Music from Castle Craig

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The Olde Church Acoustic Series took to the heights of Meriden to deliver our November offering of CT singers and songwriters. The weather was chilly, but the music was hot!

The Bargain was back with fresh material and a great sound. Frank Critellii traded his usual role as emcee for performer, along with Shandy Lawson and Muddy Rivers.

Proving that CT’s musical youth are a force on the scene, Quinn Miller knocked it out of the (Hubbard) park with an energetic set of original tunes, and a voice that belies her age.

Watch the show and if you are able, please support our artists by contributing to their Venmo accounts noted during the second song of each performance.  We thank everyone for their ongoing support!

As always, the spirit of Mike Wilcox is ever in our hearts!

Rest in Peace Mike Wilcox

Farewell to a Champion of the CT Music Scene

Our fearless leader and the Founder of the Old Church Series, Mike Wilcox, passed away on Saturday. His love for family and music was unmatched.  As you can imagine, the tributes have been rolling across social media, here is just a taste:

“He was so dedicated to the musicians and the music. I will miss his spirit and enthusiasm and his love of music.”

“He was one of the nicest guys and such a pillar of the music scene in CT, a true light.”

“A champion of the local music scene. Kind, genuine, bonafide nice guy. Good guy. This hurts”

“Mike was such a force of nature and he will be deeply missed. His earth journey is over and he is home. No more pain, no more stress.”  

“Every time I was with Mike Wilcox, we sang songs, told stories, and had a few laughs with a small group of brothers and sisters. I will always be grateful for that”

“When you weren’t organizing, promoting, and hosting, you were in the crowd”

“Mike was one of the most selfless people I will ever know. His constant generosity will forever be unmatched”

“Thank you Mike for all the support and love you’ve given to myself and so many artists. Your legacy lives on forever.” 

Join us Thursday Oct 8 in Meriden

We will be planning a proper full-tilt musical tribute to Mike’s life when the pandemic allows, so please stay tuned for that.  Before learning of Mike’s passing, the Olde Church Acoustic Series team had planned an outdoor “on-the-road” event for Thursday Oct 8, 4pm, at the Rosa Ponselle Memorial Garden at the Augusta Curtis Memorial Cultural Center, 175 East Main Street Meriden CT.  Join us if you can for a nice evening of music featuring: 

 – The Podunk Throwbacks
 – The Moon Shells 
 – David Taylor Coffey

All Phase 3 Protocols will be observed.  Be physically distant and wear masks!  Donations are welcome but not required.  

Harmony-driven traditional NewGrass from New Haven.

Listen here

The Podunk Throwbacks finish the evening in ethereal acoustic jam fashion.

Listen here

Thank you Mike Wilcox – for everything. ☮️🕉💜🎶

Six Songs for Sunday – Back Outside

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Returning to the church’s cozy outdoor venue with perfect August weather, two amazing artists shared three of their uniquely original songs.  Connecticut’s own Pat Dalton and Kierstin Sieser offered a nice respite from these strange days in this latest session from the Olde Church Acoustic Series.

Pat Dalton

Pat Dalton is a leader in the Connecticut music scene while also a member of the band The Proud Flesh.  As he sings three originals here, one can sense the influences of his inspirations Leonard Cohen,Tom Waits and Paul Simon.  

Kierstin Sieser

As the leader of the band Tiny Ocean, Sieser (that’s pronounced “Caesar”!) is celebrating the recent release of her solo LP called “Shark Tooth Moon” and is generously donating all proceeds to the New Haven Creative Sector Relief Fund benefitting artists affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Listeners will hear the unplanned whistle of the CTRail train roll through during her third song, so Kierstin played a “bonus track”, technically making this the first “Seven Songs for Sunday” event!

If you are able, please support our artists by contributing to their Venmo accounts noted during the second song of each performance.  We thank everyone for their ongoing support!

Six Songs for Sunday – The Gallery 53 Sessions

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Stephanie Clark Harris
Mark Mirando

We keep finding ways to bring you new music!

The Olde Church Acoustic series was honored to host Mark Mirando and Stefanie Clark Harris this week. 

Because of the oppressive heat and a stormy forecast, we recorded across the street at Gallery 53, the home of CT’s oldest arts and crafts association and a beautiful venue for the best local artists.  We are fortunate to have such great neighbors.  So, please take a listen, and if you can, please support our songwriters through Venmo contributions (accounts are noted in the video) and follow these artists on the various social media platforms!

Six More Songs for Sunday

We’re still trying to find the right balance of re-opening up the music series;  we want the performers and the attendees to all be comfortable and safe.  We recently stage an outdoor “soft” debut, with a few of our crew and spouses in attendance to get a feel for how we might do this again – even better. 

We were very honored to have Jason Ingriselli and Ashley Hamel each play a few of their original songs in the cool little outdoor nook behind First Church of Meriden.  You can enjoy their fine performances right here and, if you are able, please support their music platforms (details below). 

Special thanks to Meriden Police Chaplain Clarence Hayes for taking the initiative to prep our venue and thanks of course to First Church of Meriden for hosting. Thank you all for your continued support and see you soon.

Stay tuned for announcements soon on our plans to bring you more great music!

Ashley Hamel at OCAS-2089

To support our performers:

Jason IngriselliVenmo @iJasonJamesor

Ashley HamelVenmo @aahamel   or

Six Songs for Sunday

These have certainly been trying times for everyone. Thankfully, there has been great music all around us to help manage the ups and downs.  Your Olde Church Acoustic team would like to give you these six songs recorded at First Church of Meriden for your listening pleasure.

Our good friend Denise Jones of Inner Groove leads off with three of her original tunes that are both fitting and therapeutic for these times.  New Haven’s S.G. Carlson closes with three of his songs that will get your toes tappin’.  

We would like to dedicate this event to Denise and all the medical workers who have been on the front lines during these stressful 60 days. 

Please, everyone, be safe and be smart so we can open the Series for live shows again soon!

Hitting “pause”…

As you can imagine, the Olde Church Acoustic Series music schedule is on hold because of the COVID-19 situation.  We look forward to the day when we’ll be back in action, but until then please do whatever you can to support your local CT singer/songwriters, artists, restaurants and local communities.

For Connecticut’s musicians and small businesses, here is a link to a recent Community Economic Development Foundation (CEDF) presentation that walks through potential SBA funding that might provide you support during this downturn:

Government programs are ever-evolving so be sure to stay up-to-date through CEDF or CT DECD (

Also, here is a site of potential resources more specifically geared to freelance artists:

Most importantly, please stay safe.  Our next show – whenever it will be – will be extra special.  Peace.

Dave, Denise, Frank, Mike and the entire OCAS team

A great night of music…

On Friday, March 6th, the Olde Church Acoustic Series show returned to its familiar “Old Church” format with three great performances and an overwhelming turnout.  The night was extra special as it included the debut of the church’s Steinway piano!  

Wallingford’s Brooke Dougan kicked off the evening and wowed the crowd with her creativity and acoustic stylings; we were also honored to have hosted her first-ever performance on the piano.

Hartford’s Bandshes serenaded with their sweet harmonies accompanied by the piano.  

Supergroup “The Bargain” (Frank Critelli, Shandy Lawson and Mike Rivers) closed the evening with a set of fun new songs; Shandy shined on the mandolin while Mike did the same on guitar while Frank told stories in song.  

The food – especially the Irish white bean stew – received rave reviews too!  

We look forward to seeing everyone on Friday, Apr 3 when three more talented CT singer songwriters take the stage — Bill Ludwig with MARMO, Andrew Biagirelli, and Daphne Lee Martin.  Dinner at 6; music at 7!

Join us on Friday, March 6th at 7pm for our next show!

Nothing brings community together or cuts through the noise of the day like a song sung well!

We’re stoked for our first “official” Olde Church Acoustic concert on Friday, March 6th! We appreciate the warm welcome extended by Pastor Bruce Miller and the First Church family as they have offered this majestic, yet intimate, meeting place as a unique venue to promote the lively and diverse spirit of Connecticut’s best singer/songwriters. (And the food is great too!)

Our debut in February was a tremendous success, attributed first and foremost to the outpouring of support from over 25 talented artists who gave their time to pay homage to our founder, Mike Wilcox. In so doing, they helped keep the music series Mike created moving forward.

And for Friday night’s show, Frank Critelli is back as emcee to bring you an incredible line up of new musicians and some old friends.

Sixteen year old Brooke Dougan has been crafting fine songs for several years and sharing them with audiences at CJ Sparrow in Cheshire, Best Video in Hamden, the State House in Hartford and a variety of coffee shops in the region.  We are excited to have her open up our first “official” show!

Bandshes is a trio from Hartford, CT and describe their sound as “reminiscent of Doris Day, if she had been born in the 90s, listened to a lot of Regina Spektor, and then wrote music with her best friends.”  Come enjoy their harmonies and the Series debut of the Old Church’s Steinway piano!

Closing out the evening will be an exciting new songwriter collaboration, “The Bargain”.  In January 2019, Mike “Muddy” Rivers showed up at the home of Frank Critelli with a bottle of whiskey and a guitar. Shandy Lawson arrived soon after. The three made a bargain with the Devil – and each other – to write down, record, and perform the songs they lassoed while sitting around the kitchen table.  No better venue than the oldest church in Meriden to show off songs written by these talented storytellers!

Dinner is available for purchase starting at 6pm in Smith Hall at the back of the church.

  • Main Dish – $10
    • Corned Beef with carrots, potatoes, cabbage and Irish soda bread
  • Lighter Meals
    • $3 Bowl of Irish white bean chili (vegetarian & gluten free)
      • $5 with Irish soda bread (regular and gluten free)
    • $2 Hot Dogs
  • Bagged snacks (chips, etc) – $1
  • Assorted Desserts – $2

Our First Show in Meriden!

While in the thick of planning the Meriden debut of the Old Church Concert Series, we could not have imagined a better outcome. Friday, February 7, 2020 was a spectacular night of music and community spirit with a veritable “who’s who” of CT’s finest singer/songwriters joining fans old and new to christen the new venue and honor Mike Wilcox, who created this unique series four years ago. We are so thankful he has trusted us with his “baby”.

Mike Wilcox

Please bear with us – we have so many to thank! HUGE gratitude to Frank Critelli for handling the challenging emcee duties like the pro he is. Meriden is incredibly fortunate to have this man of music in its midst!

First Church of Meriden

Pastor Bruce Miller and the First Church of Meriden enthusiastically opened their doors to us and have been tremendously supportive. The First Church’s amazing “kitchen krew” received rave reviews for the great food. Our crack operations team handled the million details and should be acknowledged as well — Bruce Burchsted, for not only his printing and signage skills but his wisdom as well. Pat Coffey and Steve Bradley embraced the setup and soundboard for 24 acts which is no small feat! Kathy Matula brought great ideas and greeted everyone with a smile at the door. Kate Garrahy coordinated the collectable T-shirts as a special treat for Mike and the team. Thanks also to the city’s Howard Weissberg and CTRail for bringing creative solutions to the mix.

Check out photos from Connor Gagne Photography here, and video from Hollywood East Productions.

We ask everyone to please support our many generous sponsors: Telefunken ElektroakustikGallery 53; the City of Meriden, CT; Midstate Chamber of Commerce; Prentis Printing Solutions; The L. Suzio York Hill Companies; The Downtown Coffee Shop; Kingship Recording CompanyIlliano’s Ristorante & Pizzeria Meriden; Hunter’s Ambulance Service; Meriden YMCA; La Poblanita Restaurant; Sudor Taino Group Fitness; CaroVail, Inc.; The Local Pizzaria; Making Meriden Business CenterMeriden Parks & Recreation Department; and Joseph F Feest. Big thanks for continuing support from the Acoustic Blender – WESU FM, Middletown CTHomegrown-The Connecticut Connected Music Show on WESU FM; WWUH; WHUS Radio; CYGNUS RADIO; iCRV Radio; WPLR’s Local Band Show; WPKN Independent Community Radio, and CONNECTICUT ROCKS! Radio as well. Be sure to check out their broadcasts.

Mike Wilcox with the evening’s musicians (photo by Zoo Front)

Of course, this event would not have succeeded without the generosity of CT’s singer/songwriter community who volunteered their valuable time and amazing talent to honor Mike and help us kickoff the Series in Meriden. Please support these great artists whenever possible: No Line NorthCanyon.Chris Bousquet – American ElmElana ZabariSay LoveShannon Mulready Music PageJeff Burnham & the InsidersSeth AdamGilead Road; MeggieZoo FrontSeat Of Our PantsStill RiversPigeon EnglishKat Wallace and David SassoShannon McMahonThe Moon Shells; Lys GuillornAmong The AcresNick Depuy Music and Barbie Tatum; the “Professor” Richard Neal; and Frank Critelli. Of course, huge thanks to the beautiful crowd who attended and please mark your calendars for Friday, March 6 when we will be back to the standard three-artist format!

With sincere gratitude to all,
David Emmett Cooley & Denise Jones