Opera House To Present Holiday?Concert Tonight

FREDONIA – The 1891 Fredonia Opera House will present a holiday concert featuring three of the region’s favorite performing acts tonight at 7:30 p.m. Songs for a Winter Night will feature Adirondack musicians Dan Berggren, Dan Duggan and Peggy Lynn, the Buffalo duo Kindred and Westfield’s Kent & Nannette Knappenberger in a special concert of holiday music.

“This will be a very entertaining evening at the Opera House” said Rick Davis, opera house executive director. “The performance features several Opera House favorites who will be performing in a theatre decorated for the holidays and filled with the spirit of the season.”

Davis adds that the event is part of the Folk in Fredonia music Series and will include holiday and winter songs of all kinds – some well-known and some that might be unfamiliar.

“We expect the audience will get the chance to sing along to several songs and also will be treated to performances on a variety of musical instruments including Celtic harp, hammered dulcimer and an instrument not often featured in a folk concert – the cello.”

Award-winning educator and songwriter Dan Berggren has deep roots in the Adirondacks. His music, which reflects the spirit of the hard-working people of that region, has traveled around the world from Central Africa to Transylvania. Author and environmental activist Bill McKibben says Berggren “is a throwback to the old role of the folk singer … he’s articulating things that need to be said, right now.” Well-known to Fredonians as a professor of communications at SUNY Fredonia for 27 years and a former member of the group The Newton Street Irregulars, Berggren is the recipient of both the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the New York State Outdoor Education Association Art & Literature Award. He has released five recordings of original songs.

National Hammered Dulcimer Champion Dan Duggan is known from Maine to California for his wizardry on the hammered dulcimer, flat-picking guitar and keyboards. His dulcimer talent is spotlighted on Paul Simon’s Grammy nominated album “You’re the One.” Duggan has recorded four collections of original compositions as well as three albums of traditional holiday music. His CD of original songs for children, “The Pieces of Our Life,” received a Parent’s Choice Approval Award.

Peggy Lynn, better known as “The First Lady of Adirondack Music,” writes and performs songs about the women and natural beauty of the North Country; and her bluesy alto voice melts every audience. Recognized nationwide for her soulful songwriting and extraordinary vocal versatility, her work has been featured at the famous Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. Named 1996 Adirondack Woman of the Year, Lynn has released six recordings; and with Sandra Weber, she coauthored the book “Breaking Trail: Remarkable Women of the Adirondacks.” In 2005, Lynn and Berggren both received the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Education Award.

Kindred is the husband and wife duo of David and Felicia Meyer. With a rare blending of voice, cello, guitars and percussion, the duo draws its music from the Irish poets, pubs and county fairs, from the Scottish highlands, Atlantic Canada and the Appalachian crannies of the American southeast. Schooled in theatre and classical music as well as folk and popular song, David and Felicia bring a compelling stage presence to their wide-ranging repertoire, capturing the hearts of audiences throughout the U.S and Canada. Bringing to life both old and new music in the Celtic tradition, Kindred has been invited to perform with Grammy-nominated Joanie Madden and Cherish the Ladies. They also have shared the stage with the world famous Furey Brothers and with folk singer Steve Gillette.

Kent & Nannette Knappenberger have been performing together for more than 20 years – even longer than they’ve been married. Nannette is a classically trained vocalist, but is adept in a variety of styles and particularly enjoys the simple beauty of folk music and the stories that it weaves. She may also be seen clogging in the duo’s programs. Kent has a graduate degree in harp from the Eastman School of Music and saxophone and harp degrees from SUNY Fredonia. He is very much at home on the Celtic harp (he was Gold Medalist in the Southern Maryland Celtic Festival Scottish Harp Competition in 2006) and the Irish low whistle. The duo performs a variety of Celtic and Appalachian folk music that combines their love of the beautiful melody and story. They often are joined by their daughters Lucy, Amanda and Esther and love combining their family’s talents. The Knappenberger family resides in Westfield where Kent leads the school’s Celtic string band.

Tickets for Songs for a Winter Night are $15 ($13 for Opera House members) and may be purchased in person at the Opera House Box Office or by phone at 679-1891, Tuesday-Friday, 1-5 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online anytime at www.fredopera.org. The event is part of the Folk in Fredonia Music Series, which is sponsored by The Gilman Family. The performance is sponsored by Bill & Judy Clark and supported with funds from the United Arts Appeal of Chautauqua County.

In connection with the event, the SUNY Fredonia Alumni Office will hold a special pre-concert reception with some of the musicians at 6:30 p.m. in the second-floor trustee’s room of the Village Hall. Tickets to the reception are $10 and benefit the Dan Berggren Excellence in Audio & Radio Scholarship Fund at SUNY Fredonia.

The 1891 Fredonia Opera House is a member-supported not-for-profit organization located in Village Hall in downtown Fredonia. A complete schedule of Opera House events is available at www.fredopera.org.