Resident vies for local annual concert series

JOHNSTOWN — City resident Bill Ackerbauer is trying to launch a mid-summer concert series for 2018, looking for non-monetary support from the city.

Ackerbauer told the Common Council Monday night at City Hall the four “small” free public concerts he envisions for the downtown bandshell could be held a day before the usual Friday night shows by the Johnstown Citizens Band.

“We want to piggyback on that by putting events on Thursday nights,” Ackerbauer said.

He said no taxpayer dollars are being requested from the city, only permission to use the bandshell.

“We’re not asking the city for any money,” Ackerbauer said. “I hope the city will support us in spirit, if not financially.”

What is proposed is four professional music acts. Concerts in 2018 would take place from 7-9 p.m. on: July 19, July 26, Aug. 2, and Aug. 9. They would be staged at the Jenner Bandshell at Sir William Johnson Park off West Main Street.

The city previously asked Ackerbauer, a local musician, if he could assist in seeking grant money through the city for the citizens band. That group has had some financial difficulties. But Ackerbauer told the council Monday that the city can’t legally be involved in fundraising. But he said the citizens band can sponsor grants.

Ackerbauer said the Johnstown Citizens Band has agreed to work with him is seeking New York State Community Arts Grants through Saratoga Arts, which administers arts grants for the Saratoga-Fulton-Montgomery counties region. He said he sent a letter to Saratoga Arts on Sept. 7 and applied Oct. 12. He said he will meet with a representative of that group later this month. A final draft is due in November, with grant awards announced in late March.

Ackerbauer said area municipalities, including the city of Amsterdam, already have established summer concerts.

“I’ve been really impressed with the concerts they’ve put on lately,” Ackerbauer said.

He said his mid-summer concert series program is working with a projected budget of $3,000, which includes the $2,000 anticipated grant award. He said it also includes an additional $1,000 in private or corporate donations, which have already started to come in.

“We’re not going to announce the names of the specific performers until later,” Ackerbauer said.

Ackerbauer said there is a GoFundMe account started; or people can donate to: The Johnstown Citizens Band, 1 Abel Drive, Johnstown, NY 12095. At least one public fundraising even will take place over the winter, he said.

“This is wonderful,” said Councilman-at-Large Craig Talarico.

Third Ward Councilwoman Helen Martin said she was “grateful” for Ackerbauer’s interest in the local arts.

“You took this ball and ran with it,” she said.

Questions on the project can be directed to Ackerbauer at (518) 210-6181; or billackerbauer@gmail.com.

Ackerbauer added, “This is something I’ve wanted to see happen in Johnstown for a long time.”

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

COMMENTS