- - - - - - - - - -
Campus gets jazzed for
Art Design by Ambrosino Design
by Sharon Dwyer Bruce
Skidmore, the midyear winter break means a cold, dark, nearly silent campusor
does it? This year, crowds of New Years revelers, families and
children, music and art lovers, and performers galore set the campus aglow and
abuzz for one night, as the fourth annual First Night Saratoga celebration spilled
beyond downtown to encompass eight performance spaces at Skidmore.
Years Eve, the Nickel and Dime Players, harpsichord- ist Robert Conant,
jazz musicians Nick Brignola and Rick Dellaratta, Blues Noir, singer-songwriter
Kim Buckley, the Lise Winne and Jason Kessler duo, and the Mop and Bucket improvisational
troupe gave multiple performances in venues from Filene Recital Hall and Bernhard
Theater to the dining hall and the auxiliary gym. Ten buses shuttled up and down
Broadway so that First Nighters could bop between downtown and campus to catch
all their favorite shows. In fact, the campus was jumping as early as 5:30 p.m.,
when the unseasonably balmy weather drew more than 500 participants for a 5K footrace
that looped around campus and North Broadway.
First Night Saratoga were delighted to be able to spread to Skidmore this year.
As the celebration has grown since 1996, its drawn more visitors (15,000-plus
this year) and more participating artists (about 600, either on stages, strolling
the streets, or using storefront window displays). Having booked up all the likely
spaces in town from schools and churches to Canfield Casino, the library,
the armory, and other buildingsorganizers turned to Skidmore for help. Many
Skidmore faculty and staff have always taken part in the volunteer corps that
runs First Night, so this year some of them donated their technical, logistical,
and cleanup labor on familiar campus turf.
A program of the
citys YMCA, First Night Saratoga has become the premier New Years
event in the region. Like some 200 other First Nights in communities all across
the U.S. (organized under the auspices of First Night International), its
a nonalcoholic, family-friendly, arts-centered, public New Years Eve party.
Corporate sponsors and community volunteers help keep the ticket price affordable:
for one fee, visitors get access to any and all displays and performances, all
evening long, all around town.
Finally, at the
stroke of midnight, a giant fireworks show, set off from behind City Hall, lit
up the sky over Saratoga. And as the last bursts and flashes faded to black, the
Skidmore campus quietly slipped back into its accustomed winter dormancyuntil
a few weeks later, when students and faculty returned from vacation, flipped on
the lights, cranked up the volume, and revved up the second semester. SR