Monday, November 17, 2014

Songs to Keep makes its big screen debut!

Singer Dan Berggren, producer Paul Larson, and Special Collections 
Librarian Debra Kimok with Festival Co-Organizer Melissa Hart
Festival Co-Organizer Melissa Hart and "Songs to Keep:
Treasures of an Adirondack Folk Collector" producer Paul Larson 

Songs to Keep:  Treasures of an Adirondack Folk Collector screened at the Strand Theatre as part of the Lake Champlain International Film Festival. Singer Dan Berggren, producer Paul Larson, and Special Collections Librarian Debra Kimok answered questions from the audience after the screening. Berggren also performed a song from the collection of Marjorie Lansing Porter, the subject of the documentary.

The Mountain Lake PBS documentary was preceded by the short film "Lucid" about a local band.  The complete program was titled "Local Voices I."

Songs to Keep:  Treasures of an Adirondack Folk Collector was awarded 2nd place in the "People's Choice" category at the Festival.    The first place prize went to Runway from Germany.

From Mark Friedman, Keeseville, New York: 

Hi, Paul -

It was wonderful viewing your documentary on a large screen at the Strand.  The sweep and immensity of the Adirondack  landscape came across vividly.  And this exquisite scenery is the stage upon which the folk music indigenous to our area was created.  Your interview with Pete Seeger reminded me of how many regional seeds of musical influences this icon of folk liberally took and spread world-wide.

While Adirondack ballads comprise only one part of Americana folk music,  they nonetheless represent an important piece of our collective culture.  Kudos for your insightful, story-telling detail of how Marjorie Lansing Porter was the central archivist - the keeper of the flame - of such a treasured piece of Americana.

From Glenn Estus, Essex, New York:  Recently I attended the first Lake Champlain International Film Festival at the newly renovated Strand Theatre in Plattsburgh, N.Y.  I was pleased to be invited to see Mountain Lake Public Broadcasting’s recent documentary Songs to Keep, about local historian Majorie Lansing Porter’s endeavor to save seldom heard folk songs from the Adirondacks of New York State.

I had seen the documentary on Public Television earlier in the year, but on a “small” screen television, i.e. 32 inches.  Looking forward to seeing the documentary on the newly installed large screen and projected by a new digital system, I was not disappointed.  The new projection system allowed the viewer to be immerse in the program from the very beginning. The opening scenes with aerial views of the Adirondacks were so lifelike that I for a moment I thought I was actually in the plane.   

The Strand’s new sound system coupled with the HD projection enhanced the on-screen performances of long lost Adirondack folk tunes.  If you couldn’t see a the performance live, the next best thing was the screening.

After Songs to Keep’s showing, the producer Paul Larson was invited to take questions from the audience of about 30 people.  He introduced Debra Kimok, the librarian at the Special Collections at Plattsburgh State where the Porter archives are stored and also Dan Berggren, one of the folk singers highlighted in the documentary.  Larson noted that his interview with the late noted folksinger Pete Seeger was the last interview that Seeger had given.

Over all, a very enjoyable time at the newly renovated Strand Theatre.

From Cathy Cook, posting on the Lake Champlain International Film Festival facebook page:  "Local Voices I" was awesome! Really enjoyed the past and present connection with local music with the short film featuring Lucid: "Ground on Up" and the wonderful Adirondack folk music feature film "Songs to Keep". Wonderful film festival!

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