Sonnenberg’s Moonlight Stroll Concert Series

Festively lit historic garden paths coupled with live music on a balmy summer’s evening make for one of the Finger Lakes’ most unique experiences as Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park kicks off its popular Moonlight Stroll Concert Series on Friday, July 7. These 2-hour concerts will take place every Friday night July 7 through July 28 from 8:00 – 10:00 PM plus a special Sunday concert on August 6 from 6 – 8 pm. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets as well as family, friends or that special someone for an evening out under the stars and strolls through beautiful gardens as live music floats in the air.

These concerts give guests a rare opportunity to partake of the beauty of Sonnenberg’s gardens at night – for this is the one time each year that the gardens are lit and showcased to the public at night. Evening strolls in Sonnenberg’s gardens are a rare treat for the gardens take on a completely different demeanor when the sun drops – shadows grow long, hues deepen, and the fragrance of roses and other blooms become more pronounced in the cool evening air.

Sonnenberg will be bringing a variety of talented musical performers to its grounds for this concert series. The series begins on July 7th with the diverse styles and Caribbean rhythms of Neville Francis and his Riddim Posse band. Sharing a mix reggae styles: Lovers Rock, Roots and Culture and Dancehall, they also cover other styles of Jamaican music like ska and rock steady.

The second concert on July 14th promises to be a magical evening with the Tullamore Celtic Band whose traditional tunes will make guests feel as though they’ve been transported to Ireland herself. Tullamore is an acoustic Irish trio based in Rochester, New York and features Terry O’Toole, Brian Coughlin, and Dick Bolt who specialize in traditional Celtic instrumental and vocal music.  Their arrangements are creative and their shows are entertaining and fun. Also joining us this evening will be dancers from the Young School of Irish Dance.

On July 21st, enjoy the Rochester Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra with its 19-piece ensemble performing jazz in the tradition of the Count Basie Orchestra. The Rochester Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra was established to foster the preservation, education, and celebration of “big band” music and so the band performs favorites such as Count Basie and Duke Ellington as well as well-known standards sung by Ella Fitzgerald and Natalie Cole.

The Panloco Steel Band on July 28th will heat up the night with smooth melodies and rhythms of the Caribbean. Led by percussionist Ted Canning, Panloco explores the unique musical qualities of the steel pan from its traditional Caribbean roots to pop, jazz, classical, and world music. 

The concert series finishes on Sunday August 6th with a special night and time to the sounds of Paulsen & Baker with Tim Chaapel. The music of Paulsen & Baker has been described as Country, Folk, Rock n Roll, and Bluegrass but whatever they are, they want you to have a good time, so they are best described as “good time music.”

Sonnenberg’s own Finger Lakes Wine Center will offer wine by the glass for sale each evening. Light snack food will also be available for purchase. All performances will be held on the Mansion veranda. Chairs will be setup on the lawn for seating but guests are also encouraged to bring their own chairs and blankets to setup on the lawn.

Admission at the door for each Moonlight Series concert will be $10/adults, $8/Sonnenberg members, $5/youth 6-17, and 5 and under are free. Reservations are not necessary and all admission will be at the gate. For the Friday night concerts, the gates will open at 7:30 PM and at 5:30 PM for the Sunday August 6 concert. All concerts will be held rain or shine. Event series sponsored by Lyons National Bank, Ryan’s Wine & Spirits, CIG Insurance, Wegmans Food Markets, Canandaigua National Bank, and Finger Lakes Community Arts Grant thru Auburn Public Theater.


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 Kimberly Burkard (Marketing & Membership) or Executive Director David Hutchings at 585-394-4922.