Saturday, August 29, 2009

Concert Seating Chart

We have heard that many of you would like to see how the room will be set up for the Natalie Merchant Concert on Sunday, September 27. The image posted above illustrates the different seating sections and the locations of the gift shop and exhibit room. Please note that the only two ways into the actual concert space on the day of the performance will be through the back door (at the top of the image, marked "entrance") and through the east side door where the handicapped entrance is located. Only those needing to use the ramp will be admitted through this door.
The colors of the chart correspond with the colors of the tickets.
Yellow: The first three rows (A - C) at $150 per ticket.
Blue: The fourth through tenth rows (D - J) at $75 per ticket.
Green: The "Rising Seats" benches (General Admission) at $50 per ticket.
Purple: The performance space.
The space is approximately 80' by 50' feet.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Concert Questions

We have received a number of questions about the concert and we wanted to take this opportunity to answer them. If you think of others, please pose them in the comments section. We are currently unable to publish the comments we have received (due to a computer or program issue), but we wanted to make sure we addressed all of the questions that have been raised.

1) Have you sold all of the tickets?
While we have fully sold out of tickets for the first (1:30 PM) show, we do still have a few tickets for the second (5 PM) show available at all pricing levels- $50, $75, $150. (As of 8/28/09.)
As of 9/1/09, we have sold out of the $50 General Admission Tickets for the 5PM show but still have $75 and $150 tickets left.

2) I tried calling for a really long time on Saturday (or Tuesday) and couldn't get through- Why?
We apologize for this inconvenience. We were taking as many calls as we could. The SHS office only has two phone lines and we had two people taking calls on them all day. We also had volunteers downstairs in our gift shop selling tickets all day. As a small historic site, we are very new to the concert business and are learning as we go. Please be patient with us!

Also, if you gave up on Saturday or Tuesday, please do stop by or try giving us a call back. It is much calmer here now and we do still have seats left. (We are open Tuesday - Saturday, 9:30AM - 4:00PM.)

3) Aren't you concerned about using the Meeting House for a fundraiser?
Our first priority is to protect and maintain these very historically significant Shaker buildings and educate the public about their importance. When Natalie Merchant offered to do a concert for us, we saw this as an opportunity to bring in funds that would help us meet these goals and raise public awareness of this site. Already, many people who had never visited the Shaker Heritage Society have stopped by to pick up their tickets and tour the site. This event will also encourage people to see this site not only as a museum, but also as a dynamic community resource, offering a variety of opportunities to learn about and enjoy this unique setting.

In addition, many active churches regularly hold fundraisers in their places of worship. Church Dinners, Craft Fairs and Bingo are all popular options for church fundraising. We believe that this concert, which will include Shaker spiritual music, is a fitting and respectful event for this building.

4) Why are you having this concert on a Sunday?
We only had a very limited number of dates to choose from for this concert and all the other dates were already booked. While we would have preferred to not have this concert on a Sunday, that was not possible without foregoing this amazing opportunity.

5) Why are the tickets so expensive? Or Why are the tickets so inexpensive?
Interestingly enough we have been asked both of these questions. From this experience we have learned that is impossible to please everyone. While we realize that these prices may be too much to spend for some, it is a fundraiser and we do have a responsibility to serve the best interests of this site. As for those who expected us to charge double or triple (or more) our current ticket prices, we wanted to make this concert as accessible as possible to as many people as possible. The fact that we have already sold out one concert and are over half way through the tickets for the second indicates that many people felt that the pricing was fair.

In addition, the venue is relatively small- we are only selling approximately 310 tickets for each performance. Therefore, everyone in attendance has the opportunity to be relatively close to the performance area, unlike in most larger concert halls or arenas. The concert committee spent a great deal of time discussing the pricing structure and, for the most part, response from the community has been favorable.

6) Can the concert be recorded?
No. We are not able to record these performances.

7) What has the process of organizing a concert been like?
While some elements of this have been somewhat overwhelming (designing, printing, cutting and organizing tickets, selling approximately 125 tickets in the first hour, and staring at detailed seating charts), we have been pleasantly surprised by the outpouring of support. Some of the nicest people have contacted us for information and to buy tickets. Individuals from California, Ontario, Florida, Arizona and Indiana are flying in for this event. Wonderful people who live just down the road have stopped by in the gift shop and chatted with our volunteers. It has been truly heartwarming to see how many people care about the history and the future of this site.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Another Concert Added!

Due to the overwhelming response we have received in response to the Natalie Merchant concert, another show has been added later in the afternoon of Sunday, September 27th!

The second show will begin at 5 PM on Sunday, September 27. Both shows will follow the same format, with the band Shelving Rock opening, followed by Natalie Merchant's performance.

Ticket prices are the same, please see the preceeding blog post for explainations of the pricing structure.

Ticket sales for the 5 PM show will begin Tuesday, August 25 and tickets will be available during our regular business hours until all seats are gone.

We are open Tuesday - Saturday, 9:30 - 4:00 PM.

You are welcome to visit us and purchase your tickets in the gift shop, or if you prefer, we will accept phone orders between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM. If you are calling, please be aware that there is a $5.00 phone order processing charge. Please be patient, as we have a limited number of phone lines. If you reach voice mail, leave your name, phone number and the number and type of seats you are interested in. DO NOT leave payment information on voice mail.

All proceeds will benefit the Shaker Heritage Society's educational programming and historic preservation efforts.

Thank you for supporting the Shaker Heritage Society!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Natalie Merchant Concert Update

For the past few weeks, we have been working on finalizing various details of the concert.

Tickets will go on sale on August 22, 2009, beginning at 9:30AM. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Shaker Heritage Society or over the phone.

If you plan to come to SHS to purchase tickets in person, we ask that you do not arrive before 9:00 AM. We will open our doors at 9:30 AM.

If you are purchasing your tickets in person, beware that our mailing address does not match our physical address. For GPS devices and online mapping sites, our location is Heritage Lane, Albany NY 12205. We are on the grounds of the former Ann Lee Nursing Home. The Shaker Meeting House is the large white sided building. Please use the North entrance (the center door of the three doors).

If you are calling to purchase tickets over the phone on the morning of August 22, please be patient and call back if the line is busy. We can be reached at (518) 456-7890.

Tickets prices are as follows:
$50.00 – Seating in the Rising Seats (General Admission)
$75.00 – Floor Seating, rows 4-10 (Reserved Seating)
$150.00 – Front Section, rows 1-3 (Reserved Seating)
Phone orders will incur a $5.00 service charge.

As an additional fundraiser for the Society, we will be offering a special tour of the site with Natalie Merchant and SHS Staff prior to the concert. Hear Natalie explain her own personal connection with this unique historic site. Only 25 spaces are available for this amazing opportunity. Tickets for the tour are $200 per person. (Tour ticket price does not include concert admission.)

The concert will begin at 1:30pm with an opening set by Shelving Rock. Please visit for more information about these talented musicians.

If you will be visiting the area and would like information about where to stay, dine, or visit, please explore the Albany County Convention & Visitor’s Bureau website:

Friday, August 7, 2009

Save the Date!

Natalie Merchant to Perform Live at the 1848 Shaker Meeting House

September 27, 2009
1:30 PM

Taking advantage of the unique acoustics of the historic 1848 Shaker Meeting House, Natalie Merchant will sing both new and familiar tunes. All proceeds from the concert will benefit the education and historic preservation activities of the Shaker Heritage Society. Natalie Merchant first visited the Watervliet Shaker historic site in 1999: "I've long had a strong interest in experimental communal societies in America , the Shakers being the most fascinating to me. Knowing that Mother Ann Lee's first settlement was in Colonie, I visited the historic site. I sang in the Meeting House and was astounded by the acoustics. Since then it has been a dream of mine to perform a concert in the sacred space. I discovered that the Shaker Heritage Society was in need of funds for renovation and events that raise the profile of the historic site and their work to preserve it. September 27th will be an opportunity for us to achieve all our ends."

The 1848 Meeting House was constructed for public performances of Shaker worship which included singing and dancing. This architectural and historical gem retains most of its original interior features including built in bleacher style seating for "spectators" who observed the worship service. The worship services were one way that the celibate religious community obtained new converts. Shakers wrote thousands of spiritual songs, leaving a significant legacy that influenced many artists including Aaron Copeland and John Williams who wrote the Shaker inspired Air and Simple Gifts for President Obama's inaguration ceremony.

Over her 28 year career Natalie Merchant has earned a place among America ’s most respected recording artists with a reputation for being a songwriter of quality and a captivating performer. She began her musical career as the lead vocalist and lyricist of the pop music band 10,000 Maniacs and released two platinum and four gold records with the group between 1981 and 1993 (The Wishing Chair, In My Tribe, Blind Man's Zoo, Hope Chest, Our Time in Eden & MTV Unplugged). In 1994 Merchant began her solo career with a self-produced debut album, Tigerlily (1995). In the years following, she released Ophelia (1998), Natalie Merchant Live (1999) and Motherland (2001). In 2003 after 18 years she left Elektra Records and independently released an album of traditional and contemporary folk music, The House Carpenter’s Daughter on her own label, Myth America Records. In 2005 she was persuaded to curate a collection of her own work for a double album she titled Retrospective and another for her former band, Campfire Songs.

In 2007 Merchant was appointed by the governor of New York to serve a five-year term as a member of the prestigious New York State Council on the Arts. For the past five years Merchant has been researching, writing and recording a collection of songs adapted from the works of various classic and contemporary poets. She is currently in the studio preparing this project, her first studio album in eight years due for release in the Fall of 2009.

Tickets go on sale on August 22 and can be purchased in person at the Shaker Heritage Society Tuesday-Saturday from 9:30am-4pm or by telephone at 518-456-7890. The Shaker Heritage Society and 1848 Meeting House is located directly across the street from the main entrance to Albany International Airport off of Heritage Lane. For more information call 518-456-7890 or visit

Watch for future posts with more information about this wonderful event.