July 24, 2016
CAROGA -It all started one summer when cellist Kyle Price of Ohio asked his grandma, Joyce Barrett, if she would house him and his musician friends for their upcoming concert.
From these small beginnings, the Caroga Lake Music Festival has grown and is becoming increasingly well-known, drawing 200 to 400 people at its many concerts and bringing in performance artists from the Northeast, as well as other states and countries.
Caroga Arts Collective Inc., which runs the festival, has gotten a big boost this year with the donation of 10.5 acres from brothers Bruce and Richard Veghte, 50-year summer residents of Canada Lake.
The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff
Top, the carriage house on the 10.5 acres of the former Schine property in Caroga donated to the Caroga Arts Collective by brothers Bruce and Richard Veghte of Canada Lake.
The brothers some time ago bought 220 acres of Schine family property, called “Myhil” after owners Myer and Hildegard Schine, because the Veghtes wanted waterfront property next to theirs. The Schines were known for owning the Schine Building in Gloversville, as well as theaters around the country.
The Veghtes demolished the decaying main structures on the land, just northeast of the intersection of Route 29A and County Highway 112, which were a home, theater and pool. Remaining is a tennis court and a carriage house with chauffeur’s quarters upstairs. All that is left of the main structures are a circular area of dirt, concrete and a wooden fence.
“The festival has had a fantastic fours years of growth,” said Bruce Veghte, who is also treasurer of the collective. “It was so impressive.”
“My brother and I decided to give them a home. We’re very excited about the future of the Caroga Lake Music Festival.”
The Veghtes are natives of Gloversville and graduates of Gloversville High School.
The free festival is running from July 18 through Aug. 14 this year, with its full schedule at carogalakemusicfestival.org.
Price, founder and artistic director, said plans for fundraising will first include cleanup and landscaping the heavily wooded property and then converting the carriage house to office and rehearsal space and using the tennis court for concerts, as it was Saturday with a classical quartet.
The larger vision is to build cabins “to create a year-round interdisciplinary artistic community” including such creative work as writing, visual arts, cooking and dance and, in some cases, blending art forms, he said. Price believes the festival community will be an economic, cultural and educational boon to the area.
Rick Ruby of Ruby & Quiri furniture store in Johnstown is president of the collective’s board and heavily involved in cleaning up the property.
The concerts include a lot of string instruments and piano and have a mix of music from classical to jazz and bluegrass. It has concerts in Caroga, Canajoharie, Gloversville. Johnstown, Mayfield and locales in the Capital Region and well beyond. Some 45 musicians and vocalists are performing this summer.
Questions about the festival and project can be directed to Price at firstname.lastname@example.org.