"Crystal River Trio"
The Crystal River Trio
From the moment The Crystal River Trio takes the stage, it’s obvious that these guys have more in common than just the music, they are close personal friends… a fact that comes across in their performances. The group magically weaves through a diverse program of Irish Ballads, Sea Shanties, Calypso, oldies and folk music, using a combination of history and humor to tie it all together into an evening of fun, laughter, education and great entertainment.
“Great Stuff…” Tom Martin Erickson
“Simply Folk” Wisconsin Public Radio
Gary Arndt Co-founded “Crystal River” in 1981 with former member Robert “Bob” Sandlin. Gary has always been an avid lover of folk and Irish music. A talent show, while he was in high school, gave Gary his first onstage opportunity. A self-taught guitarist Gary went on to teach himself the Mandolin, Irish Bouzouki, Ukulele, 5 String Banjo, Tenor Banjo, Tenor Guitar and Harmonica. Gary has been onstage ever since. Gary say’s “The first time I heard the Clancy Brothers, The Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul and Mary, I knew that was the kind of music I wanted to play. Music is and will always be a very important and driving force in my life.
Peter Bartman joined Crystal River in 1987 creating the trio. Peter joined the group bringing with him a solid background in music. Gary say’s “Peter is the one that can go to the piano and tell us just what note we should be singing for our harmony parts to work. Jay and I play by ear.” Peter sings lead and low harmony. Pete plays the bass, bodhran, Penny Whistle and occasionally the fiddle. Peter is the groups historian and researches the majority our music.
Jay Smudde A self-taught guitarist in 1975. Playing both six and twelve string guitar, Jay also plays Banjo, Mandolin. Playing both lead and rhythm, Jay adds a lot to the versatility of the group. Jay joined the Crystal River Trio in 1997. Gary says “Jay has been a real nice addition to Crystal River,” referring to Jay’s ability to sing lead, high and low harmony. Peter adds, “Jay brings a lot of youthful energy to us two old folkies, bringing songs from the Eagles and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.”
The following folks have had some nice things to say about us…..
“a lot of us grew-up in the sixties and cut our teeth on the music of Peter, Paul and Mary
and the Kingston Trio.” Later… as we became ‘experts’ on folk music (or so we thought)
we diverged. Listening to The Crystal River Trio is to remember… and to be informed…
how Hootenanny music was invented… and why!.
John Gilmour – Gilmour Brothers Music
“Fabulous all-around showman. Professional in every aspect of the word. Their performance
alongside the Kingston Trio was rated exceptional by the entire audience.”
Gillian Palfery – Chief Coordinator
Easter Seals Concert Committee
“Their performance was the highlight of our concert”
Harmony VII Peace Concert Coordinator
“Those guys are absolutely great”
The Kingston Trio
“Crystal River Trio is a wonderful and entertaining group and it has been my pleasure to have them onstage with me”
Singer / Song Writer
The Crystal River Trio select the songs they will use according to the venue for which they will be performing. It could be all Irish, all folk or a variety including 50's & 60's. The trio has a repertoire of over three hundred songs and another eighty songs of Irish or Scottish. We will have something that everyone will enjoy and will be able to join in and sing along.
The Crystal River Trio can be booked for performances lasting 1 hour or 2 hours.
We also have a Facebook page: Crystal River Trio
Shawano Folk Festival
with Celia Farren
Folk Music Society
First House Concert
since the pandemic
w/ guest Mark Johnson
The Crystal River Trio
It has been our pleasure to appear at many locations throughout Wisconsin, here are just a few:
Grand Opera House – Touring Artist Series - Oshkosh, WI. - Featured Act
Easter Seals Concert – Appleton, WI
With the Kingston Trio
Grand Opera House – Oshkosh, WI
With Judy Collins
Wisconsin Log Jam – Wausau, WI.
With Judy Collins
Harmony VII Sister Cities, Peace Concert, Lawrence University Chapel
Lawrence University coffee house
Oshkosh State University
Appleton Saint Patty’s Day - Paper Valley's Grand Ballroom
McGuinness Pub – Appleton, WI
Patty’s Irish Pub – Milwaukee, WI
Sunset Dinner and Concert Cruises – Gills Rock, WI
Shawano Folk Festival
Sister Bay Folk Festival
Oshkosh Sawdust Days -
Paine Art Center and Gardens
Porch Fest - Appleton, WI
High Cliff, The Mariner, The Hiding Place, The Red Fox, Chuters,
Michaels, Holiday Inn, Pioneer Convention Center, Paper Valley,
Marks East Side, Jacks or Better, Georges Steak House
Butte De Mortis CC, Riverside CC, High Cliff CC,
North Shore CC, River View CC
Appleton West HS, Appleton East HS, Xavier HS,
Neenah HS, Kaukauna HS, Freedom HS, Menasha HS
Please feel free to listen to the following short music clips. These will give you a feel of our type of music, style and harmony.
This song originated in South Africa in the early 20th century. A hunting song originally sung in Zulu, the original title was "Mbube" which means Lion.
Recorded by the Tokens in December, 1961.
The Drinking Gourd is the Big Dipper. Line up the two stars at the end of the dipper and they will point you to Polaris, the North Star. In the 1860's, escaped slaves were told to follow the drinking gourd, travel at night and follow the North Star. That would lead them, North, to freedom.
We, the Crystal River Trio, love to share songs that contain a little bit of history.
The tune "Si Bheag Si Mor" is usually attributed to blind harpist and singer Turlough O'Carolan (1670 – 1738) as his first song, written to the tune of "The Bonnie Cuckoo". One author describes it as a "beautiful old Irish air, usually played simply and leisurely, and occasionally played as a waltz".
"Amie" certainly has stuck around. The Pure Prairie League song recorded in 1972 — it took three years to turn into a hit, but has since endured for decades.
We, the Crystal River Trio, also write some of our own music. This sample is a clip of a bluegrass song that Gary wrote a few years ago.
A song about lost love, after the passing of the young mans wife.
Hope you will enjoy it.
We will be appearing at the following locations. Due to Covid, Red are Private events, Blue are Public events.
Public: Neenah Public Library Sunday, May 7th, 2023 , 2:00 - 3:00 PM
Public: The Paine Art Center, Oshkosh, WI. Saturday, May 20th, 2023 12:30 - 2:30 PM
Private: Evergreen Assisted Living Community, Oshkosh, WI. Tuesday, July 18th. 2023 7:00 - 8:00 PM
Private: Reniss Senior Living Community, Appleton, WI. Friday, July 21st, 1:30
Reniss Rehab center Appleton, WI, Friday, July 21st, 3:30 PM
Public: Old Time Music Festival, Shawano, WI. Saturday, August 12 - Sunday, August 13, 2023
(Schedule to follow) Many different stages through-out the weekend.
Public: Block Party for 602 Club and Jacobs Market. September 4th, 2023 that is on the Monday
(Labor Day week-end) Noonish
Private. Evergreen Retirement Community, Oshkosh, WI. November 14th, 2023 7:00 PM
Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We do have a Crystal River Trio Facebook page and you can also message us there.