"In July, 1966, just before NYCB began its first season, original contributors to SPAC & the people involved in the actual construction of the Center were treated to an invitation-only preview performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream. It was a magical night-a literal midsummer night's dream come true! I remember wondering what it would be like for a stranger to Saratoga wandering through the park that night to come upon this scene."
David, Saratoga Springs, NY
"I remember being at the Grateful Dead show in 1985 (still the attendance record show I believe). It was so mobbed that people were standing in the restrooms to listen to the show, as there wasn't a single spot remaining on the lawn. It was an absolute blast. I am 48 now but was a senior in high school at the time."
Ed, Saratoga Springs, NY
"I have been connected to SPAC since it's creation . I remember with great wonder seeing Balanchine , Kirstein and Robbins on the spectacular stage at SPAC with all of it's majesty. Growing up in Schenectady, I danced with Lillian Seeley , Phyllis Marmein , and Gertrude Hallenbeck at the Albany Academy For Girls in high school .I raised four daughters , all of whom danced with Darlene Myers, at The Northeast Ballet , and David Otto , at the Capitol Ballet. Ever since my girls were young children ,we have shared the beauty and love of ballet . When I first took them to SPAC ,I remember the looks of amazement and wonder on their faces when they saw the dancers appear on stage ,the costumes, scenery , live orchestra, and how engrossed they were in the stories . As they became older and more advanced in their dance studies and performances, the experiences became more insightful and they identified more with the performers. It has become a yearly tradition for myself and the girls , even through their college years until present ,married with children and living very busy lives ,scattered throughout the northeast , to enjoy a beautiful ballet experience "en famille" at SPAC. Taking my first granddaughter to the ballet five years ago was as magical for me as it was for her. It always brings back such warm and cherished memories ! I look forward to continuing the family tradition with our newest family member very soon. Every year I wait with great anticipation for the NYCB schedule so that I can plan our next lovely SPAC ballet experience."
Beth, Albany, NY
"At the young age of 14 The Who was the first concert I had the pleasure to see at SPAC in Aug. of 71'. What a way to start a 44 year run and still going strong."
Stuart, Binghamton, NY
"My mother ushered the night SPAC opened. She attended the orchestra August 14 - this year - and died two weeks later, at the age of 92. It would be hard to put into words how much SPAC meant to her and to our entire family.
To those of us who grew up in this area, SPAC provided opportunities that are almost hard to believe. From Janis Joplin to Patricia McBride ...my mother made sure we saw it all.
I am forever grateful that the brilliant founders of SPAC created this fabulous home for the arts."
Mary Ellen, Saratoga Springs, NY
"About 20 years, the morning that Chicago was scheduled to play at SPAC, my daughter and I decided to go. I told her that the tickets might not be that good since we waited until the last day to go. When I called the box office I was told they had just opened the section where the orchestra might since they don't need one for Chicago. They sold me two front row tickets. That was only the beginning. As we were enjoying the show in our front row seats, in one of the songs, one of the guitarists threw his guitar pick out on the stage and I was able to reach it for my daughter. As it turned out, one of the other guitarists also threw his guitar pick in another song and I was able to get for myself. What an evening we will never forget. If we want to remember it, all we do is look at the guitar picks to help us."
Peter, Kingston, NY
"I've had the good fortune of attending SPAC performances since the very beginning. My highlights include trips to the performers' dressing rooms post concerts (they used to allow that), second row seats for THE BAND, meeting and chatting with Theodore Bikel, Peter, Paul & Mary, Pete Seeger and other notables. I wasn't even out of college. Ah, the early days! The Supremes, Simon & Garfunkle, Stevie Wonder are only a few of the many memorable early concerts. Did I mention the orchestra and dance performances? Every one was thoroughly enjoyable! And the beat goes on."
Herb, Glens Falls, NY
"Could it be 50 (probably 51) years ago that I sat in a little group of Saratoga High School band members, playing my flute, at the SPAC ground breaking at which Governor Nelson Rockefeller spoke? It was so exciting to be there at the beginning and so nice to be around to see SPAC through these many years. Not even going to mention all the wonderful shows, seated inside or on the lawn. What a wonderful place."
Lynn, Saratoga Springs, NY / Springfield, NJ
"My husband Dave and I had our first official date at SPAC, on the lawn for the Philadelphia Orchestra's presentation of Looney Tunes. We now live in Saratoga and our daughter Lilli loves the ballet & orchestra in the summer. It's a family tradition!"
Traci, Saratoga Springs, NY
"It's impossible to convey the magic of SPAC with just one story. From my first time seeing Dave Matthews Band in the late 90's; to being able to go backstage at Farm Aid and meet the legendary Willie Nelson; to spending every Family Friday night of the summer on the lawn with my kids, amazing classical performances, a picnic, and the stars, summer would not be the same without SPAC."
Melanie, Saratoga Springs, NY
I was working at the Perless pool during the construction and opening of SPAC. We very often were given free tickets to the ballet and orchestra to fill the seats during the first year I was thrilled to be able to see most of the NYC ballet performances.
We moved overseas for many years, but alwawys came back to Saratoga to see our family and got to see performancs at SPAC.
A few of my favorite performances /times was for the Orchestra on the lawn in the early years, with family and friends with beer and Kentucky fried chicken [suds and cluck] The best performance I ever saw was Elton John. He never left the stage!
We are back in Saratoga now and are enjoying what SPAC has to offer."
Susan, Saratoga Springs, NY
" I attended the ballet during 'date night' during the classical series at SPAC. It was a real-life date night for my budding relationship. My date and I enjoyed a picnic on the lawn and took silly pictures in the photobooth. That date turned into many more dates and a marriage proposal after fireworks on the SPAC lawn. We're now married and make the classical series at SPAC a tradition every year."
Sarah, Albany, NY
" I've seen Bruce Springsteen over 100 times, usually in large arenas and stadiums. I saw him at SPAC a few years ago from the pit in front of the stage. It's an experience I'll never forget thanks to the intimacy of SPAC."
Rick, New Rochelle, NY
" I purchased tickets for the Lionel Ritchie concert for my mother who is 78 years old. We love SPAC and we always stay at the Gideon Putnam hotel. Our tickets were for the lawn area so I carried our chairs down to the entrance and when we were about to enter a nice gentleman and his wife gave us tickets next to him in the fourth row so I gave my tickets to someone else. My mother was so happy and loved the concert. She will never forget seeing the concert at SPAC and I will always have those memories to cherish."
Roberta, Boston, MA
" I have been coming to SPAC since 1973 when as a young 20 something. My cousin and I drove down to camp out and see Chicago. Now 40 plus years later my wife and I own a home in Saratoga and frequent many events there as Patrons. We love every night. I have been to concerts all over the country and there is no better Venue. It really helps make the whole Saratoga experience."
Richard, Utica, NY
" Having seen years of New York City Ballet, Opera, Philadelphia Orchestra, and various concerts, I have to say the most memorable evening of all was 'Lena Horne, The Lady and her Music.'"
Steven, Schenectady, NY
My favorite memory of all the times I have attended SPAC was in 1970 something.
I took my two sisters to see Sonny & Cher. David Brenner (the comedian) was the warm-up. We had seats in the balcony. It was all I could afford at the time.
We used binoculars to see Cher's beautiful costumes. I have since then been able to afford better seating, however that was the best memory."
Kathleen, Johnstown, NY
" During the Second World War my husband was stationed on Long Island. He went into New York City as many weekends as he could. He was captivated by the ballet when attending a performance of "Peter and the Wolf" at the Metropolitan Opera. Once the opening of SPAC was announced he insisted that we go. Our family (including five children and later, several grandchildren) attended one or many performances of ballet every summer. 2011 was my last year because my health no longer permits it. It was often the centerpiece of a family reunion. I also acted as unofficial "agent" for several friends to come as a group."
Mary, Howes Cave, NY
" About 40 years ago we took our three year old daughter to her first ballet ... Nutcracker, of course. We had seats in the front orchestra, to be sure she could see. When the tree appeared on the stage, she gasped and stood up in the aisle .... And never sat down for the rest of the performance. The beginnings of a lifelong interest in dance!"
Mary, Glenmont, NY