Potsdam Porchfest Artist Bios

Jeff Harding: For the last 30+ years, Jeff has sung songs professionally on 3 different continents. He enjoys playing many different styles of American roots music; bluegrass, swing, folk, blues. His wife’s work around the world has allowed him to share this music with people from many different cultures. In every country (USA, Guatemala, Egypt, India, Mexico) he has founded working bands of locals and expats. “American music is popular all over the world. No matter the culture or the language, people everywhere love American roots music.”

“Church and State”: Church & State is Christopher Brown, guitar, and Tom Baker, guitar and vocals.  Church & State play jazz from Fats Waller to Django Reinhardt.  In his other life, Christopher Brown is the Rector of the Trinity Episcopal Church, Potsdam.  Tom Baker is a history professor at SUNY Potsdam.

Carriage House Quartet: The Carriage House Quartet is a professional string quartet based in Potsdam, NY. CHQ performs for recitals, community events, weddings, and other private and public events. CHQ enjoys practicing various genres including classical, romantic, contemporary, pop/rock and even a little tango. Featuring Maggie McKenna, violin, Jennifer Kessler, violin, Erin Brooks, viola, and Robert Docker, cello. We got our name because the two houses we practice at both have carriage houses, late 19th century two-story garages situated behind our restored – more like, forever being restored – Victorian homes. While we practice regularly, we are friends who enjoy sharing great food, drink, and conversation. Never just a dull quartet rehearsal with this crew!

Bob Moore: Bob Moore splits his time between Saratoga Springs and Canton, NY.. After graduating from the Crane School of Music, Bob performed in the UK with the Steve Kennel Orchestra, Mary Wilson of the Supremes and the Aldbrickham Band. Bob was the founder and director of the Vandyke Big Band in Bedfordshire, England. Bob was a band director in Port Washington, NY, from 1985 until 2014. He has performed as a soloist with the Northwinds Symphonic Band and in pit orchestras for Plaza Theatrical Productions. Bob resides in Saratoga Springs. He performs with the North Country Jazz Project, a big band based in Glens Falls, and Fenimore Blues, a blues band.

Annegret Staiger: Amateur Photographer

Andrew Petersen: Folk music singer songwriter harmonica playing guy

Sandy Steinberg and Kathy MacKay: Kathy MacKay, violin and Sandy Steinberg, flute will perform classical works composed from the time of Bach through Freddy Mercury.

Donald McNutt: I rediscovered my love for playing guitar five years ago. Since then, I’ve been practicing at performing for others through Open Mic events at Maxfields, McDuff’s, and the Buccaneer. I play acoustic and electric guitar, with a focus on blues and classic rock. I’m a great fan of Pink Floyd and especially David Gilmour’s guitar work. At Porchfest, I’m looking forward to covering some songs from Dark Side of the Moon, Animals, and The Wall.

Matt Gayle: Matt Gayle is a graduate of the Crane School of Music and the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and currently teaches General Music and Chorus at A.A. Kingston Middle School in Potsdam. Matt has played bass with numerous groups for the past 15 years spanning a variety of genres including jazz, rock, pop, reggae, and hip hop. He currently performs with local classic rock band SFM, which he has been a member of since 2012.

Gretchen Koehler: FIDDLERS THREE! A celebration of Old Time Fiddle tunes in three part harmony with Gretchen, Don, Annie & Jeremy! Fiddlers Gretchen Koehler and Don Woodcock (GretchenKoehlerMusic.com/KoehlerandWoodcock) along with fiddler Annie Davey (nocofiddlers.wordpress.com) and pianist Jeremy Rusu (Jeremy Rusu.com) will play a myriad of old time fiddle hits from the USA and Canada. Fun for the whole family. 

ROUST – Dean Thornton and Bill Eckert: Experimental audio landscape comfort. Less playing, more listening. Or contemplative electric guitar compositions juxtaposed with delayed, phased, chopped and screwed blobs and squiggles of sound. Oh, and some singing, some poetry, and stories.

Kevin Smith and “The Raquettes”: Kevin Smith is a singer-songwriter who grew up in Saratoga Springs, where he began performing in rock ‘n’ roll bands in junior high school. Since then, he has performed in several bands in Vermont, the Washington, D.C. area, Wisconsin, and now, the Northcountry. At the PorchFest 2020, he will perform an all original solo set showcasing his new and not so new compositions. He is joined by special guest “The Raquettes”, which features Halle, Maddie, and JC, all high school students who will be singing acoustic versions of some of their favorite songs.

Richard Hayes Phillips: Richard Hayes Phillips is a lyric poet, singer/songwriter, and traditional folksinger. He is by trade a wandering minstrel, performing in restaurants and coffeehouses. He plays guitar, mandolin, kalimba and harmonica, without amplification. He is a seasoned performer, having played perhaps 2000 times in public, most frequently in Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake, Rhinebeck, Taos, and Santa Fe; as far away as England, Scotland and Ireland; and every year at the North Country Folk Festival in Canton.

Tom French: Tom has been writing songs and performing since the early 80s.  His band, the Buoyrockers, performs every summer in the 1000 Islands and our music is available from a number of online outlets.

Casey Grev: Casey Grev is Assistant Professor of Saxophone at the Crane School of Music. A dedicated performer of contemporary music, Dr. Grev was an invited performer at the Hot Air Music Festival, San Francisco Center for New Music, Resonant Bodies Festival, Society of Composers Inc. National Conference, Northwestern University New Music Conference, The Ohio State University Contemporary Music Festival, and was selected to study at the 2016 Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music. As a chamber musician, Dr. Grev performs regularly with the Viridian Saxophone Quartet and the Protean Duo. He has received awards at the Coleman, Fischoff, Music Teachers National Association, and North American Saxophone Alliance Chamber Music Competitions. Dr. Grev received both his Masters and Doctoral degrees from Michigan State University, where he was a recipient of the University Distinguished Fellowship and studied with Joseph Lulloff. Dr. Grev’s undergraduate degrees in Music Education and Music Performance are from Ohio State University, where he studied with James Hill.

Caramelo Trio: Caramelo Trio creates an exciting blend of lyrical melody and rhythmic motion inspired by the rich traditions of Eating American musical styles such as rumba, bossa nova, waltzes, and more. Potsdam, NY musicians Beth Robinson (cello), Oscar Sarmiento (guitar), and Mark Seymour (percussion), were members of the long-running north country ensemble, Piquant, which played for over a decade on concert stages from Sacket’s Harbor to Saranac Lake, to the Norwood Village Green Concert Series. Over the past few years Caramelo Trio has been featured on North Country Public Radios’ 8 O’Clock Hour, performed in both the Saranac Lake Summer Concert Series and First Night Celebration, the Brockport Summer Concert Series, in addition to several local performance venues.

Phoenix Jazz Collective: The Phoenix Jazz Collective is a tribute to local jazz musicians here and in the past. In this iteration Sam Bailey (sax), Josh Barkley (keys, bass, + ), Larry Baycura (drums), Stephen Bird (bass), and Scott Levine (keys) will play a mix of standards and modern tunes, with a couple of surprises along the way. 

Darie Family featuring Mrs. Lorie Gruneisen: With a BM in Music Education from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam and a MM degree in Violin Performance from the University of Connecticut,  Mrs. Lorie Gruneisen has been a music educator for over 30 years. Mrs. Gruneisen has studied composition with Dr. Robert Washburn and Dr. Paul Steinberg and has written music throughout most of her career. She is a member of numerous performing groups, a string adjudicator for NYSSMA, and currently teaches violin and piano lessons at the Holy Name of Jesus Academy, a boarding school for girls in Massena, N.Y., as well as privately. She is the head, conductor and composer/arranger for the North Country Connections Orchestra. Dr. Alisa Woods-Darie has played cello (on and off) since she was 7 years old. She studied with Ms. Maureen Hynes and Mr. Hakuro Mori, and formerly played with the Long Island String Camerata, NYSSMA, and NY All-State String Festival. She currently plays with the North Country Connections orchestra. She owns a private psychotherapy practice in Potsdam, (Alisa G Woods, Ph.D., LMHC Mental Health Counseling), and is a Research Associate Professor at Clarkson University.  She appreciates the positive effects of music on mental health and cognition! Constantine Darie is an 8th grader at Potsdam Central School, where she participates in orchestra and chorus. He plays cello and piano and composes music. He has participated in Crane Youth Music, the North Country Connections Orchestra, NYSSMA, Spring Goals at St Lawrence University, as well as all country-orchestra and chorus. His music compositions can be found on YouTube at Kostaki01. He studies with Ms. Beth Robinson and Dr. Michelle Martin-Atwood. Celeste Darie is a 6th grader at Potsdam Central School, where she participates in orchestra and chorus. She plays piano and violin. She has participated in the North Country Connections Orchestra, NYSSMA, and Spring Goals at St Lawrence University. She recently won a prize in the Middle School talent contest for her rendition of Toccata Vivo on piano. She studies with Mrs. Lorie Gruneisen.