Tremperskill Boys play Saturday in Andes


By Claudia Jacobson
The Tremperskill Boys, a new musical group playing Catskill Mountain folk tunes and dances, will premier playing at the Pleasant Valley Meeting House on May 16 starting at 7 p.m. The Boys will play a generous variety of fiddle tunes, many of them familiar and a few new.
Lead fiddler and the group’s founder, John Jacobson, is a born and raised Delaware County musician with plenty of energy and love of Catskill Mountains. John has been playing for more than 30 years with variety of local fiddle and dance performers. Last summer he worked with local performing artist, Hilton Kelly  playing Hilt’s tunes and calling dances in a program sponsored by Catskill Folk Connection designed to allow musicians to learn, play and record live music.
Playing claw-hammer banjo, Ed McGee was the first band member to start playing with John. Ed is an Andes Central Schoolteacher and member of the Stoddard Hollow String Band. Ed plays the clawhammer style typical of  Appalachian old-time music.
On the acoustic guitar and vocals is John Van Benschoten who has deep ancestral ties to Delaware County. John has played and sung in many venues pleasing audiences with his earthy, bluesy style on banjo and guitar. 
Ginny Scheer is a flutist and one of the founders of the full-fledged regional folk life center, known as the Catskill Folk Connection. Ginny began to play for the best reason a young girl can have, the boy she fancied in fifth-grade played the flute. Ms Scheer has come far, getting inspiration from her high school orchestra leader then after college developing a lifelong interest in contra-dancing.
Several years ago Ben Murdock’s grandfather gave Ben his accordion with the hope Ben would learn to play. Ben didn’t play, instead leaving his gift as a dust collecting curio.  “Not until I began playing the harmonica on a whim did I realize the similarities in the instruments and the wasted potential sitting on my end table. I picked the thing up and gave it a squeeze and began researching the construction, tuning and history of the instrument.” Ben began learning tunes and began  sharing what he’d learned  by performing for his grandfather. Then his grandfather told stories about his great-grandfather, an Irish sheepherder who learned harmonica first, while out tending sheep. Ben’s great-great-grandfather grew as a masterful Irish accordion player. Ben musicianship grows as he plays while continuing to be inspired by  stories of his family playing Friday night dances in the living room.
Former Brooklyn boy, our pickleball player aficionado, snagged 20 years ago by Cripple, Tremperskill’s own second fiddle Peter Lederman plays with talent and gusto.
Self taught but “getting a few free lessons from my ‘tent neighbors’ at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival” is how Amy Leiberman describes how she learned the mandolin. Amy says her grandfather played.
Pleasant Valley Meeting House is located at the intersection of county Route 1 and the corner of Bussey Hollow in the Tremperskill Valley. Suggested donation for this performance is $5.