Last Saturday, August 25th, residents of Hamilton and Colgate students joined together on the Village Green to celebrate the life of Craig Getchonis.
A Hamilton native, Getchonis tragically took his own life in 2005 at the age of 39. However, residents celebrated his life at the Skyway Festival, a concert dedicated to Getchonis and his undying love for music.
Getchonis was a dedicated musician who played drums, guitar and bass. He recorded much of his original work, and even played drums for perennial Colgate favorite Dangerboy. Although he traveled as far as Los Angeles to promote his art, Getchonis always returned to Hamilton in order to pursue his own creative vision. He recorded his last album, entitled “Spitshine,” in 2001.
Organized by Ray Stahl and Getchonis’s former Colgate Bookstore co-worker Pamme Swan, the Skyway Festival featured performances by several local groups: the Adishakti Dancers, The Hook, Steve Golly, Same Blood Folk, Tommy Hoe and the Barn Cats, Ed Vollmer and the Chickadees, and of course, Dangerboy.
The Swan Road Trio was also scheduled to appear, but their performance was unfortunately cancelled due to rain. While bands had different styles and genres, all paid their respects to Getchonis’s legacy.
In addition to commemorating Getchonis, the Skyway Festival collected proceeds to benefit Hamilton Central School’s music program, with which Getchonis was heavily involved in as a child. Organizers Swan and Stahl hope to continue raising funds to promote Hamilton’s budding musicians, and plans are already underway for a 2008 Skyway Festival.