Michael Lang of Woodstock Music Festival fame and Paul Green of the Paul Green Rock Academy have teamed up with several others to create the Woodstock Music Lab. Together with a couple of other partners they have purchased the 50,000 square foot former Zena Elementary School in Woodstock and are planning to open an advanced institute of rock-and-roll music. The Woodstock Music Lab will target the age group of 18 to 26 and will teach courses in music, recording, production and the music business.
On Friday, February 5th the Lab hosted an open house fund raiser that included a tour of the planned school, including an amazing video chock full of rock legends and proclaiming the mission of the new school. The event had a silent auction of rock memorabilia, sales of tee shirts and other stuff, and a show of very talented young folk from the Paul Green Rock Academy - which is a separate entity from the Lab.
I showed up and spent a few hours there talking to Woodstock friends, taking the tour, perusing the auction (where my wife put bids on several items) and taking the opportunity to talk to both Michael Lang and Paul Green. I also had a side conversation with musician and songwriter Tim Moore about the Hudson Valley Tech Meetup. The evening as a whole left me very inspired by several good things that are brewing in the Catskill Region and the nearby Hudson Valley.
People like Moore, Lang and Green are finding ways to leverage what has become the natural resources of our area. Since the founding of the artist colonies in Woodstock at the turn of the 20th century (and if you argued to include the Hudson River School 75 years before that, I probably would agree), the Catskill Region has bubbled with art, music, writing and creativity. In much more recent times, the Woodstock area has been a retreat and haven for music business personalities including Levon Helm of the Band, Bob Dylan and more recently David Bowie, among many, many others. It seems like a natural fit to base a school dedicated to the modern music business in the heartof this still very artistic community and region. There are many possibilities that present themselves for guest teachers, collaborations and other synergies.
Tim Moore's discussion of the Hudson Valley Tech Meetup takes this synergistic idea to an even higher level. Check out their website at: http://www.meetup.com/hvtech/
I invite you to view the Facebook page of the Music Lab at: https://www.facebook.com/woodstockmusiclab/
In the attached selfie from the event is Deborah DeWan, executive director of the Rondout Valley Growers and a personal friend, Michael Lang and yours truly.
This post was written by Michael Drillinger, the Coordinator of the Catskill Interpretive Center and Land Stewardship at the Catskill Center