Carol Williams 7/4
Berggren & Heilman 7/11
Bluegrass Gospel Project 7/25
Ray Cornils 8/12
Montpelier Gospel Choir 8/20
Dianna Fanning 8/29

The Evening Concert Series features classical music and showcases local and nationally recognized artists and the Cross Tracker Organ.

Evening concerts begin at 7:30pm and are usually an hour and a half, including a brief intermission.
Each concert is followed by a reception with refreshments and an opportunity to interact informally with the performer(s).

$10 per person, children admitted free.

All performances are held at the Essex Community Church in Essex, NY.

The church is located within one block of the Essex - Charlotte Ferry. During the summer months the ferry operates late enough in the evening to accommodate visitors to the evening programs from Vermont.

Location Map
(courtesy of Google)

Lake Champlain Ferries Schedule

"This project is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council of the Arts with support the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by the North Country Cultural Center for the Arts."
The 2014 Evening Concert Series
Carol Williams, organ
JULY 4, 2014
"I want to bring the organ to new audiences and, with my performances, make people feel good."

British born, Carol was raised in a Welsh family with many musical influence. She began private lessons at age five and could read music before she could read English and began performing recitals at age 8. Carol's formal training started with five years at the Royal Academy of Music where she specialized in organ performing as a student of David Sanger and obtained the Academy's prestigious Recital Diploma together with an LRAM (organ) and an LRAM (piano). Carol has also studied with Daniel Roth, the Organist at the Church of St. Sulpice, Paris where the famous Charles-Marie Widor was organist for sixty-three years. Moving to the USA, Carol undertook postgraduate study at Yale University under the direction of Professor Thomas Murray where she was appointed University Chapel Organist and was awarded an Artist Diploma together with the Charles Ives prize for outstanding achievement. Then to New York City where she became the Associate Organist at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Long Island's Garden City and undertook Doctoral study under Professor McNeil Robinson at the Manhattan School of Music where she received the Helen Cohn award for her D.M.A. degree.

Carol's performances have taken her all over the world at popular venues such as in Paris at St. Sulpice & Notre Dame; in Los Angeles at Walt Disney Concert Hall & First Congregational Church; in NYC at Riverside Church & St. Patrick's Cathedral; at Yale University in Woolsey Hall; at Harvard University at the Memorial Chapel; in Washington DC at the Washington National Cathedral; in the United Kingdom at Westminster Abbey & St. Paul's Cathedral; King's College, Cambridge; Queen's College, Oxford; and Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire. Carol has also given numerous concerts in Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Monaco, Luxembourg, Holland, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Singapore, China and Russia. En route, Carol has been elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM) in recognition of her contribution to music. A regular broadcaster in the UK, America, and around the world she has performed with a number of leading orchestras including the BBC Concert Orchestra, San Diego Symphony Orchestra, the Beijing Symphony Orchestra as the inaugural recitalist on the newly-installed Austin organ in Beijing's Forbidden City Concert Hall.

Carol has been interviewed "live" on many radio programs, in which she has highlighted her profound love of the King of Instruments, and is featured in the national-awareness video "Pulling out all the Stops" when she was filmed in concert at St. Thomas' Church in New York's Fifth Avenue. Carol was privileged to take part in the Virgil Fox Memorial Concert held at New York's Riverside Church released as a double-CD by Gothic Records.

Dan Berggren & Carl Heilman
Benefit Concert

JULY 11, 2014
Dan and Carl present an evening of Adirondack sights and sounds as a fundraiser for the Essex Community Concert series - Carl's "I Am the Adirondacks" multi-media presentation, plus Dan's blend of songs and stories.

Dan Berggren's roots are firmly in the Adirondacks where he was raised but his music has branched out across many borders. The award-winning musician and educator grew up on the land farmed by his mother's family for generations and has worked in the woods with forest ranger and survey crews. Hearing stories and songs from local friends and neighbors, Dan has developed a style that captures the spirit of the mountains.

Dan has entertained audiences throughout New York State, from Vermont to Kentucky and Texas, and overseas in the British Isles, Eastern Europe and Central Africa. Some of his songs have been symphonically arranged, giving Dan the opportunity to perform with orchestras in Fredonia, Ithaca, Syracuse, West Virginia and Indiana.

His original music has been featured nationally on public radio and television, earning praise from near and far.

Vermont Public Radio calls Dan's music: "A genuine treasure. Fresh and timeless, full of courage and down to earth richness."

And from overseas, Radio Logatec in Slovenia reports: "A wonderful and careful songwriter who makes every word count."

Outdoor photographer Carl Heilman II has lived in the Adirondacks in upstate New York since he moved to the region in 1973. Carl has been photographing the wilderness landscape since 1975, working to capture on film both the grandeur of these special places, and the emotional and spiritual connection he has felt as well.

His passion for spending as much time as possible in some of the wildest regions of the Adirondacks, soon became a lifelong quest to create images that record the essence of a true wilderness experience, and help convey that feeling to others. Today he is a full time professional outdoor nature photographer.

Carl's photographs have been published regionally and nationally in books, magazines, and calendars, and he has had numerous photography exhibitions throughout the upstate NY region. He has won awards both regionally and nationally for his calendar photography and also received an Individual Artistic Award from the Adirondack Park Centennial Committee He also received an Adirondack Heriatge award from the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks for his work with photography.

When Carl is not in the office or the garden, or traveling to another wilderness region, he can be found in summer paddling the wild Adirondack waters in his lightweight Hornbeck canoe, and in winter, snowshoeing or skiing his favorite Adirondack mountains.

Bluegrass Gospel Project
JULY 25, 2014
Reserve seats now to ensure entrance.

The Bluegrass Gospel Project has been impressing audiences with expertly-rendered performances since its inception in 2001, and has become "one of New England's premier concert acts" (Seven Days). At its start, the BGP focused primarily on that music from which they drew their name. Over the years, and hundreds of concerts later, the band's repertoire has comfortably morphed into an eclectic mix of songs which exhibit a wide stylistic range within the acoustic tradition and showcases their stunning vocal capabilities. There still remains a thread of spiritual sensibility throughout their playlist; songs that express common values held by people of all faiths and backgrounds; songs in which both serenity and optimism is found amidst the struggles visiting the human condition. With folk, pop, and bluegrass songs that range from U2 to Stanley Brothers, from Dylan to Louvin Brothers, from Sam Cooke to Steve Earle, from Bela Fleck to Brett Dennen, the BGP's repertoire now defies easy categorization and continues to thrill audiences with their impeccable vocal and instrumental performances.

Gene White, Jr, fiddle, guitar, vocals. Gene is the founder and musical director of the BGP. He is a Burlington, Vermont resident and a private investigator by day. At home, he is the dedicated caregiver for three greyhound dogs. He was a member of Breakaway and is a former neighborhood bocce champion.

Dr. Steve Light, banjo, dobro, guitar, vocals. Dr. Light is a native of Plattsburgh, New York, and still lives and works there today as a sociology professor and associate vice-president at SUNY-Plattsburgh. He can also be seen performing with the Modern Grass Quintet and at the Saratoga Race Track. He is a two-time Vermont State Banjo Champion and is the father of two grown sons who are also musicians.

Colby Crehan, vocals. Colby has lived in Burlington, Vermont with her husband since 2003. She was raised in New York and North Carolina. She can also be seen as vocalist/guitarist and songwriter with the group PossumHaw. She is a proud wife and mother, and when she's not performing music she's at home with her daughter, Bellamy.

Paul Miller, guitar, vocals. Paul was born and raised in the Bronx, NY. He made his way to Woodbury, Vermont and has since performed with many groups, including Coco and the Lonesome Road Band, Breakaway, Bluebird, and the Andy Shapiro Quartet, to name a few. He also plays drums and bass, and spends his days helping Vermonters with mental illness find and keep employment.

Taylor Armerding, mandolin, vocals. Taylor has lived on the North Shore of Boston for many years and has been an outstanding figure in New England bluegrass for decades, first as a founder and lead singer of the progressive bluegrass band Northern Lights. Taylor's superb vocal abilities and mandolin playing have opened doors for him to tour around the country. He also performs with Jonathan Edwards and with his son, singer-songwriter Jake Armerding.

Kirk Lord, upright bass. Kirk is the native Vermonter of the group, born in Barre, Vermont. Home is now Essex Junction, Vermont. He also can be seen with the Modern Grass Quintet and Bob Degree and the Bluegrass Storm. He is also BGP's "sound man" and a talented visual artist and designer.

Ray Cornils, organ
AUGUST 12, 2014
Ray Cornils is the Municipal Organist for the City of Portland, a post he has held since 1990. He also serves First Parish Church, UCC, Brunswick, Maine as Minister of Music where for the past 25 years he has led an extensive music program of five vocal and two handbell choirs.

Known for his highly diverse programming, Ray has concertized throughout the United States and Germany, France, Spain, Russia, New Zealand and Ecuador. He has performed at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., the Wanamaker Organ at Macy's in Philadelphia, the Spreckels Organ in San Diego as well as at the International Festival of Sacred Music in Quito and Portoviejo Ecuador. He has been a featured recitalist for conventions of the American Guild of Organists and the Organ Historical Society. The annual Christmas with Cornils concerts have become a Portland highlight, attracting standing room only audiences.

In addition to his solo work, he performs regularly with the Portland Symphony Orchestra as both harpsichordist and organist. He has been soloist in Barber's Toccata Festiva, all six of Bach's Brandenburg Concerti,, Poulenc's Concerto Champetre,, Poulenc's Concerto for Organ, String and Tympani,, Saint Saens' Organ Symphony, and Jongen's Symphonie Concertante,.

His church choir has performed concert tours in England, Wales, Ireland, Ecuador and Portugal. Each spring Mr. Cornils mounts a massive production involving church choir members, singers from the community, members of the Portland Symphony Orchestra as well as instrumentalists and soloists from the Boston area. In 2011, Bach's St. Matthew Passion was performed in its entirety on Good Friday to a full house.

Known for his teaching skills for all ages, Ray is in integral part of the Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ's education program, working with elementary and middle school students in a classroom setting. For many years he has taught high school organ students through the Young Organist Collaborative based in Portsmouth, NH. He is also a member of the music faculties of Bowdoin College, the University of Southern Maine and the Portland Conservatory of Music, where he teaches organ, harpsichord and related classes.

An active member of the American Guild of Organists, Ray has held many leadership roles, including Convention Coordinator for the 2014 National AGO convention in Boston.

Born in Sterling, Illinois , Mr. Cornils received the B. Mus. degree from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and the M. Mus. degree from the New England Conservatory of Music. He has studied organ with Robert Reeves, Fenner Douglas, William Porter, Yuko Hayashi and Dame Gillian Weir, and harpsichord with William Porter, Lenora McCroskey, Rhona Freeman and Lisa Goode Crawford.

Montpelier Gospel Choir
AUGUST 20, 2014
The Montpelier Gospel Choir began in 1994 under the direction of the Rev. Fred Shapiro and the late Andy Shapiro. From its beginnings as a loose-knit group of about 20 people, the choir has grown over the years to its present size of 60 members. The Director is John Harrison, and band members are Ira Friedman on piano, Keith Gibson on drums, John Ryan on bass, and Andy Pitt on guitar.

"We sing! We clap! We shout! We play! We laugh! We pray! Sometimes we cry."

Over the years the choir has performed under the gospel tent at the Discover Jazz Festival in Burlington, Vermont; at Montpelier's First Night New Year's Eve celebration; and at the Farmer's Night concert series at the Vermont State House. They have performed with Tammy Fletcher, Vermont's homegrown blues great, and with gospel legend Fontella Bass and jazz trumpeter Lester Bowie. The choir sings at benefits, church services, prisons, nursing homes, and memorial services, but the heart of what they do happens at their Monday evening rehearsals. It's there that they share with each other, open their hearts, take chances, and witness the movement of the Spirit.

Diana Fanning, piano
AUGUST 29, 2014
Diana Fanning has toured extensively as a recitalist and chamber musician throughout the eastern US and in Europe, concertizing in London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam, and Munich. After her first solo concert in Munich, a critic acclaimed "the effervescent brilliance and passionate sweetness of her playing" and added that "her virtuoso playing was rich in nuances."

She has performed numerous times as a concerto soloist with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. Vermont Public Television featured her in a program of works by Scarlatti, Ravel and Chopin. Radio audiences throughout New England and Canada hear her frequently in live and taped performances over Vermont Public Radio, and she has also performed live on "Morning Pro Musica" (WGBH-FM) Boston and on WNYC, New York City.

As a chamber musician, Diana Fanning has toured New England as a member of the Ruggieri Chamber Soloists and has performed widely with cellist Dieuwke Davydov. The Davydov-Fanning Duo has gone on concert tours of Europe which included recordings for Radio Netherlands and has been presented in a Carnegie Recital Hall debut by the Concert Artists Guild International Competition.

Diana Fanning has been a guest artist with the Takacs String Quartet, with the Alexander String Quartet, with ensembles from the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, and with faculty members of the Point Counter Point Chamber Music Camp, which she and her husband Emory Fanning owned and directed for ten years.

Her major teacher has been Ruth Geiger of New York City; she also studied at the Conservatoire National de Paris. Diana Fanning teaches piano at Middlebury College, Vermont.