News of Otsego County

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


Rock Roll Hall of Fame

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.”

THE FENIMORE Rocks ‘n’ Rolls


Rocks ‘n’ Rolls

Herb Ritts’ Photos From Rock Hall

Open Now In Cooperstown Exhibit

Smile for the camera! Todd Kenyon, director of communications, strikes a pose as curator Chris Rossi imagines she’s Herb Ritts. The backdrop, reminiscent of Ritts’ “Cherish” photoshoot with Madonna, will be available for photos in the community room. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • The Freeman’s Journal & Hometown Oneonta

The Fenimore has produced cards with images of Ritts’ photos to promote the exhibit.

COOPERSTOWN – At the Fenimore Art Museum, there’s a whole room dedicated to Madonna.

Not “Giotto” or “Pieta” – The Material Girl.

“Herb Ritts photographed her 36 different times,” said Todd Kenyon, director of communications. “The first time he shot her, she swore she’d never work with him again – and then she saw the pictures.”

“Herb Ritts: The Rock Portraits” opened this past Tuesday, April 2. A collaboration between the Fenimore, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Herb Ritts Foundation, the exhibit includes 100 of Ritts’ iconic rock photography, as well as related artifacts from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

“It’s a little different than we’ve done in the past,” said Paul D’Ambrosio, Fenimore president. “We’ve always had photo exhibits, but this is a whole different feel, a whole different experience.”

The show was curated in collaboration with the Herb Ritts Foundation, which advised on layout. “They were the ones who suggested Madonna have a separate space,” said D’Ambrosio. “When we put it all up on the wall, we realized they knew what they were talking about.”

Rock & Roll Portraits Due At Fenimore Museum

Famed Rock & Roll Portraits

Due At Fenimore Museum

David Bowie, as photographed by Herb Ritts. The exhibit, part of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame collection, will be on display at the Fenimore Art Museum from April-September.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Herb Ritts

COOPERSTOWN – Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and more will grace the walls of The Fenimore Museum, beginning April 2, as an exhibit,  “Herb Ritts: The Rock Portraits,” opens.

On loan from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, the exhibit will feature some of the iconic rock photographer’s best known portraits, including David Bowie, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Elton John and more.

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