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.