A musical affair

A musical affair

A musical performance by musicians for the Caroga Lake Music Festival at Caroga Lake. (Photo submitted)

CAROGA — When community members come together from two separate worlds, the positive change they can create can have no limits. This is the hope for The Caroga Lake Volunteer Fire Company, Inc., who is getting support from the people at the Caroga Lake Music Festival. On Wednesday,the festival will host a charity concert at Timberlane Blueberry Farm. 

 Brian McIntosh, a volunteer with the fire company, said the idea came about when he attended a concert and was overcome by the amount of talent at the festival. McIntosh said the level of performers is beyond anything he had heard before, and in a rural area.  

 “They have world class performances. It is truly unbelievable. These are top notch musicians playing free concerts,” said McIntosh.  

 The venues often allow for the festival to help raise funds for some local charities.  McIntosh describes the atmosphere as a “pass the boot” way of donating. He said the free entertainment is so high quality that many of the patrons are open to donating to something that they know will benefit the community, whether it is for the cost of the musician’s room and board while visiting, or for a project like a new firehouse.  

 “We want to try and reach out to a new pool of people. Many times, it is our own volunteers who are giving over and over again. This such a perfect combination of giving back while being able to hear some of the most talented musicians you could imagine,” said McIntosh.  

Peter Kiernan, Rick Ruby, Kyle Price and Shawn Cleland in front of Chester's Shed, site of Wednesday's concert benefiting the Caroga Lake Volunteer Fire Company. (Photo submitted)

 The Caroga Lake Fire Company wants to build a new firehouse at the Baker property with a total estimated cost of $1.9 million. McIntosh said the Baker property is at the junction of Route 29A and Route 10 in Caroga Lake. The fire company has been raising funds for 10 years and are currently about $500,000 short of their goal.

Over the past 10 years, they have spent about $185,000 for the property, demolition of buildings, cleanup and planning for the new home. McIntosh said the new department will help the volunteers to serve those in the community to the best of their ability, adding that they are the first people who are available in a crisis. Since 1951, they have been the first to provide basic life support service to a 100-square mile area in the Adirondack Park, responding to an estimated 160 calls per year. They respond to not only fires, but motor-vehicle accidents, medical emergencies, forest fires, ice rescues, search and rescue operations, and even basement pumping.  

 “We are the first responders, we are the ones who will be there,” said McIntosh.  

 Now in its’ sixth year, the festival will perform over 30 concerts in a five-week period. Kyle Price, artistic director and founder of the Caroga Lake Music Festival, said when he was first approached with the idea of holding a concert night for the fire company, he was immediately on board. 

 “It is always great to collaborate with other members of the community. It is good for the town, and it’s truly a great event,” said Price.  

Rick Ruby, Shawn Cleland, Peter Kiernan and Kyle Price look display the Caroga Lake Music Festival season schedule at Timberlane Blueberry Farm. (Photo submitted)

 Price said the night will feature the Jason Anick Trio. He said Jason Anick, of the Jason Anick Trio, is one of the youngest instructors at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. Anick is an expert jazz violin and mandolin player who works with Grammy award-winning musicians. It is this type of talent that McIntosh is hoping will bring in as many people as possible to the event.  

 “Our focus is to get people out and to see them come and give. In addition to that, I want people to come and see what these music festivals have to offer. When I went to a concert and I listened to these musicians, I thought to myself, I wonder how their parents must feel. They were that amazing,” said McIntosh.  

Rick Ruby, president for Caroga Arts Collective, because the concerts are free to the public, those is attendance are often happy to donate to anything that will benefit the community. He said the series of concerts held throughout the summer season offer area organizations an opportunity to connect to the community. 

“These events are well attended. It is a combination of great music and people, it helps tourism, which helps the lake area,” said Ruby. 

McIntosh said the fire company has spent considerable time talking other fire stations, to develop an idea of what the new building should like in order to support their needs. He said over the last year they have developed a set of drawings and floor plans that they fell meet those requirements, all in an effort to better serve the area. The money raised so far for the project are a result of agreements with the town of Caroga, town of Bleecker and Piseco fire. Each municipality agreed to increase their contract with the fire company by 49 percent immediately with annual 5 percent increase to generate a down payment, as well as income to cover financing.  

McIntosh explains the needs for a new facility are not just cosmetic, adding that the current structure is too small to house equipment and is unable to meet many regulations. He said it is difficult to maintain equipment without moving it outside and there is a lack of storage for supplies as well as minimal office space for records. The fire company has exhausted any type of state or federal grants to help offset the costs. McIntosh said they have been awarded several grants for the replacement of breathing apparatus their volunteers use. They have also received state funding to purchase a specialized trailer that is used in certain responses emergencies. Despite these advances, McIntosh said they are in still in need of a building that allows them to adequately serve what is a large area of the Adirondacks. 

“The Baker property will really allow us to meet the standards, it will be such a positive thing for our area,” said McIntosh. 

 Additional fundraisers are planned for the firehouse, including a late August pig roast. The Caroga Lake Music Festival fundraiser concert will begin at 6 p.m., Wednesday, at the Timberlane Blueberry Farm, 310 Mussey Road, in Caroga Lake.

You can learn more about the charity concert at carogalakemuisfestival.org