Explore Troy’s Musical Kaleidescape

Many young children have toy kaleidoscopes, tubes filled with pieces of tinsel, beads, and tissue that magically turn chaos into art, using light to reflect the small bits of color and create something captivating for the imagination. The upcoming Kaleidescape concert, billed as a “sonic journey” of local musicians at Troy Savings Music Hall, has a similar intent, bringing together over seven original songwriters and artists from Nippertown for a concert in the historic hall in a celebration of community.

“I’m not sure I have the words for how excited I am about this event and how special it will be,” Sophia Subbayya Vastek, one of the co-organizers shared. “Sam Torres and I, with support from the team at Troy Savings Music Hall, have been dreaming up this event for over a year.”

Sophia Subbayya Vastek
Photo by Kiki Vassilakis

Vastek credits Jessica Bowen, the Director of Outreach and Education at the hall, with the name for the concert. “The show is very kaleidoscopic in nature! It reflects the variety of the artists who will be performing, all of whom are coming from such different musical styles, perspectives, and backgrounds. I also see the show as a sort of microcosm reflecting the kaleidoscopic nature of the greater music scene in the area. Lastly, I see this event as kaleidoscopic acoustically: there will be music surrounding the audience with sound refracting from all corners of the space,” Vastek exuded.

Vastek and Torres, who are married to one another and artistic collaborators, reached out to local musicians and requested they compose something original and specifically inspired by the hall’s acoustics. Troy Savings Music Hall is well known for its beautiful sound, often drawing musicians just to play the space.

“We’ve produced records together,” Vastek reflected on her relationship with Torres. “We make music together, and we’ve organized and presented concerts and projects in Baltimore, NYC, Boston, and Troy. Kaleidescape is unlike anything we’ve done before though, and we’re so grateful to the music hall for taking a chance on our ideas with this event. “

Vastek and Torres reached out to local musicians and requested they compose something original and specifically inspired by the hall’s acoustics. Troy Savings Music Hall is well known for its beautiful sound, often drawing musicians just to play the space.

Sam Torres
Photo by Zach Durocher 

Soulful rock singer and songwriter Buggy Jive was one of the artists invited. “I got an email out of the blue in June from Sophia and Sam. I’m not sure how I got on their radar when they were selecting artists, but I’m glad they did.”

When asked if this project was a challenging request, Buggy Jive noted it was just the opposite. “I think the initial ask was on a Friday morning. By Sunday night the song was pretty much done. I’d like to say that it came to me quickly because I was so inspired, but my fear of not having a piece ready by October was the biggest motivator for cranking it out early. I did a little research on Saturday, thinking I’d be writing something more about the hall’s long history, but along the way it turned into more of a personal, introspective thing. Which still required research, just in a different direction.”

Buggy Jive recently opened for Macy Gray at the hall and was able to experience first hand the magic of the room. “I got to sing from that stage for the first time just last week and wow, I usually don’t like reverb but singing into the NATURAL reverb of that room, the vocals seemed to go on forever and smooth out every flaw. It was magical.”

He isn’t kidding. We were at that show, and his use of the acoustics of the room really became part of the original sound he was producing on stage.

“As I understand it, the acoustics were nice enough when the hall was first built, but the secret sauce came later with the installation of the pipe organ and the curved space beneath it at the back of the stage,” he explained.

Buggy Jive
Photo by Jim Gilbert

Buggy’s original song is inspired by concerts he has personally attended there. “I’m going to play a quiet acoustic song inspired by the many favorite artists I’ve seen at the hall over the years: Michael Hedges, Randy Newman, Hancock and Shorter, Difford and Tillbrook (of Squeeze), Sweet Honey in the Rock and Cecile McLorin Salvant all get name-checked. I tend to go all in on shows with stripped-down performances, solo or duo; the hall is really the perfect room for that kind of intimate presentation.”

Specifically, though, the song’s refrain is a callback to a specific memory Buggy Jive holds dear from 2013. “There was a magical moment during an Elvis Costello solo acoustic show where he stepped off mic and delivered a song without amplification, relying completely on the acoustics of the hall. As I say in the song, the organ is the hall’s ‘accidental amplifier of love and light.'”

Other artists who will be joining the concert include Americana folk singers Zan and the Winterfolk, R&B indie band The E-Block and hip-hop rapper Ohzhe. Add in other featured artists Sam Torres, Sara Ayers, and Patrick Burke, and the lineup is promising to create an entirely new experience out of varying genres. Special guests Girl Blue, Angelina Valente, and Jimi W are also noted on the concert bill, which definitely pulls in many Nipperfest fans who enjoyed their sets last July in Central Park.

Vastek shared viewers can expect a very special original work. “Tying it all together is a commissioned work by composer Patrick Burke, which I’ll be performing on. He’s written haunting interludes for in between each set, as well as an achingly beautiful final piece.”

With the artists positioned throughout the hall, much like the different colors of a toy kaleidoscope, the musical sounds promise to create an all original sound, something that will be challenging to replicate. So you won’t want to miss this live performance.

Tickets are still available for purchase at Troy Saving Music Hall’s website. In an effort to keep live music accessible to everyone, there are a number of free tickets available to this event still available. To inquire about these tickets, or to purchase, interested individuals should call The Hall at (518) 270-0038.

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