When Mona Golub took the stage at Proctors on Sunday evening, she intended to kick off a Music Haven Concert Series show and honor Schenectady County Legislature Vice Chairwoman Karen Johnson.
She had no idea that Mayor Gary McCarthy was about to present her with the highest honor the city can bestow upon a resident.
When Golub realized she was being presented with the Patroon Award she took a step back in disbelief.
“When you think that the award is presented to someone who is able to improve the quality of life for people in Schenectady, and then you realize that you just received that award,” she said. “This is a really amazing feeling.”
Golub, the producing artistic director of the Music Haven Concert Series, was honored for her role in bringing world-class musicians to Schenectady for 25 summers.
“Receiving this award means what I have been able to establish and sustain has in some way been able to improve people’s lives,” she said.
Golub, who is also the vice president of public relations for Price Chopper supermarkets, stressed the importance of partnerships between the private and public sector in community outreach programs.
McCarthy said Golub has been the driving force behind bringing such a diverse group of talent to the city and she is extremely deserving of the award.
“Some years she had a good amount of money to work with and other years she did not have much at all,” he said. “But year after year she continues to put a great product on the stage every summer.
He added that it is difficult to keep something like this under wraps until the last moment, but judging by Golub’s reaction it appears he was successful.
Normally the concerts are held in Central Park, but due to potential rain storms Sunday, the proceedings were moved inside to Proctors.
Sunday was Music Haven’s 25th Anniversary Gala, featuring James “Superharp” Cotton and a guest musical appearance by Matt Mirabile.
A hydrangea will be planted near the Music Haven stage in Central Park for Johnson, the 2014 Music Haven Concert Series honoree.
She was the mayor of Schenectady when Golub began producing the concerts and the two worked together diligently to turn the summer concert series into the highly popular event that it is today.
“I love Mona and we have worked together for a very long time,” Johnson said. “When we started this whole thing I never imagined it would turn into what it is now.”
The concert series began on a dilapidated stage in Central Park and improvements were made as private sponsorships increased. Admission to the concerts has always been free.
Jonathan Scherzer, director of marketing for CDTA — a sponsor of the Music Haven Concert Series — said it was great to see the Golub honored in such a special way. She does a lot for the community, he said, and she deserves to be recognized.
“She has been the face of Price Chopper for a lot of years now and it is nice to see her so moved by receiving the award,” he said.