For nine hours, music will fill the Rivertowns on Saturday, June 5, during the largest in-person cultural event in this area since before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
From noon to 9 p.m., more than 100 performances will be held at 24 outdoor locations in Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Hastings, Irvington, and Tarrytown during the sixth annual RiverArts Music Tour.
“It feels so good to be having the Music Tour now after we couldn’t do it last year because of Covid,” the event’s producer, Adam Hart, said. “Good thoughts are everywhere. The musicians are so excited to be part of a community event. Music is all about sharing, and the Music Tour is offering those participating the opportunity to express themselves in front of an audience — for most it is the first time in over a year. And even though they have been hit hard financially, they are willing to do these concerts for free.”
Each performance will last 40-50 minutes. The venues will include homes, houses of worship, and public parks. In Hastings, along the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, near Reynolds Field, four Hastings High School students will be raising money for the American Cancer Society.
“Attendees will have an opportunity to see some of the truly beautiful gardens in backyards — bucolic settings, really,” Hart noted.
The myriad of genres will range from folk with Hudson Valley Sally, jazz with the David Janeway Quartet, and chamber music with pianist Alan Murray, to the music of Zimbabwe with Timbala, Middle Eastern and Afro-Cuban rhythms with the RiverDrummers, and bilingual poetry with Yvonne Sotomayor.
Hart, a Hastings resident for 30 years, has been part of the Music Tour since the beginning, working alongside Doug Coe, former executive director of RiverArts, and producer Barbara Prisament. He served as co-producer of the Music Tour in 2019. During the Music Tour, he will perform as part of the trio Riverrun at 1 p.m. at 28 Burnside Drive in Hastings.
“It has all been amazing, as six months ago Kate [Ashby, RiverArts’ artistic director] and Josh [Suniewick, managing director] and I were totally flummoxed,” Hart said. “We had no way of knowing what we would be able to do and what restrictions would be in place. One month later, we still didn’t know, but we began putting feelers out to Rivertowns musicians.”
He continued, “Two months ago, we said, ‘OK, let’s do it,’ and here we are. One of the biggest things we did — and this saved time and money — was to dispense with printed material like posters, programs, and maps. That is all available on our website now and I want to give a big nod of appreciation to our graphic design team.”
That team consists of Nate Smith and Lindsey Jeanne Taylor of Hastings, and Patrick Harmon of Dobbs Ferry.
Clare Maloney of Carmel, formerly of Tarrytown, will perform with her life and music partner Nate DeBrine of Hastings at the First Reformed Church in Hastings at 1 p.m. Once an opera singer, Maloney is known for her interpretations of rock songs of the ‘60s and ‘70s. In recent years, she has been writing her own songs. Prior to the pandemic, she had 200 gigs a year.
“Nate and I had a popular livestream event every Monday night during the lockdown, so we benefited in some ways, as more people got to see us,” Maloney said. “But the biggest loss for all of us is that music is such a powerful way of bringing people together. We missed that. We’ve heard from a number of people who saw us virtually that they are looking forward to seeing us live at the Music Tour.”
The most prolific performer during the event will be Ursula Hansberry of Dobbs Ferry, a self-taught singer-songwriter in her junior year at Baruch College in Manhattan where she is studying music management, creative writing, and pre-law. She will be at 306 Clinton Avenue in Dobbs Ferry at 3 p.m.; 121 Euclid Avenue in Hastings at 5 p.m.; and Dobbs Ferry Lutheran Church on Ashford Avenue at 7 p.m. She will also participate in the open mic event at VFW Plaza in Hastings, which will be from 6-9 p.m.
“To play in front of an audience brings a semblance of normalcy,” Hansberry said. “It will be refreshing, to say the least.”
The rain date is Sunday, June 6. For a schedule and locations, visit www.riverartsmusictour.com.In anticipation of favorable weather, Hart had these words of caution: “Bring an umbrella for the sun.”