Ontario Center for Performing Arts president talks about the first season after the pandemic. ‘Absence has truly made our hearts grow fonder,’ he says
Some may not know what the Oswego Music Hall does. Can you talk a little bit about the organization?
The Music Hall is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing high quality, live musical performances to our community. We support performing artists and songwriters while making them accessible and affordable to our community.
The Music Hall was closed for more than a year. What’s special about the new season that started in September?
We have installed technical advances to our already cutting edge facilities. Thanks to the Shineman Foundation, we now have video and broadcasting capabilities. The city of Oswego installed air conditioning. Feedback from both performers and attendees indicate an eagerness to return. Absence has truly made our hearts grow fonder.
What type of groups and singers are you bringing to Oswego this season?
We present a broad range of musical genre, especially those not commonly broadcast: Celtic, blues, bluegrass, jazz, swing, hip hop, traditional folk, Americana and zydeco are a few. Our terrific 2021-22 program year brings classic swing and jazz standards — Nancy Kelly, Anthony Joseph Swingtet. The McKrells and Ceili Rain both bring a Celtic flavor and the popular acoustic Americana bands Ruddy Well Band and Driftwood are returning. Highly acclaimed acoustic songwriters performing include folk legend Bill Staines, Peter Mulvey and The Cadleys. The groups Windborne, The Honey Dewdrops and Mad Agnes bring stunning harmonies, insightful lyrics and fresh arrangements.
Who in general attends the concerts?
We present three programs — the national stage with touring acts from across the US and Canada; the Hook Songwriter Series presenting three local and regional musicians in a round-robin format, and open mic Friday hosted by local musicians. These three series attract a wide range of demographics, from senior citizens to children, white collar to blue.
How important is it for the community to have an organization like the Music Hall in town?
Most live entertainment takes place at bars, restaurants, weddings and events where the music is secondary to a larger event. We provide an exceptional alternative, a listening room, a platform to present our own pool of amazing local talent as well as the national acts we feature. Music Hall audiences discover a rare, entertaining, intimate, friendly and affordable experience. We’re an open community of music lovers, performers and enthusiasts, families, kids, and old timers volunteering to bring great shows to Oswego.
The fall season sponsored by the Oswego Music Halls takes place at the McCrobie Civic Center in Oswego and runs until Dec. 4. For a list of shows and ticket information, visit www.oswegomusichall.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.