The Heights – An Xperience Column

Written by on December 13, 2023

The Heights – An Xperience Column – by Joe Barna.

I’d like to propose a toast…

“Please raise your glasses to Troy, NY…A fair city whose character, history, charm, architecture, music, food, small businesses and bright future shines like the brightest of all heavenly lights. It is an honor and privilege to know you. We thank you for all you offer and all the beauty awaiting up ahead…Amen”

Why am I featuring my hometown of Troy, NY in this month’s article? Come along, let’s take a little walk together…..

Too often those who reside in any particular community for a prolonged period can take for granted the vast rewards that exist before their own eyes. They become complacent, choosing to remain home rather than to continue exploring all that lay right before them. Excuses become their drug of choice, continually coming up with explanations as to why they no longer engage. In my humble opinion, I view these acts as nothing less than self-inflicted wounds that limit the potential growth and progress of one’s own community.

As was stated in my November article, when I moved back to Troy from Manhattan in August of 2015 there were NO music venues. Troy was a city facing artistic decline in regards to the live performing arts. It was sad…How could anyone want to exist in an environment where music wasn’t resonating freely throughout the airways of the streets? Why would any musician want to wake up morning after morning in a place where sound vibrations from instruments being lovingly manipulated by the hands of dedicated performers wasn’t an option readily accessible within a small walk forward from their doorsteps? Who could possibly be inspired by a city whose store fronts closed their doors by 5pm and the only options were to get intoxicated at a local late night pub, with a juke-box saturated with the memories of days gone by?


So, what does one do when faced with this scenario? I get my ass out of the house and make things happen.

It all started at Lucas Confectionery, located at 12 2nd Street, Troy, NY. Owned and operated by Vic Christopher, I was afforded my first opportunity to help lead the way in bringing live music back into the clubs of Troy, NY, where it belongs. Starting out as a Thursday night jazz showcase and morphing into what would later become the Monday Night Jazz Jam, we were able to converge on the beginning of what would emerge as the catalyst for instigating a renaissance of live music in this historic city on the Hudson.

Forward 8 years later…We now have venues and live performances 7 nights a week throughout Troy. Some of the spaces you can look forward to hearing your favorite artists are Twisted Fiddler, 518 Craft, No Fun, The Ruck, Alias Coffee Roasters, Browns, Tatu Tacos & Tequila, McAddy’s Pub, Hanger On The Hudson and more. Who could have envisioned that Troy would eventually play host to the region’s top artists, touring musicians and creative forces from around the country? Not to mention we also play host to larger venues Troy Music Hall and EMPAC. It’s a blessing to have been an important witness to the maturing and emerging live music scene in Troy, NY. The concerns I once internalized back in 2015 have been immobilized, if not terminated completely. I’m proud of this city, its resilience, soul, identity and those who had the vision, as well as courage, to continue moving forward, no matter the obstacles.

Now, it would be irresponsible of me not to acknowledge those brave business owners who weathered many a storm in hopes of returning Troy to its former glory. I’d like to publicly thank Vic Christopher, Hernan Lopez, Jeremy Cowan, Tim Taney, Rob Tritto, David Gardell, Susie Carrk, August Rosa, Jennifer Spaulding, Kareem NeJame and all other small business owners who have the vision and determination to see through all adversity in bringing our tiny gem of a city to prominence once again. We here in the Capital Region salute you.

If you haven’t taken the time to explore Troy, I implore you to let go of any preconceived notions you may have and open yourselves up to possibility. Whether your passion is food, architecture, performing arts, clothing, craft beer, good conversation or otherwise, Troy has something for everyone. An inclusive city, it opens doors to knowledge, relationships, experiences and memories not found in many areas of our humble earth. The vast opportunities presented will inspire the soul and provoke a level of spontaneity that may be lying dormant in your being. If given the chance you just might impress yourself by what you’ve been missing.


If you are reading this article and feel enriched by what it offers, I’d like you to please take a moment and also raise your glasses to those who are making this publication possible. Cheers to Art Fredette and his entire team of magical minds who month after month bring the community a comprehensive collection of information, informing as to the happenings transpiring right here in the capital region. These brave individuals work tirelessly to present stories they believe are engaging, uplifting and worthy of print. Each contributor possesses a unique disposition and offers perspectives through a lens richly their own. I’m beyond humbled to be a part of Xperience Monthly and do not take my inclusion lightly. When asked to be a contributor back in December of 2022 I was both excited and moved to even be considered. It has been an honor to be associated with everyone on staff at Xperience and I consider each of them my family. Thank You for having me.

Warmest Regards,



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