continued Free summer concerts at The Crossings have become a huge hit but they didn’t even exist until about five years ago when Joe Vellano of Vellano Bros., Inc. felt like something was missing.
“That park is so great and it didn’t have any music. I’m also a musician and I thought it was a great venue to have summer concerts,” said Vellano. “It’s such a beautiful venue, not to have concerts there would be criminal.”
The town had little money to spare so Vellano started providing all the financial support needed to pull off the Thursday night concerts. He does everything from carefully booking the artists to hitting the stage.
“They’ve been a pretty big hit with the locals. It’s a nice thing to do on Thursday evenings,” said Vellano. “I try to freshen up a couple acts every year and I try to go across the board musically.”
One of his shining acts is Holly McCormack, an opera singer and Colonie native. His own band The Pipe Kings — a play on the family pipe business that’s been in the town for generations — will again offer classic rock and a string quartet may appeal to residents of Beltrone Center who like to walk over.
“A lot of elderly walk over so I have to have something to appeal to that demographic,” said Vellano.
One of the most popular nights features local jazz musician Keith Pray. Vellano said the saxophone player is “a local treasure” and July 21 will mark his fourth year as a performer.
“Performing outdoors is a totally different experience. There is no room to contain the sound so it can be a challenge to find your normal sound comfortably. That being said, it is so nice to be in the fresh air and everyone is so relaxed,” said Pray.