ONEONTA _ The city of Oneonta will soon have its first "destination weekend" with a spotlight on American music.

An American Music Festival from Oct. 21 to 23 will offer concerts, guided hikes and mountain-bike rides, plus restaurant and hotel discounts. Events and activities are planned in the city and greater Oneonta area. Folk, rock and classical music will sound from various venues.

Violinist Mark O'Connor will perform with the Catskill Symphony Orchestra, in a concert that music director Charles Schneider said will be among highlights in the orchestra's history.

"His musicality is just incredible," Schneider said Wednesday.

O'Connor and the orchestra will perform the violinist's Fiddle Concerto in Alumni Field House at the State University College at Oneonta at 8 p.m. Oct. 22. O'Connor, a prominent violinist who plays in a range of styles, has recorded many albums and is a Grammy Award-winning artist.

Other American music on the CSO program will be "American Salute" by Morton Gould and "Appalachian Spring" by Aaron Copland.

Schneider said the CSO met a challenge to raise O'Connor's $10,000 fee by collaborating with the Oneonta Concert Association, which has included the concert in its subscription, and with support through a National Endowment of the Arts grant.

The Little Delaware Youth Ensemble, which also is supporting O'Connor's visit, said on its website that the violinist will perform a free public concert with LYDE for children of all ages at SUNY Oneonta at 10 a.m. Oct. 21.

In Oneonta, the first "destination weekend" was the result of the Mayor's Summit on the Arts and Entertainment, Mayor Dick Miller said Oct. 4. Artists and arts advocates, merchants and other supporters attended the two summits held in January and February.

Miller said the festival is not only to draw visitors from outside the region but also to involve local residents.

Main Street Oneonta, a merchant-based group; the city; the Oneonta Arts Task Force; the Oneonta Theatre; the Catskill Symphony Orchestra; Foothills Performing Arts and Civic Center; and Otsego County Tourism are presenting the designated weekend.

Other events include concerts at the Oneonta Theatre, 47 Chestnut St., including the Blue Oyster Cult at 8 p.m. Oct. 21; American folk singer Arlo Guthrie at 6:45 p.m. and the Chris Robinson Brotherhood at 10 p.m. Oct. 22.

The weekend was packaged during recent months, Miller said.

"I'm pretty excited about that," Miller said. The city's role was to be a "cheerleader," he said, and no city funds are being spent for the project.

Miller said presenters realized in the spring that O'Connor and Guthrie were scheduled to come the same weekend. But instead of being dismayed about the situation, the mayor said he suggested bundling the events. After meeting convening a group of interested and involved parties, the project was turned over to Main Street Oneonta, he said, and the result is a "great example" of collaboration.

Capresso Coffee Bar, Stella Luna Ristorante and Fiesta Mexican Bar and Grill plan to stay open until 11 p.m. for after-show customers, a promotional brochure about the weekend said.

The Oneonta Arts Task Force, which was formed as a result of the summits, and the Upper Catskill Community Council of the Arts, 11 Ford Ave., will present an art show with wine and cheese between 2 and 5 p.m. Oct. 22.

Guided hikes and mountain-bike rides are planned, plus a free showing of "Alice's Restaurant," a film starring Arlo Guthrie, will be at the Oneonta Theatre at 1 p.m. Oct. 23. Miller said Sport Tech took responsibility for identifying daytime outdoor activities.

The weekend is being promoted on television in an advertisement that Otsego County Tourism Department adjusted to accommodate the event, Miller said.

For more information, visit the Main Street Oneonta website at

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