Theatre Albany’s WinterStock to showcase the Grapevine Band

Jan 21, 2015

By Jim Hendricks, Albany Herald

ALBANY — Until now, word about Theatre Albany’s newly reminted entertainment fundraiser — WinterStock — has been pretty much just through the Grapevine. But as organizers of the Jan. 31 event kick up promotion over the next few days, they’re expecting a packed dance floor when the Saturday night party gets under way.

 

For one thing, the band — the Grapevine Band, based in Macon — has loyal fans both inside and outside the Good Life City.

“The band has a good following,” Rose Palazzolo, who chairs the fundraising committee for Theatre Albany, said last week. “It’s very good, very danceable. They play ’70s music, ’80s stuff, easy for everybody to hop out on the dance floor. It’s a very comfortable sound for everyone. It’s not country, it’s not hard rock, it’s just get out on the dance floor and start dancing.”

Mark Costello, artistic director for Theatre Albany, said the band was booked immediately after the 2014 fundraiser, which was the first to be moved indoors and to January.

“The band is really popular,” Costello said. “People like to come and hear their music, dance and the food. We have people coming from out of town because the Grapevine Band is playing.”

Theatre Albany’s fundraiser originally was conducted outdoors in April and took on the name “Woodstock” because it featured several bands. But as the event has matured, it also has evolved into a winter indoor event featuring dance-friendly music.

“We had always done it outside,” Palazzolo said. “It was Woodstock when we started it. It was outside with multiple bands. That whole idea of Woodstock was it was kind of a music festival. Then we realized everybody wants to get up and dance. They don’t want to just stand around listening all these different bands. Now we’re a dance party.”

That dance party will get under way at 6:30 p.m. on the last Saturday of the month, Jan. 31, and continue until 11 p.m. at the Hasan Temple, 1822 Palmyra Road. Stewbo’s restaurant group will cater the food. Individual tickets are $50 each, with tables of eight for $500.

Theater officials say there were practical reasons for the move.

“People say there’s nothing to do in Albany, but every weekend there is something going on,” Palazzolo said. “And in the spring, it’s worse because of you have graduations, end-of-the-year programs at everybody’s schools. Just right after Easter it gets crazy.

“We used to do it then. The weather was nice, but with an outdoor thing you still had to worry whether it was gong to rain or not. You’re always competing with everybody’s reunion and who’s going to travel because it’s warmer weather. So we thought about moving it to winter, because there’s not much happening in January.”

Costello noted, “It’s difficult to find a date that doesn’t conflict on (competing) fundraisers.”

Last year’s event was dubbed as an “After Woodstock Party,” but the with the decision to make the move to January permanent came a need for a new moniker that captured the spirit of the event, which is designed to be an enjoyable night out. Organizers decided to go with WinterStock.

“It’s just a great time,” Costello said. “This kind of brightens a cold winter.”

Palazzolo sees it as the opportunity to catch folks who have gotten over the holidays and are starting to look for some entertainment again.

“Everybody’s getting over the whole Christmas season,” she said. “As wonderful as it (Christmas) is, it wears people out. So, now it’s January, where you’re getting your second breath and saying, ‘OK, now it’s a new year. Let’s do something fun. It seems like a good fit when there’s not a lot else happening.

“It’s something fun to do when nobody’s traveling and everyone’s starting to get back into their routine.”

As the event gets closer, she said she expects ticket sales to get brisker.

“I guess after a while of doing this, you learn a lot of it (the Albany area entertainment market) is just last-minute,” Palazzolo said. “It’d be great if we had the problem of saying, ‘Sorry, we don’t have any tables left.’ I think when people start hearing more about it, they’ll be more interested.”

There’s been a strong rate of repeat attendees, so the organizers feel they have hit on a successful — and entertaining — formula.

“The people who come have been here in previous years,” Palazzolo said. “It’s a good event. We just have to get the word out to people who haven’t heard of the event yet.”

For tickets, contact Theatre Albany at (229) 439-7193 or visit www.theatrealbany.com.

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