Summer Concerts return to Sherman’s – Teen Piano Sensation Coming to Caroga – Meet Our New Board Members

Summer Concerts return to Sherman’s!

Sherman’s on the Lake: what a beautiful, dreamy place to hear live music! Melodies floating through the air as you sip your glass of wine, friends and family at your side, knowing that every single note helps to restore a special piece of Caroga history, and moves toward a new vision of the future.

Summer 2017: Live music on Caroga Lake at Sherman’s Amusement Park

With all that in mind, we’re happy to announce that Sherman’s is already reserved for six concert dates.

Young Jazz Keyboard Sensation Coming to Caroga!
Matthew Whitaker
Matthew Whitaker

On Friday, August 3 and Saturday, August 4, New York City teen piano/Hammond organ powerhouse Matthew Whitaker will bring his unique gift to the stages of Nick Stoner Inn and Sherman’s Amusement Park.

“If you thought God was good to grant us one Stevie Wonder, what would you say to two? Hackensack’s Matthew Whitaker happens to be blind – that’s the least of the resemblance – but he’s also a 15-year-old piano powerhouse who has rocked Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center and festivals in France, Italy, Morocco and Japan.” – 17 People to Watch in 2017, North Jersey News, December 29, 2016.

Born prematurely at 23 weeks, Matthew survived and was given a small keyboard at age three. He taught himself to play piano, then the Hammond organ. Now 17, Matthew studies classical piano and drums at The Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School of the Lighthouse Guild in New York City. It is the only community music school for the blind and visually impaired in the US. He also attends the Manhattan School of Music’s Pre-college Jazz Program.

Matthew has received the “Outstanding Soloist Award” from Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Charles Mingus High School Competition & Festival and the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival. Read his full biography.

At Caroga Lake Music Festival, the Matthew Whitaker Trio will perform selections from his first album, “Outta the Box,” and other electrifying jazz charts, in addition to performing with the CLMF Orchestra.

  • Encore! Jazz Sessions: Friday, August 3 at 10pm at Nick Stoner Inn with the Matthew Whitaker Trio
  • Sherman’s Revival Series: Saturday, August 4 at 7pm with the Matthew Whitaker Trio and the CLMF Orchestra

Matthew’s father, interviewed on the Today Show, had this to say about this son: ” Matthew just assumes that everyone he meets, they’re smiling at him. And that is the reason why he’s so full of love.”

Stay tuned for more updates on our upcoming 7th season of Caroga Lake Music Festival, July 16 to Aug 19, 2018. Full season announcement: April 15!

Welcoming Two New Board Members

Mary Peck, a resident of Caroga (Green Lake), has attended performances of the Caroga Lake Music Festival since its inaugural year in 2012.  Mary has graciously volunteered to donate housing and meals for the past four years and helped to coordinate housing for the past two years. As a previous member of the Advisory Council, Mary acted as the Advisory Council Co-Liaison to the board. We are thrilled to welcome Mary as a new board member.

Nancy Purcell, a resident of Caroga (East Caroga Lake), is the lead vocalist and acoustic guitarist for the well-known Durey Creek Bluegrass Band. Nancy has attended Caroga Lake Music Festival concerts for the past four seasons and has been active as a volunteer for the organization, providing housing and meals to our musicians. We welcome Nancy Purcell to our board and look forward to gaining her insight on multiple facets of our arts organization through her experiences as a performer and community member.

On that note…

Stephen Smith, CEO of L.L. Bean and Caroga Arts’ founding Board member, will deliver Dickinson College’s Commencement address on Sunday, May 20. He also will receive a Doctor of Business Management honorary degree. Congratulations, Steve! Read more here.

Our Condolences to the Abdella Family

We were very saddened to hear about the passing of a friend and supporter of our organization, Ruth Abdella, just over two weeks ago. Ruth was a teacher, educator and lover of music. She attended Caroga Lake Music Festival concerts including the Sherman’s Revival Series last season with her husband, George. We will miss her and extend our condolences to the Abdella family. In lieu of flowers, George and Ruth have decided to invite those to commemorate Ruth by donation to the Caroga Arts Collective, for which we are extremely humbled and grateful for. Please see her obituary here at this link.

An Inside Look at Caroga Lake Music Festival

In the summer of 2016, videographer Evan Daniels documented the story of Caroga Lake Music Festival. We’re extremely thankful for his hard work and excited to introduce to you our first short documentary.

New Year News! Looking Back, Looking Forward

Greetings from the New Year!

As 2018 gets its sea legs, planning is underway for another Caroga experience in the southern Adirondacks! Between now and our full season announcement coming in April, we will offer a few reminiscences from last summer and updates about Caroga Arts Collective.

Look who has joined Caroga Arts!

The Caroga Arts family is growing! We’re incredibly excited to introduce our newest additions to the team.

Kathy Esposito, Marketing Director

Katherine Esposito, Marketing Director
Publicist and Concert Manager at University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Mead Witter School of Music, Kathy brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in journalism, promoting musicians and publicizing performances. Kathy grew up in Massachusetts and western New Jersey, adores the Adirondacks and hopes to relocate there as soon as possible!



Alix Raspé, Development Director

Alix Raspé, Development Director
Awarded Associate Harpist of the Columbus Symphony and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Alix joins Caroga Arts with great entrepreneurial and development experience from her previous works in Boston and Dorset where she founded a music festival. Alix has been a CLMF Artist since 2015.




Stephanie Price-Wong

Stephanie Price-Wong, Artistic Administrator
Though she has been assisting CLMF since its inception in 2012, we wanted to formally introduce Stephanie as the new Artistic Administrator! Stephanie is also Adjunct Viola Professor at Ohio University and Assistant Artistic Director and Fellowship Program Director at Chamber Music Connection.


Your Body Is Your Strad presented by Caroga Arts in 2018

National Summer Cello Institute
June 2-17, 2018

Feldenkrais for All Performers
June 2-7, 2018

Two intensive weeks combining the principles of somatic education with varied approaches to cello mastery designed to redefine how cellists perform and teach. Participants experience an introduction to Feldenkrais with fellow musicians in the Feldenkrais For All Performers program, and continue in private lessons, master classes and seminars dedicated to expanding artistic freedom.

InterArts Symposium returns
July 9-14, 2018 in Caroga Lake

This unique event focuses on Caroga Arts’ mission to create extraordinary experiences in Caroga Lake through interdisciplinary and inter-arts collaborations among musicians, artists, scholars, and their communities. InterArts Symposium will present two showcases in Caroga Lake as well as educational events for the community.
CLMF Concerts in Caroga
2018 CLMF concerts will include Sherman’s, Barge at Canada Lake, and Nick Stoner Inn – stay tuned! Season Announcement: April 15, 2018

Save the date! Caroga Chapel Series

Where it all began in 2012, Caroga Chapel remains a favorite, intimate concert series:

Thursday, July 19 at 7pm
Friday, July 27 at 7pm
Friday, August 3 at 7pm
Friday, August 10 at 7pm
Friday, August 17 at 7pm

Remembrance of Jonah Poplove

The Caroga Arts family is heartbroken to have lost a great friend, colleague, an extremely gifted musician and CLMF Artist (’15 & ’17) last year. Jonah brought such a bright presence and optimism to our group and his family expressed how happy, comfortable and at home he felt with all of us at CLMF, and how grateful and thankful they were for us and our time with him. When his parents visited Caroga, they had dinner at Nick Stoner Inn with the musicians and attended various concerts both years he was in Caroga. We will miss him dearly and will always be remembered at Caroga Lake Music Festival.