Lizz Wright, Academy Award winner Jennifer Husdon, Kesha, Utada Hikaru, Halsey, NSYNC, Billy Porter, Tei Shi and Shayna Steele. He has also played piano in jazz groups led by drummers Mark Guiliana and Red Baraat’s Sunny Jain, guitarist Greg Howe, saxophonists Adam Kolker and Bob Reynolds as well as 2-time Grammy-nominated trombonist Alan Ferber. Learn more…

Performance Sponsor: Paul & Janice Corr


Ethan Uslan, Ragtime pianist

Hailed by the Chicago Tribune for his “vivid musical imagination” and “deep understanding of far-flung performance practices,” Ethan Uslan is a ragtime/jazz pianist and raconteur. He is a 3-time winner of the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest (yes – that really exists!) and has performed all over the USA, including at the Ravinia Festival, Scott Joplin Festival, and on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion. He has also performed in England, Ireland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Cyberspace, where his jazzed-up Für Elise has gone viral.  Learn more…

Performance Sponsor: Ellen Freeman


Saunders Family Band

Performance Sponsor: Chris & Judy Simon


“America the Beautiful”

Nicole Heinen, soprano
Logan Contreras, mezzo
Jazimina MacNeil, mezzo
Armando Contreras, baritone

Performance Sponsor: Ellen Wood

“Stars and Stripes Forever”

Andy Liang, violin
Aaron Schwartz, violin

Performance Sponsor: Tom & Beth Flynn


Tchaikovsky:
“1812 Overture”
arr. Josh Henderson

Jacob Joyce, conductor
Associate Conductor of Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

Performance Sponsor: Allen Farber

Kyle Price: “Echoes Ring”

Performance Sponsor: James & Anita Long

Music accompanied by speech excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr.

“Virtual” Caroga Arts Ensemble

Sponsored by NBT Bank

Pat Lowry & Jim Hopkins

Matching Gift Sponsor

Caroga Arts Ensemble Artist Sponsors

Joyce Barrett

George Boyle

Denise Brennan

Richard and Delores Brown

Denny and Linda Fincke

Mark and Doreen Ford

Victor & Helen Geisel Foundation

Robert & Patricia Hagen

Barbara Hunter Spencer
in memory of Howard Cohn

Fern Jutras

J. Paul & Romy Kolodziej


Lars & Marit Kulleseid

David Milford & Linda Sauer-Milford
in memory of Robert M. Milford

Elizabeth J McDonald

John & Carolyn Peck

Keith & Julie Price

Doug and Nancy Purcell

Lyndsey Read

Jim & Priscilla Selmser

Roger E Sheffer

Fenimore Asset Management