Tarrytown Music Hall Invites Local Bands to Rock Out on Their Big Stage

Tarrytown Music Hall is a beloved gem in Westchester County’s cultural crown. Since 1885, its stage has been graced by everyone from presidents to international superstars. Each year, it draws well over 100,000 patrons from all over the world, making it one of the busiest theaters in the metro area.  

While its attendance rivals that of theaters in New York City, the Music Hall’s heart is very much centered in Tarrytown and the county at large. You can see a major touring act one night and cheer your kid on at their dance recital the following afternoon.  

And on Thursday, Sept. 5, you can catch some of the best acts you (may have) never heard of at their sixth annual Rock the Hall contest and fundraiser. This good-natured and community-centric event aims to celebrate and amplify up-and-coming local artists across all genres, giving them the opportunity to perform in front of a huge crowd of enthusiastic music fans and a panel of top industry professionals in the landmark 843-seat theater.  

We had the opportunity to connect with last year’s winners Divining Rod, an alt country rock band based in Irvington, to learn about their experience competing. The more we learn about them, the clearer the reason they won becomes.  

2023 Rock the Hall winners Divining Rod, L to R: Patrick Harmon, Miyuki Furtado, John Malone, Matt Svigalis. Photo courtesy of Miyuki Furtado

Everything about Divining Rod is unique. Their originals are upbeat, catchy, and genre-bending. Hawaiian native Miyuki Furtado’s vocals are distinct, sometimes animated, and always colorful, and delivered while simultaneously playing guitar and his homemade suitcase drum set. Guitarist Patrick Harmon, second drummer John Malone, and bassist Matt Svigals round out the band’s rich sound. 

They entered on something of a whim. Big fans of the Music Hall, they always wanted to play its stage so when they were selected to compete it was a dream come true.  

Furtado has nothing but fond memories. “The whole night was pretty special. The other bands were a sweet and talented bunch. The crew at The Hall were professional and supportive and the stage sounded terrific. We were pretty surprised when the judges announced the winner and boy, did it feel great.”  

The good vibes rolled over into this year when, as their prize, they headlined the second stage at the first-ever, wildly successful Sleepy Hollow Music Festival. “[It] was an incredibly fun and joyous experience. The organizers did an amazing job putting together a quality festival rivaling the likes of Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, and Glastonbury. … The vendors, support staff, security, police, and volunteers worked very hard to provide a safe and fun experience that felt huge, but with a small community feel.” 

If you’re a local band who’s considering signing up but are perhaps a bit intimidated at the prospect of playing to a big audience, Furtado shares a little insider tip: “On larger stages, the lighting can be so bright you can barely see the crowd in front of you so that can help with the case of the jitters.” 

Last year’s Rock the Hall winner appeared at the inaugural Sleepy Hollow Music Festival. Photo courtesy of Synchronous – The Social Media Company

The Music Hall team strongly encourages bands at any stage of their musical journey to apply. You have until Aug. 24 to submit your tunes. This could be the break you’re looking for, so head over to tarrytownmusichall.org/rock-the-hall and throw your name in the hat.  

And if you’re a music fan, mark your calendars for a fun night of discovering new talent and supporting the bands you already know and love. 


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About the Author: Joanne Louis-Paul