Schroon's Sensational Summer Arts Council Schedule

The Schroon Lake Arts Council (SLAC) has one of its best line ups ever this year. Two world class acts --  Jay Ungar (who will be familiar to fans of the PBS series The Civil War)  and American roots trio Red Molly --  the return of some Schroon Lake crowd favorites, the regular Monday night Boat House acoustic jam sessions and children’s’ plays.

Then there’s the always popular Adirondacks Folk Festival on August 10. Schroon Laker caught up with SLAC President Jack Osborne for a chat about this exciting season. Jack says the Arts Council continues to thrives thanks to the generosity of many folks, who care passionately about making Schroon Lake the Music Capital of the North Country. You can see the full line up here, or check the Schroon Lake Arts Council advertisement on any page of Once again, all of the performances are scheduled at the Boathouse on Dock Street.

Red Molly

Red Molly

Schroon Laker: I wanted to talk about a couple things. Firstly, I was really excited to read the lineup this year of who is playing at Schroon. I was particularly interested to see that Red Molly is coming back. I also see this year there’s a different price structure, which I think you're calling “premium pricing”.

Jack: We raised our prices this year from $12 to $15 for an adult ticket. It's long overdue. Students are $5 and if you bring really young kids, five and under, we'd probably let them in for free Beyond that for Red Molly and for Jay Ungar, we're charging $25 a ticket, a premium price of $25. Last year we gave Red Molly away, at $12 a ticket,

Schroon Laker:  It was standing room only last year at Red Molly, correct?

Jack: Yes, and we were just about approaching 200 or just over 200.

Schroon Laker: I think folks outside the doors got a free concert anyways, didn't they?

Jack: Yes, but that always happens. (Laughs)

Schroon Laker: Was it difficult to decide this year’s line up?

Jack: No, actually it wasn't. Red Molly was a last minute thing because we approached them to come back…Finally, they said, "Well, okay, we'll come to Schroon Lake."

Jay Ungar and Molly Mason

Jay Ungar and Molly Mason

Schroon Laker: In terms of  how you see this season, are you hopeful the big acts like Red Molly and Jay Ungar and Molly Mason will raise a profile of the Schroon Lake Arts Council?

Jack: Yes, I do. I think that's already happening, left over from last year with Red Molly. We brought in people to that theater who had never stepped foot in the building before. There were some memorable people and they had come from a long distance away from Burlington, Vermont to see Red Molly. If you have the right billing, you'll get the audience…I think it's bringing people and making them aware of the town as well.

Schroon Laker: For the bigger acts, was there any consideration to changing the location from the boathouse to maybe a larger venue to capitalize on the performer’s popularity?

Jack: The board of the Arts Council is extremely reluctant to do that. The auditorium in the school building is a little less than perfect for a venue. It's kind of too big and it's too, I don't know, it's too grade school. If you get up into the high seats in the mezzanine, they're very, very uncomfortable. They're built for like first graders or so.

Schroon Laker: Last year, there was one small hiccup with the Al Berard Cajan Combo unable to play due to a power outage. Has that been addressed for this season?

Jack: We're always at the mercy of weather conditions. The interesting aspect of that story is that we found out that we actually had insurance for that. We were forced to pay the artists because they showed up and they were standing there. Through no fault of theirs, the show could not be produced. Tom Fallon, who’s our treasurer, looked into the insurance and found out we were covered. We got the insurance to cover the costs of the artists and they still did a 45 minute production in the dark.

Schroon Laker: I also see the Hampstead folks are back again.

Jack: Yes, Hampstead stage for a free children's show. We have Patti Rapoport and Dave Insull, who are doing a sing along children’s show, which is very popular.{C}{C}{C}{C}{C}

Schroon Laker: Monday night jam sessions, when do they start?

Jack: June 9th. Nothing has changed.

Schroon Laker:  Is the dulcimer ready for action? (If you didn’t know -- Jack plays the dulcimer)

Jack:  Yes it is.



Schroon Laker: Thank goodness  some things never change, which is always good.

Jack: My favorite (dulcimer tune) is Jay Ungar's, the Ashokan Farewell, that was played in documentary maker Ken Burns’  PBS production of the Civil War. Burns heard this music in New York and adopted it as the theme music for the Civil War production.

Schroon Laker: Returning acts?

Jack: Flipsydz are coming back and that's probably mostly to do with Tom Fallon, (a board member)who happens to love those people.

Schroon Laker: What's your favorite out of that bunch?

Jack: Jay Ungar and Molly Mason is mine. I'm actually underwriting Jay Ungar.

Schroon Laker: :Is that his first time performing at a Schroon Lake Arts Council event?

Jack: It is. It's very definitely the first time.

Schroon Laker: Have you had a chance to catch up with Patrick Siler, the new executive director of Chamber of Commerce? Can you share what those conversations were about?

PossumHaw Group

PossumHaw Group

Jack: Yes, let me start by saying this, he spent the day at a conference which was all about securing grants from New York State. He's working on grants to fix up the Chamber of Commerce building.(Editor’s note: and other ventures which will benefit Schroon). Patrick is an exciting high achiever, take no prisoners kind of a guy. It’s really exciting to think about what he might accomplish with the Chamber of Commerce.

Schroon Laker: And with that, do you see growth with Schroon Lake Arts Council and Patrick and other arts organizations in the Schroon area?

Jack:  It's been happening slowly over the past five years, even before Patrick stepped up. Schroon Lake is really getting a reputation as being a music-centric place. The Thursday nights that Mark Piper does (Open Mic at Witherbee’s Loft) , the Monday night Boathouse jams  -- probably started it  -- and then the Arts Council bringing bigger names in. And of course the Seagle Colony, certainly you can't underestimate what they're bringing to the area.



Schroon Laker: I also learned this past weekend that the Strand Theater will no longer be showing movies this summer and owner Larry McNamara hopes to bring some well-known acts to his stage.

Jack: We welcome all comers. I posted yesterday about a Dan Berggren concert July. He’s doing a benefit concert for the Union Hall in Hoffman up on Hoffman Road. I'm excited about that. Dan Berggren is really, he's a friend and a wonderful folk music historian.

Schroon Laker: Thanks for your time and best wishes for a great season.

Jack: Great, wonderful. Thank you so much.

Schroon Laker: My pleasure, Jack. All the best and are you enjoying a cocktail as the sun sets?

Jack: You better believe.

Schroon Laker: Excellent.

(Some portions of the interview have been edited for clarity).