Fifth annual KeithFest June 28 at Coyote Moon Vineyard in Clayton honors a musical legacy

In addition to a musician, Keith E. Brabant was an avid cyclist and hiker. This photo of him was taken in Arizona in 2010. He and his girlfriend took a cross-country driving vacation there and back, returning just about two weeks before he died. RACHEL BORAWSKI

In addition to a musician, Keith E. Brabant was an avid cyclist and hiker. This photo of him was taken in Arizona in 2010. He and his girlfriend took a cross-country driving vacation there and back, returning just about two weeks before he died. RACHEL BORAWSKI

When a group of musicians gathered to celebrate the life and music of Keith E. Brabant five years ago, his mother figured it would be a one-time event.

“It was such an outpouring of love and music,” said Melody A. Brabant, Keith’s mom. “People then kept saying, ‘Let’s keep doing it.’ So that’s what we did.”

The fifth annual KeithFest is from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 28 at Coyote Moon Vineyards, 17371 County Route 3, Clayton.

Those who perform at KeithFest share his passion for music. In a letter he wrote to his mom in 2006 from Colorado, Mr. Brabant expressed his love of music and the path it was leading him on. “The only thing that I want to happen is for the music to get created,” he wrote. “And that’s been happening from day one. All small pieces of ‘fabric’ over the course of my life — that will be a ‘quilt.’”

Mr. Brabant was the victim of a shooting in April 2010 in the town of Alexandria. The Keith Brabant Music Scholarship Foundation was formed shortly after his death.

Mr. Brabant was a musician and composer who performed in numerous bands all over the country and in Seattle and Breckenridge, Colo. He also loved the outdoors and studying history, religion and government.

The music scholarship in his name, administered by the Northern New York Community Foundation, has awarded $8,000 to young north country musicians since 2010. Applications are reviewed each year by the KeithFest panel. Five scholarships to students in Jefferson County will be presented at this year’s festival.

Because the festival is on June 28, graduation day for several local schools, admission will be free for any 2014 graduating senior with school identification.

The music kicks off at noon with local musician Sarah Parker Ada playing ukulele. The scholarships will be presented at 12:20 p.m.

The music continues from 12:40 until 2:15 p.m. with Mark Mason and friends Gary Walts, Sam Hopkins, Jim Burr, Lisa Forshaw and Jim Wiley. Up next will be Dave Scanlon and the DTZs, followed at 2:45 by Coyote Moon’s own Foggy River Band.

At 3:30 p.m., the acoustic trio Define Normal will take the stage.

“The Keith Brabant Experience,” an annual tribute session to Mr. Brabant by Justin Reynolds and friends, takes the stage at at 3:50 p.m.

“That is very close to my heart,” Mrs. Brabant said of the annual session. “It’s Keith’s original music and a lot of the cover songs that he enjoyed playing. It takes a lot of devotion from the musicians to put it together. Musicians come from all over who get together and learn Keith’s music, which can be quite complex.”

The band Casey Street Shuffle will perform at 4:30 p.m. followed by The List at 4:50 p.m., Sonic Buzz at 5:35 p.m., Root Seller at 5:55 p.m. and Ian Wagner at 6:40. At 7:10 p.m., Minus Mike, the group Mr. Brabant started out with during his teen years, will wrap up the festival.

The festival also will offer activities for children throughout the day, including a bounce house, craft tent and an “instrument petting zoo.” The instrument zoo will include an acoustic guitar signed last year by KeithFest participants. In a new tradition, an acoustic guitar will be signed by participants of each KeithFest for display the following year.

An assortment of food, ranging from fried cheese curd to wine slushies, will be offered.

■       ■       ■

The 2014 Keith Brabant Music Scholarships honorees:

$600 to Sonja Lara-Gonzalez, Theresa, a student at Indian River Central High School. Funds will go toward music lessons and/or the purchase of a violin.

$600 to Trenton Service, LaFargeville, who attends Alexandria Central School. Funds will go to his attendance at the University of Massachusetts summer music camp.

$600 to Jahara Green, Calcium, a student at Indian River. Funds will go to the purchase of a violin, and/or to attend the Crane Youth Music Camp at SUNY Potsdam.

$400 to Rachelle Johnson, Alexandria Bay, a student at Alexandria Central. Funds will go toward Camp Electric in Cedarville, Ohio, and/or Orangehaus music camp in Anderson, Ind.

$400 to Brady Towne, Fort Drum, a student at Carthage Middle School. Funds will go toward Crane Youth Music Camp and/or purchase of a double bass.

 

The details

WHAT: Fifth annual KeithFest

WHEN/WHERE: Noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 28 at Coyote Moon Vineyards, 17371 County Route 3, Clayton.

COST: $10 for ages 12-65 and $5 for those under 12 and over 65. This year, the festival has been designated a Yellow Ribbon event. Soldiers and their family members will be admitted at half price with military ID. Free admission will be given to any graduating high school senior with school ID. There is a family rate of $25.

ON THE WEB: www.keithfest.com

 

By Chris Brock, Times Staff Writer

Tug Hill Bluegrass Festival expands lineup, kicks off with top act

The Grascals, one of the most popular bands in bluegrass, is the premiere act of the ninth annual Tug Hill Bluegrass Festival. The band performs two sets Thursday night. From left: Danny Roberts, Jamie Johnson, Kristin Scott Benson, Terry Smith, Adam Haynes and Terry Eldredge. KIM LANCASTER-BRANTLEY

The Grascals, one of the most popular bands in bluegrass, is the premiere act of the ninth annual Tug Hill Bluegrass Festival. The band performs two sets Thursday night. From left: Danny Roberts, Jamie Johnson, Kristin Scott Benson, Terry Smith, Adam Haynes and Terry Eldredge. KIM LANCASTER-BRANTLEY

The ninth annual Tug Hill Bluegrass Festival will kick off with a bang Thursday night to go along with its banjos.

The premiere band of the festival, The Grascals, performs at 7 and 9 Thursday evening.

Building on the success of past festivals, organizers have added more than six hours of stage performance time to the 2014 event. Bands will be traveling from New England and as far away as Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia to perform at the three-day festival held at Maple Ridge Center.

The Grascals are among the most renowned bands on today’s bluegrass scene, having won the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America’s bluegrass band of the year award in 2010, the International Bluegrass Music Association’s emerging artist of the year award in 2005 and earning the association’s entertainer of the year honor in both 2006 and 2007.

The Grascals consist of lead singer and guitarist Terry Eldredge, guitarist and award-winning songwriter Jamie Johnson, mandolin player Danny Roberts, bassist Terry Smith, fiddler Adam Haynes and four-time IBMA banjo player of the year Kristin Scott Benson.

The band’s latest album, “Life Finds a Way,” was released in 2012.

The Grascals are part of an extended lineup of entertainment at the festival this year, something that caused budgeting concerns for concert promoter Keith Zehr. But the board of directors of the Adirondack Mennonite Camping Association, which governs activities at Maple Ridge Center, told him not to worry.

“The board feels that the festival is a great showcase for the type of family activities that are described in the mission statement of the Maple Ridge Center and that the festival will be a success,” Mr. Zehr said.

The Lindsey Family also will do its part to make this year’s festival a success. The band, which has performed at six Tug Hill Bluegrass festivals, returns after an absence last year. The band, formerly of Remsen, but now residing in Kentucky, will give two performances on Saturday.

“They are probably one of the most popular bands we’ve had,” said Mr. Zehr.

The Lindseys first sang publicly in 2003 when they were asked by an Oneida County bluegrass association to play for an event called “Utica Monday Night.”

The band’s latest album, ‘What I Have,” was released last year. The band performs at 12:40 p.m. and at 6:20 p.m. Saturday.

Another festival favorite, Audie Blaylock and Redline, also returns this year and will perform two shows on Friday.

“We’ve kind of adopted Audie as our home national band,” Mr. Zehr said. “The band plays with such hard-driving force that the crowd asks them back every year.”

Jeanette Williams from Virginia was the first national act to perform at the festival, which began in 2006. Since then, she has been the recipient of a number of awards, including the 2012 and 2009 SPBGMA female vocalist of the year award in the traditional category. This year she returns with husband, vocalist and guitarist Johnnie Williams for a pair of Saturday concerts. The duo is joined by Scott Freeman on mandolin and fiddle.

The title track of Ms. Williams’s last solo album, “Thank You for Caring,” is a duet with country music legend George Jones, who died last year.

Other festival highlights:

Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers along with Darin and Brooke Alridge on Friday, the Crowe Brothers on Saturday and soloist Mike Compton on Friday and Saturday.

Barb Heller, announcer at North Country Public Radio and host of the Canton-based station’s “String Fever,” heard at 3 p.m. on Thursdays, will help to emcee the festival on Saturday.

“We’ve been trying to get Barb for the past several years to help us,” Mr. Zehr said. “We’re thrilled that it worked out for her this year.”

 

[Read more...]

Music is their ‘agenda’: Inspired by loss of friend, musicians come together

Wagner’s Agenda performs during the 2013 KeithFest at Coyote Moon Vineyards, Clayton. The music festival is a benefit concert for Keith E. Brabant, a Clayton resident and lifelong musician who died at the age of 33 in April 2010 and a friend of the members of Wagner’s Agenda. Now in its fourth year, KeithFest raises money for the Keith Brabant Music Scholarship for students who live in Jefferson County. Courtesy Melody Brabant

Wagner’s Agenda performs during the 2013 KeithFest at Coyote Moon Vineyards, Clayton. The music festival is a benefit concert for Keith E. Brabant, a Clayton resident and lifelong musician who died at the age of 33 in April 2010 and a friend of the members of Wagner’s Agenda. Now in its fourth year, KeithFest raises money for the Keith Brabant Music Scholarship for students who live in Jefferson County. Courtesy Melody Brabant

In the past three years, rock band Wagner’s Agenda has made a rapid rise to fame in the north country, now a mainstay at such popular venues as O’Brien’s Restaurant, the John Hoover Inn and Time Warp, and a frequent face at benefit concerts, known for their energetic and lively performances.

The band formed after a benefit concert for friend Keith E. Brabant, a Clayton resident and lifelong musician, shortly after his death at the age of 33 in April 2010. Wagner’s Agenda still performs at the summer benefit, now called KeithFest and in its fourth year, which raises money for the Keith Brabant Music Scholarship for students who live in Jefferson County.

Wagner’s Agenda was originally composed of Ian Wagner, who left shortly after its inception and now plays acoustic guitar locally under the name Ian Wagner Unplugged, Robert Perkins, still the band’s guitar player and violinist, Tom Contino, Justin Reynolds and Gino Cappuccetti—all members of the jazz fusion band Queen August, through which Mr. Cappuccetti and Mr. Perkins have been playing together for about six years. [Read more...]

A sound all their own

Fred & the Eds perform at the Paddock Club, Watertown, while the crowd dances on a recent Friday night. The band has been playing for nearly 20 years. Amanda Morrison/ NNY Living

Fred & the Eds perform at the Paddock Club, Watertown, while the crowd dances on a recent Friday night. The band has been playing for nearly 20 years. Amanda Morrison/ NNY Living

North country favorite Fred & the Eds stands test of time [Read more...]

Crane front and center on music education stage

Dean of the Crane School of Music Michael Sitton

Dean of the Crane School of Music Michael Sitton

Dean Michael Sitton on the school’s unique learning approach

Julia Crane founded SUNY Potsdam’s renowned Crane School of Music in 1886 as one of the first national institutions dedicated to preparing students to teach music in public schools. Crane continues that mission of superb music instruction today, with 590 undergraduate and 30 graduate students and a faculty of 70 teachers and professional staff. The campus hosts more than 300 vibrant recitals, lectures and concerts by faculty, students and guest artists each year at three prestigious concert venues.

We sat down with Crane’s Dean, Michael R. Sitton, who was appointed to the position in 2009, to find out how the school continues to attract high-caliber students and performers and position students to be at the forefront of the music world as educators and performers. Mr. Sitton previously served as dean of fine arts at Eastern New Mexico University and as a faculty member and administrator at Hollins University in Virginia.

He is also an accomplished pianist and composer who holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance and literature from the University of Illinois, a master’s degree from the University of Kentucky and a bachelor’s degree from Mars Hill College, in his home state of North Carolina.

NNYL: What percentage of Crane students are studying to be music educators versus performers? How much do those curriculums align? What about music business?

SITTON: Crane began as “the birthplace of music education in America,” and continues to hold the preparation of music teachers as critical to its mission, while it has added other programs over the years. Roughly 60 to 70 percent of our students are pursuing degrees in music education, with the next highest percentage, in the 20 to 30 percent range, in performance. Music business is next, a growing program now that well over 10 percent of our students are pursuing. Those numbers may not seem to quite add up correctly; that’s because a significant number of our students choose to double major, for example in music education and performance or in performance and music business. Music business has been at Crane for almost 15 years and it is enrolling, through different major and minor options, an annually increasing number of students. Many students in the music education or performance majors are recognizing that business skills are to their advantage in the competitive marketplace, so are adding music business as a double major or as a minor. [Read more...]

The music man: WHS music director Russell Faunce leads dynamic, successful program

Members of Watertown High School’s Select Choir rehearse their production of “Forbidden Broadway” under the direction of Russell J. Faunce, who has been a powerful force in students’ success for more than 30 years. Amanda Morrison/ NNY Living

Members of Watertown High School’s Select Choir rehearse their production of “Forbidden Broadway” under the direction of Russell J. Faunce, who has been a powerful force in students’ success for more than 30 years. Amanda Morrison/ NNY Living

It’s almost impossible not to smile in the presence of Russell J. “Russ” Faunce, director of music at Watertown High School and a stalwart of musical and theatrical productions both in the district and in the community for the past three decades. Maybe it’s because he himself seems to be perpetually smiling. Or that, even carrying a stack of Scantrons and a red pen through the music department on a recent Friday afternoon, he seems easy going and exudes his philosophy, with an encouraging yet serious demeanor: that, simply, with hard work and dedication, success will come.

And come it has to the students in his choirs, though Mr. Faunce himself is quick to self-deprecating laugh off almost every mention of his role in it. In his 32 years of teaching at the high school, he’s never not had a student make it to the New York State School Music Association All-State Conference for choir, the most prestigious and competitive competition for a high school band, chorus or orchestra student. Selection requires a near perfect score on the highest, most grueling level of NYSSMA solo — even three points below 100 usually doesn’t make the cut.

And it’s not just one student. In 2003, he sent a record eight. Last year, he sent four. [Read more...]

A quarter century of classical brilliance

Crane School  of Music professor Kenneth B. Andrews has conducted the Orchestra of Northern New York for all of its 25 year history. Courtesy ONNY

Crane School
of Music professor Kenneth B. Andrews has conducted the Orchestra of Northern New York for all of its 25 year history. Courtesy ONNY

ONNY maintains vibrancy after 25 years of performances [Read more...]

Piano opportunities abound for youth

Belinda Chen, 20, Bellevue, Wash., practices before her performance at the 11th Annual 1000 Islands International Piano Competition for Young People this September at the Maple Grove Estate in Cape Vincent. Justin Sorensen/ NNY Living

Belinda Chen, 20, Bellevue, Wash., practices before her performance at the 11th Annual 1000 Islands International Piano Competition for Young People this September at the Maple Grove Estate in Cape Vincent. Justin Sorensen/ NNY Living

Performers travel to Thousand Islands for elite international competition [Read more...]

Music from around the world and more at the 2013-14 Community Performance Series season

Traditional Irish band Danu is to perform at the SUNY Potsdam concert series on March 17. Photo courtesy Colm Henry.

The Community Performance Series will continue its tradition of hosting a diverse lineup in the 2013-14 season, bringing in acts ranging from global music ambassadors of hope and “A Symphony of Dinosaurs” to a popular Canada-based radio show.

CPS is a college and community partnership that presents performing artists and arts education opportunities. It has been in residence at SUNY Potsdam since 1989.

The CPS Guest Artist Series opens with the Jerusalem Quartet at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4 in the Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall.

The quartet, celebrating its 20th season, has emerged as one of the most in-demand string quartets of its generation. It will perform works by Mozart, Dmitri Shostakovich, Antonin Dvorak and others.

Members of the quartet are Alexander Pavlovsky, first violin, Sergei Bresler, second violin, Ori Kam, viola and Kyril Zlotnikov, cello.

Other shows in the CPS series:

Oct. 20.

14th annual Ranlett Organ Recital

The recital will feature Nathan J. Laube, a star among young classical musicians. His creative repertoire spans five centuries and his virtuoso transcriptions of orchestral works have earned high praise. He is an assistant professor of organ at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester.

The concert is at 3 p.m. in Hosmer Hall.

Oct. 30

Idan Raichel Project

Mr. Raichel created the Idan Raichel Project in his native Israel. The group comprises artists from several countries and is known for its cross-cultural collaborations.

Since the release of their first album in 2006, members of the Idan Raichel Project have become global ambassadors representing hope as they break down cultural barriers.

The project’s latest album, “Quarter to Six,” released this year, features guest appearances by Portuguese fado music star Ana Moura singing the genre’s sad, mournful songs, Palestinian-Israeli singer Mira Awad, German counter-tenor Andreas Scholl, Colombia’s Marta Gómez and Vieux Farka Touré and a selection of some of Israel’s up-and-coming singers and musicians.

The concert is at 7:30 p.m. in SUNY Potsdam’s Maxcy Hall.

Jan. 23

Jazz vocalist Gregory Porter

National Public Radio has called Mr. Porter “the next great male jazz singer.” He wields one of the most captivating baritone voices in music, with soul that conveys the emotions and intellect of the songs. In a cover story, the upcoming October issue of Downbeat magazine calls the singer “The Soul Poet.”

The Brooklyn-based singer released his debut album, “Liquid Spirit,” on the Blue Note label this month.

The concert is at 7:30 p.m. in Hosmer Hall.

Feb. 23

Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet

Many critics have said this ensemble has succeeded in virtually redefining the sound of the classic wind quintet. Its repertoire covers the spectrum of wind quintet literature and also covers works for enlarged ensembles. It has appeared throughout Europe, North and South America, Israel, Australia and the Far East.

The concert is at 3 p.m. in Hosmer Hall.

March 17

Traditional Irish band Danú

Hailing from County Waterford, Danú is one of the leading traditional Irish ensembles. For more than a decade, these virtuosi players have performed around the globe and recorded seven critically acclaimed albums. The band is known for its high-energy performances and a mix of ancient Irish music as well as modern numbers.

The concert is at 7:30 p.m. in Hosmer Hall.

April 5

“The Vinyl Cafe With Stuart McLean”

This show is co-produced by North Country Public Radio. Mr. McLean is known as “Canada’s favorite storyteller.” His “Vinyl Cafe” is heard by 1½ million people each week. It’s broadcast on CBC Radio in Canada and on close to 100 public radio stations in the U.S., including NCPR.

In 2012, “The Vinyl Cafe” was named the best audio podcast in Apple’s “Best of the Year” awards.

The show is at 7:30 p.m. in Hosmer Hall.

April 29

Pilobolus Dance Theatre

Now in its 42nd year, Pilobolus Dance Theatre assembles groups of diverse artists to make inventive, athletic, witty and collaborative performance works on stage and screen, using the human body as a medium for expression.

In keeping with the energy and spirit of its biological namesake — a phototropic fungus that thrives in farmyards — the company has continued to grow, expanding and refining its methods of production.

The performance is at 7:30 p.m. in Sara M. Snell Music Theater at SUNY Potsdam.

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The annual CPS Meet the Arts Series offers programming focused on youth and families. There are four programs in the series for the 2013-14 season.

Jan. 17 and 18

Swazzle presents the “Dream Carver” puppet show

Based on the children’s book of the same title by Diana Cohn, “Dream Carver” is a 45-minute bilingual musical puppet show that tells the story of Mateo, a boy growing up in Oaxaca, Mexico. Coming from a family of traditional woodcarvers, Mateo has aspirations to carve the colorful animals he sees in his imagination, but meets resistance from his father. Recommended for grades K-6.

The shows are at 9 a.m. and noon Jan. 17 and at 3 p.m. Jan. 18 in Snell Theater.

March 7

Orchestra of Northern New York presents “A Symphony of Dinosaurs.”

This concert will feature Bruce Adolf’s celebration of “Tyrannosaurus Sue” and her other friends from the dinosaur kingdom as they are depicted by various musical instruments. It will feature music from the movie

“Jurassic Park” and Tchaikovsky’s “Capriccio Italien.”

The concert is at noon in Hosmer Hall. It’s recommended for grades K-6.

ONNY will repeat the concert at 8 p.m. March 8 in Hosmer Hall as part of its regular 2013-14 season.

March 28

Glenis Redmond Tributary Poetry Project

As part of Mr. Redmond’s residency at SUNY Potsdam, he will lead this creative-writing initiative on regionally centered poetry, encouraging participants to reflect on the stories, facts and myths of their families and community.

Recommended for students in grades 4 to 8. Two sessions will be offered, at 9 a.m. and noon, in Snell Theater.

May 9

American Place Theatre’s “Black Boy”

This program, performed by actor Tarantino Smith, is a verbatim adaptation of the classic American autobiographical work. It dramatizes Richard Wright’s journey from childhood innocence to adulthood in the

Jim Crow south. The issues addressed in this novel still resonate today. It’s recommended for grades 8 to 12.

The performances are at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. in the new Performing Arts Center, to open in the spring.

-Chris Brock, Watertown Daily Times

A variety of cultural events this fall at JCC

Acclaimed pianist Isaac James, Champion, will present an evening of classical piano music Dec. 6 at SUNY Jefferson. Photo courtesy Isaac James Piano Studio

A variety of talent, ranging from plate-spinning, foot-juggling acrobats, a classical Indian dancer, a classical pianist and a former child star of the television show “Diff’rent Strokes” will highlight cultural events this fall at Jefferson Community College.

The events include shows hosted by the Student Activities Center and three shows that are part of the Campus Activities Board’s Cultural Arts Series.

All events are free. Unless noted otherwise, they take place at 7 p.m. in the Robert R. and Jean S. Sturtz Theater, McVean Center.

The lineup:

Sept. 20: An Evening of Dance

This show, part of the Cultural Arts Series, will feature a classical Indian dancer and a Russian dance-and-song ensemble in separate performances.

Bharati Jayanthi was born in Bombay, India, and when she was 8 began training in classical Indian dance. She graduated from Bombay University with a master’s degree in fine arts, majoring in bharata natyam, one of the classical Indian dances.

After immigrating to the United States, she became active in cultural arts in this country and in Canada. Most recently, she has worked on a fusion of Eastern and Western performing arts by choreographing bharata natyam dance movements to Big Band orchestra music.

The ensemble Barynya presents Russian, Cossack, Ukranian, Jewish, and Gypsy Roma traditional dancing, songs and virtuoso performances on instruments including the balalaika, garmoshka (Russian folk button accordion) and balalaika contrabass.

Barynya has been invited to perform at some of the most prestigious cultural venues in the United States, including Carnegie Hall and the United Nations in New York City, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, the Smithsonian Institute of America and the Russian embassy in Washington D.C. Eacch dance is performed in a different set of handmade costumes made especially for the numbers.

Each performance includes audience participation.

Oct. 4: Todd Bridges from the television show “Diff’rent Strokes.”

This former child star, best known as Willis Jackson on “Diff’rent Strokes,” shares the details of his struggles with addiction, brushes with the law and his fierce fight to carve a path through the darkness to find his “true identity.”

One of the first African-American child actors on shows like “Little House on the Prairie,” “The Waltons,” and “Roots,” Mr. Bridges, 48, burst to the national forefront on “Diff’rent Strokes” as the subject of the popular catchphrase, “What’chu talkin‘ about, Willis?”

When the show ended, he was overwhelmed by the “off-camera traumas” he had faced. Turning to drugs as an escape, he soon lost control.

But he never relented in his quest to fight his way back from the abyss, establishing his own identity — separate from Willis Jackson.

Mr. Bridges’s talk begins at 7:30 p.m. in Sturtz Theater.

Oct. 23: Frank Warren, founder of PostSecret

Mr. Warren is the creator of the blog phenomenon the PostSecret Project, a collection of personal and artfully decorated postcards mailed anonymously from around the world, displaying soulful secrets.
PostSecret is one of the most popular sites on the Internet and has been featured in USA Today, on “The Today Show,” “20/20,” CNN, MSNBC, CBC, National Public Radio and FOX News.

In 2009, Forbes listed Mr. Warren as the fourth most influential person on the Internet.

Since November 2004, Mr. Warren has received more than 500,000 postcards, with secrets spanning from sexual taboos and criminal activity to confessions. He has written several books on the project.

Oct. 24: Rock ’n’ roll painter David Garibaldi

Mr. Garibaldi had always combined his passion for music and color into his artwork. But it wasn’t until viewing performance painter Denny Dent’s portrait of Jimi Hendrix that he discovered how his passion for paint and music could be an inspirational experience for more than just himself.

He will strive to amaze the audience as he transforms canvas into a work of art — usually a 6-foot portrait of a pop icon — on the Sturtz Stage.

The show takes place at 12:30 p.m. in Sturtz Theater.

Nov. 22: Chinese Acrobats

Chinese cultures and customs will be narrated throughout this show while contortionists perform amazing stunts. Children will especially enjoy this high-energy acrobatic performance. The group will be accompanied by an interpreter.

The show is part of the Cultural Arts Series.

Dec. 6: An Evening of Classical Piano Featuring Isaac James.

Isaac James, Champion, has received acclaim from audiences throughout the United States. He made his Carnegie Hall debut last year. He is the founder of the annual P. Owen Willaman International Piano Competition, named after his late friend and Shapiro Award recipient of Watertown who died in 2009.

Mr. James’s performance is part of the Cultural Arts Series.

-Chris Brock, Watertown Daily Times