Traditional Arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY) has announced the opening of its next major exhibition, Instrumental Stories, is set for February 17, 2018.
This exhibit, curated by TAUNY Director of Research and Programs Camilla Ammirati, features new and heirloom instruments made and/or used in Northern New York; the people who make and keep them; and how they connect people to their heritage, to living regional traditions, and to each other.
The community is invited to an opening reception for the exhibit at The TAUNY Center on Saturday, February 17 from 1 to 3 pm. The celebration will include music, light refreshments, and a make and take craft activity for kids. There will also be a special instrument presentation by luthier and custom inlay maker Dave Nichols who will be sharing some of his custom designed instruments and the stories behind their creation. Instrumental Stories will be on view at The TAUNY Center through October 27, 2018.
Instrumental Stories presents the results of a 2017 research project surveying different ways people keep music, craft, and other community traditions alive through making and keeping musical instruments. Over 200 instruments ― along with related objects and practices ―have been documented through conversations with dozens of makers and keepers from all around northern New York. Research focused in depth on several subjects, while also finding additional representative examples throughout the region. The collection on display will show through selected examples the skill and creativity of North Country instrument makers and the depth and variety of meanings that North Country people carry, through their instruments, over generations.
Geographically, the Instrumental Stories collection represents people and traditions ranging from throughout TAUNY’s 14-county North Country service region. It includes storied instruments showing the particularities of just one maker or ancestor as well as those that speak to broad trends in North Country religious, ethnic, and other community traditions. The display represents both past and present-day experience as well as looking forward to how such practices may continue into the next generation and beyond. The project sought to document instruments connecting to the region’s varied music traditions, as well as those that connect to non-musical North Country traditions through the ways they’re made and used.
Over the coming months, the exhibit will be accompanied by programs highlighting people, practices, and themes central to the research project and display.
The TAUNY Center is located at 53 Main Street, Downtown Canton. For more information, visit TAUNY’s website.
Photo: Family banjo uke with homemade tailpiece, courtesy of Dan Berggren.