This is a continuation of the Portrait of our Artists* series. Featured are artists who live and work among us in Lake Worth*. Painters are not the only artists, living here. Mel and Vinnie.
Mel and Vinnie have been playing their music up and down the Hudson Valley for twenty five years. On a vacation in 2009 South Florida found Mel and Vinnie and they’ve been enjoying Lake Worth ever since. They are troubedours in the true sense, they do not just perform but also write many of their own songs in the rich tradition of their friend and mentor Pete Seeger. Both Mel and Vinnie have done a stint in education and both Mary Ellen Healy and Vincent Cerniglia are activists for worthy causes. It comes as no surprise they found one other and play together, having come from a rich background of folk songs, an American staple in their formative years. They are part of the cast taking part this week in the “Tribute to Pete Seeger” on Feb 8, with two shows, one afternoon one evening performance at the Lake Worth Playhouse Healy’s live performances include both Oneonta College and Fair Harbor coffeehouses, Riverrun Bookstore’s Monday Night Circle, Greystone Bakery Café, WBAI-FM radio and Pumpkin Sail/Sale concerts at The Eighth Step in Albany. Cerniglia’s first live solo was at The Crypt in Brockport, In the 70s he played in two bands, Uncle Tenuse and The Ugly Dirt Band.
They collaborate in a diverse array of projects from family life to fundraising. As Mel and Vinnie, they have appeared countless times at Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival. This Clearwater Flag hangs in their apartment here in Lake Worth.
Pumpkin Sail venues up and down the river, Ferry Sloops fundraisers and sloop club festivals in NY and NJ. They provide a Circle of Song on the Beacon shore for the annual Newburgh to Beacon Swim Across the River to benefit River Pool at Beacon. After twenty years it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. Mel sailed as second mate aboard sloop Clearwater; later served as captain of the ferry sloop Woody Guthrie.
Currently they have been working on a major project of compiling a song book of Mel’s original songs, a collaboration that had been encouraged by Pete. They perform locally and this is a link to their schedule. Also they have graciously volunteered to once again assist the Lake Worth Recreation Advisory Committe in another benefit. They have a song on this CD below which I’ve heralded as the Lake Worth Anthem. “Feel like home” you can hear a snipped of it at the beginning Wes Blackmans”s Friday noon radio program. I do know they have a gig coming at the South Shores Tavern during the StreetPainting Festival. Go hear them play and become a groupie.