Niagara Gazette

Local News

September 24, 2013

County historian brings back the sweet sounds of Niagara's past

Niagara Gazette — LEWISTON — Deputy Niagara County Historian Ron Cary doesn't see his manner of dress as a costume.

When he's performing at Old Fort Niagara or, as he was Monday, in front of a crowd for the Historical Association of Lewiston, he's simply wearing clothes. That's what they are to a reenactor such as himself. Just clothes.

Still, his period attire, costume or not, was meant to replicate as close to possible the dress of a traveling musician from the late 1700s or early 1800s, the theme of his popular presentation, which includes not only his clothing but also his music. It's a show Cary, a former music teacher in North Tonawanda, said is particularly gratifying.

"It's just fun telling people about the history," he said. "And that I can couple my love for music, my love for playing the guitar, with telling the history, it's great. I've always said if I wasn't a music teacher, I would've been a history teacher."

The show is part of the outreach program the county's historian office provides. So Cary and his two colleagues are often seen around the county offering bits of history lessons to groups who want to bring them in.

In the case of the Historical Association of Lewiston, Monday's performance, which took over the bar at Water Street Landing in Lewiston, was a chance to test the possibility of a continuing program with the performer.

Association President Leandra Collesano said Cary, who first performed for the group last year to a standing-room only crowd at the Lewiston Stone House, could easily become a yearly guest should he choose to accept.

Cary, meanwhile, said just performing a second program was new.

"I have a standard set of songs I perform," he said. "This was the first time I'd ever had to come up with a second set of songs. It's also the first time I've performed as a tavern musician in an actual tavern. Usually I'm in other places."

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