The Falcon’s story begins with a church in the Hudson River Valley hamlet of Marlboro, NY. It had been built by a Methodist congregation in the early 19th century, who stuck it out till the 1960s and left when they merged with another congregation. In the mid-1990s, Cyril Nolen, of the Knights of Columbus, a selfless and generous man, organized a benefit to raise funds for a homeless shelter he was building in Newburgh, NY. Cyril brought life to the old building by hiring a rock band with the impossible name of “The Wild Animals of North America” led by Tony Falco.
Falco, naturally engaging by virtue of his musicianship and interests in the arts, and naturally civic-minded, by virtue of his homeownership in Marlboro, saw a community center with endless possibilities. He bought the tired architectural relic and rented half to the Marlboro Children’s Center, a day care service, reserving the other half for various music performances. It was a money pit.
Relief came by way of the United States Postal Service of Marlboro, NY. They made Falco an offer. Now here’s the messy but magical part. They wanted the land, not the church. Falco set about dismantling the place, carefully removing and storing each architectural detail for its next destination.
“If you build it, they will come”
A magnificent building began to grow behind the Falco home. Exquisite stained glass windows, imposing doors and beams were employed to create what appeared to be a well proportioned “carriage house”. The real magic, though, was concentrated in the upper floor – an intimate listening room of a concert hall.
In 2001, Tony Falco became an art & music promoter, forming Falcon Music & Art Production, Inc., and began the now legendary, private house concert series. Gallery walls were made available to painters & photographers. The remarkable space with its fine acoustics was outfitted with a studio grand piano, stage lighting, a sound & PA system and seating for nearly 100.
When asked how long it was before The Falcon was discovered by the upper echelon of the music world, Falco answered, “About two months.” These well-regarded players, many of whom were Grammy Award nominees & winners, had found a “home away from home” – an intimate space where they could play without restriction to an appreciative, generous audience. The response to these private performances was unbelievably enthusiastic! The community attended, listened and supported living artists, using a donation box and a potluck table for their contributions.
If there’s an award in the music world for hospitality, it goes, hands down, to Tony & Julie Falco and their children. The world over, one can find musicians who have not only played well at The Falcon, but have eaten and slept well in the Falco home.
The success of the series strained the small facility. In 2005, Falcon Music & Art Productions, Inc. purchased a 19th century button factory in the center of the hamlet of Marlboro. 1348 Route 9W, Marlboro, New York, is perched over the Marlboro Falls, once used to power the factory. Through the years, the main floor of the building had been a roller-skating rink, community center and a cabinet factory.
It has become the “Village Vanguard of the Hudson Valley” and on a regular rotation with New York City’s most respected venues; a rural Mecca for the finest in multiple genres; to include jazz, blues, rock, world music and contemporary chamber music.
Within nine weeks of the opening, The New York Times ran a story with the sub-head, “Away from Manhattan’s urban frenzy, one man’s hospitality has created an intimate stage for top tier musicians.”
The 3,500 square foot main floor provides the acoustically correct, live performance venue with a 24’ X 16’ stage. The Falcon’s backline is assembled to please its artists – Yamaha C7 grand piano, a Hammond B3 organ with the sought-after Leslie amp & pedals, full drum kit, guitar & bass amps, powered monitors with separate mixes, along with light and sound systems of excellent quality.
Gallery space on the main floor presents & promotes the work of visual artists and photographers from the Hudson Valley to New York City. Exhibitions feature a different artist every two months. The Falcon takes no fee from art sales, but encourages visitors to buy original pieces from the artists.
The barroom was created entirely with recycled materials. The bar itself had a past life as a shuffleboard. Kitchen facilities are designed to provide creative, affordable food for the live performances and support catered events on the lower floor, which is nearing completion. The Falcon’s deck seats diners over the dramatic gorge that is Marlboro Falls. At the lower level, a patio area and a rock-walled pathway and lookout attract those seeking a complete experience – fine food, world-class music and an unforgettable natural setting.
The Falcon welcomes everyone. There are no tickets, no cover charge and no minimum. The venue encourages contributions to the careworn donation box, which remains as both a symbol of democracy in the arts and a way for any patron, of any financial strata, to give what they will and what they can, in support of the living artists whose work they have enjoyed. This fund goes directly to the extraordinary performing musicians in the main act, demonstrating The Falcon’s respect and gratitude for their skill, and livelihood.
For more details, please see The Falcon’s website: http://www.liveatthefalcon.com, as well as HVMusicScene.com for up-to-date show information.
The Falcon is located at 1348 Route 9W in Marlboro