Custode named 'People's Choice' at music festival

Contributed PhotoChristina Custode, a Niagara Falls music teacher and singer/songwriter, has been named the "People's Choice" winner for the upcoming Reel Harmony Songwriter's Festival being held Saturday in Roscoe, NY.

Niagara Falls singer/songwriter Christina Custode, was voted the "People's Choice" for the Reel Harmony Songwriter's Festival being held Saturday in Roscoe, NY.

Custode, a music teacher at Niagara Falls High School who has been called the Carole King of her generation, will also be headlining at the event, which is being sponsored by Roscoe Beer and being held at 145 Rockland Road in Roscoe, which is a small town in Sullivan County southwest of the Town of Rockland, adjacent to New York State Route 17.

The third annual festival is being called "A day of music in the spirt of Woodstock's 50th anniversary."

Custode, speaking from the road on her "Just in Case Tour," took a few minutes to talk about her reaction to the honor.

QUESTION: Wow. The People's Choice!  That's a big deal, right?

ANSWER: It's a huge deal to be voted the People's Choice winner. I am absolutely thrilled. 

•••Q: How did the award come about?

A: I had submitted to participate in the festival.  I was selected with 11 other songwriters from all over the country and that alone was huge honor.


Q: What did you have to submit to be selected.

A: You have to send your biography, your past performances and your music, obviously, because they want to make sure to have the best quality they can have for a festival like this.


Q: Have you played this festival before?

A: I played the very first year that this festival was held. I really loved it there. I thought it was a really sweet town and a really great run festival.


Q: Where is Roscoe?

A: It's over near the Catskills, right near Woodstock and that's really the inspiration for the festival. They're trying to bring back that spirit of supporting original music and songwriters which was what Woodstock was, it was all original music, it wasn't a bunch of cover bands. 


Q: So, you're the headliner as the "People's Choice" award winner?

A: Yes, I am the headliner of the festival. It's unbelievable. It's amazing. 


Q: You've worked so hard for this type of recognition. Do you feel a little bit vindicated?

A: It's always wonderful when something falls in your favor.  Yes, I have worked so hard. Right now, I'm on tour. It's always so wonderful when when something you really want happens. Which is true of everyone right?  It's the People's Choice and they chose me which makes it even more special.


Q: Where are you now?

A: I am in Portland, Maine, right now an then I'm heading to Burlington, Vermont, and then the tour is wrapping up at the festival. That's my last show of the tour. It's been 11 shows in 16 days. I left on July 24 and I haven't been home since.


Q: I think this honor is even more special because promoting local music is what you do with your Songwriters Series. When is your next one?

A: I'm very passionate about local music and giving a voice to independent artists. My next Songwriter Series is Aug. 17.  I'm back at the Mug and Musket in Youngstown with Dale Campell.


Q: Dale Campbell is a songwriter?

A: Yes, and you see he never gets to do his stuff. Your response says everything.


Q: What kind of music does he write?

A: It's country-based. He's going to be there playing and singing and telling his stories and his approach. It's all his own stuff. 


Q: And you, of course, will be performing as well? 

A: Yes, I do an hour set and the guest artist does an hour set and the last hour we trade back and fourth. It's a really nice format.

For more information on Christina Custode or to listen to her music, visit online at

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