WKC Community Spotlights

Pam West-Finkle is the Director of the Andes Public Library, the Founding Director of The Community Music Network, Inc., and a WKC family programming favorite.

“I grew up on a farm in Ohio with an old church very much like The WKC adjoining our farmland, so I spent a great deal of time hanging out in the cemetery reading under the trees. Because so much of my musical development happened while I was in church, it’s very comforting for me to be in that setting. For me, performing music and going to see other people performing music is a sacred thing and I absolutely love that there is this beautiful arts venue nestled betwixt the mountains and cow pastures only a short drive from my home. Since my husband and I moved to Betty Brook Road in 2010, I’ve been hired to do some children’s concerts and in 2019, I was a featured artist in the Songbird Sessions series. I was also asked to bring my instrument petting zoo to the West Kortright Fair, which was a great success! At that event, Marguerite Uhlmann-Bower had her Music with the Plants table just a few spots down from mine, so I managed to break away for a few minutes to jam with her plants. The plants and I had several wonderful musical conversations. I also love attending world music concerts at The Centre, like Sona Jobarteh, the female Kora player from Africa that came a few years ago.”

Favorite local beverage: Raw milk at Byebrook Farm
Favorite local restaurant: Back when we could feel comfortable going out to eat, my husband and I usually went to the B Side Ballroom & Supper Club in Oneonta. I have severe celiac disease and everything gluten-free on their menu is designated GF, not to mention the food is fabulous and you can often catch a great concert.
Currently on heavy playlist rotation: My friend Chris Frohring and his psychedelic art-rock band Bedwhistle in Cleveland, Ohio. He is a prolific songwriter, multi-instrumentalist & producer no one has ever heard of because he wants it that way, so I get to be one of his few dedicated fans. He recently had about 25 albums pressed containing hundreds of mastered demos he never released, so I am systematically listening to every single one–some of them more than once.
Favorite smell: Lilacs
Favorite film: It will always be Star Wars IV – A New Hope
Favorite book: There are so many! I recently thoroughly enjoyed “The Library Book” by Susan Orlean…I cried when it ended because I was so sad it was over. I also have a large personal collection of metaphysical books–many written by Alice Bailey of the Theosophical Society.
Favorite local walk: I like the rail trails because I’m a flatlander at heart.
Idea of perfect happiness: Dancing & singing on a beach near the ocean with old & young around a bonfire 
Most prized belongings: My children and grandchildren…as far as musical instruments go…my silver flute and old bassoon.
Greatest extravagance: My trip to Austria, England, and Holland in 2004.
Greatest passions: music, reading, writing, gardening, and organizing books.
Favorite local organizations: The Andes Public LibraryWest Kortright Centre, and the O’Connor Foundation.
“Face piles
Of trials
With smiles
It riles them to believe
That you perceive
The web they weave
And keep on thinking free”
—The Moody Blues

You can find information about Pam’s own music for children and adults here and by searching “Angel Pam West” online.

Tell us more about The Community Music Network, Inc.!
“The Community Music Network, Inc. received 501c3 nonprofit status in 2020. Of course, the pandemic has put a huge damper on our in-person classes and community music programs, but we have tried to adapt to holding early childhood music and movement classes on Zoom and Facebook Live. We have written some grants to local foundations to be able to create a subscription-based online concert series for nursing homes and assisted living centers in the area; an ipod Music and Memory project at The Pavillion Senior Living Center in Stamford, New York; preschool music programs at local Head Starts; and the resurrection of the monthly open mic nights at Tim Touhey’s Art Gallery in Stamford (Tim was a local artist who passed away in November 2019).

Once the pandemic is over, we hope to secure a more permanent community music facility where parent/child classes and after school/summer programs are held, along with a rehearsal/performance space, practice rooms, a video and audio production studio, and possibly a music consignment store/instrument donation center. Meanwhile, we will continue to bring mobile programs to various locations in the region as well as create online content. Our new website will feature a locator database where we hope to start connecting many of the community music providers across America because we believe in the power of music to transform and enhance people’s lives. The concept of Community Music is well established in other countries, but there is no organized movement in the United States. We hope to fill that role.”
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Thanks very much to the Oneonta Farmer’s Market for many years of support as a WKC playbill advertiser, as well as for being a vital community hub for farmers and shoppers!

It’s a market on Market Street this winter(!)—every Saturday thru April, 9am-noon, Foothills Performing Arts & Civic Center hosts vendors in its spacious atrium. Shop local honey, maple syrup, apples, vegetables, meat, eggs, live plants, baked goods, & more from ARK Floral, Berry Brook FarmLord and Lady FarmMill Hollow MapleMiddlefield Orchard, Mulligan Creek AcresTauzel Farms, & 221 Bakery

📷 captures only part of this welcoming sign, painted on a brick building on Main St. as you enter Oneonta, designed by Blue Farm Graphic Design, painted by Cynthia Marsh.

Rod Sauquillo, radiating joy & kindness everywhere he goes…

“In Spring of 2012, on the WKC’s delightfully quirky, inventive stage, I played Aunt Spiker in James and the Giant Peach. In the years that followed, The WKC became a vital place for art and culture for me in so many forms. I’ve enjoyed volunteering at concerts & events and excitedly look forward to the Garden Tour & the Gala each year. Many of my friends were made through the WKC. When describing the WKC, I liken it to Wolf Trap in Northern Virginia.
Our home holds artwork from various shows: an exquisite cabinet by Michael Milton, a photo by my dear friend, Gerry Gomez-Pearlberg, a felted scarf by Bobbi Goldman, many treasures from the silent auction and rummage sale—from kitchen items to unique clothing. I sorely miss the music, arts, and especially my friends at The WKC.”

As the newly appointed Program Manager at the Stamford Library, Rod and the new Library Director, Erika Eklund, hope to find ways to partner with local groups to promote the arts in the Stamford area.

Shout out to Rod’s other favorite local businesses and organizations: Stamford Village Improvement AssociationSolinsky’s – Stamford Smokehouse LLC, Big Lug Bicycle OutfitterRailroad Ave Supply Company., Inc.It’s 5 o’clock SomewhereStamford Volunteer Fire Department, Kiddie Corner Preschool, The Bull & GarlandMill Pond Inn, Ming MoonT.P.’s CafeStewart’s ShopsCreative Corner BooksHillhaven FarmsStamford Farmers Cooperative, with special thanks to the hard-working folks at Tops Friendly Markets

We caught up with painter Lisbeth Firmin, our Marketing Director from 2009-2015. In 2015, she left The WKC to pursue her art career, which has been very successful(!) Her long-time dealer sells her new work, and she teaches all over the country.
Since leaving her day job here, Beth has stayed connected by attending events, donating artwork to our annual benefit art auction, and teaching plein air painting workshops (hopefully again this summer!)

“I moved upstate from NYC in 2000 and was a full-time painter. I went to a couple of concerts at The WKC with friends, but it was really not on my radar. Then in 2008, I taught a plein air class there in the summer. I called about some issue in the fall and Martha seemed overwhelmed, her assistant had just quit. I had some marketing experience and asked if she needed some help. So I became an employee in 2009. I was really involved in almost everything. I learned a lot and grew to love the place, along with the hundreds of other members. The WKC is really a special place.”

Favorite local restaurant: The Mountain Brook Inn in Bovina—Gary Simmons does a Saturday feast every week. (We are doing take-out these days.)
Currently on heavy rotation in my painting studio: Lizzo, Brittany Howard, and Macy Gray
Favorite film: Black Orpheus
Favorite book: Middlemarch
Favorite local walk: The Nature Conservancy outside of Hamden
Greatest passion: My painting
Other favorite local businesses & organizations: Home Goods of Margaretville, the MARK Project in Roxbury, Roxbury Arts Group

Aree Bray, folks, holding down the WKC lighting booth since 1993(!!)

We’ve really missed seeing Aree this past year and look forward to working with him to present some outdoor shows later in 2021. In the meantime, he’s been busy with Raven Reclaiming, Kaaterskill House Lodging, Wooden Nickel Redemption Center, Belvedere Country Inn, & Stamford NY Business Alliance, among others. It’s been fun to follow along with his #603pic series on Instagram and feel nostalgic reading his answers to our questions
Favorite local walk: From my truck to The WKC…warm summer day, amazing musicians doing a soundcheck. Say hi and walk past my friends setting up the ticket booth, walk between the last two rows of pews; stop to listen. Say hi to Alex on the soundboard, walk up an aisle and across the front of the stage; look up at the lights and consider what needs to be done with the lights and what I can get away with not doing. Walk back down the aisle and out the back door, light my pipe and wait for soundcheck to end.
Favorite WKC performance thus far: Tough call, I have been super lucky in that I’ve been able to see just about every show in the last 27 seasons. Sloan Wainwright’s show early in my tenure was my favorite, however— it was amazing in every way. A close second was the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players. The musical near-perfection of so many jazz, blues, and classical geniuses on our stage is staggering. (I must also admit that I greatly enjoyed the handful of truly awful shows because I have gotten so much mileage out of them story-wise!)
Favorite local beverage: Muddy River Farm Brewery!!!
Currently on heavy rotation on your playlist: Beastie Boys
Local ingredient that is always in your fridge: Solinsky’s – Stamford Smokehouse LLC
Favorite film: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Greatest extravagance: the really good cheese at the grocery store
Coffee or tea: coffee
If you had more time: I’d actually finish a project. One project, Any project…
Most treasured possession: my 1951 Chevy 3100 Boyertown Panel Van
Your hero or heroine of fiction: Owen Meany

“So lucky we have such a fantastic entertainment venue only a mile from our house!”
WKC neighbor Chris Altmann has been involved with The Centre since 2006. A graphic artist by trade, he designs the inside of our printed playbill & designed the WKC sign! Chris and his wife, Kim, have also graciously rented out their guest cottage to the music director of our Young People’s Theater Arts Workshops/Shakespeare in the Valley program for the past several years. Both Chris and Kim are avid metal detectorists and a part of Delaware County Diggers. Chris is the author & designer of “From The Ground Up,” a book about metal detecting. Great for detectorists, historians, and anyone who enjoys an easy, humorous read! Book & calendar available here.

Greatest passion: Metal detecting in the US & England
Favorite WKC concerts: Nellie McKay, The Mammals, and the outdoor Gala concerts.
Favorite local food/beverage: Cooperstown Distillery products
Favorite local restaurants: The Ponds Restaurant and The Farmhouse
Currently on heavy playlist rotation: Aaron Copland, Led Zeppelin, Tori Amos
Favorite Film: To Kill a Mockingbird
Favorite walk: To The WKC, then around the “loop,” and back home
Other favorite local businesses and organizations: Birdsong Farm Community Garden, & Bakers Grimm

(Graphic arts inquiries can be sent to Chris via lunalakedesign@gmail.com)