Grenadilla members are Debbie Lan (vocals, pennywhistle, piano, arrangements), Jodi Palinkas, Leah Glennon (vocals, pennywhistle), Annmarie Callan, Brittany Sacash, Natasha Williams (all on vocals), Ken McGloin (bass and guitar) and Dean Sharp (drums and percussion). The band is the creation of Debbie Lan, longtime composer/lyricist of captivating songs for all ages and pianist, percussionist and teacher at High Meadow. Lan imbues the repertoire with the spice and tang of kwela, a music indigenous to Cape Town in South Africa, her homeland.
After intermission, the Fleas will get things moving with a dance party for all ages. With four critically acclaimed CDs to their credit, Dog on Fleas revels in diverse sounds and styles of music, sucking up fans like a tornado and whirling them around in a frenzy of fun. The band has been performing and recording intelligent, gutsy music for kids and adults since 1999, and has no plans to stop. The latest CD, When I Get Little, is chock-full of 13 originals and two traditional tunes, with nary a dull minute. Members of the band have played and recorded with the likes of P-Funk All-Stars, Taj Mahal, Jon Hendricks and Annie Ross, Elizabeth Mitchell, Varnaline, the Felice Brothers, Hubert Sumlin, Johnny Johnson, Sonando and the Harmonica Virgins.
Also at High Meadow School, on Friday, March 26 at 8 p.m., John Medeski (of Medeski, Martin and Wood) will perform a solo piano concert for an intimate crowd: a rare treat! Medeski is a prolific musical artist whose talents include jazz, experimental music, rock and pop. He has played solo concerts at the Chicago Symphony Center, New York's Symphony Space, the Stone and other venues around the world.
Now serving 125 students, the school has a strong emphasis on the arts, and this concert series focuses on how invested it is in using the arts as teaching tools. Michelle Hughes, head of High Meadow School, says, "At High Meadow School the arts are not considered extras; they are integral to all of the learning pursuits that take place here, from the toddler program up through eighth grade. We have a core arts program that includes drama, dance, art and music. As a result of a prestigious grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, we also feature artists-in-residence in our academic classes to deepen the students' learning. During the summer months we offer 'Summer on the Meadow,' a dynamic program featuring music, dance, drama and art for children 5 to 18."
Many of the performers in the concert series are parents of students at the school: Medeski is a parent of an upper-schooler, all the women in Grenadilla are parents and Dean Jones and John Hughes of Dog on Fleas are also parents. High Meadow is a school that fosters independence and creative expression, so it's no surprise that it tends to draw families who are creative and independently minded as well. That they are also willing to give of their time and talents to support the school is a bonus.
High Meadow Performing Arts Center is located at 3643 Main Street in Stone Ridge. General admission for the Sunday afternoon concert and dance party is $8. General admission for the Medeski concert is $30, with a "Greet and Eat" package beginning at 7 p.m. for $75, which includes a pre-show reception, a chance to meet the artist and preferred seating. Funds raised from these concerts help High Meadow to continue being an accessible and diverse institution.