Schenectady County

Conflict claims Music Haven Gala

The annual fundraiser for the Music Haven concert series has been canceled, but never fear — organiz
PHOTOGRAPHER:

The annual fundraiser for the Music Haven concert series has been canceled, but never fear — organizers don’t think it will hurt the stage’s bottom line at all.

Artistic Director Mona Golub said the Music Haven Gala raises just $2,000 to $3,000 a year, despite her best efforts to make it a popular event. So when a scheduling conflict made it impossible to hold the gala at the Central Park pavilion, she decided to skip it altogether.

“It has not brought in significant funds in recent years,” she said. “I weighed and measured. I’m going to get another corporate sponsor to cover that hole.”

She had planned to hold the gala at the city pavilion on Sunday, Aug. 10, in conjunction with that night’s concert at the nearby stage. What she didn’t know was that the pavilion is so popular that it’s rented out every weekend from May to October.

By the time she asked for the date, the pavilion had long been claimed.

Parks Director Michael Burke said he would’ve bumped almost anyone to let Golub have the pavilion for the critical fundraiser.

“Music Haven is very important to the arts program here. We love what Mona does,” he said. “But it’s been rented for a year for a family reunion. Normally, I can switch things around, but this family is renting a bus from Florida, going up Route 1 and picking people up all over the Eastern seaboard for this party.”

Burke had been worried about the gala date for some time. Going through the records, he saw that Golub always picks a Monday in August, so he held all four Mondays in the hopes of keeping open the date she’d want. Then, she asked for a Sunday.

“We just don’t have leeway on weekends,” Burke said. “Every Saturday and Sunday it’s booked, from May to September.”

It costs only $160 to rent the entire 200-seat pavilion for a day. The low price makes it so popular that some residents rent out part of the pavilion for run-of-the-mill picnics, just so they have a guaranteed shelter if it rains. The pavilion is often rented months in advance.

COMING SHOWS

The nearby Music Haven stage brings international touring groups to Schenectady for free concerts at 7 p.m. on Sundays in the summer. This weekend’s show is Sones de Mexico, a group that will perform traditional Mexican music. There will also be a special blues festival on Saturday at 2 p.m.

The rest of the summer schedule is:

July 20, Chasing Rainbows Cabaret — Broadway show tunes

July 27, Tabou Combo — Haitian big band

Aug. 3, Esperanza Spalding — jazz and instrumental music

Aug. 10 — to be announced

Aug. 17, Hot House Flowers — European rock ‘n’ soul

Aug. 24, Ruth Pelham & the Music Mobile — community singing and music activities

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