Chogyi Lama Kicks Off Bethel Woods' Season Of Song and Celebration

Chogyi Lama Kicks Off Bethel Woods' Season Of Song and Celebration

On March 29th, musician Chogyi Lama, grandson of singer-songwriter and guitarist Richie Havens, performed at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts at the historic site of the 1969 Woodstock festival to officially open the nonprofit cultural art organization's Season of Song and Celebration.

Chogyi performed in the Event Gallery prior to a viewing of the 2019 Special Exhibit We Are Golden: Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of The Woodstock Festival & Aspirations for a Peaceful Future, presented by Orange Bank & Trust, which features a large collection of nearly 170 authentic Woodstock artifacts including instruments, clothing, equipment, art and photography. The exhibit uses the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair as a metaphor for the communal human response of the sixties in the hope that young people today may draw inspiration to articulate what they want from the world in their own time.

Befittingly, Chogyi's performance is reminiscent of the Special Exhibit's theme, as his grandfather Richie Havens served as the inaugural performer of the 1969 festival. "We recognize it is not always easy to embark on a musical career following in such footsteps," noted Darlene Fedun, Bethel Woods Chief Executive Officer. "However, Chogyi is gracefully leading audiences to the next generation of talent and artistry. Bethel Woods is honored to have had him kick off this commemorative season and look forward to supporting Chogyi throughout his career," she continued.

The evening presented the opportunity for a plethora of notable guests to speak on their experiences and explore the lasting impact both the legendary festival and nonprofit cultural center have had. Speakers included members of Sweetwater, who performed at the 1969 Woodstock festival as well as Woodstock alum and Bethel Woods donor Steve Alexander. Alexander was so inspired by the unity exhibited at Woodstock that his career today allows him to train others throughout the world on leading with compassion, purpose and heart. Former program participant and current Bethel Woods Teaching Artist Delani Ennis told guests that she is grateful to have a position that facilitates the opportunity for children to express themselves creatively. "...For some it [is] an art class, for others, it [is] an outlet. A safe space [for participants] to be able to just be and express themselves with no judgement," she reflected.

The fundamental ideal of the Special Exhibit and reason for reflecting on this legendary festival during this anniversary year was best reiterated by Grammy-nominated music historian Andy Zax (who produced the boxed set Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur's Farm in 2009 to commemorate the festival's 40th anniversary) when he described Woodstock not as an isolated three-day festival, but
"...a set of ideas to be redefined by future generations." We Are Golden is an artifact-rich exhibit that engages the viewer in a conversation about how the experience from 50 years ago can inform attitudes, decision-making and actions today.

In addition to the support from presenting sponsor, Orange Bank & Trust, the 2019 Special Exhibit was made possible by The Andrew Jacobson Charitable Trust, Shure Incorporated, Humanities New York, Rolling V, Lazy Pond, and Johnstons Subaru.

Bethel Woods' A Season of Song and Celebration promises unique and engaging experiences for guests who journey "back to the garden" throughout the year-long calendar of programming. Special 50th anniversary events and activities are supported in part by donors to Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, by a grant from TD Charitable Foundation and by funds awarded to Bethel Woods by Empire State Development and New York State's Division of Tourism/I LOVE NY under Governor Andrew Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Council Initiative.

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is a 501c3 nonprofit cultural organization that inspires, educates, and empowers individuals through the arts and humanities.

On display through December 31st, We Are Golden is included in regular museum admission. Special exhibition-only admission is just $5.00. For more information about Bethel Woods Center for the Arts and to plan your museum visit, please go online

Museum Spring Hours:
March 30-April 28
Thursday-Sunday, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM
Museum Summer Hours:
April 29-September 2
Open every day: 10:00 AM-7:00 PM
Museum Early Fall Hours:
September 3-November 3
Open every day: 10:00am-5:00 PM
Museum Fall Hours:
October 4-December 23
Thursday-Sunday: 10:00 AM-5:00 PM
(Home for the Holidays hours: December 26-31, open every day, 10am-5pm)

NOTE: Please call ahead to verify museum hours on concert days. Access to the grounds is closed on Pavilion concert days. The Monument continues to be open to visitors seven days a week, all year long via West Shore Road. The Museum will be closed from June 13-16th for Mountain Jam, on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve day, and Christmas Day.

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