Tickets: $16/$10 Members & Students/FREE for Teens






Buddy Merriam, mandolin: Founder of Buddy Merriam and Back Roads in 1980 out of his love and respect for traditional Bluegrass music. He became close friends with the Father of Bluegrass music, Bill Monroe, and got to learn and eventually perform with him. Buddy brought Back Roads down to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville to perform a few times. They've also performed at the Grand Opening of the BLUEGRASS MUSEUM AND HALL OF FAME and Country Music's Fan Fair in Nashville, TN. Buddy’s 2009 Release, “Buddy Merriam-Back Roads Mandolin” features 14 of his original mandolin tunes; bluegrass, waltzs, gypsy jazz and some contemporary interpretation of his very original style. He has composed over 1000 instrumentals presently being transcribed and recorded. Buddy is proud that the year 2019 marks his 39th year heading his band.


Ward Cloughen, double bass & vocals: Buddy Merriam asked if he would be interested in joining his bluegrass band - playing upright bass - something he had done jamming with some friends a couple times.  Jumping at the chance he bought a 1937 blonde Kay upright and fell in love.


Beaumont Tamchin, lead guitar: Born in Smithtown New York in 1971 and raised in Setauket New York. Music was always being played around the house as far as can be remembered. His oldest brother had guitars around the house so the learning process started around the age of 10. Beau developed his own style of guitar however through the years of practice on acoustic guitar the influences of the early pioneers of flatpicking and modern players alike are presented in the delivery of the music.


Brian Chabza, fiddle: Born and raised in Mount Sinai New York, multi-instrumentalist Brian Chabza has been fiddling for 24 of his 32 years. Brian brings devotion and enthusiasm to his fiddle playing that is obvious to anyone listening. Brian plays a five string Bob Kogut fiddle and uses DPA, and MI-SI mic and pickup systems


Eamonn O’Rourke, fiddle: Eamonn joins Back Roads for it's 39th season with some might fine fiddle playing. Born in Donegal, Ireland, he has made his way to the United States playing and touring with Kathy Mattea.


Nicole Evans, special guest vocalist

International Bluegrass artist, Long Island Hall of Fame LI SOUND Award winning Buddy Merriam and Back Roads have been performing shows for all ages for the past 40 years. 




Ulises Beato, director, conga, & vocals: In 2003, Ulises founded Conjunto Guantánamo and shortly after this, CG played its first few gigs in the Brooklyn neighborhood of DUMBO where the band formed, solidified and eventually gelled into what it is today. In the years since, Ulises has slowly and steadily steered the ensemble towards notoriety while honing a truly authentic urban son sound allowing a wide audience to enjoy the true essence of this ubiquitously influential genre.


José Pepito Gomez, lead vocals, guitar, trés: Around 2009, soon after reaching the US, Pepito met Ulises who needed a new singer for Conjunto Guantanamo. After working together a couple of times, Pepito was brought on as lead singer and he and Ulises cemented a friendship and working relationship that flourishes to this day. In the decade since, the two have played hundreds of performances and are set to release their third recorded production together, a full LP album entitled “Moviendo los Caracoles” (out Fall 2018 on Nganga Records).


Carlos Mena, arranger, bass, & backing vocals: Carlos joined Conjunto Guantanamo in 2010 as bass player and vocalist, and presently he is also the musical arranger for the band. His bass rhythms have been the band’s backbone and musical engine ever since. As a backup singer his vocal character lends an undeniable quality to the luxurious back-up harmonies of the band. At the moment, apart from touring live and producing new studio releases with CG.


Oscar Oñoz “Cinturíta”, trumpet: Since 2009, Oscar has been playing the traditional Cuban music he enjoys and loves best as the lead trumpeter for Conjunto Guantanamo bringing full circle the band’s signature sound as a traditional Cuban son ensemble. Look for him on CG’s upcoming new release, a full LP album entitled “Moviendo los Caracoles” (out Fall 2018 on Nganga Records). 


Mauricio Herrera, bongo: Mauricio began playing bongo and singing backup with Conjunto Guantanamo in 2009 and can be heard on all of their releases since their debut “Oye Como Suenan”(Nganga Records, 2011). He is also featured in CG’s upcoming new release “Moviendo los Caracoles” (out Fall 2018 on Nganga Records).


Ittetsu Nasuda, piano: In 2016, Ittetsu joined CG on piano as its newest member diving in head first with the band’s busy calendar and deep repertoire. Ittetsu is looking forward to his first recording project with the band and has begun recording on CG’s upcoming new release “Moviendo los Caracoles” (out Fall 2018 on Nganga Records).


Conjunto Guantánamo - Ambassadors of Cuban Folklore - have arrived with a freshly interpreted, classic Afro-Cuban sound. Lively percussion, pounding syncopated bass lines, exotic trumpet melodies, uninhibited improvisation and the sultry, dynamic lead vocal of Pepito Gomez positively scorch in a variety of vintage and original compositions. With a soulful sound is layered with authentic Cuban swing and sophisticated influences, their performances sometimes transition into extended experimental Afro-Cuban improvisational jam sessions.


The band inspires thousands of New Yorkers and international fans alike to swivel their hips in the name of Latin passion. Founder Ulises Beato (director, conga, backing vocals) along with José Pepito Gomez (lead vocals, guitar, tres), Carlos Mena (bass, backing vocals), Ittetsu Nasuda (piano), Oscar Oñoz (trumpet) and Mauricio Herrera (bongo, backing vocals) are the celebrated musicians who create this unique sound.


Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts dba Flushing Town Hall is a not for profit organization which receives major support from the National Endowment for the Arts; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; New York State Assembly Member Ron Kim; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Mayor Bill de Blasio; Queens Borough President Melinda Katz; Council Members Adrienne Adams, Costa Constantinides, Daniel Dromm, Barry Grodenchik, Peter Koo, Karen Koslowitz, Francisco Moya, Paul A. Vallone, and Jimmy Van Bramer; and the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, and the Lily Auchincloss Foundation.


Support for our programs is also provided by Atlantic Philanthropies Director/Employee Designated Gift Program, Cathay Bank, Michael Cheng / Epos Development, Chinese Overseas University, Dr. Hsing-Lih Chou / New York Institute of Culture and the Arts, Con Edison, Crossings TV, Heidi & Jonathan Davis, Exploring the Metropolis, Steven Facey, Kuang-Yu Fong / Chinese Theatre Works, Barbara Garii, The Glow Foundation, Heather Harrison, Raymond D. Jasen, Jim Henson Foundation, Keith Haring Foundation, Ellen Kodadek, Kenneth Koranyi, Nelson Lee / Flushing Bank, Law Offices of Vincent Toomey, James S. Liao, Emily Lin / Lin & Loveall Foundation, Linden Arts Fund for Children, Anita Liu, Louis Armstrong Education Foundation, Lyell Korea, Materials for the Arts, William McClure, NYC & Company Foundation, New York Community Bank Foundation, Northwell Health, Queens Art Education Center / Arthur Liu, Queens College, Queens Courier, Georgiana Reese-Benatti, RuDance / Asian American Dance Sport Corp., Mike Sperendi & Jan Schneider, Vincent Toomey, Mei Ya Tsai, Veronica Tsang, Claire Shulman, Tai & Tony Wang / WAC Lighting, Jay Wegman, Jonathan White, Edwina & Eldwin Wong, Minwen Yang, Hank Yeh, and gifts made in loving memory of Amal Hussain and Irene and Maxwell Seligman.