HILLSDALE — At its March 9th meeting, the Hillsdale Town Board approved a proposed monthly concert series to be held in Hillsdale Hamlet Park and hosted by the Hillsdale Hamlet Committee on the third Saturday of the month from May to September, and on the second Saturday of October (with Pumpkin Fest). The series will feature professional musicians performing a different musical genre each month. Local sponsors so far include Taconic Ridge Farm, Hawthorne Valley Farm Store, Random Harvest Market and the Hillsdale Economic Development Committee with more to be announced. Funds for the event are also being raised through the sale of “Jams in the Hamlet” merchandise and an online concert by event promoter Garrin Benfield on April 25.

“Jams in the Hamlet” will be produced by Hillsdale residents Garrin Benfield and his husband Jason Durant along with the Hillsdale Hamlet Committee. Garrin and Jason moved to Hillsdale in 2019 and have since become full-time residents. Both were drawn to the area due to its rich history in the arts and in music in particular. In fact, on the day they saw the home they eventually purchased, they enjoyed an afternoon at Hillsdale’s Falcon Ridge Music Festival. Garrin himself is a musician and has been a regular performer in venues throughout the tri-state area and the Hudson Valley for years. Jason is a clinician psychologist in Manhattan.

“Jams in the Hamlet” received unanimous approval by both the Hamlet Committee and the Hillsdale Town Board and has received a generous donation from the Hillsdale Economic Development Committee to finance the series. Covid-19 precautions will be followed in compliance with the New York State Health Department. Hillsdale Hamlet park is currently in the midst of its own fundraising goal of a complete renovation being spearheaded by the Hillsdale Hamlet Committee and it too recently recently received Town Board approval for the project.

Jason and Garrin, along with the Hamlet Committee, believe that bringing music to Hamlet Park as Covid winds down is the perfect way to draw the community together. Genres for the event were purposefully chosen to attract as many segments of the Berkshire and Hudson Valley’s diverse community and include Bluegrass, Jazz, Classical, Children’s Programming, Singer/songwriters and even a community talent night to be held in October with the Pumpkin Festival. “Music brings everybody together and now that we have been separated from so many in our community due to the virus, a summer concert series is a great way to get back out there and see the neighbors again” says Dr. Durant, one of the promoters of the event along with the the Hamlet Committee.

Concerts will be held from 5 -7 p.m. with the park opening for guests at 4pm. Admission is FREE, but donations are encouraged. While some seating will be available, attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets. Hillsdale Hamlet Park is located at the intersection of Rt’s 22 & 23 in the Hamlet of Hillsdale (half-way between Hudson, NY and Great Barrington, MA). Refreshments available for purchase will be provided by Hillsdale’s Roe Jan Brewery, Little Apple Cidery, Mama Lo’s BBQ, and Bacon’s Pizza! Local non-profit, community-driven organizations will also be on site to provide information to the community on their activities.

Complete list of acts who will perform at the event:

May 15: Bluegrass with Sleepy Hollow String Band

June 19: Classical with Hudson Festival Players

July 17: Jazz with the Hudson Valley Jazz Quartet

August 21: Singer/Songwriters Kerri Powers and Lisa and Lori Brigantino

September 18: Children’s Performer and Grammy nominee Brady Rymer and Claudia Mussen

October 9: Community Talent Night at Pumpkin Fest

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