CANANDAIGUA  - Lights and music on a midsummer’s eve make for a glorious garden experience, right in your community “backyard,” as Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park kicks off its popular Moonlight Stroll Music Series on Friday, July 6.  It will continue each Friday night in July from 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM.  

For the 8th year, Sonnenberg is bringing a variety of musical performers to the grounds, performing a 2-hour concert for guests enjoying the beauty of the gardens at night. With a variety of musical genres, there’s sure to be something for everyone at Sonnenberg! The series begins with the 198th Army Concert Band on July 6th.  The Concert Band is made up of 30 soldiers, the majority of which are music majors or are professionally tied to the music industry. They play everything from Sousa marches to Wind Ensemble pieces and from War-era classics to Stevie Wonder hits. The 198th Army Band has traveled across the

country performing for thousands of excited audiences, and they look forward to the honor of sharing some of that “Army Esprit de Corps” with you.  July 6th is Sonnenberg Member Appreciation Night; Sonnenberg Members with a valid membership card receive free admission to the 198th Army Concert Band performance.  Sonnenberg memberships can be purchased online at or by calling 585-394-4922.

July 13th promises to be a magical evening with the Tullamore Celtic Band accompanied by the Young School of Irish Dance.  Plus, there will be a special display of hand-painted parasols lit up in the Japanese Garden that evening! On July 20th, enjoy Rochester Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, a 19-piece orchestra performing jazz in the tradition of the Count Basie Orchestra. The MusicMakers Big Band, a 10-member orchestra, will appear on July 27th.   The MusicMakers recreate favorite melodies from the 1930s and 1940s, such as hits from Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey, along with a repertoire that includes  swing, jazz, Latin, Broadway tunes, and more.

Sonnenberg’s own Finger Lakes Wine Center will offer wine by the glass for sale each evening. Light refreshments will also be available from the Friends of Sonnenberg. Sonnenberg Mansion will be open for tours during each concert, as well. Bring lawnchairs or blankets and family, friends or that special someone for an evening out under the stars as the gardens are lit again. This year’s performance venue is the renovated veranda of the Mansion. Guests will be able to spread out blankets and set up seats on the lawn. As always, all concerts will be held rain or shine.

Admission at the door each Friday evening in July will be $9 adults, $7 for Sonnenberg members, $4 for youth 6-17, while those 5 and under are free. Reservations are not necessary as all admission is at the gate.  The gates will open at 7:30 PM.

On Friday, August 10th, Sonnenberg will host Bat McGrath for a special performance from 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM, “Bat, Brats, & Brews.”  Guests may purchase bratwursts and microbrews from Arbor Hill, while enjoying country and folk songs performed by Bat McGrath on the Mansion Veranda.  Bat McGrath began his musical career in a rock band called “The Showstoppers.” Legendary talent scout John Hammond signed the group to Columbia Records and they released two singles. When that band broke up, Bat and Don Potter formed a duo and released an album called “Introducing” on Epic Records in 1969. In the late 70’s, Bat recorded two highly acclaimed solo LP’s on Amherst Records called “From the Blue Eagle” and “The Spy.” After moving to Nashville in the late 80’s, Bat released four CD’s on his own label titled “Back In Love Again,” “So I Do,” “Communicate," and "Perfectly Flawed." Bat has had his songs recorded by Chuck Mangione, Wynonna Judd, Kenny Rogers, Earl Thomas Conley, Chely Wright, Chalee Tennison, Chad Austin, John Landry, and Eclipse.

Admission for “Bat, Brats, & Brews” will be $12 adults, $10 for Sonnenberg members, $6 for youth 6-17, while those 5 and under are free. Reservations are not necessary as all admission is at the gate.  The gates will open at 6:30 PM.

All musical performances for the 2012 series have been underwritten in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Program, administered locally through the Phelps Arts Center.

Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park is one of America’s longest surviving estates from the Victorian Era. The elegant Queen Anne-style mansion was built in 1887 in Canandaigua by New York City financier Frederick Ferris Thompson, and his wife, Mary Clark Thompson, as a summer home. Between 1901 and 1920, the widowed Mrs. Thompson and her staff created the nine formal gardens seen today. The grounds are open to the public from May 1 through October 31 each year. Sonnenberg is a non-profit organization dependent upon the support of members and sponsors and its dedicated corps of volunteers. For more information on the revival of the grand estate on the “sunny hill,” contact Development & Marketing Manager Lisa Scott or Executive Director David Hutchings at 585-394-4922.


Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park 151 Charlotte Street Canandaigua, NY 14424 Press Contact: Events Manager Deborah J.C. Kelly, 585-919-0087 (