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Bob Wright: Bio

A native of Staten Island, New York Bob has been playing music since childhood. He is a multi-instrumentalist steeped in the American musical roots traditions often referred to as Americana. A long time member of the Risky Business Bluegrass Band and his own group, Harbortown, Bob often branches out to perform solo or in diverse, acoustic, musical settings following a restless creative urge.
He has been an awardee in all of the grant categories for the Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI). These grants are underwritten by both New York City and New York State. He has been awarded a Premier grant, several Encore grants, a Junefest performance, and an Original Works grants in 2004 to write and produce a CD of songs about Staten Island. The resulting CD Harbortown is available and has garnished excellent reviews. Several of those songs have become favorites with singers in the UK and Ireland. The group ‘Harbortown’ was formed in direct response to the collaborative efforts that went into producing the CD.
In 2003 Bob was a finalist in the bluegrass songwriting category of the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Competition at the Merlefest festival in North Carolina, finishing 3rd out of an international field of close to 900 entries and was invited to perform his song at the festival. He also ran a mentoring program at several of the Maryland Banjo Academy events run by The Banjo Newsletter based out of Annapolis, Maryland. In 2005 he was invited to Nashville as a member of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) Bluegrass Leadership Class of 2005. In September of 2009, the Brooklyn Arts Council invited him to perform his song The Dust Came Down at a 9/11 Memorial and the Arts Council archived the song for posterity. All of Bob's CD's are currently in the collection of the Staten Island Museum and are available for research and display.
As a result of a successful engagement at the Everyman Folk Club in Liverpool, UK, Hughie Jones, a legendary member of the British folk group ‘The Spinners’ published Bob’s song, ‘The Daughter of Water Street’ and recorded it on his CD Liverpool Connexions.
Bob continues to perform, both here and abroad, and to write new material that explores the places he knows best. He released his 3rd CD, The Diver, at the beginning of 2008 and completed a project about immigration for which he was awarded a 2008 COAHSI Encore grant. In 2009 he received a COAHSI grant to write and perform songs about the cultural impact of oysters on NYC and first performed that song cycle at the Staten Island Museum. His project, The Oyster Aristocracy, was recorded as a result and was released at that show on 10/22/09.
Three of Bob's songs feature heavily in a new award winning documentary on oysters entitled Shellshocked, which premiered at the Princeton Environmental Film Festival in 2012. The songs are: The Oyster Aristocracy; Down by the Oyster Barges; Look at the Water.
In 2012 Bob was awarded a Summerfest grant by COAHSI and performed at Tappan Park to kick off the series. Also in 2012, he received a JP Morgan Chase Regrant to research and produce a program entitled Sailing to Staten Island that debuted in October of the year and was a tremendous success. In April, 2012, the Banjo Newsletter published his interview with arguably the most famous banjo in the world… Kermit T. Frog…
In 2013, after over a years worth of research and work, he was instrumental in having a plaque placed by the front door of the Noble Maritime Collection commemorating the work of noted maritime song collector William Main Doerflinger. Many of the songs were collected, in that very building, from the retired sailors of the former Sailors Snug Harbor and many of them were sung at a dedication concert that featured both Frank Woerner and Hughie Jones, amongst others.
His CD, Hamburger Sandwich, was on the American Folk Charts for the month of August, 2014.
In 2016 Bob was invited to perform at the New Jersey Folk Festival as part of its Singer-Songwriter showcase, and was made a Folk Fellow for the Working Waterfront Project initiated by SI Arts and funded by New York State.
Bob is a proud member of the North American Traveling Musicians Union, Local 1000, and can usually be found the third Sunday of every month at the Shanty session in the Noble Maritime Collection on the grounds of Snug Harbor and the first Sunday of the month at the Irish Sesiun sponsored by SI Arts.

Jan Christensen

Jan Christensen is an interpreter of the rich heritage of maritime and river songs, and a songwriter whose tunes are enjoyed and sung in New York City, the Hudson Valley and elsewhere. He is a long-time member of The Hudson River Sloop Singers, the musical group founded by Pete Seeger to aid in the mission of the Hudson River Sloop "Clearwater," spreading the word about a clean river and the environment around us. In addition, Jan is a member of The New York Packet, the official maritime music group of South Street Seaport Museum that continues a long tradition of celebrating the role of New York Harbor in American history. He’s performed from Albany to Asbury Park, as well as at Mystic Seaport, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, and Liverpool, UK. Since 1995 Jan has also been a moderator at the sea shanty sessions (originally the Monthly Chantey Sing), held first at South Street Seaport and then at Seamen's Church Institute in Manhattan.

Bob Conroy

Bob Conroy has been performing folk music since the folk revival of the 1960’s. Bob is proud of studying with the banjo virtuoso Erik Darling. A founding member of STOUT, Bob plays five string banjo, 6 and 12 string guitar and mandolin. Bob has an international reputation, and has appeared at folk festivals in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, France and Denmark. In addition, he is the creator of the American History thru Song program, which he performs and teaches for elementary school students in Staten Island. He is also a long time member of the New York Packet and has performed at many Maritime festivals.

Bill Doerge

Bill began playing music early, starting on the accordion at Wright studios on Staten Island. He listened to all types of music and got bit by several “bugs”. Jerry White on station WJRZ got him keenly interested in folk music. He taught himself guitar, first on a borrowed Les Paul, then bought a Harmony 12-string. Around the same time, he studied string bass in school (thanks, Miss Erickson) and got interested in classical and jazz music. Bill got a Farfisa organ from his parents and started playing in a Rolling Stones influenced band “Jax” in high school. At the same time, he played bass with folk artists, Janet Savage and Frank Manasia. He played in several bands after that, “Binding Force” and “Eliot & Donne and the Soft Machine”. In 1970 he was fortunate to study with Jazz bassist Jimmy Garrison. Bill stopped playing with groups, playing alone and with family, but kept listening to all music. Through a mutual friend, Joe Scro, Bill was introduced to Bob Wright and began to play back-up with him. Bill is a member of the International Society of Bassists and the Acoustic Musicians Guild. Besides playing with Bob Wright, he freelances and plays with several groups in central New Jersey. Bill plays 6 and 12-string guitar, upright and electric bass, keyboards and accordion and occasionally sings.