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WMHT film to spotlight 50 years of SPAC performances

WMHT film to spotlight 50 years of SPAC performances

WMHT-Channel 17 is producing its own 50th anniversary documentary film to help commemorate SPAC’s 50
WMHT film to spotlight 50 years of SPAC performances
James Taylor performs at SPAC in June 2014. He has performed a record 19 times at the venue.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

No one has provided any home movies of The Doors at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in 1968 yet, but Matt Rogowicz still has some time.

Quiz: Test your knowledge of SPAC

Answers at bottom of story

1. What singer performed in the first special concert at SPAC on June 27, 1967?

2. What pop/rock star performed with the London-based Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at SPAC in 2010?

3. What band has sold out SPAC a record 10 times?

4. Among popular performers, who holds the record for most shows at SPAC with 19?

5. What song did Jackson Browne compose backstage at SPAC in 1977?

6. What year did Mikhail Baryshnikov join the New York City Ballet and perform at SPAC?

7. How many stories high is the SPAC amphitheater?

8. The most expensive ticket at SPAC was $200 for a 1994 concert. Who performed?

“I am really digging for gold and hoping I find someone with 8-millimeter footage of something from back then,” said Rogowicz, an associate producer at WMHT-Channel 17, which is producing its own 50th anniversary documentary film to help commemorate SPAC’s 50th anniversary. “I have made some interesting connections with people and been given some wonderful stuff, but I haven’t found the Doors yet.”

Rogowicz is still in production work for the hour-long film, which will air for the first time on June 2, a Thursday night.

“I started working on this project over a year ago, and contacted the [Philadelphia] Orchestra and the [New York City] Ballet early in the process to get everything we needed from them,” said Rogowicz.

“We’ve also talked to Live Nation, the Jazz Festival and the Chamber Music people and have interviews with a number of their biggest names,” he added.

“We also spoke with Dave Matthews, specifically for this film, and we also interviewed Jonathan Cain of Journey about a song he wrote backstage at SPAC. We’re in the middle of editing and getting final clearances, but I still have some time to look at anything new I get. ”

The Doors were the first pop/rock group to play at SPAC, appearing on Sept. 1, 1968. Some of the biggest names in rock n’ roll have performed at SPAC, including the Beach Boys, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen and the Grateful Dead.

Along with its many musical and ballet events, SPAC has often served as a venue for high-school graduations, most commonly Saratoga Springs, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Ballston Spa and Shenendehowa.

Rogowicz, a Clifton Park native and Shenendehowa graduate who majored in film and animation at the Rochester Institute of Technology, has worked at WMHT for three years.

“I produce a weekly arts series, ‘Aha!’ which is a magazine-type show where we feature local artists and arts places from our local area,” said Rogowicz.

“It certainly has been a great experience learning about the place. I play the piano and go up there a lot for the orchestra, so interviewing some of those people has been great fun.”

Quiz answers

1. Harry Belafonte; 2. Sting; 3. The Dave Matthews Band; 4. James Taylor; 5. “Rosie”; 6. 1978; 7. Ten; 8. The Eagles

Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or [email protected]

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