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The Hudson Valley Folk Guild will present a concert of music entitled “Beyond a Simple Folk Song”, Sunday, September 24, 2pm, at the Cunneen-Hackett Arts Center, 12 Vassar Street in Poughkeepsie, NY.

“Beyond a Simple Folk Song” was conceived to be an annual concert of newly created or arranged music that challenges acoustic singer/songwriters to venture out of their comfort zone and stretch their craft beyond the constructs of a song. The concept for “Beyond a Simple Folk Song” emerged in 2009, the 30th anniversary year of the Hudson Valley Folk Guild and also the quadricentennial year of Henry Hudson’s first voyage up the river that bears his name. In honor of these two events, Kevin Becker composed, and conducted “The Hudson River Folk Symphony” for chamber orchestra at two concerts in October of that year at the Cunneen-Hackett Arts Center. Since October of 2009, the series has presented and premiered a wide variety of very creative music. Some examples include dramatic narrations with song such as Fran Palmiere’s “Abraham Lincoln, The Early Years” and Herb Haufrecht’s cantata “We’ve Come from the City” which dealt with the 1940’s controversy of the Ashokan Reservoir providing water to New York City. Other new music or arrangements featured over the past eight years have included Helen Avakian’s performance of Rhapsody in Blue for solo guitar, the Piedmont Blues, a plethora of song cycles, and chamber pieces for a variety of ensembles.


The concert this year will feature four innovative and creative acts. The highlights include the virtuosic duet, Magpie, as the headline act. Magpie will present a song cycle from their latest CD recording “When We Stand Together” – songs of the IWW, Joe Hill, and the labor movement, then and now. Also on the program will be singer/songwriter Jim Pospisil who will be presenting an original song cycle that draws from motifs and tunes that pervade pop culture, as well as the Piedmont Bluz Acoustic Duo who will apply the “folk process” to blues repertoire written by Blind Willie McTell, Elizabeth Cotton and the Carter family by changing and extending both lyrics and music.  Lastly, will be the reading of a new 1 act musical play depicting the true story of two refugees who fled from South Vietnam after the fall of Saigon entitled “Escape to Freedom.” The play was written by Maryellen Joncyk with music written by Hyde Park composer, Kevin Becker.

Magpie – Terry Leonino and Greg Artzner

Terry Leonino and Greg Artzner have brought their unique sound and remarkable versatility to audiences throughout the United States, featuring traditional and historic songs as well as contemporary and stirring original compositions.   With two strong voices in harmony and superb instrumental arrangements, their sound is powerful and moving.   Award-winning recording artists, singers, songwriters, musical historians, playwrights, actors and social activists, Terry and Greg are proud to be, as Pete Seeger said of them, “…more links in the chain,” dedicating their lives and music to leaving this world a better place.


Terry Leonino’s voice is a truly impressive instrument, not only because of its

natural power, but also because of her versatility. She is a gifted singer of jazz and blues, but is equally comfortable with the subtle beauty of traditional folk and contemporary songs. Terry is also an excellent player of the harmonica, mandolin, fretted dulcimer, and rhythm guitar.  Greg Artzner is an outstanding guitarist whose fingerstyle approach is the solid basis of Magpie’s sound.


Terry and Greg’s interests in various musical styles have led them to be eclectic in their repertoire. Magpie has always embraced a veritable musical rainbow, with impressive proficiency in each genre they touch. The power of their delivery has made Magpie well known for their performances of hard hitting topical songs.  Terry and Greg frequently raise their voices in support of the ongoing struggles for civil rights, freedom, justice, peace and the environment. Terry and Greg continue to write, sing, teach, perform and devote their voices to action for a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world.


The Piedmont Bluz Acoustic Duo – Valerie and Ben Turner are a husband and wife team dedicated to the preservation of the Country Blues and Piedmont styles.  Their mission is to help keep this rural, east coast tradition alive by educating audiences about this unique aspect of African American culture through musical entertainment. Much loved wherever they go, Valerie and Ben feel that “there are stories to tell, people to remember, and things that must be said” so, in addition to tickling your ears with delightful music, they weave a bit of history into the presentation of each song.


In addition to performing at domestic venues such as the American Folk Art Museum, Arts Westchester, Davis & Elkins College, Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation, Jalopy Theatre and Towne Crier Café, Piedmont Bluz has also performed in Monaghan, Berlin, Sea of Galilee, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Madrid.  The duo has been featured in numerous festivals including the Sugar Maple Festival, Harvest Time Blues Festival, Jacob’s Ladder Festival, Tel Aviv Blues Festival, Clearwater Revival, and Brooklyn Folk Festival to name a few.

Jim Pospisil – is a singer/ songwriter and multi-instrumentalist performing regularly throughout the Hudson Valley and surrounding areas. He is an uncommonly creative and articulate song writer and is an accomplished guitarist and exceptional harmonica player.  He has released several CDs in different musical genres, and is currently working on a new acoustic/ electric release, “Some Follow, Some Lead.”  He performs solo, as a sideman for other artists, and with the bands Bucket of Mud and The Feds. He produces electronic music under the name Feral Science.  Pospisil also contributed one of the songs, entitled “Different,” to the musical play, “Escape To Freedom,” which will premiere in this concert.

Kevin Becker – is a co-founder of the Hudson Valley Folk Guild which is in its 39th year of operation.  He is also a life-long student of music composition.  Kevin’s orchestral and chamber works have been played at the Kauffman Center and Greenwich Music House in NYC, Smith College, SUNY New Paltz, Cunneen-Hackett Arts Center and the Walden School.  Kevin writes music using an “integrative” style that sees all genres and techniques as tools to be used together.  He seeks to break down barriers between genres and ensemble types to create a musical environment where new and traditional compositional techniques can exist comfortably in the same musical composition. For this concert, Kevin has written the music to the one act play “Escape to Freedom” which will be read at the concert. The players for Kevin’s music will include a string quartet featuring Louis Rizzo on cello and the singers will include Carol Becker, John Becker, David “Doc” Howells,  John Martucci, Neil Okeson, Jim Pospisil and Brendan White.  The narrator for this reading will be Lu Anne Martucci.



About the column:

Arts Mid-Hudson has served up fresh arts and culture across the region for over 52 years. This biweekly series of columns showcases arts, artists’ work and arts events across the region presented with the support of Arts Mid-Hudson. For information about its services, events and grant opportunities visit, call 845-454-3222 or email [email protected].