From milk mottles to music, Alex Prizgintas shares history & harmony

Alex Prizgintas (photo provided)

WOODBURY- Author, Musician, and Historian Alex Prizgintas ended last year with 135 bookings for his popular cello concerts and historical lectures, and he intends to take no breaks in 2024.  With nearly half of last year’s total already booked for this year, you can catch two of Alex’s first events in the Monroe-Woodbury region.

First, he will showcase his lecture “Orange County’s Dairies and Their Milk Bottles,” revealing a combination of powerful ideas and persistent conflicts that ignited a lucrative market for dairy farming in Orange County.  Join him on Wednesday, January 17, 2024, at 6:30 p.m. at the Monroe Free Library as he uncovers Orange County’s pivotal role in the consumer use of fluid milk.

Individuals instrumental in this creamy saga, from Erie Railroad station agent Thaddeus Selleck of Chester, who first shipped milk by rail in 1842 to milk can pioneer Jacob Vail of Goshen and the early milk bottle user Alexander Campbell of Monroe all had close connections to Orange County.  The results of their efforts gave birth to the golden age of local agriculture that fueled over 4,000 farms of all kinds by 1884 and kept dairy farms prospering into the mid-twentieth century.

Alex will also explore the stories from some Monroe, dairy farmers including the Eisma Brothers, William Burgess, and Hunt Tilford Wagstaff’s Woodland Farms—all complimented by a sizable collection of milk bottles displayed from the Orange County Milk Bottle Museum.

From milk bottles, the unique sound of Alex and his amplified “Bach-2-Rock” cello concert will be part of the Woodbury Public Library’s Highland Mills Branch the following week, Thursday, January 25, 2024, at 6:00 p.m.  Classically trained, he employs non-classical tools like distortion, delay, and the iconic “wah-wah” guitar pedals symbolic of 1960s Rock n’ Roll bands–all in conjunction with a looping station.  Alex is able to craft his own wall-of-sound through his 1,000 watt amp.  Accompanied with a narration that reveal some of the back stories of baroque, jazz, folk, and Rock n’ Roll classics, he immerses his audience in a journey through musical history.  With the cello being what it is, Alex enjoys the root of its sound found in the core repertoire of Bach’s Cello Suites and the generation of classical composers who followed.

“I think Bach-2-Rock says it succinctly in that I try to harvest the best and work diligently to not only recreate but rather create a unique retelling of what we might already personally know,” said Prizgintas.  “I have three rock selections with personal ties to Jimi Hendrix, an explanation about Bach’s Preludes to each cello suite and where Dave Brubeck found inspiration for ‘Blue Rondo a la Turk,’ just to name a few.  Along with the tunes, my goal is to build a better understanding and a deeper relationship with my audiences.”

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