Music and moonlight at Mabee Farm

A noisy night at Mabee Farm led to a eureka moment.

The historic site in Rotterdam Junction often holds concerts, but this night was different. Two groups were performing instead of the standard one, and it was hard to hear either.

So, Mabee Farm officials decided to close the doors on the big barn where one band was playing. It was the first time anyone could remember the doors being closed while a band was inside.

We said, 'Holy cow,' said Dale Wade-Keszey, a Mabee Farm committee member. "We realized what a room we really had there. You can't produce those kinds of acoustics."

Recognizing new potential for the farm as a music venue, Mabee officials decided to start a concert series. Wade-Keszey is the coordinator of the Howling at the Moon series, which kicks off this year on Thursday, May 27. He's also performing on opening night, singing and playing harmonica with the Riverview Ramblers. The concert starts at 7 p.m.

Outside, there will be a full moon, the inspiration for the concert series' name. Wade-Keszey said holding the concerts when there is a full moon allows people several chances to attend rather than pinning the concerts to a certain day of the week.

"It spreads it out a little bit," he said.

In addition to opening night, this year's concerts are set for Saturday, June 26; Monday, July 26; and Friday, Aug. 27. Wade-Keszey said each show has two distinct parts. There are two or three local singer-songwriters who perform for the first hour, largely to gain exposure. The second hour showcases more established groups, with Fairview Avenue Bluegrass playing in June and Three Quarter North performing in July.

Performers get a chance not only to take advantage of the barn's acoustics, but to play for an appreciative audience.

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