Our compaign is well underway to raise money for necessary improvements to the building. Our first task has been the replacing of the roof. As of late September, that work is now done, although we still need to raise a bit more money to pay for the work. Next on our list is restoring interior plaster and paint, replace or rebuild the shutters, and catch up with a number of minor improvements to improve access to the building. And now we've discovered the steeple is leaning, and crucial work is needed to get it straight again, and to shore up its structural weaknesses. We've raised about $18,000 to date; our goal will need to increase to include repairs for the steeple and access improvements. Please help us - your donations, big and small, make a big difference. Here is our new donate button for this capital campaign:
or you can send checks to 1794 Meetinghouse, PO Box 8, New Salem MA 01355. All donations are tax deductible.
Our summer series is booked, and the almost complete listings are below. I'm still filing out details and will soon start adding links for online ticket sales.
~ Brad Foster, Executive Director
All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.
Tickets are also available at:
The New Salem General Store
410 Daniel Shays Hwy, New Salem, MA 01355
or at the Door
In 1987 a small group of dedicated individuals with a passion for the performing arts had a dream to preserve a historic building and to create a cultural center in north central Massachusetts. That vision was the inception of the 1794 Meetinghouse Performing Arts Center.
Your contribution will help sustain the performing arts; all donations are tax deductible.
PO Box 8 / 26 South Main Street
New Salem, MA 01355
Telephone of the Hall: 978-544-5200 (no voice mail)
Voice Mail: 413-335-3489 (Brad Foster's phone)
1794 Meetinghouse receives a portion of our funding through a grant From
The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) is a state agency that promotes excellence, access, education and diversity in the arts, humanities,and interpretive sciences to improve the quality of life for all Massachusetts residents and contribute to the economic vitality of our communities.
We'd Like to Thank our 2014 Season Sponsor:
WJDF 97.3 FM
"The BEST Music"
Tracy Grammer — voice, guitar
Jim Henry — acoustic & electric guitars, mandolin, dobro, baritone, slide, bass, voice
Tracy Grammer has become one of folk music's most beloved artists. Renowned for her springwater-clear alto, perfectly intoned violin, and guitar playing that is by turns percussive and delicate, Grammer is also a masterful storyteller with an ease and charisma on stage, not to mention a riotous sense of humor. Jim Henry is a multi-instrumental powerhouse who has performed with an impressive roster of artists including Mary Chapin Carpenter and Paula Cole.
photo credit: Ben Barnhart
Gregory Hayes has taught piano and harpsichord at Dartmouth College since 1991. He is a busy chamber musician and orchestral keyboard player, and has appeared as soloist with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra. He plays regularly for the Albany Symphony Orchestra, and has also performed with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke's (New York), and Arcadia Players.
Richard Mickey plays with the Berkshire and Springfield Symphonies.
Joe Jewett was inspired to begin violin studies by his parents’ love of music and the gift of his grandfather’s violin. He holds an MM degree from New England Conservatory, and he has a thriving orchestral career throughout Massachusetts. He is a trained conductor, and he also performs as a Celtic musician.
Performing on guitar and vocals since birth...OK, age 12, Mark has been captivating audiences for nearly 4 decades. During the journey from band front man, to soloist in pubs, wedding singer, and singer songwriter, Mark has learned a thing or two about how to hold an audience and deliver a show. He has been playing his own diverse mix of comedic, personal, and socio-political songs since releasing his CD "They went North" in 1995. Rounding out the trio is Mark’s sister Donna Fisher-Russo on harmonies and Kris “Mr. Luke” Lucander on bass, piano and harmonies.
A Special Father's Day Treat for the Whole Family!
Jay Mankita is a celebrated songwriter, innovative guitarist, and upbeat, often hilarious touring performer, who truly engages, inspires, and entertains. So kids, celebrate the day with your Dad, your Grandpa, or both. Parents, BRING YOUR KIDS for an afternoon filled with smiles and belly-laughs!
Mile Twelve is a fresh, hard driving young band beautifully walking the line between original and traditional bluegrass. Based in Boston and fast gaining recognition for their outstanding performances throughout bluegrass and folk circles, they create captivating songs and daring instrumental pieces from diverse influences.
Evan Murphy has been a creative force on guitar and voice in New England since he picked up the guitar at age 18 and began accompanying himself on traditional bluegrass songs. He received a bachelor’s degree in Theater and Music at Boston College.
Native New Zealander Catherine (BB) Bowness started playing the banjo at the age of 12. A few years later, BB received the Frank Winter memorial award at the Auckland Folk Festival allowing her to travel to the USA. She won first place at the 2015 Freshgrass Banjo Contest.
Nate Sabat is a graduate of the voice program at New York City’s renowned LaGuardia High School, and he attended Berklee College of Music as an upright bass principal.
Bronwyn Keith‐Hynes was accepted on scholarship to Berklee College of Music at age 16, graduating with a Professional Diploma in Violin Performance. She is fast gaining recognition for her fiddling across bluegrass and acoustic music circles. In 2014 Bronwyn won first place in the Walnut Valley Old Time Fiddle Championship in Winfield, KS, and in 2015 won first place in the Freshgrass Fiddle Contest.
Brian Bender — trombone, trumpet, melodica, keyboards, percussion
Jim Vogel — tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, percussion
Adam Scotera — trumpet, alto saxophone
Steve Crow — electric guitar
Bruce Dobbins — congas, Latin & African percussion
Peter Kim — electric bass
Joe "Jopey" Fitzpatrick — drums
The Pangeans are a seven-piece World Music Ensemble performing Latin Jazz, Samba, Reggae, Calypso, Soca, Funk, Afro Beat and other forms of African music. The group performs original compositions based on traditional rhythms as well as those of other composers. All members of the Pangeans are highly experienced world touring artists, renowned throughout the region and the entire music industry. Dancing in the aisles encouraged.
Dr. Charles Heffernan — Music Conductor
The Meetinghouse's resident chorus, Quabbin Valley Pro Musica, known for its varied music and high-quality concerts, will perform Brahms Requiem at an afternoon concert conducted by Charles Heffernan. Dr. Heffernan is professor emeritus of music at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His conducting and teaching careers have taken him from coast to coast in the US and Canada as he has groomed choruses, music educators, and solo performers.
Start your weekend holiday celebrations early with some boogie, blues & bop and a heapin' helpin' of twang! The Twangbusters bust out their own high-energy danceable blend of rootsy rhythms and soulful blues! Led by dynamo Paula Bradley (Miss Paula), described as "Patsy Cline meets Bessie Smith", on lead vocals, piano & ukulele, with the inimitable Peter "Dr. Z" Zarkadas on electric guitar, Kathy Burkly on drums, and Brian Rost on upright bass, they mix the best of bluesy country, boogie woogie & barrelhouse into a musical cocktail, shaken & stirred. Guaranteed to make you move your feet!
The Definite Maybes fashion a dynamic blend of rock, blues, and R&B and are driven by the sweet soulful voice of Melanie Mangum and spirited guitar from Charlie Mallet (Melanie and the Blue Shots). Their new release Leaving the Station features original songs that cross musical boundaries and styles. The band also features Scott Monette (Ottomatic Slim) on bass and Mark Jennings (The Nines) on drums.
Often, the first thing people say they notice about Samantha Farrell is a blonde shock of extremely curly hair. The second thing that people notice, and the thing they never forget, is her voice. Her tone is totally unique and yet familiar all at once; at times playfully lilting and undulating, other times a sexy murmur, and a raspy declaration. We’re thrilled to bring this Orange, MA, native home again to share her jazzy, folk-flavored pop with her friends, relatives, and fans in the North Quabbin area.
Becky Tracy — fiddle
Keith Murphy — guitar, mandolin, piano & foot percussion
Becky and Keith are dynamic performers of traditional music from Newfoundland, Quebec, Ireland, France and beyond. Tracy’s fiddling pulses through tasteful arrangements of dance tunes and resonates with beauty on traditional slow airs. Keith’s gentle and expressive singing in English and French is balanced by the drive and power of his guitar playing and foot percussion. Combined, they produce a range and richness of sound that is striking for a duo. Their playing is seamless, the result of years of playing together and touring across the U.S., Canada and in Europe. Their repertoire also includes Keith’s original compositions (many of which are included in the Black Isle Music tune collection). He is a prolific tunesmith with a writing style strongly based on traditional dance music. Keith and Becky were two thirds of the popular Vermont trio, Nightingale and are veterans of several other bands including Childsplay and Assembly (Keith) and Wild Asparagus (Becky).
(more info coming soon)
Gathering Time is like a high-energy Peter, Paul & Mary or a co-ed Crosby, Stills & Nash, with various parts of The Byrds, Joni Mitchell, the Eagles and America mixed in; a head-turning folk-rock harmony trio described recently as "getting a whole beehive-full of buzz" on the northeast regional folk scene.
Bill Hahn, host of "Traditions" on WFDU, sums them up neatly, "I have to say that Gathering Time is right up there with the ones we all know -- they are the next generation of great trios with meaningful music performed in awesome harmony."
Boston- based Patrick Coman plays the reds and blues. Merging bluesy barroom shuffles with the red dirt of his native Oklahoma, he has garnered fans for his upbeat and contemporary take on traditional American music. In addition to performing, Coman hosts the popular For the Sake of the Song concert series, which brings together top songwriters to collaborate in performing songs from their biggest influences alongside their own original work. He also produces and hosts the weekly “Local Folk” radio show on WUMB (Boston’s NPR music station) and is a board member of the New England Americana Festival.
Mist Covered Mountains are fiddler Donna Hébert, (a MA Artist Fellow), guitarist Max Cohen and singer Molly Hebert-Wilson. Named to his 2013 'Top 8 list" by Midnight Special DJ Rich Warren at WFMT-Chicago, the band's latest CD is getting national airplay. Devon Leger at Hearth Music said, "It’s not often you hear a voice this powerful debut in the world of Celtic song." The band travels from L’Acadie to the land of Faerie, with fiddle tunes and songs from traditional Irish, Scots, Québécois, and original sources. Three-part harmonies, virtuoso fiddling and fingerstyle guitar - all serve the story in each song. From Celtic melancholy to fiddling frenzy, Mist Covered Mountains packs a powerful amount of music into a trio.
Operatic tenor and Athol native Ethan Bremner will perform a selection of Bizet's Carmen along with arias and art songs that inspired or were inspired by the seminal operatic masterpiece. Since his arrival in Boston, Ethan has become one of the city’s most sought-after young tenors. He made his local debut with Boston Opera Collaborative in 2006 as Achilles in Gluck’s Iphigenie en Aulide, and then sang with the company as Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Bohème. He also had and an auspicious debut as Cavaradossi in Puccini’s Tosca, Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’elisir D’amore and Tamino in Mozart’s Magic Flute with Longwood Opera. He performed the premier performance of Odyssey Opera of Boston as Baroncelli in Wagner’s Rienzi. Most recently he performed as Don Jose in Carmen and Lt. Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly. Recent appearances on the concert platform include: Handel's Messiah with the Quabbin Valley Pro-Musica and Beethoven's 9th Symphony with the Paul Madore Chorale. Mr. Bremner was a Finalist in the 2010 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (New England Region). He will be joined by Mezzo Soprano Oriana Dunlop and accompanist Eric Mazonson performing works by Bizet, Verdi, Puccini, and more.
The Lonesome Brothers have performed together for more than thirty years and are well-known throughout the Valley and beyond. Featuring Jim Armenti on guitar and vocals, Ray Mason on bass and vocals, and Keith Levreault on drums, they combine the best elements of American music with well-crafted songs and poetic lyrics.
“Equal parts country swagger, wistful folk and breezy rock. The Lonesome Brothers’ confluence of different musical genres is the key to the band’s success. Although some people would be quick to lump the Lonesome Brothers into the alternative country milieu, the band has more dimensions than that.” - Alex Green, Yahoo! Music
*Photo Credit – Brandi Ediss
Mitch Chakour is the real deal in the world of roots rock. In addition to being a stellar, heart-wrenching singer, Hammond B3 organist and guitarist, Mitch brings along precision, professional players such as Cliff Goodwin (an original member of local rock legends Albatross, as well as a member of The American Standard Band, The Joe Cocker Band and Robert Palmer’s band); the “Vincent Van Gogh of Sax” Deric Dyer (also a Joe Cocker Band alumnus, as well as Tina Turner’s sax-man for a number of years); legendary bassist Wolf Ginandes; and drummer Marty Richards (formerly of The J. Geils Band and The Joe Perry Project).