Lansing at Large: Lansing arts community offers theater, dance, vegetables

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More than 50 people showed up at the CRS Barn Studio on Triphammer Road Dec. 29 to celebrate the more than 800 people who came out to see the Triphammer Arts, Inc. production of “Oklahoma” last summer, a marker of the increasing presence of this Lansing-based community of artists in the regional performing arts scene.


Triphammer Arts sits beautifully above Cayuga Lake, at “the intersection of art and agriculture,” offering indoor and outdoor performance spaces, a dance studio, a recording space, and 65 acres of organic vegetables and farmland.
The whole production is the brainchild of Steven Stull and Jeanne Goddard and is the result of 32 years of their hard work.


Stull is an opera singer and actor from Buffalo who studied at Oberlin College Conservatory and the Eastman School of Music. He has performed “Messiah” 60 times, the last six times in the current holiday season.


Goddard is a choreographer from Woodstock who studied dance and kinesiology at SUNY Binghamton and Brockport. She taught dance at Wells College for 29 years before retiring in 2016.


The two met in a production of “HMS Pinafore” in Buffalo.


It all came together when Stull’s parents, Carol and Robert Stull, purchased the property in 1985 to start the CRS Growers organic vegetable farm.


Stull and Goddard moved there the same year, intending to help on the farm when not teaching and performing. When the elder Stulls built a new barn to support their vegetable packing operation in 1990, they offered a second floor to Goddard as a dance studio.


“It sounds crazy,” Goddard said. “It was like something from a play; like a child’s novel.”


“In performing arts, you operate on a non-fixed schedule,” Stull said. “Dad and Mom ran the farm and I did machine work and harvested asparagus. My brother Scott and his daughter Emma live on the property and they help too.”
“In between times, we got friends together to have little parties,” Stull said. “People sang. People danced. It got more and more formal. We came up with projects. We’re both entrepreneurial. It’s what we do.”


The CRS Barn Studio opened in the summer of 1990, offering dance classes, workshops, and informal performances. Summer solstice gatherings brought poetry, music, and dance together and culminated in pot-luck suppers.


And it grew, “gradual, unplanned, and as ‘organic’ as the resident vegetable crops,” said Goddard.

In the 29 seasons since, Goddard and Stull have led productions of “Downsizing,” “House of Butterflies,” “The Classical Style,” “Pirates of Penzance,” “The Magic Flute,” “Hansel and Gretel,” “HMS Pinafore,” “Camelot,” and “Oklahoma!” They have created and performed their own pieces “The Handel Project” and “Opera Cowpokes,” as well as their annual dance concert “Moving Pieces.”


They incorporated as Triphammer Arts in 2013 to grow the operation further, and provide a structure for paying the artists in their productions.


The organization has attracted national-level talent to mix with regional performers and local amateurs in the productions.


“This is a strong community for people who like to sing and are quite skilled,” Stull said. “In many college productions, everyone is 19 years old. Here, we had a boy in ‘Oklahoma!’ who was eight while our oldest cast member was 85.”
Meantime, the upstairs space is available for rental and remains busy.


“We’ve had rehearsals from Opera Ithaca, Cherry Arts, the Hangar Theater, and the Kitchen Theater. The NEO Project held their Halloween party here,” Stull said.


The schedule for next summer includes:
“Opera Cowpokes Alive,” May 19 at Rose Hall, 19 Church St, in Cortland, (Free)
“Watermusic/Dancing on the Trail,” July 12 in Stewart Park (Free)
“Opera Cowpokes Alive,” Aug. 1 through 4 at CRS Barn Studio Outdoor Stage in Lansing (Tickets available at the door)
“Moving Landscapes, an Evening of Music and Dance,” Aug. 25 at CRS Barn Studio in Lansing NY (Free)

Library to Host Immigration Symposium
The Lansing Community Library will host “Our Broken Immigration System And How To Fix It” with Stephen Yale-Loehr, Professor of Immigration Practice, Cornell Law School and Miller Mayer, LLC, Of Counsel on Jan. 22 beginning at 7 p.m.


Immigration is at the forefront of U.S. politics. Congress last revised our legal immigration system in 1990. Does immigration help or hurt America? How can we reform our immigration laws and policies to balance the needs of the United States in a global economy with the needs of U.S. workers?


Yale-Loehr will explain why our current immigration system doesn’t work and what you can do to help fix it. A question and answer period will follow the presentation.


Space is limited, so please call 607-533-4939 to reserve your spot. The event is free and open to the public.


Lansing at Large is a weekly column telling the stories of the people of Lansing. Submit column ideas and upcoming events to lansingatlarge@gmail.com. Please submit events at least two weeks before the date to ensure publication.

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