News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


cooperstown beverage exchange

Son Of Rock Hall’s President Has His Cooperstown Debut


Son Of Rock Hall’s President

Has His Cooperstown Debut

Guitarist Jack Harris returned to his native Cooperstown to perform at the Beverage Exchange Friday. Here he is with dad, Greg Harris, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame president. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Jack Harris performs Friday, Dec. 27, at the Cooperstown Beverage Exchange. (Bill Francis photo)

COOPERSTOWN – Growing up, Jack Harris would jam on the drums while his father, Greg, president of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, played guitar.

“We always had guitars around the home” said Greg. “Our daughter Alex plays piano, and his mom Deirdre sings Irish songs. We played a lot of albums for them, and he had nicknames for all of them. ‘The Pirate’ was Van Morrison, ‘The Growly Guy’ was Tom Waits. I tried to expose him to good music.”

In high school, Jack, got into writing poetry and short stories, and needed a musical outlet more conducive to his newfound passion. “I picked up a guitar and taught myself a few chords,” he said. “Then I taught myself a few songs, like John Fullbright’s ‘Unlocked Doors.’”

Jack, now a freshman at Ohio University, made his local debut Friday, Dec. 27, at the Cooperstown Beverage Exchange. “It was a lot of fun,” he said. “There were a lot of familiar faces, old friends and their parents. It was great to share my passion with them.”

Jack was born in Cooperstown and lived her until he was 8 years old, when his father, a CGP graduate then working for the Baseball Hall of Fame, accepted the top  job at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. “We come back every summer and Christmas,” said Jack.

In Cleveland, he met Chris Allen, of the band Falling Stars. “He knew I’d been learning some songs, so he called me up and asked me to play one,” said Jack. “I played him a couple covers, and then he said, ‘Do you have any originals?’”

He only had pieces right then, but got to work finishing some original compositions “And the next time I saw him, he was in the studio recording my song!”

With Falling Stars, Jack recorded “I Get Lost” and “Song For You” and “Hold On To Me” at Peppermint Studios, and released a video for “No One Listens” on YouTube. “Just two weeks ago, we heard my song ‘No One Listens’ on The Summit, the local radio station in Akron,” he said.

He played gigs with Falling Stars, as well as solo performances, including a coveted spot at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s “100 Days of Music” summer live music series.

“A big chunk of that is local singer-songwriters,” said Greg. “They can play a few covers, but we want it to be all originals, no tribute or party bands. And I told him that Lisa Vinciquerra” – the Hall’s production manager – has to book him!”

The 100 Days of Summer also attracts larger touring acts, including Interpol and John Mellancamp, who, when passing through the area, decided to hop on stage and play five songs. “He used the instruments of the band that was on before him!” said Greg.

The Hall also hosted the Catch Meaning Festival on its  grounds, and Jack was booked without having to go through Vinciquerra. “He knew some of the people involved,” said Greg. “They asked him to play, and I didn’t even know about it!”

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is set to announce its  2020 Induction Class, and celebrate their 25th anniversary this year. “We want to make every day feel like a festival,” said Greg. “It’s not a museum about yesterday, it’s alive today.”

They’ll once again have a summer series, and Jack hopes to play, as well as look into internship possibilities at the Hall. “I want him to see that songwriters are regular people who walk among us,” said Greg. “Whether they do it for a living or if performing is their day job, it’s a great way to express yourself.”

Jack’s songs are on Apple Music, Spotify and his website,, and he is hoping to get back in the studio. “My next step is finding someone to work with on an album project,” he said. “I’ve been doing a lot of writing the past few months.”

‘Prism Effect’ Sets Off Alarm, Brings Firefighters Downtown

‘Prism Effect’ Sets Off Alarm,

Brings Firefighters Downtown

Beverage Exchange staff was removing bottle displays from the windows today after Saturday’s incident. ( photo)

COOPERSTOWN – A “prism effort” from sunlight filtering through display bottles at the Cooperstown Beverage Exchange set off a smoke alarm and brought Cooperstown volunteer firefighters to the Cooperstown Beverage Exchange early Saturday morning, according to Fire Chief Jim Tallman.

“The decanters acted like a prism,” said Tallman. “They were on top of cardboard boxes, and over time, that prism effect caused the boxes to degrade” and begin smoldering.

Democratic Candidates Kick Off Fall Campaign


Democratic Candidates

Kick Off Fall Campaign

To applause, Democratic County Chairman Aimee Swan, standing at center, introduces city, town and county candidates from across Otsego County seeking office in the Nov. 5 local elections at a kick-off rally now underway at the Beverage Exchange in downtown Coopertown.   (In the foreground are Oneonta Democrats Rick Pavlick, right, and Kate O’Donnell, left.)  At right, Jill Basile, county rep candidate from District 14, Oneonta, attending with husband Vinnie, acknowledges applause.  Inset at left is Brian Flynn, who won Otsego County in the 19th District Congressional Primary in 2018 (Antonio Delgado won the general election), who attended to rally his party’s grassroots. (Jim Kevlin/


Ring In New Year


CELEBRATION – 6 p.m. – Midnight. Fireworks at 10. Ring out 2018 with pizza party before parade down Main St. Ring in 2019 with performances by Alex Torres and his Latin orchestra. Free admission.  Foothills Performing Arts Center, Oneonta. Visit

Business Owners To Trustees: Bring Back Sandwich Boards

Business Owners To Trustees:

Bring Back Sandwich Boards

Gene Marra, owner of Cooperstown Beverage Exchange and the Cooperstown Distillery, reads a letter from his wife, Montell, asking the Cooperstown Village Board to reconsider their ruling making sandwich boards illegal. “If not for the ‘open’ flag, a pot of flowers and a sandwich board stating ‘complimentary tasting/ tours, a passerby might merely think our building was only a factory,” she wrote. “Please allow us a real-time way of attracting business.” Several local business owners spoke, and the board agreed to hold a public hearing on the law at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8 (Ian Austin/

Design, Print 3-D Valentine’s Gift


Check back at 5 p.m. for tomorrow’s events.

3-D PRINTING – 10-11:30 a.m. Design a keepsake heart box for someone special. Fee based on weight Registration required. Huntington Memorial Library, 62 Chestnut St., Oneonta. Info,

YPN NETWORKING – 6-8 p.m. Come meet young professionals from the Otsego area. The topic for this evening is community involvement. The Beverage Exchange, 73 Main St., Cooperstown. Info,

FUNDRAISER – 7 p.m. Live music will be performed. The public may donate for the opportunity to perform. Donations go to the Cooperstown Lion’s Club fund to support area residents to lessen financial stress. Mel’s at 22, Cooperstown. Info,

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