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Santa's Pantry
by Haven James

Event:Holiday Concert to Benefit
the Good Neighboor Food Panty
Where:Kleinart-James Gallery
Date:Sunday, December 13, at 2 p.m.
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Leslie Ritter and Scott Petito
John and Johanna Hall

Sunday afternoons in Woodstock continue to grow in entertainment value, with this weekend playing host to the Third Annual Holiday Concert to benefit the Good Neighbor Food Pantry at the Kleinert-James Gallery. Leslie Ritter and Scott Petito head line the event and have been the primary movers behind the presentation of the entertainment at the affair for a few years now. In the Silence, their new CD released in September, will be a focal point of their opening set and they'll be joined by bandmates Mike DeMicco and Dean Sharp to do a few of the songs.

"It's kind of a Christmas party really," Petito remarked as he explained the progression they have in mind. After twenty minutes or so of the music of Silence they'll bring on some of their friends. "Ed Sanders will do some reading and maybe a few tunes, then Aaron (Hurwitz) and Marie (Spinoza) who do a lot of R&B stuff will do a set."

That will lead up to intermission time when refreshments will be served and folks will have the oportunity to "hang out and chat." Traditionally, the turnout for this event has been substantial as it's one of those rare chances for families to get out together for an afternoon town event and see friends and aquaintances they'd otherwise only see at the Grand Union. Given the choice, the Kleinert sounds like a much nicer scenario.

After the break two of Woodstock's premier songwriters, John Hall and Jules Shear, will each perform a few of their songs. Both John Hall and Leslie Ritter appeared on the WMHT-TV Christmas in Woodstock special aired last week. John spoke about this Sunday's reunion of the duo, "Leslie and I will probably do the song Snowed In that we did on that TV show together, [it's] one Johanna and I wrote a long time ago that was never performed in public before." John will also probably do Quiet Place, a Hall original that he recently wrote a full arrangement for the thirty voice Ars Corales to perform in concert. John and Johanna have written "a couple of things that are sort of holiday tunes" that he'll most likely include as well. Then it will be holiday time with Jules.

Off and on along the way, there will be groupings of players jamming together as the holiday flow determines. "The second set will be a little looser," Scott confirmed continuing, "I know we're planning on doing a few tunes together at the end; it's become a thing."

Beth Reineke, one of the organizers of the concert/party, is enthusiastic about the benefit and hopes it can duplicate last year's success: "Five different churches in Woodstock rotate manning the soup kitchen and then raise money and supplies for the holidays," she says. "Last year people were very very generous, they would not only bring food donations, they brought cash donations too; they would not just bring a few things of food, they would bring a couple bags which was really really wonderful."

Beth, Vikki Langley of the Markertek Fund and a number of other area sponsors have laid the ground work. Now it's up to the rest of us. Technically, admission to the event requests a "non-perishble food or cash donation." Scott Petito offers his perspective on the way it can work based on the track record of the previous event, "By not setting a price, people are really generous. It's funny, you expect somebody is going to show up with a can of Creamed Corn to sit for a concert for three hours... [but] people bring a lot of food and a lot of people give cash donations besides; it's nice to see and it's a nice day."

Best of all, a lot of our neighbors are gauranteed a good meal for their families and themselves. Being broke during the holiday season is one thing, fact is, most of us end up that way by the time it's over anyway... but, being broke and hungry is simply unacceptable. Make sure that doesn't happen here; make sure you are there. Sunday's concert at the Keinert-James, 34 Tinker Street, kicks off at 2 P.M. For info, call 338-3677.

Haven James has been a consistent contributor to the Music & Arts scene around the Hudson Valley and beyond for almost a decade through his column, Werewolves of Woodstock, published weekly in the Woodstock Times

A writer, musician, philanthropist, and Mac addict; he lives reclusively, high atop Overlook Mountain with his son and a menagerie of animals, both wild and domesticated. Though currently unmarried, rumors abound as to his intimate relationships with Madonna, Sandra Bernhardt, and Eli Bach; though he insists these notions to be pure hearsay. His identity has remained a mystery to all but the closest of friends as he often travels in disguise and appears unannounced and undercover at concerts and venues in a dedicated effort to get the real story.

Go to the Werewolves of Woodstock page for more articles by Haven James.
Haven James can be contacted at

Posted on December 11th, 1998

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