The Susquehanna String Band
The Susquehanna String Band is unique among today’s traditional music groups. Rick Bunting, Dan Duggan, and John Kirk are all accomplished solo performers in a wide variety of styles of music, and each is recognized as an outstanding musician. They combine their talents in a way that highlights their individuality and creates an exciting ensemble effect in the performance of traditional music from America and the British Isles. The versatility and vocal & instrumental skill of the Susquehanna String Band in demonstrated in the fact that two orchestral pieces have been written especially for them. “The Celtic Suite” and “The Americana Suite” (both by Dave Harvey) have been performed with The Utica Symphony, The Catskill Symphony, The Schenectady Symphony, and The Chamber Orchestra of Northern New York. They have four recording projects to there credit including their latest release, “Auld Lang Syne”.
We all first played together as the Susquehanna String Band in Bainbridge, NY on the banks of the Susquehanna River in 1979. SUNY Fredonia is a common thread of our origins as well. Rick was John’s voice teacher there (in 1973) and Rick created a band with students there called – “The U.E. Dodge Review” – U.E. Dodge was the first Grand Master of the first Grange in America located on Main Street in Fredonia, NY (a rather grim portrait of Mr. Dodge hangs in the Grange – when we first saw his visage, we knew to name the band for him – perhaps it would cheer him up to know this!). Members of that band included the late and great, Tom Stocky, also, Jack & Richard Bowden, Brian Rotach, Tom Zook and – Rick & John.
Tom Stocky and John met Dan in 1978 and started playing music as a group (the Bonzo Bluegrass Band), and in 1979, Tom, John, and Dan first played with Rick as the Susquehanna String Band – at the Town Hall Opry in Bainbridge, NY. We lost Tom in 1980 after a valiant battle with leukemia. The band continued on from there and over the past 37 years, we have played in colleges, concert halls, schools, and with symphony orchestras. Over these many years we have been joined, on stage and in the studio, by many friends AND family members. It is a wonderful list: Dorian Bunting, Trish Miller, Maya & Tannar Bunting-Cliffe, Peggy Lynn, Scott Lavine, Greg McCrea, Jenny Grote-Malanowski, Cedar Stanistreet, Tom Hodgson, Henry Jankowitz, and many, many more.
We continue on with residences and concerts in this our 37th year still enjoying our friendship and love of making music together!!