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‘The Hudson Valley’s Best Kept Musical Secret’

  |   May 27, 2012  |  Comment

A friend of mine once told me not to snub local talent. Since I’m from New York City we think that talent rises and sets on the golden streets of Broadway.  Wrong!  There’s tons of talent out there in them thar hills.  And I think I found the Mother Lode. In the little off-the-beaten town of Rhinecliff, New York.

On the 3rd Friday of every month, under the volunteer effort of Richard Kopyscianski, the Morton Memorial Library has been hosting ‘Acoustic Night’ to a packed audience. Local musicians from the Hudson Valley area come and play both their own songs plus a few old favorites without electrical technology.  What you get is pure talent, pure auditory perfection and pure acoustic music.

Mr. Kopyscianski, a guitarist himself, has been hosting the event for six years. The musical lineup consists of several groups (the night I attended, May 18th, had five) who play one song each in the first set, then take a 10 minute break (refreshments provided) and come back to play 3 more songs each in the 2nd set. Although the event is free to the public, donations are accepted.  Kopyscianski coordinates the ‘Acoustic Night’ as a means to raise funds for the Rhinecliff library and give a platform for local performers.  With all the state and federal cutbacks, said Kopysciaski, local libraries must remain vital to their resident communities. Jonathan Berry of Wells Fargo Advisors LLC is a generous supporter of ‘Acoustic Night’ and graciously sends the Morton Library a monthly donation check.

The line up for the May 18th show was The Riches, Matt and Jordan, Chris Chauvin, Random Window and Bob & The Boys. The Riches were two guitarists named Richard (one of whom was Kopyscianski himself) who played a few Tom Waits songs and John Lennon’s Imagine. Matt and Jordan was a very young couple showing lots of future promise. Random Window was a humorous group (Dan Landa and guitarist Steve) singing their own poetry and original songs (The Counter Girl and Ode To The Airplane).

Chris Chauvin (2nd from left) jammed with Ben Carle (banjo) and Paul Donnelly (center guitarist) during the 2nd set with other band members. One of the songs, written by Chris Chauvin, was Jimmy DuPree. Jimmy was a personal friend of Chris who passed away. Once a year Chris sponsors a fund-raiser in Saugerties for a scholarship in Jimmy’s name.

Other original songs from Chauvin was ‘Cold‘ and a bittersweet tune to his soon-to-be-ex. Chris Chauvin’s voice is haunting and melodic. The band is rhythmic.  You’ll be tapping your toes almost instantly to their beat.

Most of the local artists sang about their own lives which makes this kind of music so unique, original and different.

The highlight of the evening was the group ‘Bob & The Boys‘. Robert Nuccio (Bob) 2nd from the left, on guitar, headlines the group.  Dan Driscoll is on percussion (and one cymbal), Kevin Jeffreys and Gary Helsley rounds out the rest of the group.

In a word: Fantastic!  The group rocked.

Bob & The Boys sang a little bit of Elvis (Heartbreak Hotel), Paul Simon (Cecelia) and Jackson Brown.  Or was it the Eagles? Bob wasn’t sure. The highlight of this group is their ability to harmonize and re-arrange the classics, with a twist.

If you want to catch this band, they are playing at Wilcox Park on July 28th at a benefit for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Admission is $20 a person, however, 100% of the fee goes directly to the ALS Foundation.

If you want to join in the fun at the next ‘Acoustic Night’ (of which I highly recommend!) take a ride on over to Rhinecliff, Friday June 15, 2012 and attend the 8PM show at The Community House at the Morton Memorial Library. Click here for the schedule and directions. Refreshments are provided.  Donations of any amount are appreciated.

Just sit back and enjoy the show.  You are going to be pleasantly surprised when you discover that you just stumbled on the best kept musical secret in the Hudson Valley.

Written by Cindy Cingone


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