North & South Dakotas | FLAME! The Band | Erin Harkes
Free Admission, Donation accepted
Due to limited chairs onsite, we encourage you to bring a lawn chair and enjoy a night of live music in the beautiful Sherman’s Amusement Park!
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About the Artists
North & South Dakota
Formed in early 2011 by original members Zack Hay (Guitar & Vocals), Colin Hunt (Bass), and Mark Retajczyk (Guitar & Vocals), The North & South Dakotas set out crafting a sound that paid homage to the spirit of old time american music, mountain folk, and singer-songwriter traditions. Though the band spent many years as a five-piece with drummer Mike Graves, and the past two years as a more traditional bluegrass quartet with utility man Nayt Patenaude (Dobro, Banjo, Mandolin), the Dakotas continue on as an ever-rotating cast of string players from the Upstate NY region. In this more intimate setting, the band continues to write original, genre-sweeping music that makes use of their trademark vocal harmonies and the musical sensibilities of each band member’s different background. Frequent celebrity appearances featuring members of Brain Medicine, Rambler’s Home, Let’s Be Leonard, and The Saratoga Strings Band.
FLAME! The Band
Flame, a group of talented musicians from upstate New York who happen to have disabilities, has been capturing the world’s attention for more than a decade. In 2003, Lexington, an agency in Fulton County, NY that supports people with developmental disabilities, held a talent show from which Flame was born. The band has been changing the world through their music ever since.
Flame has performed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the House of Blues, both in Cleveland, Ohio; had a feature story in People magazine; and a segment on ABC TV’s Good Morning America. They have brought their message of inspiration to people and performances all over the world – Flame has played to audiences from Athens, Greece to all four corners of the continental United States.
Flame currently performs for national and statewide conventions, corporate conferences, civic events, schools, dances and private parties. The band’s song list contains over 100 classic hits – rock, country, and blues – from the past five decades.
These musicians connect with people of all ages and backgrounds like no other, from singing children to dancing executives. They give parents of children with disabilities hope that it is possible to have their own child achieve great things, and even more importantly, have a fun and fulfilling life like those in the band.
Flame has released six CDs and a single; they travel on a custom tour bus in the greater Northeast area and use commercial airlines to fly all over the world, helping them spread their message of hope and inspiration.
Flame’s mission is to bring their music and message to the rest of the world to help change how the public perceives people with disabilities and increase the awareness and acceptance of all people.
It’s hard to say exactly what Erin Harkes is. She’s a singer/songwriter. She’s a full time musician. She’s also a part time standup comedian. Whatever she is doing she is doing it on stage!
Erin began writing her own songs at age 19 and has released four albums of original material since then. Her first CD was aptly titled “Bar Napkins and Magic Markers” due to the crude way the lyrics were jotted down during her college years.
Her music comes from triumphs over tragedy. Though sometimes somber there’s always a resounding theme of resilience. The power of her voice and the emotion that comes through her lyrics make you want to sit and listen to every word. Erin’s lyrics tell stories of her life, sung through a big voice that’s often compared to Janis Joplin. Hearing Erin sing is a powerful experience that grabs anyone within earshot.
Erin’s spontaneity and willingness to perform won her a spot on “Battle of the Instant Bands” on the Jimmy Fallon show in April of 2010. Having only 20 minutes to prepare with an impromptu band made up of complete strangers, Erin won over both Jimmy Fallon and the studio audience by naming the band (“Fallon Angels”) and the song (“Free Jimmy”) – the band performed the song with Erin on vocals to an explosive audience response and easily won the contest.
After years of being told she was funny, on and off stage, in 2012 Erin decided to try her hand at standup comedy. Having found great comfort in front of an audience she was able to make this transition smoothly. In a very short amount of time she achieved much local success and has since performed nearly every major club in NYC and in Toronto and Montreal. She is also a regular feature at Funny Bone Comedy Clubs across the country.
Erin is regularly voted Best Singer/Songwriter, Solo Musician and Comedian in the Capital Region by the Times Union Reader’s Poll, The Alt and the (sadly now defunct) Metroland. She has been the subject of several cover stories by both of those newspapers. She is definitely a local favorite. Erin has had the privilege to have shared the stage with national acts such as David Allen Coe, Leon Russell, Melissa Ferrick, Eric Burden and recently opened for one of her musical idols, Beth Hart. In comedy she has worked with Jeff Dye, Demetri Martin and In Living Color’s Tommy Davidson.
Erin likes to say that music is her spouse and comedy is her mistress. She tries to give them equal amounts of love and attention. Whether singing songs or telling jokes, Erin commands attention every time she steps foot on stage.