One Snowy Night in 1997
October 18th 2019 Casey will be playing at Pebble Hill Presbyterian Church in Dewitt, NY. It is not the first time for Casey to play at PHPC. Back in 1997, when Casey was playing the Syracuse area as a young concert pianist, he already played once in the winter of 1997 in the Sanctuary of PHPC. The Syracuse area is famous for its extreme snowfalls. There is even an award for the city with the most snowfall in Upstate New York: The Golden Snowball. Since 2002 Syracuse won the award every year (only in 2011/2012 and 2016/2017 Rochester respectively Binghamton had more snow) right til 2017/2018. Last year Rochester was awarded with the Golden Snowball.
But Syracuse also regularly ranks the top ten of the worlds snowiest cities: One would think that the snowiest places of the world can be found in Alaska, Russia or Japan. But Syracuse proudly ranks amongst them, so you can imagine how much snow Syracuse gets in the winter. Make sure to check out The World’s Top 6 Snowiest Cities. The picture portraying Syracuse shows Crouse College where the Setnor School of Music of Syracuse University is located. Casey studied music and piano at the Setnor School of Music. Climbing those icy stairs in winter was a lot of fun!
A few weeks before his 2019 concert at PHPC he looks back on one of those very snowy nights a couple of days before Christmas in 1997:
“The last and only time I played Pebble Hill Presbyterian auditorium was December 22, 1997. It was a very snowy night and many events in the area were being cancelled, but I decided to give this one a chance in the hopes it’d stop snowing. I was expecting a good crowd, as I was releasing a new album in the next couple of weeks called “One Starry Night”, and I was thinking it’d be a good idea to keep the show going. When 20:00 came and I took the stage I was greeted by a very enthusiastic 12 people. 7 of whom were family. I opened with the first track of the album “One Starry Nigth” and jokingly said “for this performance only, I’m renaming it “One SNOWY night”. I remember finishing with a piece called “Unconditional Surrender”, which was a song well liked by two fans of mine who’d made the trip in the snow - John and June Merkel - this absolutely cool older couple who came to just about everything I did. Back then I played a lot of bookstores and community centers and libraries. But they were a constant presence and it was always lovely to see them. I had no way of knowing that John would die of a heart attack that same night. My last words to him were “well Johnny, you made the trip, the least I could do was play that song you like”. We chatted a bit more about Syracuse Orangeman basketball and they left. June called me two nights later telling me John had died and asked if I’d do something at his funeral. I played and sang “On Eagles Wings”. I met his daughter, a real live CIA operative with an ankle holster. That was 22 years ago. It’s a beautiful church in a beautiful area of upstate New York. I look forward very much to this concert and if any of the Merkel clan are so inclined to attend I’d be happy to include them on the guest list. As usual, this trip home, after almost 2 decades, is a mix of melancholy and excitement. Ghosts past and present and hopes for the future. I hope to see you all there. C”
Get your tickets for Casey’s 2019 concert at Pebble Hill Prebsyterian church here. This is not the only concert Casey is playing in the Syracuse area. Check the full concert schedule for more concerts. A special thanks goes to First Presbyterian Church of Cazenovia: They are supporting The Ruby Fund, Casey’s animal charity. All ticket sales for the concert on Saturday October 19th 2019 at First Presbyterian Church Cazenovia will go to The Ruby Fund.