Meet Maria

Maria Gillard is a talented singer, songwriter, and educator from the Finger Lakes Region of New York State. Best known as a folk musician, she has grown to embrace a wider style range including jazz, swing, and blues. Currently, she leads the Maria Gillard Trio, accompanied by Perry Cleaveland on mandolin and vocals, and Doug Henrie on Stand Up Bass. The bass and mandolin add both an intimate and driving musical background her heartfelt songs. As a soloist, she is revered in folk and bluegrass circles, often toting a mandolin and singing impeccable harmonies.

Her compelling voice draws you into her lyrics which, when combined with memorable melodies, head straight for the heart. Maria’s songs offer wise, humorous, and sometimes painful observations on life and relationships. She tells stories through her music in ways that are soul stirring, evocative, contagious, lively and energizing. When you listen to Maria’s songs, you feel her heartache and, more often, her joy and delight at life’s experience. She has a warm, inviting, natural flair, which leaves audiences wanting more and coming back!

As an educator, Maria received a bachelor’s degree in Music from SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music. She is a music instructor and directs a vocal jazz ensemble at Finger Lakes Community College in Canandaigua, New York. She has worked for the Aesthetic Education Institute as a teaching artist, given concerts and held workshops in schools and nursing homes for many years. She teaches private voice, piano and guitar lessons in her home and has toured as a folk musician throughout the Northeast.


Perry Cleaveland is one of the most respected side-men in Central and Western New York. Adept on mandolin, fiddle and tenor harmonies, he is an essential part of the trio. Perry has won a prestigious SAMMY award (Syracuse Area Musicians) for his extreme knowledge and adaptation of bluegrass. A great humorist as well, he adds charm and finesse to the trio. He is also a revered band member of Rebecca Colleen and the Chore Lads and The Cadleys, both Finger Lakes Musical Jewels!

Doug Henrie, of the famed Henrie Brothers in the Finger Lakes, is a steady, unstoppable bass genius with impeccable timing. His knowledge of bluegrass, folk and jazz is recognizable in all the songs he plays. He brings to the trio his experiences performing with Mac Benford and the Woodshed All-Stars, Chestnut Grove, Marie Burns, and Aaron Lipp. He is also a member of Rebecca Colleen and the Chore Lads, a fabulous Finger Lakes Bluegrass Band.

A warm inviting voice singing simple renderings of deeply personal song.

Crossroads Magazine