May 18 is not the Capital Region’s birthday, but it might as well be.
With #518Day, local arts and culture will be celebrated on social media and onstage. It started out in 2016 as a way for people to come together on social media and spotlight what they love about the local arts community. Some tweet about concerts at the Palace, some highlight the latest Broadway show they saw at Proctors and others focus on a painting or exhibition they loved at a local museum.
When news of a new area code spread last year, some were unsure whether or not the day would really have the same meaning, or continue at all.
“Though the 838 overlay raised questions about whether #518Day could continue, the new area code actually reinforces the 518-ness of the 518 by forcing callers to punch in 10 digits, either '838' [for new numbers] or '518,'" said Michael Janairo in a statement. Janairo is assistant director for engagement at the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College and the originator of #518Day.
The Tang will have 18-minute tours of several exhibitions starting at 1 p.m. The Schick Gallery at Skidmore will also be running “The Juniors Show,” which features artwork from junior art students who were nominated by their professors. The gallery will be open from noon to 4 p.m.
There’s lots going on, both online and off. It’s also 518 Songfest at The Egg’s Swyer Theatre.
“2018 has become the ‘year of the woman,’ and the producers of 518 Songfest were ahead of the trend,” said co-producer Rick Kessler in a news release. The concert benefits two nonprofits, Columbia Arts Team and Exit 97.7 WEXT-FM.
The evening brings together locals like Lori Friday and Super 400, and up-and-coming local stars like Moriah Formica and Sydney Worthley, along with Sandy McKnight in the new band Pop-Clique and Grammy-award winner Julie Gold.
For Friday, Songfest represents an opportunity to support live music. Friday and Super 400 will be playing a rare acoustic set.
“We’ve played The Egg electric before and we thought, ‘Why not do something different?’” Friday said.
As one of the most popular rock bands in the Capital Region, Super 400 has seen the music scene grow and morph since they started playing together in the 1990s. Friday and her bandmate/husband Kenny Hohman have also been teaching at the Troy Music Academy, which they founded, since 2012. They also write songs for film and TV, and play gigs locally and across the country whenever they can.
“We’re so lucky that we can do this,” Friday said.
They’re about as plugged into the local music scene as one can be. It’s morphed over the years, with new technologies allowing people to stay at home and watch a live stream of a concert, rather than go out and see the show themselves. “Live music isn’t the commodity it once was,” Friday said.
However, though the music scene has changed over the years, Friday said there’s an incredible amount of talent in the Capital Region, some of which she gets to see firsthand at the Academy.
At the show, they’ll be playing a mix of songs from their older alums and possibly new songs from an album they’re hoping to record soon.
During Songfest, Andy Gregory and Dave Michaels from WEXT will interview the artists about their songwriting, their inspirations and more.
Tickets are $9.77-$20. For information, visit theegg.org.