Breaking Boundaries

While bars and basements currently set the scene for live music shows in New Paltz, Musicians Sans Frontières seeks to break these boundaries with its new concert series.

Musicians Sans Frontières (MSF), a play on the world-renown Medicièns Sans Frontierès (doctors without borders), is an organization that aims to make the New Paltz music scene available to everyone by setting up all-ages venues where musicians who compose original music can play.

“I think [MSF] is definitely an attempt to start a new community of bands both in and outside of New Paltz that don’t have to worry about playing at a bar or paying heavy fees in the school,” Andy Lawson, a third-year sociology major, said.

Lawson is part of the hardcore rock band Cygnus, which will kick off MSF’s monthly concert series at St. Joseph’s Church.

Other musicians performing include solo songwriter Jake Harms, indie/punk rock band DIA from Carmel, N.Y. and the melodic post-punk band Oswald from New Paltz.

“MSF plans to brand New Paltz as a destination for bands and music enthusiasts from across the country,” Joseph Ruotolo, the founder and coordinator of the organization, said. “The mission of MSF is to meet this need for the performers and the arts and music community at large.”

Currently pursuing his second bachelor’s degree in math, Ruotolo founded Musicians Sans Frontières as a way to promote new avenues of music.

“I have been playing shows in the New Paltz music scene for years; the venues have been mostly in bars where the audience can be difficult to engage,” Ruotolo said. “This idea for a concert series was born out of the desire to have a space where musicians who compose original music can play for an excited audience.”

Max Narotsky, a third-year secondary education major with a concentration in social studies, not only performs in Oswald but also helped form Musicians Sans Frontières.

Narotsky said MSF is both a great way to meet likeminded musicians from the Hudson Valley and a “great way to network with other creative people in positive outlets.”

Narotsky’s connection with MSF includes booking and advertising for the organization and acting as the liaison between MSF and the student-run club, The New Paltz Music Collective.

“We find that the current music scene in New Paltz is held predominantly at houses and bars, restricting access to people under 21 or those that want to see music in a friendly and safe environment,” Narotsky said. “The aim is to create a non-exclusive concert experience in a town oversaturated with bar and basement shows going ‘till 2 a.m.”

Musicians Sans Frontières’ concert series will begin this Friday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Church and will run on the last Friday of every month.

The upcoming concert will be sponsored by St. Joseph’s Church and Musicians Sans Frontières. All proceeds beyond production costs will go directly toward supporting the musicians.