last updated: 5/05/19 9:30 pm
Ticket sales for the Gala have now closed; please call Jan Doody at (978) 575-0152 to see if any spaces are still available.
Friday May 17, 2019, 6:00 to 9:00 PMReservations required by May 7th
6:00 to 7:00 Cocktail Hour
7:00 to 9:00 Dinner, Music & Acknowledgements
Tickets: $40 (details below)
Dinner provided by Carrs Affordable Catering
Music provided by Adam Bergeron
Cocktail attire suggested
To purchase tickets:
by mail: send $40 per person along with email address to:
1794 Meetinghouse, PO Box 8, New Salem, MA 01355
online: go to https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4211680
For more information contact Jan Doody at (978) 575-0152
This year marks the 25th anniversary of our programs at the renovated New Salem Meetinghouse. We are working on many things right now, some behind the scenes and some as part of our summer productions. One immediate piece of note: we are seeking old posters, pictures and stories of and about the Meetinghouse and our performances. If you have anything to loan us or share pplease let me know. Brad Foster; firstname.lastname@example.org; 413-335-3489; PO Box 8, New Salem, MA 01355.
2019 Summer Series Concerts list is now complete and posted below, although I still have a few more pictures and text to add. Online ticket sales for the rest of the concerts will be added later this week; at present only tickets for Christine Ohlman's concert are ready to go.
~ Brad Foster, Executive Director
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.
We're just 20 to 25 minutes from Amherst, 40 minutes from Northampton and only 50 minutes from Brattleboro, Keene, and Worcester.
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Your contribution will help sustain the performing arts; all donations are tax deductible.
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.
1794 Meetinghouse is pleased to announce our 2018 Season Sponsors
[Click on the performer's name to jump to their bio.]
Christine Ohlman — vocals, acoustic & electric guitar
plus special guest Mitch Chakour — Piano, guitar, vocals
"I've come here tonight to set your souls on fire."
This queen of blue-eyed rock'n soul, who grew up loving equally the sweetness of a Memphis horn line and the raunch of an electric guitar riff, whether played by Muddy Waters, Keith Richards, or Pop Staples, teased her blonde hair into a beehive in honor of Ronnie Spector and never looked back, picking up a guitar and forging a career as a songwriter in the process. She's the current, long-time vocalist with the Saturday Night Live Band (SNL40's anniversary post-show concert also featured her star turn onstage with Jimmy Fallon, Elvis Costello and the B-52s), whose latest CD, The Deep End, was honored on five national Top Ten lists and features special guests/duet partners Ian Hunter, Dion DiMucci, and Marshall Crenshaw, plus Levon Helm, GE Smith, Andy York, Eric "Roscoe" Ambel, Catherine Russell, Big Al Anderson, and others. Ohlman topped the Alternate Root.com's Readers' Poll as top Americana vocalist, joining other winners Paul Thorn, The Mavericks and Rodney Crowell.
Ohlman's legendary voice and stage presence (she's known as "The Beehive Queen" for her towering blonde hairdo) have most recently been featured at the 2016 AMA Conference in Nashville; The PBS series "Music City Roots" with Bonnie Bramlett, Sarah Potenza and the McCrary Sisters during June, 2016; 2016 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival's Tribute To David Bowie; on numerous guest vocal slots on the HBO series "Vinyl" that feature a duet with Elvis Costello; on SNL's 40th Anniversary telecast (pulled onstage by Jimmy Fallon at the after-party concert at the Plaza Hotel, she tore the roof off with the B52s as her backup vocalists), "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" (guest slot with Black 47); the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Concert in Cleveland (filmed by HBO); the Carnegie Hall tribute to the Rolling Stones; the 2012, 2013 and 2015 Little Kids Rock galas in NYC (taking the stage with Bruce Springsteen, Brian Wilson, Elvis Costello, Steve Miller, Graham Nash, Bill Medley, Tom Morello and others); and the 2012-2015 WC Handy Festivals (she was the special guest of the Blind Boys Of Alabama and soul queen Candi Staton, and helmed a sold-out tribute to legendary producer Jerry Wexler; in 2015 she was the festival's Grand Marshall and co-billed with iconic guitarist Travis Wammack), as well as on both SNL's 25th and the aforementioned 40th Anniversary telecasts; Bob Dylan's 30th Anniversary bash at The Garden (with George Harrison, Chrissie Hynde, and others); the 2013 Obama Inaugural Gala in Washington, D.C.; The Lincoln Center "American Songbook" series with Sting, Lou Reed and Van Dyke Parks; and the Central Park Summerstage Tribute To Janis Joplin (where she fronted both Big Brother & The Holding Company and the Kozmic Blues Band).
In 2017, she was inducted into the National Blues Hall of Fame of American Heritage International. She appears on Grammy nominee's A Tribute To Howlin' Wolf (with Taj Mahal and Lucinda Williams) and Charlie Musselwhite's One Night In America (with Marty Stuart); sings the theme song for NBC's 30 Rock; worked on a musical with the late Cy Coleman (who compared her sense of timing to Peggy Lee's); duets live with friends like the aforementioned Miss Spector, Mac Rebennack (two private evening of duets she calls "absolute highlights"), Americana stalwart Paul Thorn, Bonnie Bramlett (who has become a longtime friend), Muscle Shoals legends Donnie Fritts and John Paul White of the Civil Wars, and New Orleans mainstays The Subdudes (she joins The 'Dudes, BB King, Irma Thomas, Richard Thompson and others on Get You A Healin' to benefit the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic and has guest-hosted five editions of "Down On The Bayou" during successive Jazz & Heritage Fests with Widespread Panic's JoJo Hermann, again to benefit The Clinic); worked often with the late blues giants Hubert Sumlin and Eddie Kirkland; collaborated on critically-acclaimed tracks with Marshall Crenshaw (Labour Of Love: The Music of Nick Lowe), Big Al Anderson (Pawn Shop Guitars), and Ian Hunter (When I'm President and Shrunken Heads); edited legendary Rolling Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham's autobiography 2Stoned and appears also on Oldham's historic 2013 release "Andrew Loog Oldham and Friends Sing The Rolling Stones Songbook Vol. 2"). A musicologist of note, Ohlman is a cover-story-writing contributor to Elmore Magazine, and worked with Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder & others on the Rhythm & Blues Foundation Awards.
Ohlman tours relentlessly with her band Rebel Montez, torching clubs up and down the Eastern Seaboard in support of her recordings: Strip, The Hard Way, Radio Queen, Wicked Time, 2008 career retrospective Re-Hive, the aforementioned The Deep End, 2011 concert DVD Live Hive, and 2016s The Grown-Up Thing.
"I've come here tonight to set your souls on fire," she'll tell an audience. And she will.
Rebel Montez: Cliff Goodwin, Michael Colbath & Lorne Entress
Cliff Goodwin — Lead Guitar
Cliff Goodwin, a native son of Worcester, MA, came up, as a founding member, with legendary New England rock n' roll gods The American Standard Band, appearing on their self-titled LP. In 1976, he answered the call to become Joe Cocker's lead guitarist, where he stayed until 1988, sharing the stage with Nicky Hopkins and Bobby Keyes; recording Luxury You Can Afford (Asylum), Cocker (Capitol), Live In Central Park (Casablanca), Standing Here, and Live in Montreaux (famously appearing on singles like "Leave Your Hat On" and Grammy-winner "Up Where We Belong"); and cementing his reputation as an musical director par excellence when he assumed that role for Cocker upon joining the band. Along the way, Cliff worked with John Mayall, Steve Miller, and Robert Palmer, appearing on Palmer's Secrets, (and, again famously, on singles "Bad Case Of Loving You" and "Suspicion"), three Billboard Hot 100-charted singles with the New City Rockers, and the million-seller Twisted Christmas with The Bob Rivers Comedy Corporation.
His 2018 solo CD, "Rhythm & Blues Union," was recorded with an all-star cast and features guest performances by Jon Butcher, James Montgomery, Elliott Tuffin, Michael Lynch and Craig Rawding.
Goodwin is profiled in the Sept. 2013 issue of Vintage Guitar Magazine. His ongoing tenure as MD and lead guitarist with David Foster & The Mohegan Sun All-Stars has brought him to stages across the country with Delbert McClinton, BB King, and other notables of the blues world. Goodwin's production projects have taken him most recently to Amsterdam, and he continues a career as a sought-after sideman both on-stage and in-studio. Additionally, he consults with the Bose Corporation as Musical Director for Research and Development for the new L-1 Amplification Speaker System and leads the band that demos the system worldwide.>
Goodwin stepped seamlessly into the musical shoes of Eric Fletcher (1954-2006), Rebel Montez's charter member and guitarist, who passed away suddenly in May, 2006, bringing with him, then and now, a wealth of musical knowledge and a rock n' roll sensibility that is soulful, fresh and inspiring.
Michael Colbath — Bass Guitar
Michael started out a jazz freak, and in many ways it's still his first love. But from the time he picked up his first bass to the present, his interest in music has been truly global. Mike got his start working out with R'n'B soul groups in Hartford's North End and continued to cut his teeth on the Hartford scene with the Hibachi Brothers, a World Beat band, while at the same time playing with a succession of jazz combos.
Known as "The Buddah Of The Bass" for his unflappable Zen-trance stage presence, Colbath goes to the well of Duck Dunn, James Jamierson, and John Paul Jones for inspiration. He says, "Playing with Christine allows me to work on music in an original context, which is very gratifyng to me as a musician." Michael brings many influences to his playing style and bass lines and a spark that few can match when he straps on his axe.
Lorne Entress — Drums
Lorne Entress is an American drummer, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. While known mainly as a producer and drummer/percussionist, Entress has been described as playing "every instrument under the sun, all with taste and restraint."
Special guest, Mitch Chakour — Piano, guitar, vocals
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).
Mitch Chakour is a world-renowned musical director, pianist, guitarist and vocalist. He has been performing, recording and producing music for 35 years. He has previously shared the stage with James Brown, B B King, Aerosmith, Muddy Waters and many others. He has also written for the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.
Geoffrey Hudson — Music Director
Judy Johnson — Collaborative Pianist
Quabbin Valley Pro Musica — Chorus
Quabbin Valley Pro Musica will sing a radiant selection of music about spring, birds, love, nymphs, shepherds, and whispering waters, with a few fa-la-las thrown in for good measure. The program centers on Frostiana, Randall Thompson's much loved setting of seven poems by Robert Frost. Frostiana has strong local roots, having been commissioned in celebration of the town of Amherst's bicentennial. Also included on the concert are Antonin Dvorak's gorgeous Songs of Nature, a smattering of Elizabethan madrigals, and two songs by Kurt Weill.
Quabbin Valley Pro Musica
QVPM is the resident chorus of 1794 Meetinghouse. It is led by Music Director Geoff Hudson and is comprised of singers from the North Quabbin and Pioneer Valley regions. The singers are gifted amateurs who perform quality choral music from many genres. QVPM meets on Monday nights at the Central Congregational Church of New Salem, and typically perform concerts in January and June. For more information, please contact Harry Haldt at email@example.com or (978) 249-4691.
A composer as well as conductor, Hudson's compositions have been performed across the US and in Europe. His most recent work, The Quartet Project, is a six-volume collection of graduated string quartets modeled on Béla Bartók’s Mikrokosmos. More than 200 quartets worldwide have performed selections from The Quartet Project. The full collection was published in 2016 accompanied by a CD featuring performances by the Chiara, Parker, Miró, Brooklyn Rider, Jupiter, Borromeo, and Apple Hill quartets. Other recent commissions include an opera for young audiences, The Bug Opera, a concerto for viola and chamber ensemble, First Among Equals, and numerous choral and chamber works. His work as a composer has been supported by grants from the American Composers Forum, New Music USA, Meet the Composer, the International Music and Art Foundation, the Argosy Foundation, the Alice M. Ditson Fund, and others.
Hudson is entering his twelfth season as music director of Pioneer Valley Cappella (Northampton) and has directed the chorus at Greenwood Music Camp’s junior division for many summers. A resident of Pelham, Hudson received his undergraduate degrees at Oberlin College, where he studied American history and composition. He earned a Master’s in composition at The New England Conservatory.
Atholl Musicale, QVPM's precursor, was created by Mark Wright in 1988. In 1993 it was renamed Quabbin Valley Pro Musica when it became the resident chorus of the newly formed 1794 Meetinghouse, Inc. Because renovations on the historic Meetinghouse were not yet complete, the first concerts were held in the New Salem's Central Congregational Church. The first Music Director was Gail Ares-Laraba; she had conducted the Atholl Musicale and continued with the early QVPM. Mark Wright (now director of the North Quabbin Chamber of Commerce) managed the early choir and produced its concerts, and Lynn Boudreau (current Meetinghouse organization President, and still singing with QVPM) sang with that early choir.
Geoff Hudson was Music Director from September 2001 to June 2007. Charles Heffernan took over from September 2007 to June 2017, and Geoff returned to direct the chorus for a second time in September 2017.
Bill Halloran — guitar, vocals
Devin Griffiths — guitar, vocals
Mark Chouinard — drums
Kathy Peterseon — bass
Living Blues wrote: "Wildcat emerges as one of the most entertaining songwriters on the current blues scene... and his band doesn't have 'dull' in their vocabulary!" The Wildcat O'Halloran Band has been thrilling audiences in Western Massachusetts for over twenty years, and is currently promoting its 14th album "NYC Chill"... building on the success of the last five: "Hot Pulldown", "Midnight Service Call","Party Up In Heaven", "Cougar Bait" and "Drinkin' With the Harp Girls", each of which was played on over 200 stations, and called "crazy-fun" by the Boston Blues Society and "a great release" by the UK's Blues Matters. Living Blues Magazine wrote: "Wildcat emerges as one of the most entertaining songwriters in contemporary blues...and his band doesn't know the meaning of dull!"
The band has opened for just about every major blues artist to visit Massachusetts, from Greg Allman to John Lee Hooker to The Stray Cats, and has been backup band for Bo Diddley and James Cotton. Recently, they opened for Duke Robillard at Greenfield's Hawks and Reed Music Hall.
Often featured at Millennium Music Conference, and longtime host of the Sunday Blues Jam in Northampton, the Wildcat (guitar and vocals) will often be accompanied by "Dr." Kathy Peterson (Bass), "Dr. Luscious" Emily Duff (sax), Devin Griffiths (guitar, vocals) and drummer Mark Chouinard.
Living Blues added these kudos: "the grooves are so damned infectious, and the guitar playing so stirring....The Wildcat O'Halloran Band can make you dance and make you laugh if you let it...irresistible." Bill Copeland added: "NYC chill is his strongest CD yet!!"
Richard Chase — vocals, guitar
Singer-songwriter Richard Chase has earned the respect of audiences throughout the North Quabbin region and beyond with his superbly crafted songs and tasteful musicianship. A talented multi instrumentalist, Chase has appeared on many stages in a variety of genres that include symphonic, orchestral, jazz, pop, original, rock, choral, contra, theatre, as well as solo work.
Although writing and performing his own music as a solo, duo, trio, or quartet is the heart and soul of the Richard Chase experience, one might also find him running a sound system for an up and coming festival, recording a performance, performing in a local production, singing tenor or bass with Quabbin Valley Pro Musica, or singing his original songs at a local farmer's market.
Add to that composer..
2013 saw the world premier of the composition "Stone Man" written and arranged by Chase for 1794 Meetinghouse's own Quabbin Valley Pro Musica to rave review by audience members and choristers alike. The piece had the traditional classically versed group grunting, stomping and beat-boxing their way through this gritty, swampy, working man's anthem to a thunderous applause! Returning to the Meetinghouse again in 2017 provided a rare and wonderful opportunity to premier his newest piece "This is not a Broken Heart — Let Love Rule the World", a richly textured love ballad performed with the amazing support of QVPM.
Richard Chase and his music have been described this way:
Some reviews of Richard's music include:
Richard Chase lives in Orange with his wife Lynn among luscious gardens, two cats a few chickens.
Glenn Jones — guitar
Opening — Weeping Bong Band:
Glenn Jones: "The best guitarist you never heard of." — The Boston Globe
Glenn is a master of American Primitive Guitar, a style invented in the late 1950s by John Fahey, whose traditional fingerpicking techniques and wide-ranging influences were used to create modern original compositions. Jones, who led the post-rock ensemble Cul de Sac, brings his own made-up tunings, the use of custom-crafted partial capos, and a highly skilled picking style on both banjo and guitar, to create personal compositions that are lyrical, emotive and elegant. What sets him apart from the myriad guitarists playing today is his ability to tell stories with the guitar and banjo, and to convey a range of emotions. This process starts with the compositions themselves and carries through to his selection of recording environment and engineer.
Jones turned away from standard tuning years ago, inventing tunings as a way of escaping the known. The pieces he writes in these tunings are his way of navigating new and unfamiliar landscapes. "But it’s my hope," he says, "that what you hear are not the tunings and partial capos and all that, but the music — the feeling within these pieces."
To date, Jones has issued six full-length solo albums, many of which have made several critics' year-end "best of" lists. His most recent were Fleeting (2016), Waterworks (2017), and An Idea in Everything (2017), a collaboration album with Chris Corsano and David Greenberger.
Jones has written extensively about the leading lights of the American Primitive guitar style, namely John Fahey (with whom he was friends for nearly 25 years), and Robbie Basho (Jones was friends with the guitarist until Basho's untimely death in 1986, and hosted the guitarist / singer's final tour of the East Coast). He has written liner notes for five Fahey albums to date, including, notably, Fahey's final album, Red Cross, and he produced Fahey's posthumously issued 1968 live album, The Great Santa Barbara Oil Slick (Water) as well as a 1980 live recording by Robbie Basho, Bonn Ist Supreme (Bo' Weavil) and the issue of demo recordings for Basho's last solo guitar album, Twilight Peaks (Smeraldina-Rima). Jones also produced a massive five-CD box-set of John Fahey's earliest recordings, Your Past Comes Back to Haunt You(2011; Dust-to-Digital), which he worked on for 11 years. The album received rave reviews.
Glenn first began touring solo in 2003, opening for Jack Rose in the U.S., Canada, Europe and the UK. Jones guests on several of Jack's albums, including his last, Luck in the Valley. The Things That We Used to Do, a DVD featuring hour-long solo sets from each artist, and a pair of duets, was issued in April 2010 (Strange Attractors). Jones' latest project is The Thousand Incarnations of the Rose -- An Introduction to American Primitive Guitar & Banjo, 1963-1974, a double LP / CD package for which he selected the tracks and wrote extensive liner notes. It's slated for release in late 2017. Glenn's most recent studio album for Thrill Jockey was released in 2018.
Weeping Bong Band
Three members — Clark Griffin, Wednesday Knudsen and PG Six — are in the current line-up of Pigeons. One, Anthony Pasquarosa, has his own host of solo projects (Crystaline Roses, Gluebag, Burnt Envelope, etc.). And a final "ghost member," Beverly Ketch, is half of the duo Viewer. Together, however, theirs is a rural psych engine that weeps as gently as a spring rain.
This is high-provenance instrumental hippie spew from the apex of the Pioneer Valley. There's plenty of burbling psych guitar, laced with overtones that will make you conjure up visions of dark stoned nights. It is definitely music made in the day when marijuana had passed its medical-use-only status in the Commonwealth. Which is not to infer this music is unimbued with its own mystical curing properties, especially when played at mind-bending volume.
Allow yourself to be bathed in the tears of the bong. Their sweet flow will wash away all traces of your sins. Byron Coley, 2018
Photos of Glenn Jones by Jesse Sheppard
Melody (Mel) Green — vocals, mandolin, guitar, bass
Betsy (Bets) Heron — vocals, fiddle, banjo
Brianna (Brie) Green — vocals, bass, fiddle, guitar
Rebecca (Beck) Mitus — vocals, guitar, mandolin, bass, fiddle
Sprouting from a small farm in rural Massachusetts, the four Green Sisters have had a deep love of music from birth. Their music spans a wide range of bluegrass, barbershop, blues, country, and lots of original songs which fit right into the mix. They've been playing venues in New England regularly for the last few years and have garnered quite the following; it's hard to not to smile when treated with their tight harmonies and high energy tunes. Their live show is where they really shine, bouncing their jovial banter around the stage as only siblings can. Their first CD, Endless Blue, was released last year; now the sisters are hard at work on their second and are excited to share new songs and stories with you.
The four gals get together to play as often as they can. They revel in each other's company, and jump easily from bluegrass to barbershop to blues to Celtic to originals of all styles.
Steven Schoenberg — piano
Steven Schoenberg's acclaimed recordings, Pianoworks, Three Days in May, Steven Schoenberg Live, An Improvisational Journey, and the newly released What's Going On?, are available on CD. After a finger injury stopped his piano improvisational concerts in 1986, Schoenberg started performing again in the late 1990's and has appeared at concert halls throughout the United States. His recent film scores include the documentaries Monica and David, for HBO, A Class Apart, for the PBS series American Experience; An Act of Conscience, for Showtime; and Farmingville, which opened the 2005 PBS series POV. Farmingville took home the Special Jury Award from the Sundance Film Festival. Schoenberg has scored numerous Emmy Award-winning films for other PBS series including NOVA and Smithsonian World. With his son, Adam Schoenberg, he also scored the independent thriller, Graceland, which premiered at the Tribeca Film festival, and is now available on NETFLIX. He has composed songs for Sesame Street and scored films for ZOOM and the Children's Television Workshop. He was executive producer and composer for Kid Quest, which garnered two New England Emmy Awards in 2008. Other children's projects include composing music for the award-winning book and CD My Bodyworks, written by his wife Jane Schoenberg.
"Steven Schoenberg's kaleidoscopic piano speaks with a uniquely American voice. His flowing compositions, laced with stride, folk, modern jazz, and impressionistic styles, burst open into full-scale musical dioramas." — Tom Regan, Prairie Public Radio
"Schoenberg's Three Days in May (Quabbin Records) is worth the effort. It's an eloquent, lush, and flowing series of improvisations that are spliced together to form sequential states of mind. He claims that the performances are completely spontaneous, and if that's so, they are within strict melodic and rhythmic frameworks." — DownBeat Magazine
"Schoenberg performs spontaneously improvised works and yet each one has the polish, sophistication, and technical mastery of a complex piece of music." — David Sokol, Music Editor, Advocate Newspapers
"More than a small musical miracle occurred in Amherst College's Buckley Recital Hall last night. Steven Schoenberg held more than 500 people spellbound for 90 minutes with a mix of artistry and understated spirituality. Schoenberg's concert wove together styles as different as classical, popular, and blues into a highly original fabric that is warmly familiar. His versatility and extraordinary musicianship allow him to evoke classical music one minute and the spirit of an off-Broadway passion play the next." — Rob Okun, Daily Hampshire Gazette
"Schoenberg is a bright composer, and his sparkling album Pianoworks is almost 45 minutes of Schoenberg's solo improvisations, most of them from a concert he gave at Amherst College. He's a lyrical player with a gift for delicate interlocking melodies and extended single-note runs high up the keyboard." — Ray Murphy, Boston Globe
"A concert by Steven Schoenberg is like almost nothing else in music. Others can improvise in performance, but very few can improvise over so wide a range of musical forms as those with which Schoenberg is in touch." — John Stiffler, Hampshire Life
Annie Guthrie — guitar, vocals
Annie Guthrie is the middle daughter of folksinger Arlo Guthrie and artist Jackie Guthrie, and had many options for inspiration growing up. At a young age she saw a picture of her grandmother Marjorie, a Martha Graham dancer, which motivated her to become a dancer. Her stubborn personality meant nothing was going to stop her. Eventually a knee injury slowed her down, and that's when Annie’s mother put a guitar in her hands and taught her a few chords. It didn't take long for Annie to reinvent her love — she still dances, just a little differently now. She recalls her dad teaching her how to finger-pick Elizabeth Cotten's song 'Freight Train'. "My dad started off showing me the chords and saying, 'Okay, do this with your thumb,' and he'd go away for a few months. He'd come back and ask me if I practiced. I was in love and couldn't put the guitar down, so of course I practiced. Once he realized I wasn't giving up, he kept adding a new finger and another string."
Guthrie is a prolific songwriter and versatile musician who primarily plays acoustic guitar, bass, percussion and autoharp. Annie's songs are honest, ranging from light and funny to gut-wrenching heartbreak (mostly gut-wrenching heartbreak); as her grandfather Woody Guthrie said, "You can only write what you see," and she has taken that to heart, writing songs that tell it like it is.
Making her recording debut on Arlo Guthrie's Someday album at the age of four, Annie went on to contribute vocals on Woody's 20 Grow Big Songs (1991), More Together Again (1994) and joined her father Arlo & family on "All Over The World," a track included on Occupy This Album (2012) in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Dragonfly is Annie Guthrie's long-awaited solo debut, released in July of 2016. This collection of songs penned by Guthrie showcases her gift for directness and going straight for the heart. Annie's honest approach to songwriting coupled with her soulful delivery makes Dragonfly a compelling and notable solo premiere.
Annie's single Feistier Than Gin, released December 2017, features Annie's fierce wit and dark humor. Don't ask her how she really feels—she will tell you! Feeling angry after the passing of her mother in 2012, Annie penned Feistier Than Gin in early 2013. "I was trying to lighten my mood, this is what I got. Music is the soundtrack to life. I was pissed that my mom died, and in love at the same time. When I put those feelings together with my guitar, Feistier Than Gin surfaced."
"I'd like to thank you [Annie], for adding a whole new dynamic to folk music. One where we are not all sitting around reading our vegan cookbooks." — David Amram
Doug Morton — bass guitar, vocals
Josh Gordon — guitar, vocals
Betsydawn Williams — guitar, vocals
Marshall Grossman — drums
Snack Pack is four veteran musicians who've teamed up for this project. Their repertoire is pulled from a variety of sources, all carrying on the mission of peace, love, harmony, and fun, in a grab-bag fashion from a variety of genres. Original works, and others within the realms of rock & roll, hippie country, and cosmic jazz comprise our menu.
Betsydawn Williams, aka BeeDee — front n' center, singing and playing guitar, has two CD releases out on the indie-European roots music label El Toro Records, featuring original works, and has played in festivals and record show cases for the label in Spain, Seattle, Green Bay, with Li'l BeeDee & the Doo-Rites and was also a founding member of the popular Valley-based band Girl Howdy.
Stage Left to Right, the 'guys' — Josh Gordon, Doug Morton, and Marshall Grossman — bring in a cornucopia of experience. These (collectively or singly) include:
Jim Muller — guitar, lead vocals
Sharon Horovitch — accoustic bass, harmony vocals
Richard Stillman — banjo, harmony vocals
John Tibert — mandolin, harmony vocals
Southern Rail celebrates over four decades of performing with the long-awaited release of their 12th recording, "Voices in the Wind". And on April 6th this year, Sharon and Jim were inducted into the Rhode Island Bluegrass Alliance's Hall of Fame.
Over the years, Southern Rail's recordings, featuring their prolific songwriting, have graced Bluegrass Unlimited's Top Thirty Singles Chart for a combined total of 32 months, climbing to #11. One of Southern Rail's earlier CD's, a special Bluegrass Gospel compilation entitled Glory Train, was nominated for Best Gospel Recording of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association. Southern Rail has been selected by the New England Foundation for the Arts to be included in their prestigious Touring Roster.
Jim Muller — guitar & lead vocals
Jim was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia and is the band's principal lead singer and songwriter. Jim's rich, distinctive lead vocals and offbeat humor have become one of the group's trademarks. A guitarist for over 40 years, he is also known for his polished flat-picking and rock-solid rhythm. Jim is also a respected staff-writer for Bluegrass Now Magazine from Rolla, MO. His regular feature on sound reinforcement, "Plugged In", has received a great deal of international attention.
Sharon Horovitch — acoustic bass & harmony vocals
Aggressive, creative and irrepressible, Sharon is known for her infectious smile, her limber bass work, and her tireless energy on stage and off. Sharon sings tenor and high-baritone harmonies. Sharon and Jim are co-founders of Southern Rail, and have worked on ten recording projects, eight of which are Southern Rail's. Sharon also handles Southern Rail's booking and publicity.
Richard Stillman — banjo & harmony vocalsRichard ("Rich") has been playing bluegrass banjo for over 30 years. He has founded or been involved with of a number of influential bluegrass bands, including the Jersey Travelers, a previous term with Southern Rail, Way Station, and Adam Dewey and Crazy Creek. He also has numerous studio recording credits with other New England folk artists. Rich was New Jersey banjo champion in 1983, and New England banjo champion in 2002 & 2003. He is a six-time winner of the annual banjo contest held at Lowell, Massachusetts (1985-1995), where he has presented a bluegrass banjo workshop every year since 1996. Rich has been a regular on the faculty of Banjo Camp North, has taught bluegrass banjo classes for Boston Bluegrass Union, and has taught banjo as an adjunct faculty member at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA.
John Tibert — mandolin & harmony vocals
Hailing from Northboro, MA, John started playing guitar at age 14. But once he heard Dave Grisman on "Old and in the Way", his life was never the same and he's been addicted to bluegrass ever since. He's a prolific songwriter and also has taught mandolin for over a decade. John's mandolin playing is fluid, lyrical and from the heart, and his superb bass vocals are a powerful addition to the group's signature quartet harmonies.
Quotes and Record Reviews
Sharon and Jim's induction into the Rhode Island Bluegrass Alliance’s Hall of Fame
Southern Rail — Foggy Mountain Breakdown on YouTube
Southern Rail — Children Go Where I Send Thee on YouTube
Southern Rail — Gone for Way To Long on YouTube
Southern Rail — Red Rubber Ball on YouTube
Lynn Mahoney Rowan — vocals
Will Thomas Rowan — vocals, banjo, Panduri, Chonguri, piano, Bulgarian drum
Lauren Breunig — vocals
Jeremy Carter-Gordon — vocals, banjo
Stunningly powerful vocal harmony floods the room as the four Windborne singers present Song on the Times, their project of working class movements for peoples' rights from the past 400 years, sung for today's struggles. The group was catapulted to new heights when a clip of them singing in protest outside Trump tower went viral, and their Indiegogo for the project raised 1,600% of its goal from 2,600 people in every State and 22 countries. Aside from this new project, Windborne has collected and studied polyphonic vocal music for over 15 years from traditional singing masters and from cultures around the world. Windborne is able to shift from radically different genres like no band you have ever heard, as comfortable with an improvised Corsican couplet song as with an English ballad. Lynn Mahoney Rowan, Will Thomas Rowan, Lauren Breunig, and Jeremy Carter-Gordon share a vibrant energy onstage — their connection to each other and to the music clearly evident. They educate as they entertain, telling stories about the music and explaining the characteristics and stylistic elements of the traditions in which they sing.
Scott Ainslie — vocals, vintage 1931 National guitar, diddley bow/cigar box guitar
Scott Ainslie's mother found him at the family piano picking out melodies from the records she listened to during the day when he was three years old. He's been a musician all his life.
A Phi Beta Kappa and honors graduate of Washington & Lee University, Ainslie came of age during the Civil Rights era and cultivated a powerful affinity for cross-cultural exchange. He has studied with elder musicians on both sides of the color line — in the Old-Time Southern Appalachian fiddle and banjo traditions as well as Black Gospel and Blues. He plays this music with affection, authority, and power.
Armed with a variety of instruments — vintage guitars, a fretless gourd banjo, a one-string, homemade diddley bow (aka cigar box guitar) and carefully chosen historical personal anecdotes of his encounters with senior musicians across the South — Ainslie brings the history, roots music, and sounds of America alive. Ainslie has spent more than 30 years looking for the right story, the right set of facts, the right piece of history, to introduce a song. He offers a personality, a moment in history, a vignette to entice you into a song and to give that song a chance to wake and breathe among us like a living thing.
On stage, in educational teaching concerts, workshops, and school residencies, Ainslie explores the African and European roots of American music and culture. His easy, conversational way with audiences and cross-disciplinary approach to the music consistently garners rave reviews from presenters, audiences, students, and teachers, alike. He is a masterful and thoughtful historian, storyteller, and musician. Ainslie transcribed the original recordings and published a book on Delta blues legend Robert Johnson [Robert Johnson/At The Crossroads (Hal Leonard, 1992)], and has an instructional DVD on Johnson’s guitar work [Robert Johnson’s Guitar Techniques (Hal Leonard, 1997)].
Ainslie has six solo CDs to his name and maintains an active recording, performing, and teaching schedule that carries him around the country, to Canada, and to Europe. His most recent recording is an award-winning collection of songs played on a 1934 Gibson archtop, The Last Shot Got Him. The CD has received strong reviews from listeners and critics, alike, and among other honors, was chosen as the Album of the Year (a Tammie Award from the Times-Argus, Montpelier, VT). Ainslie has received numerous awards and grants for his work documenting and presenting traditional music. He has been a Public Fellow at UNC-Chapel Hill, and received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Folklife Section of the North Carolina Arts Council.
His performances present a wonderful palette of sounds and stories that will delight the ear, awaken the mind, and satisfy the heart. A leader in both the North Carolina and the Virginia Visiting Artist Programs, Ainslie served the citizens of these states in rural community college-based residencies from 1986 through 2000. In 2000, Ainslie was also presented with an Indie (the Independent Weekly Triangle Arts Award, Durham, NC), with the National Slide Guitar Festivals’ Living Heritage Award, and the 20th Annual Sam Ragan Fine Arts Award for “outstanding contributions to the fine arts” (from St. Andrew’s Presbyterian College, Laurinburg, NC). As a traditional musician with expertise in Piedmont and Delta Blues as well as Southern Appalachian fiddle and banjo traditions, Ainslie has specialized in performing and presenting programs on the European and African roots of American music and culture in community and educational settings.
John Hanifin — cello
John Hanifin began his study of cello at the age of seven and continued that education throughout childhood, studying privately with Boris Kogan for nine years. Through his years at Longmeadow High School in Massachusetts he was sponsored by the Five College Early music Program and studied both cello and viola de gamba. He received scholarships to study during the summers at the Baroque Performance Institute, Western Wind Ensemble and the Viola De Gamba Society of America in different locations around the country.
While an undergraduate at The Boston Conservatory of Music, John was named a Jephson Educational Trust Scholar and that summer, in his Junior year, debuted as a soloist in a performance at Belcourt Castle in Newport, Rhode Island. At the conservatory, he studied under Rhonda Rider, Andrew Mark and Mihail Jojatu and also attended several workshops including the Portland String Quartet as a student, Assistant Cello instructor and coach. John received The Bachelor of Music Degree (BM) from The Boston Conservatory of Music in 2010.
In the fall of 2010, John was accepted and named an Ambassador of the Longy School of Music of Bard College, where he continued his graduate study of cello performance under Mihail Jojatu. Hanifin was awarded The Masters of Music Degree (MM) in 2012. John continues to perform as a classical soloist and guest artist while operating a successful private cello studio for Boston area students.
John has also focused on projects which clearly translate his desire to bring his love of cello to a wider audience. John has soloed with Joel. A Martin's "Footsteps of Mandela", and received sponsorships through NS Design, Coda Bows & D'Addario Strings. John and the members of the John Hanifin Band with Producer Kiyanu Kim released their debut album in 2016.
Margo Hennebach — piano, guitar, vocals
Adrienne Jones — guitar, vocals
Mark Saunders — mandolin, guitar, vocals
Kane Clawson — vocals
with Pete Nelson — guitar, vocals
Even though Mad Agnes stopped performing in 2011, we've enticed them back for this rare performance. Margo Hennebach, Adrienne Jones and Mark Saunders will bring you the sculpted harmonies and compelling songwriting for which they are known. Kane Clawson will also join them in their collective vocal improv troupe, Mènage à Voix. What will happen then? You won't know in advance… but you'll be part of it!
Hennebach, Jones and Saunders have a long musical history together, performing across the U.S. and overseas. Individually and collectively they've recorded twelve albums and a DVD. Clawson is lead vocalist with the Traditional and World Music band, Wild Cat Creek, and also Country Jam, which revisits Classic Country and American Songbook material.
Pete Nelson is an author, a Signature Sounds' recording artist, and a long-time resident of The Pioneer Valley.
Pete Nelson is certainly not the only storytelling folk singer in the business. It has, in fact, become something of a folk reviewer's cliché to compare a singer/songwriter to a novelist, short story writer, or playwright. But such descriptions are unavoidable in discussions of Nelson's work, and they are even more apt when applied to him than they are to better-known storytellers like Dar Williams, Ellis Paul, and Darryl Purpose. That's because story seems primary to Nelson and music only secondary. On his debut album, The Restless Boys' Club, fundamental conventions of popular music are regularly tossed aside if they don't suit the narrative. In the liner notes, his lyrics are printed in prose format with complete sentences, paragraphs, and quotation marks. Nelson's choruses, usually the heart and soul of a song, tend to be brief and unmemorable, almost thrown away; enlisted in service of the verses rather than the other way round. Meter and rhyme are all but vanquished from the tragicomic opener, "Norman," and on "Let's Get Some Beer," the purported solo artist steps aside to let an all-star cast (John Gorka, Bill Morrissey, Cliff Eberhardt, and Greg Brown) voice his characters. Nelson's own voice — soft, thin, and sometimes unsteady — seems a liability on the first listen, but he uses its gentle, unaffected simplicity to great effect. Of course, none of this would work if the stories weren't well told. But Nelson has a great gift for quietly underscoring the poignant depth of ordinary events in ordinary lives. And though he isn't nearly as good a singer or composer as most of the celebrity guests that play on his albums (Paul Williams, Chistine Lavin, and Peter Mulvey, to name a few), he finds plenty of luminous musical moments to shed light on those well-crafted narratives. — Evan Cater, All Music Guide
Peter Blanchette — 11-string archguitar
His extraordinary repertoire of internationally acclaimed arrangements and compositions spans from the medieval, renaissance and baroque music to World Music, New Music, and his own original pieces. He performs and records in solo recital or with selected other instrumentalists to form the Virtual Consort. He has been heard on hundreds of recordings, film and television scores, public radio in the US, Canada, Europe and across Asia, on his own 17 archguitar albums for the Dorian label and his own imprint, Archguitar Music.
Performer & Bach Specialist
Since his late teens, Blanchette has been devoted to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. He has made archguitar arrangements of hundreds of the Bach's music composed originally for solo violin, solo 'cello, and lute, as well as archguitar duo arrangements of keyboard and orchestral works.
Kirsten Swanson wrote in the CVNC Charlotte Journal about Peter Blanchette's performance at the Bechtler Museum of Contemporary Arts' Concert Series:
"The ornamentation and rhythmic intricacies in the Courante were so creative that they gave the impression that Blanchette was composing the music on the spot. Each phrase was a new delight. He highlighted and danced rhythms that I had never heard before in the music. After a short pause wherein Blanchette joked about how hard the Courante is (the entire concert was performed by memory), he continued with the Sarabande, which left me crying and speechless from its serene beauty."
Blanchette is a veteran performer at such high profile venues as NPR’s "A Prairie Home Companion," and The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and has performed in nearly all countries in Western Europe, from Norway to Portugal.
A recipient of the Massachusetts Council Artist Grant in Music Composition, Peter Blanchette is a composer whose music has been featured in films and television for over 20 years. Credits: HBO's Sex and the City, Cannes Palme D'Or nominated film Illuminata, (directed by John Turturro), commissions from the Dingle Film Festival and the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts for new scores to three of Buster Keaton's silent masterpieces: The General, the Navigator and Steamboat Bill. Jr. His albums receive heavy radio airplay on "Sunday Baroque," "The Thistle and Shamrock,' and on Spanish television's Antenna 3.
Blanchette is also the founder and Artistic Director of the Happy Valley Guitar Orchestra, a true avant-garde orchestra, comprised of more than a dozen adventurous acoustic and electric guitarists from widely varied traditions. Located in Northampton, Massachusetts, HVGO serves the Pioneer Valley community as it creates new and beautiful music that could only come from such an eclectic melange, inspiring musicians to work together who might otherwise never collaborate. HVGO also partners with Holyoke Summer Strings to bring free, guitar ensemble lessons to Holyoke Massachusetts elementary school children.
Peter Blanchette — Archguitar website
Peter Blanchette — Archguitar on Facebook
Peter Blanchette — Archguitar Music website
Bach: Suite I for Cello, Prelude BWV1007a from Style Brisé [the Broken Style] on Archguitar.com
Happy Valley Guitar Orchestra in Concert: Glass; Etude No. 9 on YouTube
Eveline MacDougall — fiddle, vocals, accordion
Douglas Reid — guitar, banjo, ukulele, vocals
Eveline MacDougal has performed with various groups including Altiplano, No Known Address,The Wholesale Klezmer Band, the Pioneer Valley Symphony, and the Green River String Band. She toured with Thin Ice Theatre and Blue Angel Arts political theatre troupes. She founded the Amandla Chorus in 1988 (www.amandlachorus.org); they changed their name to Fiery Hope in this, their 31st year, and will perform for us on Saturday September 21st, 2019. With Fire Pond, Eveline sings and plays violin, viola, and accordion.
Douglas Reid studied ancient Chinese music at the Central Music Conservatory in Beijing in 1986 to learn to play the 7-string qin, arguably the most authentic indigenous Chinese musical instrument. He has performed with the Black Horse String Band and the Green River String Band. With Fire Pond, Douglas sings and plays guitar, bluegrass and frailing banjo, accordion, and soprano & baritone ukuleles.
Lui Collins — vocals, tenor ukulele, banjo
Anand Nayak — guitar, vocals & more
Folk singer/songwriter Lui Collins has been performing, writing and recording for over 40 years, earning international acclaim for her music. Her repertoire, accompanied on tenor ukulele and banjo, ranges from original and traditional folk songs and American standards to bossa nova in the original Brazilian Portuguese. She's made 17 recordings, including 9 collaborations with Anand Nayak (8 for her music curriculum Kids' Jam), and most recently a CD with her band 3 Ravens and author Jane Yolen. She's performed on others' projects, and shared the stage with such folk-world notables as Tom Rush, Bonnie Raitt, and Stan Rogers.
Lui has been hailed by the Boston Herald as a "folksinger for our times" and by the Boston Globe as "one of New England's first and brightest stars." She was voted third most popular performer at the Champlain Valley Festival in 1992, along with Pete Seeger and French Canadian band La Bottine Souriante. Renowned guitarist Dave van Ronk called her "one of the best guitarist-arrangers I have heard in years." Canadian folk icon Stan Rogers quipped, "Lui sings my songs better than I do," and Waterbug Records' Andrew Calhoun claims, "Lui Collins sings the way people did a great long time ago, before most of us forgot how to breathe."
These days, along with creating playful 4-string arrangements of some favorite original songs, Lui has been exploring the fabulous jazz chords in old American standards and bossa nova on tenor ukulele. She also contributes to 3-part vocal harmonies and plays ukulele, banjo, and piano with fiddler Donna Hébert and guitarist Max Cohen in the band 3 Ravens. In October 2018 they released The Infinite Dark, a collaborative recording with renowned author Jane Yolen, including recitations and musical settings of Yolen's poems.
In a parallel musical adventure, Collins founded Upside-Up Music and began teaching Music Together classes in 2003. This led to her development of a primarily Kodály-based music curriculum for 5-7-year-olds called Kids' Jam. The curriculum includes 8 seasonal collections of traditional and original songs (each with CD and Songbook), which she uses in her local classes and has also adapted for homeschool use as Upside-Up's Music at Home.
Anand Nayak is a guitarist, singer and producer from Florence, MA. A long-time member of Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem, Anand has played everywhere from bedsides to big stages all over the country, and has long cultivated an approach to music that celebrates connection. His efforts in the recording studio have garnered several family music awards including a Grammy nomination for Singing Their Way Through by Alastair Moock. Anand and Lui have collaborated extensively in the studio, starting with Lui's 2006 album Closer.
Samirah Evans — vocals
Fianz Robert — piano
Jason Schwartz — bass
Connor Muhan — drums
Michael Zsoldos — saxophone
This is the Closing Night Concert for our 2019 Summer Season. Please join us for a potluck Bring Your Own reception before the show starting at 6:45pm; we'll have cups and our usual water, seltzer and light snacks, and we invite you to bring wine and/or beer to share.
Artist l Performer I Educator
During her career as a performer and recording artist, Samirah Evans has become known for her dynamic and soulful approach to music, especially in the jazz and blues genres. Her musical style is heavily influenced by the New Orleans sound where she was one of the city's most popular and in-demand singers for nearly 20 years.
Her 1990 debut at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival began a run of 15 consecutive appearances, either as a leader or featured vocalist, and she was a fixture in clubs and concert venues throughout the Crescent City, including Snug Harbor, Tipitina's and the House of Blues. Evans has toured North and South America, Europe and Asia, sharing stages with a multitude of New Orleans notables and legendary artists, including James Brown, B.B. King, Dr. John, Aaron and Charles Neville, Michael Ray & the Cosmic Krew, Sheila Jordan, Terence Blanchard, Donald Harrison Jr., Michael Franks, Poncho Sanchez, Katie Webster, Bob Dorough, Irma Thomas, Kermit Ruffins, Trombone Shorty, Duke Robillard, Levon Helm, Jaimoe (of the Allman Brothers), and Sam Kininger.
Hurricane Katrina caused Samirah to relocate to her husband's hometown of Brattleboro, Vermont. She has since been performing in venues and festivals throughout the northeast with her band, Samirah Evans and Her Handsome Devils, and her classic New Orleans R&B choir, the NOLABratts, among other projects.
The New Orleans Times Picayune named Evans' debut CD, Give Me a Moment, the fifth best new release of 2002. She has recorded two other full-length CDs as a leader, My Little Bodhisattva (2007) and Hot Club: Live at the Vermont Jazz Center (2009), in addition to several downloadable singles. She has also appeared as a featured or supporting vocalist on other artist's recordings in New Orleans and New England. Evans dedicates time to perpetuating American Jazz and blues music. She is currently an Artist Associate in Jazz Voice at Williams College, and offers vocal instruction from her home studio. She founded the "Ladies in Jazz" series to highlight collaborations between female singers and musicians, and the "Sam's Sunday Set and Shed" musical mentoring program to spotlight artist-protege relationships in the region. In New Orleans, Evans participated in the Blues Schoolhouse sponsored by the House of Blues Foundation and hosted a show for the N.O. Jazz & Heritage Foundation radio station, WWOZ.
Eveline MacDougall — Director
Founded in 1988 as Amandla Chorus, the group has changed its name to Fiery Hope with the start of its 31st year. The chorus based in Greenfield, Massachusetts and made up of singers from all over the Pioneer Valley; they celebrate the power of community.
Every season, they present new works in addition to gems from their vast repertoire and work with guest artists to round out the mission of singing world music while remaining deeply rooted in our community.
Fiery Hope sings for justice, freedom, and peace—songs new and old, some from around the world and others written right here. In performance, they wear sashes made of cloth from many lands to remind each other that we all belong to a global family.