World class music in central New Jersey: The Sanctuary Concert series

Jorma Kaukonen has shared his passion for finger style guitar and roots rock Americana music in venues across the world, as a member of The Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, as a solo act and through teaching at his Fur Peace Ranch. Cathie Ryan has taken her thoughtful and heartfelt original songs and interpretations of music from the Irish tradition across the world as well, headlining venues from the Kennedy Center to the Milwaukee Irish Fest and appearing with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vancouver Symphony. Both of these internationally renown artists are looking forward to playing the intimate listening room atmosphere offered by the Sanctuary Concerts in Chatham, New Jersey.

People have been making music in Chatham since the early 1800s. That’s a tradition that continues these days at the Sanctuary Concerts, which are held at the Presbyterian Church in Chatham Township. It is a series which for nine years has been featuring top class songwriters in an atmosphere which focuses on listening and sharing, on the connection between artist and audience.

“The Sanctuary… this is a new one for me and I’m really looking forward to it,” says Kaukonen. “I mean, how can you not like a gig with a name like that?” The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member will be bringing his guitars and songs to a performance on 17th September. It promises to be an evening made to order for those who love creative guitar playing as well songs that draw on blues, rock, and country roots of Americana music. “I’ll be joined by my friend Barry Mitterhoff who will bring his talent as well as a gaggle of instruments to the show,” Kaukonen adds.

Ryan is known for bringing deep thoughtfulness and connection to her concerts, as well as warmth and humor. That’s a balance with which she conveys the range of Irish music. Ryan will appear on October 1. “I have heard wonderful things about this series from singer songwriter friends, “ she says. “I look forward to singing in this venue because it is run by people who love folk music and are consummate professionals — they really care about presenting music. As a result they have done everything to the highest standard . The setting is beautiful, the acoustics and sound are excellent, and working with them has has been a great experience. They want their audiences to have the best experience possible and they are giving us the same.” Those who come to Ryan’s concert can look forward to a mix of songs in English and Irish, from the tradition and from contemporary writers as well as those Ryan has written herself.

The setting at The Sanctuary Concerts is, as the name suggests, in the church sanctuary. It’s a welcoming setting that lends itself to listening and to connections among audience, artists, and the music they share. Ryan is thinking that the healing power of music may be especially welcome amidst the turbulence of recent events. “ A very positive place, The Sanctuary, and we all need that right now,” she says.

Kaukonen will be performing on September 17th, and Ryan will appear on October 1st. The Sanctuary series hosts concerts about every two weeks. In addition to Ryan and Kaukonen, Slaid Cleaves, Shawn Colvin, and Tom Paxton are among the top level artists on the schedule this autumn.

“Great music, good friends, dessert’s on us,” says The Sanctuary Concerts web site. It’s true: in addition to music in a warn and welcoming setting, your ticket includes a home baked dessert at the break. There’s more information about tickets, schedules, and location at The Sanctuary Concerts Series web site. Chatham is located in central New Jersey.

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