Ron Finck Memorial Scholarship Concert
December 2. This annual event, now in its fourth year, remembers local saxman and bandleader Ron Finck, who almost single-handedly populated Ulster County with jazz musicians by importing them from New York to fill the bandstands of Catskill hotels. The show benefits a musical scholarship in Ron’s name at Rondout Valley High School, and son Matt (a Rondout grad) founded both the show and the scholarship. Matt and a few of Ron’s former band mates—trombonist Roswell Rudd, bassist Charlie Knicely, drummer T. Xiques, pianist Mike Kull, and saxophonist Rob Scheps—will swing and sway the Rosendale Cafe. The song list will include the music of some of Ron’s favorite composers (Monk, Coleman, Ellington), alongside original compositions by son Matt. 3pm. $10. Rosendale. (845) 658-9048; www.rosendalecafe.com
Celebrating John Lennon
December 8. Jim Marzano’s cozy AIR Gallery in midtown Kingston remembers a sad event, the assassination of John Lennon, with a happy one: “Celebrating the Music of John Lennon.” Hosted by Denise Jordan Finley and Daniel Pagdon, the night’s other musical guests include Pete Santora, a cast member of the original “Beatlemania.” The music of Lennon and the lads still holds up incredibly well in the hands of other performers, so expect some magical moments. 8pm. $10 per person or $15 “two-fer” (includes refreshments). Kingston. (845) 331-2662; www.airstudiogallery.com
December 14. Curtis’s vivid songs combine insightful lyrics with energetic strumming, best heard on her hit “Soulfully,” which received major radio airplay and was featured in episodes of “Dawson’s Creek” and “Chicago Hope.” Beyond the prime time, her songwriting portrays real, modern topics: domestic violence, religion, homelessness, peace, and gay rights issues. In 2006, her tune “People Look Around” won the grand prize in the International Songwriting Competition, out of a field of 15,000 entries from 82 countries. Last time we saw Elza, she was taking surfing lessons and fielding major label interest as she landed a song on TV’s “Smallville.” Don’t miss these big-time gals at the Towne Crier. 9pm. $25, $30. Pawling. (845) 855-1300; www.townecrier.com
December 15. What do you call Christian death metal? Life metal? Find out when the mighty VYLE takes the stage at Ulster County’s newest hard rock hang, The Basement (previously The Forum). The new club has been booking an aggressive (pun intended) schedule of bands that usually have to schlep to the Chance complex to draw a crowd. Kerhonkson’s VYLE headlines tonight with its blend of raw vocals and ear-splitting riffs. (Note to musicians: VYLE drummer Tim also mans the counter at Dynamic Drums music store in Accord.) 9:30pm. $5. Kingston. www.myspace.com/744Broadway
Woodstock MusicWorks Holiday Party
December 21. With A&R help from promoter Paul Schiavo, Ralph Schiano’s new label and artist development company Woodstock MusicWorks has quickly made a name for itself by culling the best music the legendary village has to offer into one working consortium. With apparently unlimited access to the Colony Cafe stage, WMW throws itself a holiday party tonight worth hitting, featuring Naked, Ben Vita, Liana Turner, Les Bicyclettes Blanches, and rock-star-on-the-rise Victoria Poptrashbaby. Check the label’s new MySpace page for a list of its many upcoming multimedia events and projects. 8pm. $10. Woodstock. (845) 679-5342; www.myspace.com/woodstockmusicworks.
New Year’s Eve with Thunder Ridge
December 31. Thunder Ridge can rock a party big or small, and the band has found a home at the just-right Hickory BBQ smokehouse on Route 28 between Kingston and Woodstock. Singer Dorraine Scofield and the boys tour like pros while still somehow keeping their day jobs. The band’s repertoire of country and country rock charms everyone from rednecks to weekenders, and dancing is always encouraged at its gigs—line or otherwise. This first-night celebration will be a tasty one, both gastronomically and musically, and reservations are strongly recommended. 9pm. Call for ticket prices. Kingston. (845) 338-2424; www.hickoryrestaurant.com.