"...just a smile away from Whoville with a hint of It's a Wonderful Life."
—Huffington Post
Sinterklaas Send-Off Celebration, Kingston, New York
Sinterklaas Festival Day, Rhinebeck, New York

Performer Profiles

Meet some of the fabulous performers that come to entertain you at Sinterklaas. This list is still in the works so we apologize if anyone is missing. Keep checking back!

 

Featuring! Jay Ungar and Molly Mason Family Band

What is it they say about the family that plays together?

Well, even if they don’t all live under the same roof, this family makes terrific music and has a rip-roarin’ good time while they’re at it. The Jay Ungar & Molly Mason Family Band features Jay, Molly, Jay’s daughter Ruth Ungar, and her husband Mike Merenda. And Mike & Ruthy’s two children Will, born January 2008, and Opal born June 2012 also join them on the road, though rarely onstage.
With exceptional musicianship and a vast knowledge of numerous musical styles, Jay & Molly are one of the most celebrated duos in American acoustic music. They achieved international acclaim in 1990 when their performance of Jay’s composition Ashokan Farewellbecame the musical hallmark of Ken Burns’ The Civil War on PBS.

You may know Mike & Ruthy from The Mammals. Ruthy cut her teeth on traditional music, and grew up to be a top-flight performer. She brings fiddle, ukulele, guitar and deeply moving vocal performances to the Family Band. Mike Merenda favored rock and ska before being drawn into the world of acoustic music and brings those sensibilities to his playing on old-time banjo, guitar, percussion and his own compelling vocals.

Four terrific musicians. Put them together and the sum really is greater than its parts. Double fiddles, sweet vocal harmonies and rhythmic energy abound as two generations collaborate to entertain you with music from the heart and soul of America.

 

Community Music Space Young Performers
We believe that music is not simply something we listen to but an essential element of any healthy community. Throughout the year we offer performances, Open Mic nights for kids, and a wide range of classes and lessons for kids and adults. our groups also perform in public up and down the Hudson Valley, from Red Hook to Woodstock and Hudson, NY.

Bard College Georgian Choir
Bard College Georgian Choir is a community choir that performs traditional polyphonic vocal music from various regions of the Republic of Georgia (former USSR). Nestled in the Caucasus Mountains on the Black Sea, Georgia boasts one of the oldest and richest forms of traditional polyphonic singing in the world, with spine-tingling dissonances and turns which never cease to surprise. The choir is directed by Carl Linich, of the world-renowned Trio Kavkasia.

Batala NYC
Batalá New York is a part of a global arts project made up of over 30 bands around the world. The music of Batalá originates in Salvador, the capital of the state of Bahia, in northeastern Brazil. The international Batalá family owes its existence to Giba Gonçalves, a percussionist, composer and choreographer from Salvador. The first representation of Batalá in New York City, known as ‘Batalá NYC,’ was born in 2012. In the summer of 2016, under new leadership, this band incorporated as a not-for-profit organization, now called simply ‘Batalá New York.’

BaseStation68 School of Jazz
BaseStation68 School of Jazz, under the direction of Cara Silvernail and Rich Thomson, plays music from the be-bop, post-bop, and hard -bop jazz eras.

Betty and the Baby Boomers
According to Sing Out! magazine, Betty and the Baby Boomers are a ”refreshing reminder of the halcyon days of American folk music during the late ‘50s and early ‘60s”; the Kingston Daily Freeman says they “sing and play old-school folk like it was brand spanking new.” Come hear some old favorites done up in the Boomers unique harmonies, as well as new songs performed in a style harking back to those inspiring times.

Bindlestiff Family Cirkus  
The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus brings four special live experiences to share at Sinterklaas! An Old Dutch Tradition in Rhinebeck. In addition to annual "Sinter Cirkus" performances, Bindlestiff was asked by Sinterklaas founder and director Jeanne Fleming to bring additional Cirkus stars to make the day sparkle. The Cirkus will also be bringing Paris, the Hip Hop Juggler, the Homespun Merry-Go-Round, and Alakazam, the Human Knot

Bond Street Stilt Band
A talented group of musicians who parade, dance on stilts and perform various feats of physical and musical dexterity, the 5-7 member ensemble includes saxophones, trumpets, and drums with an occasional trombone, tuba, banjo, or clarinet.

Caprice Rouge
An acoustic ensemble from the Mid-Hudson Valley of New York State playing Balkan, Roma-Gypsy and Klezmer dance tunes! Performing on traditional instruments including accordion, violin, an esoteric variety of clarinets, and percussion, the band is equally at home in a bar, a celebration hall or at a farmer’s market — happy to play for dancers, revelers, holidays, weddings and other simchas.

Dog On Fleas
HAILING FROM UPSTATE NY AND 15 YEARS IN THE MAKING...Dog on Fleas plans to take over the world. Their strategy is to play honest, loose and ingenious music for kids and their adult counterparts, and since kids tend to listen to music over and over and over, they are encoding special messages into the songs. Sort of like the Beatles, only less psychedelic. Actually, the only agenda the Fleas have is to make good music for decent people. And for you, too.

Funkrust Brass Band
Funkrust Brass Band is a twenty-piece brass band founded and led by songwriter, arranger and multi-instrumentalist Phil Andrews (Rude Mechanical Orchestra, Gay Panic, Apocalypse Five & Dime), with lyrics and megaphone vocals by Ellia Bisker (Sweet Soubrette, Charming Disaster). Funkrust was born in a basement in Ridgewood, Queens in November of 2014. Their sound stems from a unique blend of punk, disco, EDM, metal, funk, Balkan brass and New Orleans second line. Featuring snazzy uniforms, choreography, megaphone vocals and all original compositions, they are a sight not to be missed.

Giglio Band
Our repertoire consists of Traditional Neopolitan Songs, Italian-American Standards, American Marches

Grumpus MAGIC by Andy Weintraub
Andy Weintraub has been performing magic in the Hudson Valley for more than twenty five years. He is the resident magician, and President of the board, at The Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck. His magic is geared to family audiences and focuses on the classics of magic, with a special emphasis on interaction with, and participation of, the audience.

Homespun Merry-Go-Round
Al Gori originally built his Homespun Merry-Go-Round as part of his senior thesis while studying kinetic sculpture at Mason Gross School of the ARts of Rutgers University. Over the years, he's re-built, refined, and redecorated the Homespun Merry-Go-Round many times—adding mechanical monkeys, birds, and a bubble-blower to it. Built on the rear axle of a 1968 Dodge Dart, and powered by a washing machine motor, Al calls his Homespun Merry-Go-Round "Savage Salvage" : the art of finding new and fun uses for old junk, or, getting something for nothing. The Homespun Merry-Go-Round will be operating between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm, rides are free, and young and old alike are welcome to sit and whirl.

Hungry March Band
Celebrating over 15 years of bringing live musical spectacle to the people of New York City and beyond is Hungry March Band, a brass, percussion, and performance ensemble.
Founded in Brooklyn in 1997 for the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, HMB embodies the spirit of NYC’s streets with an inimitable brass sound and inspired, eclectic dance. HMB has shared their creativity with audiences around the United States, South America, and Europe, where they’ve been embraced by a longstanding community of brass bands.

Into the Light: A Holiday Spectacular with Vanaver Caravan and Arm of the Sea.
A Holiday story of a Young Girl’s Journey throughout the World searching for the Light. Features Giant Puppets and music and dances from Holland, Sweden, Israel, Mexico, Ireland and more!

The Vanaver Caravan
The Vanaver Caravanwas established in 1972 by musician/composer Bill Vanaver and dancer/choreographer Livia Drapkin Vanaver. Their love for the world’s diverse cultures and commitment to their art as well as to peace among nations, continue to inspire artists, students, teachers and audiences daily. Their down-home, high-spirited performances have been presented throughout the U.S., Europe and North Africa.

Arm of the Sea
We believe that such theater should be easily accessible to a wide range of audiences. Thus, many of our performances take place in non-traditional spaces and at free outdoor festivals. We strive for a theater of visual poetry–handmade & archetypal–imbued with the urgencies of the Moment and the elemental impulses of Human/Nature. We believe that such Theater plays a vital role in community life by illuminating essential relationships and planting seeds of change. Arm-of-the-Sea was founded in 1982 by Marlena Marallo and Patrick Wadden as an experimental hybrid performance group combining art, ecology and social action. We continue to experiment with this ephemeral art form as a symbolic visual language that can illuminate the links between human communities and the life-support processes of the planet.

Jonathan Kruk
Jonathan Kruk is a career storyteller for children, who has been inspiring active listening and vivid imagining full time since 1989. Jonathan provides schools with creative programs which meet curricular goals and exceed language arts & social studies standards by engaging kids. Born in El Paso, Texas, but raised in Westchester County, Jonathan Kruk grew up on tall tales and daydreams. He began telling tales to calm his rambunctious kid brother at bedtime. Later, friends got him a gig entertaining at Abingdon Square Park in the middle of New York City. When kids abandoned the monkey bars, cyclone sprinkler and ice cream truck to listen, Jonathan, found his career calling. Now, Jonathan considers it a blessing to give over 250 performances and workshops each year.

Key of Q
We are a small, friendly group of LGBTQ and allied singers who travel from all corners of the Hudson Valley to blend our voices and perform beautiful a cappella music together! Formed at the beginning of 2016, we focus on mostly-modern secular music in four-part harmony. Common themes within our music include equality, love and celebration of our unique identities.We perform at least one major concert per year as well as various small gigs such as at Pride and open mic nights.
We rehearse Monday evenings in Kingston.

Leela Puppet Theater
Legend has it that Indian puppet traditions began 4000 years ago in the state of Rajasthan in northern India. For centuries, wandering troupes of puppeteers have roamed the countryside to perform at festivals, fairs and religious observances, entertaining maharajas and townspeople alike. No celebration in Rajasthan is complete without a marionette performance!

Mamma's Marmalade
Mamma's Marmalade has always brought a fresh vibrancy to old traditions. Since their formation in the spring of 2014, the Northampton, MA-based quintet has delved into the limitless capabilities of classic bluegrass instrumentation (banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar and bass) and explored the parallels of acoustic music, ranging from the blues to Old Time, from gypsy jazz to bluegrass. The authenticity of their music calls listeners back to a time when wooden instruments, analogue sound and sweet vocal harmonies captivated the hearts of America. With a deep respect for tradition, and an eye towards contemporary music, Mamma's Marmalade brings an exciting new energy to the enduring narrative of American folk music.

Michael Rosman Feats of Comedy
Michael Rosman lights up the crowd with his one-of-a-kind performance. His comedic entertainment appeals to adults and youth. His skills include tight-wire walking, juggling, magic, balancing stunts and unicycling - and plenty of audience participation. Michael's daredevil array of props includes bowling balls, blenders, knives, giant unicycles and tiny tiny bicycles. His skills will amaze and amuse all!

Ol' Factory Brass Band
A New Orleans style brass band playing old school jams as well as recognizable modern tunes. Organized by Community Music Space.

Pokingbrook Morris Team
Pokingbrook Morris Dancers is a joint team comprised of separate men’s and women’s sides under a single Squire. We perform Cotswold dances from Adderbury, Bucknell, and Ducklington (men) and Bampton, Fieldtown, and Lichfield (women), and Beverwyck (our homegrown tradition) at local fairs, festivals, and pubs in the upper Hudson River Valley and Capital District of New York State, in the USA. Our dancing season runs from late April to mid-June and again in late September and October. In colder months we practice and perform our winter traditions: the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, various Border dances, and the Kirkby-Malzeard longsword dance. We also travel to ales whenever we can.

Raspberry Hill Fiddlers
The Strawberry Hill Fiddlers are a group of fiddling teenagers from various middle school and high schools in and around Dutchess County, New York. Directed by Emily and Carole Schaad, the group has been evolving since 1999.

Reggie Harris
A songwriter of great depth and passion, Reggie Harris writes from a personal sense of mission that merges a world wise point of view with a singularly hopeful stance that life, though often challenging, is filled with possibility and hope. His songs reveal thoughts about life and love and some of the deep aspects of the human experience and cover topics from his own personal journey to world issues and history.

Roger the Jester
Every performance is a debut, since my work is so improvisational, not in the current “give me a word, I’ll fit it into a pre-rehearsed format,” but true in the moment magical events.

Solas An Lae American Irish Dance The SAL School fuses multiple styles of training to create a curriculum that is uniquely SAL. We have incorporated Irish dance fundamentals and the best practices from classical and contemporary to create the American style of dance training that is SAL.

Souls United
Souls United of the Hudson Valley is an interfaith Gospel choir, unified in the belief that we are all members of one human family. We welcome singers from all backgrounds.

T McCann Band
The TMcCannBand is an eclectic group of gentlemen musicians.  They are known for their lively stage shows and their song & tune catalog reflects a fresh take on traditional Celtic music.

Tom Hanford Puppets
Thomas Hooker Hanford is a visual artist, musician, children's performer and teacher.

Vassar Devils
...are known for our tight harmonies, polished sound, complex arrangements, and infectious sense of fun. Our diverse, constantly growing repertoire includes every genre of music imaginable, from pop hits, to indie ballads, to classic rock, to sexy jazz, to Beyoncé (and even some original music written by our members!). In addition to performing a number of informal concerts for the Vassar community, every year the Devils hold a winter final concert and spring final concert. We also just finished recording a professional studio album, Coming Alive,  released in May 2017! We sing, we laugh, we love, and then we sing some more!