Discoverable exhibitions showcase Cortland’s concert heritage




Last Thursday, a dedicated group of SUNY Cortland alumni removed the sheets from six shadow boxes mounted in Corey Union’s basement, revealing a 30-year history of big-name concerts on campus.

3 shadow boxes
Three of the six shadowboxes on display

Boxes – filled with ticket stubs, newspaper articles, concert posters and saucer-sized 45s records – document the ‘golden age’ of concerts on the SUNY Cortland campus from 1960 to 1990. During this time, the largest popular music groups toured colleges and Cortland. was one of their favorite stops.

Billy Joel, the Grateful Dead, Beach Boys, Eagles, Simon & Garfunkel, Linda Ronstadt and dozens of other chart-topping artists form the musical legacy of SUNY Cortland and are represented by the giant instrument wall sculpture. pieces that serve as a centerpiece for Corey Union’s Lower Level, explained Sonia Sochia, commemorative project organizer and member of the Musical Legacy Committee.

This sculpture, created by local artist and alum Scott Oldfield ’06, was unveiled in August 2019. The shadow boxes of memories were meant to help explain its meaning.

“In March 2020, they were completed, hung up and covered up,” Sochia explained. “The unveiling event was scheduled for April 2, 2020. Then COVID happened.”

The event has been postponed to October 7 of this year. Ahead of last Thursday’s discovery ceremony, members of the campus community walked past the boxes that had been wrapped for 18 months.

Director of Campus Activities and Corey Union Kevin Pristash ’85, M ’91,
pulls out a leaf to reveal the university’s musical heritage.

The speaker at the unveiling event was David “Rock” Feinstein, former guitarist of heavy metal icon and Cortland native Ronnie James Dio. Dio, who led legendary hard rock and heavy metal bands like Black Sabbath, Rainbow and Dio, performed at SUNY Cortland in the 1960s and early 1970s. Feinstein currently owns and operates Restaurant The Hollywood on Groton Avenue.

Other committee members who attended the event included Kevin Pristash ’85, M ’91, Director of Campus Activities and Corey Union; Ralph Shortell ’66, Gordon Valentine ’68, Rocco Scaptura ’68 and Jack Samuels ’73.

The Musical Legacy Project began in 2018 as part of SUNY Cortland’s 150th anniversary celebration.



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