Arts & Entertainment

Young Musicians Showcase Talent at 'Benfest' in North Salem

Members of the Westchester Bluegrass Club sell merchandise, tickets and accept donations for the Putnam Humane Society. Credits: Photo by Gabrielle Bilik
Caroline Doctorow of Caroline Doctorow and the Streamrollers Credits: Photo by Gabrielle Bilik
Cheers! Friends toast to the beautiful weather and great music. Credits: Photo by Gabrielle Bilik
Korey Brodsky giving a guitar lesson. Credits: Photo by Gabrielle Bilik

"Benfest," a bluegrass concert, was held at the Lake Purdys Clubhouse on Sept. 24 to honor Ben Freed, a local banjoist and retired optometrist who died in 2015 due to complications from Parkinson’s disease.

Event organizer Mike Burns said he was pleased with the turnout at this year's event.

Burns, a member of the Sleepy Hollow String Band, played with Freed several times over the years as part of the North Country Bluegrass Band.

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Banjo, mandolin, guitar and songwriting workshops were held this year as well, and a volunteer-driven shuttle transported guests to and from the parking lot of the Purdy’s train station to avoid crowding around the lake.

This year’s line-up included Tony Trischka and Michael Daves, the Feinberg Brothers, Too Blue G Rockwell and the Still River Ramblers, Big AppleAchia, Caroline Doctorow and the Steamrollers and the Sleepy Hollow String Band.

G Rockwell, 15, has been playing banjo since the age of 9 and was handed his first guitar at 8. He hit the stage this year with the Still River Ramblers. 

"When he first started showing up, we were amazed by what he could do at such a young age," said Rick Brodsky, the event's emcee.

Giving guitar lessons was Korey Brodsky, Rick's son, an 18-year-old Berklee student, who is also in a bluegrass band, the Korey Brodsky Band.

Rick is also a musician and a member of the band and said the future of bluegrass looks bright with these young musicians popping up on the scene. He said he's watched both his son and G Rockwell develop their talents over the years and is continually impressed by them. 
 

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