The Making of Tribute to the Troops
It was a warm day in September….
“I have this idea for Memorial Day Weekend… we invite Peggy Lynn to the Adirondacks and have her perform a concert. Interspersed with her music, which will be selected based on the theme Tribute to the Troops, we will cut to interviews of local veteran’s who have served and live in the Adirondacks.”
“Okay Stephen, keep talking and I’ll keep downloading the PDF permit applications from the DEC website…”
“And we will visit towns around The Adirondack Park and showcase Peggy Lynn’s concert with the mini-doc featuring interviews of the vets.”
When one agrees to take on a task partnering with the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts, one does not take that responsibility lightly. The Art Center teamed up with the Indian Lake Theater, The Arts Council of Tupper Lake and the Town of Long Lake along with representatives from the VFW and legion posts around the area.
Eight months later…
Camera in hand, on loan from the Redhouse Theater in Syracuse, NY and a drive to capture the stories, I load up the van with two tripods, a pen, clipboard, a charged battery, and an overpriced tank of gas, I venture south to Indian Lake.
Got to attend my first American Legion meeting, and if you are ever invited to go to one, go, it’s tradition and the spirit of America, in full force. Embracing my love of my country and my freedom, I join the vet’s to say the Pledge of Allegiance. It’s a moment of solitude and peace and humbling to stand with these servicemen. We all know what we are feeling is bigger than we are. Rejuvenated with our mission to get the job done, we give our “pitch” about the project and they invite us back the next day at 1pm for our first round of interviews.
Prepped with questions and background culled from http://americanlegionindianlakeny.webs.com/ Ken Cannan, Bill Stewart and Frank Casazza step up to open up in our first round of interviews. These gentleman of the Indian Lake Post were gracious enough to allow myself, along with fearless Erin Barton, Managing Director of the Arts Center, to interview them and start collecting stories about their time in the service.
Next, Beth Johnson, of the Tupper Lake Arts Council reaches out.
“I’ve got interviews lined up.”
“Terrific!” as I pay the bill for the lawnmower and write a note for the boys to mow Mt. Sabattis.
“We’re going to need a couple of days.”
“A couple of days?” I add Medical Center, Beach and Ball field to the mowing and weeding list.
“We have 12 interviews booked and we can interview them at the VFW in Tupper Lake.“
“They’ll let us in there?”
“Of course, next Tuesday, 11am”
Two days of incredible personal vignettes shared by vets in Tupper Lake, NY from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, The Cold War and Iraq. Ten interviews in all. Russell Koch, Sonny Savard, Ed Ciccolella, Peggy Eisele, Rocco D’Onofrio, Jim Kucipeck, George Harriman, Rick Wilburn, Mark Moeller, and Bob Fletcher all volunteered and opened up about their days of service.
Somehow, in Long Lake, interspersed with coordination of flower planting, snowmobile grant calculations, and life I manage to catch Mike Arsenault, Tim Touchette, John Rayome Jr., John Hosley, Harold Austin and Tom Bissell and gather their impressions for this project.
Over 12 hours of tape. Don’t worry, we won’t be showing the entire 12 hours!
So many stories, and so many memories. The collection has been edited together and will be shared in concert with Peggy Lynn coming to you in Indian Lake, Tupper Lake and Long Lake.
Peggy Lynn, singer, songwriter and arts educator brings an infectious enthusiasm to all her endeavors. With a sultry, yet powerful alto voice, Peggy gives a clear message of the passion underlying her songs. While her style and range give meaning and feeling to all her work, her most powerful message, her passion, is for the contributions and burdens of women. Peggy ranges from folksy to blues with equal ease, alone or harmonizing with others.
Long Lake hosts this concert tribute on Memorial Day, May 30th at 4pm at the Long Lake Town Hall. Tickets for Art Center members are $10 and vets are free. Don’t miss history in the making.
For more information about the concerts in Indian Lake and Tupper Lake check out the www.adirondackarts.org. If you aren’t a member, please join! Arts and life are alive in the Adirondacks!
For lodging, dining and general information about Long Lake check out over 100 web pages at http://www.mylonglake.com