June 10, 2011


St. Anthony’s showcases local music

PawsJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Members of Cortland High School’s a cappella group Dynamic Paws will be performing during the St. Anthony’s Festival. In the front row, left to right, are Margaret Hoeschele, Emma Cleary, Katie O’Neil, Demmarie Boreland, and Caitlin Troy. In the back, left to right, are Nick Alteri, Dan Moss, Jonathan Fleischman and Michael Barnes.

Living and Leisure Editor
Staff Reporter

CORTLAND — The musical roots of the St. Anthony’s Festival, which date back to the first event in 1905, will be featured at this year’s festival this weekend.
The first St. Anthony’s Day Procession, the predecessor to the current festival, began the tradition as a hired city band led the St. Anthony’s Society in a march down Main Street. It was followed by band concerts later in the day.
This year, festival organizers have assembled a lineup of musical entertainers who will perform inside and outside St. Anthony of Padua Church at 50 Pomeroy St. The two-day event Saturday and Sunday also features Italian food, displays of Italian heritage, religious observances and children’s games.
Christine Gregory, a social studies teacher at Cortland High School, is coordinating the entertainment inside the church, while local chiropractor Otto Janke is chairman of the outdoor entertainment. The two arranged the schedule so that no group plays at the same time as another.
The festival has had no problem finding local acts, and has even had people ask to participate over a year in advance, said organizers, who emphasized local talent as much as possible.
“They are really the best the community has to offer,” Gregory said. “We have these young girls coming from Syracuse, from Liverpool, (other youths) from Homer, from Cortland, from St. Mary’s. What an opportunity.”
“Cortland is a wellspring of musical talent, it is to this day and it has been for decades ... every generation — back to the Old Timers (Band),” Janke said.
The Old Timers Band originally started as the band for the annual Sunday morning processional, but morphed into the St. Anthony’s Band, and is now the Old Timers Band.
“It’s one of those things that people always look forward to hearing at the festival,” Janke said, adding that they always close out the music for the festival on Sunday night. “It’s a conglomeration of fantastic local musicians.”
The musical lineup includes several musical genres.
“It’s a representation of all the fantastic talent we have in the area,” Janke said. “We could probably bring in a big act every now and then ... but we showcase the talent that Cortland has.”
There will also be vocal ensembles to sing indoors between bands, including the St. Mary’s Stars Chorus, the Cortland High School Madrigal Singers, the Italian Choraliers from Liverpool and Homer High School’s Blue Notes, Ruby Rhythms and Men in Black.
“I’m always amazed at the talent that comes out of this area,” Janke said.
Janke said he expects Saturday night to also be really good this year, with music from the Tribal Revival Band along with a fireworks show around 9:30. He also recommended Mass the next morning.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re Catholic or not,” Janke said. “Mass is quite the spectacle.”
Near the end of the Mass, the Old Timers Band comes in to play. Despite seeing it for years, Janke said he still gets goose bumps.
“The place just rocks,” he said.
Janke said the festival draws people from all over, especially with the Empire State Senior Games in town.
The festival is not completely about music, and will have a bounce house, various games and a dunking booth with local teachers. There will also be a wine competition and plenty of food.
More information and a schedule can be found at
Janke said the committee that puts together the musical portion will meet about a week after the festival to assess how it went this year, and will meet again at the beginning of 2012 to discuss acts for next year’s event.
“I love to sit and listen to the entertainment,” said Gregory, a parishioner who grew up in the church, daughter of a Semeraro and a Quatro. “I was baptized there, received my first communion there,” she said. “I go out, eat my cannoli, eat my sausage and listen to the music. It’s a great day.”


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