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Arts and Entertainment

October 26, 2012

Margaretville center to host music-packed day

The Blue Deer Center — at 1153 County Road 6 in Margaretville — will host a bill of local Appalachian music from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

First up will be Mike Herman. Herman grew up on Long Island and said in a media release that he’s inspired by Jorma Kaukonen on Hot Tuna recordings, the bluesmen of the 1920s and 1930s, and a strong foundation of music studies at SUNY Purchase.

During his SUNY Purchase days, the musician developed a “finger-picking” style for which he has become known. He blends acoustic blues, bluegrass, ragtime and old-timey music.

Herman will be joined on stage by the rest of the Catskill Mountain Boys, a bluegrass band also featuring Henry Herman, Todd Pascarella, and John VanBenschoten.

Lead vocalist VanBenschoten started playing guitar and banjo at age 17, and has played in bluegrass duets nationwide. He studied banjo with the legendary banjo picker William Bradford Keith — known to many as Bill Keith. Herman first picked up a violin at age 6, but, according to him, did “not start fiddlin’” until he was 22, when he joined the Almost Heaven Band in Miami. Pascarella plays bass and performed for several years with the rock band The Lost Beat Heroes before he moved to the Catskills in 2001.

Finally, The Tremperskill Boys, known as a traditional “string band” will play a repertoire of fiddle tunes now native the Catskill Mountains. The music is inspired by Irish and Scottish farmers and laborers of the Catskills, the release said.

The group includes John Jacobson, who grew up learning Catskill Mountain fiddling; Ginny Scheer, cofounder of the Catskill Folk Connection; Amy Lieberman on mandolin; and

VanBenschoten, one of the original members of the band.

The event also will include food and other events for all ages. Blue Deer Center offers ancestral approaches to healing, ritual and retreat, the release said. The center’s origins are in the “Huichol shamanic tradition and living connection to the universal and sacred spirit of fire,” the release said.

Presenters suggest donations of $10 per person in advance and $12 at the door. For more information and to pre-register, go to or call (845) 586-3225.

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