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Huntington Summer Arts Festival

It’s back! The Huntington Arts Council has announced the return of the Huntington Summer Arts Festival from June 25 to Aug. 8. While most events will be held on the Rainbow Chapin Stage in Heckscher Park in Huntington this year, all performances will be streamed via facebook.com/HuntingtonArts/live/ and at www.huntingtonarts.org except where noted.

“We are thrilled to bring a full schedule of both live in person, and streamed performances back to the Huntington Summer Arts Festival!” said Marc Courtade, Executive Director Huntington Arts Council. 

“There is a diverse mix of music, theatre and dance, making up this year’s program. Included are new and exciting acts like the Urban Bush Women, as well as mainstays such as the Huntington Community Band.” 

The Festival is always a celebratory event for the community, but even more so this year. The Huntington Arts Council is partnering with the Heckscher Museum and featuring a new visual arts component with an event called Art Happenings. 

“Each Thursday in July a different artist will join us in the park to create,” explained Courtade. Artists will include Kevin McEvoy, on July 1; Diego Garcia on July 8; Patty Eljaiek on July 15; Marie Saint-Cyr on July 22; and Jan Guarino on July 29. “We are welcoming everyone to this event to create with the artist or simply enjoy viewing the process. There will also be a great display of some of our artist member’s work on banners surrounding the stage grounds.”

“The Huntington Arts Council is so fortunate to be able to provide these cultural experiences to the community. They are at the heart of our mission. We are grateful to the Town of Huntington, Suffolk County, New York Council on the Arts for their ongoing support as well as all of our sponsors including presenting sponsor Canon. We are looking forward to seeing old friends and new!” said Courtade.

The performance schedule from June 25 to July 4 is as follows:

Friday, June 25 — Chapin Family (Tom Chapin, Jen Chapin & Band, The Chapin Sisters) at 8 p.m.

Saturday, June 26 — “Forever Plaid” musical by  Plaza Theatrical Productions at 8 p.m.

Sunday, June 27 — North Shore Pops Concert Band at 8 p.m.

Tuesday, June 29 — Family Show: Mil’s Trills & Uncle Jumbo’s Extravaganza streamed only at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, June 30 — Huntington Community Band at 8 p.m.

Thursday, July 1

Art Happenings — featuring artist Kevin McEvoy from 4 to 7 p.m. 

Huntington Choral Society at 8 p.m.

Friday, July 2 — LADAMA at 8 p.m.

Saturday, July 3 — Andrea McArdle &Donna McKechnie live only at 8 p.m.

Sunday, July 4 — Family Show: Gumbo, Grits & Gravy at 7 p.m.  

The Huntington Summer Arts Festival will be held at Heckscher Park, 2 Prime Ave., Huntington. Bring seating. For performances through Aug. 8, visit  www.huntingtonarts.org.

Skerryvore will perform on the Chapin Rainbow Stage on Aug. 10. Photo by Rachel Keenan

By Sabrina Petroski

Art and music collide this summer at the 53rd annual Huntington Summer Arts Festival, where over 40 musicians, dance companies and theater companies will present performances on the Chapin Rainbow Stage in Heckscher Park over the span of seven weeks. The festival, which opened on June 26 and runs through Aug. 12, will be held every day of the week except Mondays, rain or shine.

According to John Chicherio, the performing arts director for the Huntington Arts Council (HAC), there will be “a whole new lineup of visiting or touring performing artists and ensembles who have never performed in Huntington before including Yael Deckelbaum, Las Cafetera and Skerryvore, other renowned artists returning with their latest projects, plus all new programs from superbly talented local and regional groups.”

Every Tuesday at 7 p.m. there will be performances geared toward children, including “Aladdin” performed by the BroadHollow Theatre Company, “The Pirate School” by David Engel and “Mammoth Follies,” a puppet show by the Hudson Vagabond Puppets. 

Returning acts include the Huntington Community Band, the Huntington Men’s Chorus, the Nassau Pops Symphony Orchestra, The Long Island Dance Consortium, Sol y Sombra Spanish Dance Company for lovers of dance and BroadHollow Theatre Company. 

“It says a lot about a community that supports the arts and we celebrate and cherish the Huntington Arts Council as a vibrant and essential part of what makes the Huntington community such a great place to live,” said Thomas Gellert, director of the Huntington Community Band, in a recent email. “As sure as there is summer, there is the Huntington Summer Arts Festival! I am proud to direct the 73-year-old Huntington Community Band and we thank the town and Arts Council for their unwavering support of the arts.”

Chicherio agreed, adding, “The entire festival is unlike any other on Long Island in terms of scope, variety and the high level of artistic quality. And you cannot beat the price — all concerts are free admission, open to all!”

According to the director, there will be multiple themed concerts this year including Huntington Jazz Week from July 17 to 22, Folk Americana Weekend from July 27 to 28 and the 13th Annual Huntington Folk Festival on July 29.

Festivalgoers are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets for seating as well as a picnic dinner. The HAC will sell sodas, water and ice cream in addition to T-shirts and novelty items, plus artists’ merchandise when available, and there will also be a snack vehicle located near the restroom building on most nights as contracted by the Town of Huntington. 

For the full calendar of events,  visit ​www.huntingtonarts.org. For further information, please call 631-271-8423.

Photo courtesy of HAC The festival will showcase L.I. Dance Consortium’s Kaleidoscope of Dance 2 on Aug. 9. Photo courtesy of HAC

By Kevin Redding

For 52 continuous summers, Huntington has been a gathering place for lovers of live music, theater and dance, all on full display for multiple weeks during the town’s jam-packed and family-friendly performing arts extravaganza, the Huntington Summer Festival. This year the series of free concerts is bigger and better than ever, bringing touring and local artists of every variety to the Chapin Rainbow Stage in Heckscher Park six nights a week now through Aug. 13.

As the festival has grown since the Huntington Arts Council first started it in 1965, so has its roster of performers, which changes from year to year in order to bring new experiences to returning concertgoers.

New acts include the Adam Ezra Group, an up-and-coming, Boston-based folk band; New York Voices, an internationally renowned vocal ensemble; Miles to Dayton, an Americana-and-folk group from Port Jefferson; and Jay Armstrong Johnson, a Broadway and television performer, to name just a few. Local performing groups like the Huntington Community Band, the Huntington Men’s Chorus and the Long Island Dance Consortium will also have their chance to shine on stage. Plaza Theatrical Productions, a Lynbrook-based company, will put on several musicals throughout the summer including “My Fair Lady.”

The Huntington Community Band will present concerts on July 12, 19 and 26. Image from HAC

One of many brand new programs this year will be the Huntington Jazz Week, beginning July 18, which will feature big band jazz ensemble concerts put on by internationally recognized musicians, including harpist Brandee Younger and saxophonist Richie Cannata, of Billy Joel’s band, and nights dedicated to the music of composer George Gershwin and jazz legend John Coltrane.

The following weekend, on which the 12th Huntington Folk Festival takes place, will feature unplugged showcases with more than 40 different folk artists — everyone from Sarah Lee Guthrie, granddaughter of Woody and daughter of Arlo, to the Sweet Remains.

Every Tuesday evening is “family night” which offers kids music and live theater such as “Cinderella” on July 25 with fun-filled craft projects before the shows.

“It’s such a positive thing for the residents of the town as well as Long Island as a whole,” said Huntington Arts Council Performing Arts Director John Chicherio, who has served his position for eight summers and has been organizing concerts since the 1970s.

“Roughly 40 to 45 percent of the performances are really quality local group [and] roughly 55 percent of the program is made up of touring artists from all over the world and United States. These are all artists performing their own work and they’re new to Long Island in most cases. And the merchants enjoy it because we’re bringing people into the town and they go have dinner before or after the concerts. [The festival’s] just grown that way”.

He continued, “When the first Huntington [Summer Festival] was put together [in 1965], it didn’t have this many concerts, [but] because more groups wanted to perform over time, it grew and we’ve been building it into what it is today.”

Chicherio, who spearheaded the festival’s new, jazz-oriented week, said he’s excited for what’s in store for those who attend this summer. “It’s a very eclectic variety of performances in both the types of music and performing arts genres,” he said. “Plus, we’re doing workshops and master classes with a couple of groups. The whole week of jazz, one of the important things I’ve been trying to do, is [going to be] a very special week,” highlighting the Coltrane day, July 22, especially. “That evening I’ve got a terrific lineup with some very special guests, [like] the Kenny Garrett Quintet.”

According to Chicherio, the shows will go on rain or shine, unless “there’s lightning and thunder that can endanger the audience,” and attendees should feel free to bring lawn chairs and blankets, which they can place on the hill overlooking the stage for a great view.

Concession stands and vendors selling refreshments, such as ice cream and soda, will be set up inside the concert area and any outside food is welcomed. All shows begin at 8:30 p.m. with the exception of the children’s shows on Tuesdays, which begin at 7:30 p.m.

To see the full schedule of events, visit www.HuntingtonArts.org.

The Rad Trads opened the 50th Huntington Summer Arts Festival with a bang on Friday, June 26. This New York-based ensemble energetically played their diverse and brassy repertoire ranging from New Orleans second line to Chicago and delta blues, R&B and rock ’n’ roll. For their finale, they moved off the stage, playing among a clapping and happy audience.