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It's a local news source by and for the people of Brattleboro, Vermont, published continually. You can get involved in this experiment in citizen journalism by submitting meeting results, news, events, stories, reviews, how-to's, recipes, places to go, things to do, or anything else important to Brattleboro. Or, just drop by to see what others have contributed.

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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013


Music section

Brattleboro Women's Chorus 20th Annual Spring Concert

As part of the ongoing celebrations of their twentieth anniversary year, the Brattleboro Women’s Chorus will present a concert of music composed entirely by founder/conductor, Becky Graber. Performances will be May 7 at 7:30 pm at Next Stage Arts in Putney and May 8 at 4:00 pm at Centre Congregational Church, Main Street, Brattleboro.

A few of the compositions are from past years, but most are new, composed especially for this concert. Several of the pieces are Graber’s original words. Others are poetry she has set to music, including “Sit By an Apple Tree” by Louise Erdrich, “Winter’s Harvest” by Jane Elsdon, “Trust” by Pierre Teilhard du Chardin, “Light Beams” by Antonio Machado, and “Clearing” by Martha Postlethwaite. And two of the poems are the words of chorus members, “Our Whole Lives Long” by Lynette Sievert and Graber, and “When I Saw the Hawk” by Sue Owings.  


Women in Music Benefit Features Music by The Sisters Boulanger

Now in its 50th season, Friends of Music at Guilford (FOMAG) presents its 7th Women in Music Celebration, an annual house-concert gala, beginning at 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 24.

"This fundraiser for our concert season includes three important elements," explains administrator Joy Wallens-Penford. "A bounty of good food, some delightful music, and a special Silent Auction with a few gift certificates to restaurants and merchants as well as a wide range of 2-for-1 tickets to arts events around the region. We help to promote other organizations' events and garner vital support for the many free and affordable programs we present in the community."


Cantrip and Low Lily at Next Stage on Saturday, April 23

Twilight Music and Next Stage Arts Project present a Celtic and Americana music twin bill featuring high energy Scottish music by Cantrip, and American folk music with traditional influences and modern inspiration by Low Lily, at Next Stage on Saturday, April 23 at 7:30 pm.

From the strong base of its Celtic roots, Cantrip branches out into the music of other European cultures. Weaving together songs and tunes, both traditional and contemporary, Dan Houghton, Jon Bews and Eric McDonald take an audience on a cultural journey, putting their own spin on each style. Known for their innovative arrangements, un-produced sound and dry wit, Cantrip has toured throughout Scotland and the US, expanding the boundaries of Celtic music along the way.


Vermont Jazz Center Presents: Renee Rosnes Quartet

Pianist Renee Rosnes will perform at the Vermont Jazz Center on April 16th at 8:00 PM with her world-class quartet including vibraphonist Steve Nelson, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Lewis Nash. Cited as “one of the finest pianists in jazz,” Rosnes has recorded and toured with a veritable who's who of jazz including legends Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, J.J. Johnson, James Moody, Buster Williams and Bobby Hutcherson.

Rosnes demonstrates brilliance in her approach to jazz standards and has dedicated albums to playing these classic songs (her recording A Time For Love is a good example), but it is her esteemed work as a composer whose focused ability to choose a complex concept and express it through music that further elevates her reputation. In a review of her most recent recording, Written in the Rocks, Downbeat magazine claims “Rosnes is a virtuoso jazz composer...advanced yet accessible, complex but never ostentatious, this is as good as writing can get in this setting."


Cheryl Wheeler plus Lizzy Mandell at Next Stage on Friday, April 1

Next Stage Arts Project and Twilight Music present contemporary folk singer/songwriter and comedienne extraordinaire Cheryl Wheeler, plus Lizzy Mandell, at Next Stage on Friday, April 1 at 7:30 pm.

It has always seemed as if there were two Cheryl Wheelers, with fans of the New England songwriter relishing watching the two tussle for control of the microphone. There is poet-Cheryl, writer of some of the prettiest, most alluring and intelligent ballads on the modern folk scene. And there is her evil twin, comic-Cheryl, a militant trend defier and savagely funny social critic. As the poet and comic forces join, taking their separate turns and melding into the same artistic vision, Wheeler emerges as a delightful, gifted and openhearted performer.


The Stockwell Brothers Band at Phelps Barn March 26

Phelps Barn at The Grafton Inn presents contemporary bluegrass and folk music quartet The Stockwell Brothers Band on Saturday, March 26 at 8:00 pm.

Bruce, Barry, Alan and Kelly Stockwell's music spans traditional and progressive styles, but their trademark acoustic sound features new singer/songwriter material recast with banjo, alternative rhythms and three-part harmonies. They cover straight ahead bluegrass songs, finger picked acoustic guitar ballads, full tilt breakdowns and traditional mandolin tunes mixed in with more unusual fare - Americana melodies riding world beat grooves and Celtic, jazzy, even neo-classical instrumentals.


Vermont Jazz Center Presents: Michael Zsoldos + String Quartet

On March 26th at 8:00 PM, the Vermont Jazz Center will present a listening experience that will appeal to lovers of both classical and jazz music. Saxophonist Michael Zsoldos will pay tribute to one of the jazz lineage’s top tenor saxophonists Ben Webster. For this concert his jazz quartet will be augmented by a string quartet. Together they will perform an evening of music that Zsoldos transcribed from two recordings released by Webster in 1954: “Music for Loving” and “The Warm Moods.” Zsoldos will be joined by Miro Sprague (piano), Dave Clark (acoustic bass) and Tim Gilmore (drums). The jazz quartet will be complemented by string players Alicia Casey, Ben Van Vliet (violins), Marcia Cassidy (viola) and Ben Kulp (cello).


Flying Saucer?

Things aren’t always what they seem.

This is actually an aerial photograph of Montreal's Olympic Stadium in 1977

(Emerson, Lake & Palmer concert)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMd95IIexHo

RIP Keith. They don’t make ‘em like you anymore.


The Sweetback Sisters at Next Stage on Thursday, March 10

Next Stage Arts Project and Twilight Music present country, swing, honky-tonk and old-time music quintet The Sweetback Sisters at Next Stage on Thursday, March 10 at 7:30 pm.

The Sweetback Sisters forge their own sound by delivering arrangements that combine the soul of classic ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s-era country music with an undeniably contemporary edge. Emily Miller (vocals, fiddle), Zara Bode (vocals, guitar), Stefan Amidon (drums), Rob Hecht (fiddle) and Jason Loughlin (electric guitar) take their inspiration from the Davis Sisters and Louvin Brothers, as well as the spirited honky-tonk energy of Wanda Jackson and Loretta Lynn. Zara and Emily’s family-style harmonies reflect a deeply felt love for traditional country music styles and a palpable joy in playing and singing together, and the band’s signature mix of harmony singing, rollicking telecaster and twin fiddling is as infectious as it is heartbreaking.


Vermont Jazz Center Presents: Fred Hersch Trio

The Vermont Jazz Center is proud to welcome the legendary pianist Fred Hersch to its Cotton Mill venue on Saturday, March 12th at 8:00 PM. He will be performing with his working trio of Jon Hébert (bass) and Eric McPherson (drums). Hersch is one of the leading jazz pianists in the world. Through his commitment to originality, embrace of romanticism, mastery of the bebop language and chameleon-like ability to blend genres Hersch has carved out a unique niche that is—as Ellington would have said—“beyond category.”

Now in his late 50s, Hersch’s example serves as a bridge between younger players who have studied jazz formally and the old-school cats who learned on the bandstand and from recordings. He states that he “… learned in the oral tradition from older players” and he especially lauds any musician who has made it on their own and shaped their own voice. He affirms his own path on this road by saying “maybe that’s the reason why I sound like me – because nobody interfered with me. I didn’t take jazz piano lessons, I didn’t go through all that kind of nonsense – what I play is mine.”


Caravan of Thieves w/ Brian Dunne at Next Stage on Saturday, February 27

Next Stage Arts Project and Twilight Music present acoustic swing and alt gypsy jazz quartet Caravan of Thieves, plus folk rock singer/songwriter Brian Dunne, at Next Stage on Saturday, February 27 at 7:30 pm.

For the past eight years, Caravan of Thieves has roamed the North American continent recruiting a family of avid thrill seekers at their high energy shows. Driving gypsy jazz rhythms, acoustic guitars, upright bass and violin lay the foundation for mesmerizing vocal harmonies and fantastic stories. It’s theatrical and humorous. It’s musical and intense. It entertains, dazzles and defies classification while welcoming the spectator to join the band throughout the performance in momentary fits of claps, snaps and sing-alongs.


Brattleboro Women's Chorus Welcomes Singers

The spring session of the Brattleboro Women’s Chorus will begin on Wednesday evening March 2 from 6:30-8:30 at 118 Elliot, or on Thursday March 3 from 10 am - noon at Centre Congregational Church. New and former singers are encouraged to join this spring as we prepare for a May concert of compositions and arrangements by our founder and conductor, Becky Graber.

The first two rehearsals are open to anyone who would like to come and check out chorus for the first time. All women and girls over 10 are welcome, and there are no auditions. Reading music is optional since music is taught by rote and by ear with part recordings available. While many singers enjoy performing, some prefer to sing weekly and not participate in the concerts at the end of the session (Mother's Day weekend, May 7 & 8).


Call for Chamber Singers to Perform on June 17

The Guilford Chamber Singers start rehearsals on February 27 in Brattleboro for their June 17 A Cappella à la Carte event. The Singers are sponsored by Friends of Music at Guilford (FOMAG), now in its 51st concert season. This program will present works by New England composers who have been featured in FOMAG concerts over the years, including at least three world premieres. Composers include Don McLean, Peter Amidon, and Anna Patton, as well as nationally renowned composers Alice Parker and Gwyneth Walker. There are openings for new and returning singers for all voices. Contact Chamber Singers director Tom Baehr at (802) 387-2796 or the FOMAG office at (802) 254-3600 or office@fomag.org.


Rediscovered Bolivian Baroque Music Premieres on Feb. 20

Guilford, Vt. - Friends of Music at Guilford, now in its 50th Anniversary Season, presents the second of three programs featuring Bolivian Baroque music from an archive of nearly 13,000 pages of recently collected manuscripts. The "Barroco Boliviano" concert begins at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 20, in the sanctuary of Guilford Community Church, just a mile south on Rt. 5 from Exit 1 off I-91 in Brattleboro.

This treasure trove of Baroque-era manuscripts was a sort of Holy Grail for musicologist Fr. Piotr Nawrot, a native of Poland who arrived in Bolivia in the early 1990s after spending a few years in Guatemala. He traveled the Bolivian countryside seeking out church elders with carefully hidden or, in some cases, unfortunately neglected materials first composed and performed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when the Spaniards took over that area of the Inca Empire, and then forgotten when the Spanish colonial period ended in the early 19th century. Fr. Nawrot has spent many years preparing a significant amount of this music for publication and performance by a new generation of musicians, both in Bolivia and around the world.


Vermont Jazz Center Presents: Steve Davis Sextet

The VJC welcomes Steve Davis Sextet to perform on Saturday, February 13th in a concert celebrating the music of trombonist J. J. Johnson. Featured artists in Davis’s sextet include one of bebop’s foremost elder statesmen on the piano, Harold Mabern as well as the formidable tenor saxophonist, Scott Mullett. The other musicians who comprise this sextet include Josh Bruneau (trumpet), Harold Mabern (piano), Nat Reeves (bass) and Joe Farnsworth (drums).

This concert was originally scheduled to highlight saxophonist Eric Alexander who gracefully bowed out to accept an extended European tour. This turn of events has evolved into a wonderful opportunity for the Vermont Jazz Center whose audience will now experience the exciting repertoire and tight arrangements of J. J. Johnson, one of the greatest trombonists in the history of jazz, interpreted by an all-star band. Saturday Night Live trombonist Steve Turre put it succinctly when he stated:


Vermont Jazz Center Presents: Bobby Broom Trio

The Vermont Jazz Center welcomes the Bobby Broom Trio on Saturday January 23rd at 8:00 PM. Broom is Chicago’s leading guitarist and, due to his commitment to teaching and his ability to draw crowds in Chicago’s best listening rooms, it is a rare treat to catch him on the east coast. He will perform with his long-standing trio of Dennis Carroll on bass and Makaya McCraven on drums who have each, respectively, played with Broom for 20 and 5 years. The trio will travel from Chicago to Vermont for this “one-off” concert with no other east coast gigs listed on their itinerary.

Broom stands out as one of the best guitarists in the world and has won the Downbeat Critic’s poll as Best Guitarist for 3 of the last 4 years. His music is both intelligent and soulful at the same time. He is a deep listener and an arranger who understands the power of space. He was “the first guitarist to be asked by Art Blakey to be a part of his group,” he loves standards, and can funk-out with the best of them. He has a beautiful tone, an extensive vocabulary of chordal voicings, a deep connection to the blues and a grooving rhythmical sensibility.


The Stockwell Brothers at McNeill's Brewery on Friday, January 15

McNeill’s Brewery presents contemporary bluegrass and folk music quartet The Stockwell Brothers on Friday, January 15 at 9:00 pm.

Bruce, Barry, Alan and Kelly Stockwell's music spans traditional and progressive styles, but their trademark acoustic sound features new singer/songwriter material recast with banjo, alternative rhythms and three-part harmonies. They cover straight ahead bluegrass songs, finger picked acoustic guitar ballads, full tilt breakdowns and traditional mandolin tunes mixed in with more unusual fare - Americana melodies riding world beat grooves and Celtic, jazzy, even neo-classical instrumentals.


Bolivian Baroque Debuts at 43rd Christmas at Christ Church on Dec. 11 & 12

Guilford, Vt. - Friends of Music at Guilford's 43rd Christmas at Christ Church program is set for December 11 & 12, Friday at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday at 4:00. These annual gatherings feature both choral and instrumental Christmas music, a story, and a short carol-sing.This year's program includes an eclectic selection of songs, both sacred and secular, to bring in the holidays. Under the direction of Tom Baehr, the Guilford Chamber Singers present perennial favorites “Carol of the Bells” and “Deck the Halls” with much earlier carols from the 14th to the 17th centuries.

To these are added contemporary pieces “Bethlehem Spiritual” and “The Winter’s Night,” a hauntingly beautiful and evocative song that has become the group's favorite; an entertaining setting of “Winter Wonderland” and even an arrangement of “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy” from Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker." “Come, Dear Children” by Alfred Burt is an invitation to participate in the season’s festivities.


How To Cram For The Messiah Sing, Dec. 5

It's a Wonderful Messiah Sing
Anyone who has ever sung Händel's Messiah should come enjoy Brattleboro's annual Messiah Sing on the first Saturday of December. You should probably cram first. I do. This post is our Saturday morning cram guide.

FOMAG's Messiah Sing is Brattleboro at its best. It's when everyone from our diverse music community is drawn to one place. The soloists are not boring. They're either up-and-and coming locals or let-me-show-you-how-this-is-done professionals. For the choruses, you'll always be near a strong singer. Brattleboro is lousy with them. You can just hum along if you're unsure and then sing loud for the Hallelujah Raucus. If the singing stops during that dramatic rest just before the final Hallelujah, it's wonderful and glorious. Someone ususally goofs, but there's always next year when we're sure to get it right. You just gotta let go on the Hallelujah Chorus. That's the thing and 'tis the season. As the page turn will tell you, I Know That My Redeemer Liveth!


45th Community Messiah Sing: A Benefit for the Homeless

Friends of Music at Guilford invites singers and music lovers in the Tri-State region to start their holiday season at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 5, with the 45th annual Community Messiah Sing, a benefit for the homeless. Centre Congregational Church, at 193 Main Street in Brattleboro, has been home for the Sing since 1982 and for a few prior seasons as well.

Terry Larsen, a resident of Southampton, Mass., returns for a ninth season to lead the Sing. He brings over twenty-five years of experience as a music teacher, choral singer, soloist, and conductor to his role at the helm. William McKim, who has played the organ at this event for twenty-seven past seasons, and officially "retired" twice from doing so, agreed to step in on short notice when UVM's David Neiweem, who played for the Sing in 2014, broke a collarbone in late October.


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