As part of the Uniquely Quabbin Magazine Launch Weekend, there will be a free dramatic reading of A Swift River Anthology written by New Salem’s own Dorothy Johnson at the Meetinghouse on Friday, May 20th at 7:00pm. The readers will be Richard Trousdell, Dee Waterman, Sally Howe, Henry Frost and Dorothy. The free verse poems averaging a page in a half in length, voice the feelings of fictional characters based on people who lived in the towns taken for the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir. They are funny, poignant, irreverent and heart-wrenching.
There will be a donation jar at the door to benefit the 1794 Meetinghouse.
Of note: Also as part of the Launch Weekend, the New Salem Academy Museum on the second floor of the Old Academy Building (next to the library) will be open from 5:00-7:00pm. Many more activities are happening elsewhere as well; please see the full list at UniquelyQuabbin.com.
The 1794 Meetinghouse is very pleased to announce a special benefit concert for The Friends of Mahar Music (FoMM) on Saturday, May 21st at 7:00pm.
The concert will include opening performances by the Mahar High School Chorus and Mahar Jazz Band, both directed by Thomas Randall. Featured performers will be the popular Pioneer Valley band, The Retroverts, who play a lively mix of classic rock’n’roll songs including many “B” sides of popular hits from the 60s and 70s. Baked goods and other items will also be on sale. All proceeds benefit the Friends of Mahar Music, a nonprofit group of music faculty and parents who support choral and instrumental music programs at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School in Orange.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $5 for students, and may be purchased at the door or in advance from any FoMM member. For more information, or to purchase advance tickets, please contact John DeWitt at 978-544-1866 or email@example.com or speak to any member of FoMM.
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Our campaign is well underway to raise money for necessary improvements to the building. The first phase was the replacing of the roof. As of late September, 2015, that work is now done, although we still need to raise a bit more money to pay for the work. Phase two is starting now. 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:
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, violin
Jim Henry — acoustic & electric guitars, mandolin, dobro, baritone, slide, bass, voice
Tracy Grammer and Jim Henry were an audience favorite in 2015, and they've graciously agreed to open this year's Summer Program as a fundraiser for Stage Two of our Capital Campaign. 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.
Tracy Grammer solo photo credit: Ben Barnhart
Gregory Hayes — piano
Joe Jewett — violin
Richard Mickey — cello
The Florence Camerata Piano Trio has been giving concerts since 2009 in various venues in Western Massachusetts, from Kimball Farms in Lenox to Lathrop in Easthampton and Northampton to Loomis in South Hadley. They performed to considerable acclaim at Northampton First Night 2014 in Smith College's Sage Hall. Florence Camerata has also preformed several times at Northampton Community Music Center and at St. Joseph's College in West Hartford CT. The Trio's repertoire ranges from Haydn, Mozart, Hummel and Beethoven to Brahms, Schubert and Dvorak to Tailleferre and Piazzolla.
Gregory Hayes has taught piano and occasionally harpsichord at Dartmouth College since 1991, where he also coaches chamber music. He is a busy chamber musician and orchestral keyboard player, has played regularly with the Albany Symphony Orchestra and Arcadia Players, and has participated often in both the New England Bach Festival and on the Mohawk Trail Concerts series. Gregory is a graduate of Amherst College and the Manhattan School of Music; he also studied at the Hartt School of Music and at the summer Baroque Performance Institute at Oberlin College. His teachers have included Ming Tcherepnin, Kenneth Fearn, Dora Zaslavsky, and Raymond Hanson. He has written frequently on music, including liner notes for many recordings and articles and reviews for magazines and newspapers. Gregory is longtime music director for the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence (Massachusetts).
Joe Jewett is an active soloist, conductor, chamber and orchestral violinist and violist. His performance of the Bruch Concerto with the Waltham Philharmonic was praised for "excellent planning and execution" by professor Burton Kaplan. Joe has also been soloist with the Great Falls and Helena Symphonies, and the String Orchestra of the Rockies (SOR). He has conducted the Waltham Philharmonic, MIT Symphony, Mozart Society Orchestra at Harvard, Cambridge Symphony, the Great Falls Symphony, Butte Symphony, Glacier Orchestra, and SOR in Montana, and the Spoleto Festival Orchestra in Italy. Joe is a member of the Berkshire Symphony; he has also performed with Arcadia Chamber Players and Springfield Symphony. Joe attended Interlochen Arts Academy, Indiana University and University of Michigan and received his Master's from New England Conservatory. He performed with the Spoleto Festival for many years, frequently as concertmaster. In Germany he spent part of a season with the Hofer Symphoniker before returning to the US to join the newly formed New World Symphony. Joe spent ten years pursuing his love of chamber music with the Cascade Quartet in Montana. He has continued to perform and present chamber music concerts in Western Massachusetts with the self-founded Florence Camerata; he also performs as a Celtic musician.
Richard Mickey, cellist, has had a strong bond with the Berkshires since he first came to study at Tanglewood, where he was a three-time fellow and was awarded the Piatigorsky Prize. In his native Philadelphia, Richard played for the major opera companies and was an original member of The Concerto Soloists (now The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia). He joined the Cincinnati Symphony at age 23 and played there 10 years under Max Rudolf and Thomas Schippers. Later, in New York, he was a member of the American Ballet Theatre orchestra and principal cellist of the Queens Symphony. Richard's principal cello teachers were Josef Druian, of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Orlando Cole, of the Curtis faculty. He also attended master classes with Gregor Piatigorsky and Samuel Mayes. His chamber music teachers included such legendary performers as Edgar Ortenberg, Eugene Lehner, Joseph Silverstein, and William Kroll. He is a member of the the Berkshire and Springfield Symphony Orchestras and was recently chosen as a member of the Berkshire Opera Festival orchestra. He has served as cello instructor at Simon's Rock and Hawthorne Valley School.
Eric Lee — fiddle, voice
Brie Sullivan — guitar, voice
Brie Sullivan and Eric Lee, also known as the duo Grace and Catastrophe, are two intuitive songwriters and musicians adept at combining voices and strings to create powerful moments of authentic human connection.
Brie and Eric first began playing together in 2008. The intuitive musical connection between the pair was immediately apparent, and has only grown stronger as they have become close friends. Each half of this duo is adept at conveying genuine emotion through their honest songwriting, warm vocals, and musical abilities. Their unique blend of writing styles, voices, fiddle and guitar, and varying musical roots results in a powerful sound grounded in folk that subtly takes on flavors of bluegrass, jazz, Celtic, pop, and indie rock. Grace and Catastrophe's combined talents in truth telling and connecting with each audience create a haunting and electrifying performance that won't soon be forgotten. They're sorry in advance for making you cry.
Mark Fisher — guitar, vocals
Donna Fisher-Russo — vocal harmonies
Kris Lucander — bass, piano, vocal harmonies
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.
Jay Mankita — guitar, vocals
A Special Father's Day Treat for the Whole Family for Father's Day!
Jay Mankita is a celebrated songwriter, innovative guitarist, and upbeat, often hilarious touring performer who truly engages, inspires, and entertains. This presentation is not to be missed, 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!
Catherine Bowness — banjo
Bronwyn Keith-Haynes — fiddle
Evan Murphy — guitar, voice
Nate Sabat — bass, voice
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
Steve Crow — electric guitar
Bruce Dobbins — congas, Latin & African percussion
Joe "Jopey" Fitzpatrick — drums
Peter Kim — electric bass
Adam Scotera — trumpet, alto saxophone
Jim Vogel — tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, percussion
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
John Salvi — baritone
Judy Johnson — piano
Quabbin Valley Pro Musica — chorus
The Meetinghouse's resident chorus, Quabbin Valley Pro Musica, known for its varied music and high-quality concerts, will perform Mendelssohn's Elijah plus two works by chorus members: the Prayer of Saint Francis by Carolyn Brown Senier and Commit My Spirit by Allison Pollitt. Dr. Heffernan, Music Conductor, 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.
Paula Bradley — vocals, piano, ukulele
Kathy Burkly — drums
Brian Rost — upright bass
Peter Zarkadas — electric guitar
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 "Miss Paula" Bradley, 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!
Mark Jennings — drums
Charlie Mallet — guitar
Melanie Mangum — vocals
Scott Monette — bass
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 "Ottomatic Slim" Monette on bass and Mark "The Nines" Jennings on drums.
Samantha Farrell — vocals, guitar
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.
Keith Murphy — guitar, mandolin, piano, foot percussion & voice
Becky Tracy — fiddle, voice
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)
Hillary Foxsong — guitar, percussion, vocals
Stuart Markus — bass, guitar, vocals
Gerry McKeveny — bass, guitar, vocals
with Mara Levine — vocals
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."
Patrick Coman — acoustic guitar, electric guitar, vocals
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.
Max Cohen — guitar, vocals
Donna Hébert — fiddle, vocals
Molly Hebert-Wilson — vocals
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. From Celtic melancholy to fiddling frenzy, three-part harmonies and finger-style guitar, Mist Covered Mountains packs a powerful amount of music into a trio.
Ethan Bremner — tenor
Oriana Dunlop — mezzo soprano
Eric Mazonson — piano
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).
Mr. Bremner will be joined by mezzo soprano Oriana Dunlop and accompanist Eric Mazonson performing works by Bizet, Verdi, Puccini, and more.
Jim Armenti — guitar, vocals
Keith Levreault — drums
Ray Mason — bass, vocals
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 — piano, guitar, vocals
Deric Dyer — tenor sax
Wolf Ginandes — bass guitar
Cliff Goodwin — guitar, vocals
Marty Richards — drums
Mitch Chakour is the real deal in the world of roots rock. He has performed both solo and with such well-known acts as The Joe Cocker Band, the J. Geils Band and more. In addition to being a stellar, heart-wrenching singer, pianist, Hammond B3 organist and guitarist, Mitch brings along precision, professional players such as Cliff Goodwin (an original member of local rock legend 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).