After performances from such local, diverse talent as Shayna Steele and her eight-piece R&B band, the Alan Ferber Nonet and string ensemble Fire in July, the Ditmas Park concert series at arts magnet P.S. 217 starts to wind down with indie rock band Clare and the Reasons and the Osso String Quartet.
The one thing in common for the world-class acts that have passed through PS 217's stage and will do so for these next two events is that the bandleaders are all based in Ditmas Park.
“I've lived in this neighborhood for a little less than two years but have noticed a major influx of very high-level performance musicians moving to the Ditmas Park region as part of a chain migration from other places in the city,” said Jody Redhage, bandleader of the ensemble Fire in July and coordinator of the series, made possible by a grant from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the Brooklyn Arts Council.
One of Redhage's favorite songwriters, Clare Muldaur of Clare and the Reasons, brings her act to P.S. 217 on May 22. Coming off the release of their album “The Movie” on Frogstand Records last September, which features guests such as Van Dyke Parks, Gregoire Maret and Sufjan Stevens, the group has become a fixture in the New York music scene, playing regularly at venues like The Living Room. Osso, which melds avant classical styles with indie rock, including acoustic arrangements of Sufjan Steven's compositions from 2001's “Enjoy Your Rabbit,” rounds out the concert series on June 12.
Before each concert, the musicians will also be working with 120 pre-registered third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students from PS 217 on workshops, introducing them to the different instruments and styles of music.
“The school is really excited to be hosting,” said Redhage. “It really sets in with their priorities as an arts magnet to be hosting a music series.”
The concerts are held at the P.S. 217 auditorium (1100 Newkirk Avenue at Coney Island Avenue). Students are free, and adults are pay-what-you-wish donations. Concerts are from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, go to www.myspac