Concert Builds On Momentum From Lightfoot
By JIM KEVLIN
Seeking to build on the momentum generated by Gordon Lightfoot’s sold-out March 31 concert, Foothills Performing Arts Center has contracted with another folksinging legend – Judy Collins – to perform in the 800-seat venue Friday, Aug. 12.
“This is yet another positive step,” said Mayor Dick Miller, who has been chairman of the Foothills board or directors since Dec. 1. “It has its basis in the success of the Lightfoot event. It means we are confident we can stage this type of activity.”
The mayor said the Judy Collins’ concert results from an “informal agreement – informal and continuing, but not exclusive,” with Oneonta Theatre promoter Jon Weiss and Ben Guenther, Five Star Subaru co-proprietor. The two men were the architects of the Lightfoot success. Miller encouraged other promoters to come to him with ideas as well.
While instrumentally precise and evocative, Lightfoot’s voice had lost force over the years, fans noted at the time. Not so with Collins, 71, judging from a New York Times review of a 2008 performance in New York’s Carlyle Room.
“Her voice, clear and vibrato free but inflected with delicate little shivers, stole through the room like a shaft of light falling through a stained-glass window,” Times reviewer Stephen Holden recounted. “When surrendering to the ethereal spell she casts, your impulse is to turn your head up, close your eyes and tune in to messages from far, far away.”
Collins, who would become an icon of the anti-war movement, released her first album, “A Maid of Constant Sorrow,” in 1961. But her 1967 rendering of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” established her stardom.
That appeared in her album, “Wildflowers,” since entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Her version of “Send in the Clowns,” from Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music,” was the 1975 Grammy’s “Song of the Year.”
The news comes as the $10 million Foothills entertainment complex appears to be gaining traction after a couple of years of uncertainty following the retirement of Peter Macris, the original inspiration for the undertaking.
In May, for instance, Foothills hosted 24 varied activities in a 25-day period, manager Janet Hurely Quakenbush reported recently, including North Sea Gas, the Scottish folk band, Sunday, May 15.
Hartwick College’s Rock Orchestra was planning a benefit concert at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 19, and Ponderosa chose Foothills as the beneficiary of its Free Buffet Day, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday, May 19.
A thank-you reception for donors (and donors-to-be) is planned Wednesday, May 25, celebrating supporters to date, but would-be supporters are welcome as well.
The mayor quoted Jamie Reynolds, NBT Bank regional executive, as telling him, “In six months, Foothills have put together the best board in Oneonta.”