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Fall for the Arts with Bristol Valley

BVT presents an outdoor, drive-in concert in Middlesex featuring Aaron Lipp, Sam Sherwood and Paulsen, Baker & Chaapel

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Aaron Lipp and Sam Sherwood, both Naples High School alumni, will perform Saturday in a drive-in concert in Middlesex as part of Bristol Valley Theater's Donald and Skippy Raines Fall For the Arts Series, along with Paulsen, Baker & Chaapel.

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MIDDLESEX — After a summer in which the pandemic and pause forced it to cancel the theatrical season and instead turn to multiple online offerings, Bristol Valley Theater in Naples is preparing once more to present live entertainment. The first installment of the annual Donald and Skippy Raines Fall for the Arts Festival, set for this Saturday, Sept. 12, features the music of frequent BVT musical performers (and Naples High School alums) Aaron Lipp and Sam Sherwood, along with area acoustic trio Paulsen, Baker & Chaapel.

The theater in Naples remains closed to the public, along with other performing-arts venues — Saturday's show is a drive-in concert to be held at the site of the Middlesex Music Festival, 1649 West St. (at Caward Cross Road) in Middlesex. It starts at 2 p.m., with parking starting at 1 p.m., and tickets — available by advance sale only — are $25 per person. Tickets are available at 585-374-9032; have your vehicle information ready when ordering tickets, along with names and phone numbers of everyone in your vehicle for contact tracing purposes. (In case of rain, the concert will move to Sept. 19, at the same start time.) Vehicles must have no fewer than two and no more than six people.

Health protocols are in effect as required by the state: According to BVT, each vehicle will have a parking space and a personal space next to the vehicle to view the concert. Everyone from the vehicle must stay in that spot. You must wear a face covering if you leave that area to use the restroom or purchase water or other merchandise.

Lipp is a prolific area performer who's played with the likes of Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, The Cabin Killers (as frontman and principal songwriter), The Campbell Brothers, Axis Armada, Richie & Rosie, The Henrie Brothers, The Prickers and many others, along with the internationally renowned Robert Randolph & The Family Band. A multi-instrumentalist (piano, guitar, clawhammer banjo, dobro and upright bass are just a few of his instruments) as well as a multi-stylist, he has in recent years leaned heavily into old-time and bluegrass music.

Sam Sherwood's connection to Bristol Valley Theater is lifelong and multi-generational: His paternal grandparents, George and Marty Sherwood, founded the original Bristol Valley Playhouse, and his parents Will and Julie Sherwood were active with the theater for many years. Growing up in Naples, he's based in New York City where he works as an actor, performing off-Broadway and touring nationally and internationally — often in classic musicals such as "The Music Man" and in actor/musician shows featuring actors who play instruments: He's played Buddy Holly in "The Buddy Holly Story," Johnny Cash in "Ring of Fire" and Carl Perkins in a production of "Million Dollar Quartet" at Geva in Rochester.

The two began performing together back in high school, in a rock and roll side project led by the Naples school band director at the time, Scott Kickbush, according to Sherwood — and have frequently collaborated since, whenever they can. Such as the Bristol Valley shows, which have become regular, and highly popular, occurrences.

John Paulsen and Keith Baker have performed together since 1974 and were joined for many years by John Garvey as Paulsen, Baker & Garvey. In recent years Paulsen & Baker — whose music encompasses folk, country, rock and bluegrass — have frequently been joined by Tim Chaapel, owner of Mobile Music in Canandaigua, on bass as well as harmony vocals. Last year Paulsen & Baker with Tim Chaapel released the album "Let It Glide," which also includes guest artist Warren Paul.

What else is up at Bristol Valley? Streaming will begin Oct. 16 for Mystery Radio Theater, with actors presenting old-time mystery classics from the radio's Golden Age.

For more information about Bristol Valley Theater, visit bvtnaples.org.