LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On Tuesday, three performers stood onstage inside an old building next to Fort William Henry, running through the pieces of music they would soon be playing in front of an audience. They smiled as they did so.
Nicolas Kendall, Charles Yang and Ranaan Meyer – comprising the trio “Time for Three” – will be bringing their blend of genres to the Lake George Music Festival, starting Wednesday night, Aug. 10, with a free show open to the public at Shepard Park in the village of Lake George. Their energy reflects what the festival is known for as a whole – classical music, but with modern twists that anyone can enjoy. They call it a jukebox.
“We’re very eclectic musicians,” said Kendall, who plays violin. “We have a lot of areas and genres that we love to explore, but also different types of experiences. Obviously, we’re classically trained, but we have this way of wanting to reach new people who don’t usually see these instruments in this kind of formation.”
The jukebox contains within it plenty of original pieces, as well as covers of familiar pieces – all translated through two violins and a double bass. The Emmy award-winning trio starts off the festival at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Although their show will be in the great outdoors, with Lake George as a backdrop, Time for Three was rehearsing on Tuesday inside the Fort William Henry Carriage House. The historic structure is part of Fort William Henry Hotel & Conference Center, and will host the rest of the festival’s concerts, running Thursday to Thursday, Aug. 11-18.
Time for Three’s sounding of the starting chord isn’t the only show of note across the weeklong festival. On Aug. 18, one of the festival’s final shows will be the world premiere performance of a new triple concerto by Pascal Le Boeuf – a composer and musician who himself has visited the festival in years past. It isn’t the Lake George Music Festival’s first time debuting something new, but the feeling never gets old.
“It’s always exciting to do a brand-new work,” said festival music director Roger Kalia, who will conduct the concerto himself at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 18. “It’s going to be a triple concerto, with dual percussionists, a solo violinist and full orchestra. It’s a bit unorthodox.”
Music in vacationland
The catalog of daily performances involves the talent and skill of around 30 musicians. All of them stay in the Lake George area during the show, some staying at hotels while others live with host families.
Roughly half of this year’s performers will be first-timers at the festival, and the lake. The members of Time for Three are among the new, and even while getting ready for the show, they’ve had time to enjoy all that Lake George has to offer.
“It’s so great here that I got water in my ear, and it’s stuck there – that’s how much fun we’re having,” said Yang, also a violinist. “It came because we went pontooning,” added Kendall. “We got caught in the most incredible rainstorm of our lives, but it was worth it.”
The trio has been playing together for six years, so any trip like this is effectively like a family vacation. That’s even more true for Meyer, whose wife and kids came along for the trip. He’s taken his sons out on the Minnie Ha-Ha steamboat, on a visit to Fort Ticonderoga, and of course down into the water of Lake George itself.
The festival schedule features shows nightly at 7:30 p.m. at the Carriage House. It’s a different flavor every night, like a Robert Schumann piano quintet, or chamber music featuring Beethoven’s string quartet no. 14. On Saturday, Aug. 14, things take a turn for the fun, with solo, 4-hand, 6-hand and even 8-hand piano performances as part of “Piano Mania.”
“It’s a lot, but when you hear the music it calms you right back down,” said festival organizer Alex Lombard, himself one of the “Piano Mania” performers. “It’s really like a family here.”
This week is the 12th year of the Lake George Music Festival – forgiving the absence of a traditional festival in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Carriage House building was adopted in 2021, as a place where festival organizers could control crowd size to accommodate lingering social distancing concerns.
That long a footprint creates a reputation – and Lake George is building one among classical musicians looking for new places to play. The members of “Time for Three” want Wednesday night to be their first performance of many in front of the Queen of American Lakes.
“We’ve been on the road a long time,” said Kendall, “and sometimes you go to a music festival and it’s just clearly about more than making music. First of all, the colleagues here – there are a lot of people we recognize. But then there’s the familial aspect of coming here. It’s really special to be part of a community.”
Tickets to the Lake George Music Festival can be purchased through the festival website.