As previously announced, Friends of Music at Guilford has had to cancel its annual Labor Day Weekend Festival due to COVID-19, the first time the event has not taken place in its 55-year history. However, FOMAG’s digital archives have yielded a bounty of video, audio, and still photos from nearly 20 years’ worth of past concerts, and samples will be available online this coming weekend.
The Festival traditionally includes an evening concert on the 1897 Guilford Tracker Organ, and an outdoor program of vocal and orchestral music on the lawn at the Organ Barn on Packer Corners Road, and excerpts from both programs will be included.
Friends of Music at Guilford regretfully announces the cancellation of its annual Labor Day Weekend Festival due to the COVID pandemic.
Traditionally, the two-concert event includes a Saturday evening organ program, and a Sunday afternoon lawn concert at the Organ Barn in Guilford, featuring the Guilford Festival Orchestra. The organ concert highlights Friends of Music’s 1897 “tracker-action” pipe organ, which was installed in the barn in 1964 by late organist A. Graham Down, founder of the annual event.
In making the announcement, Friends of Music president Jenifer Ambler noted that this is the first time the event has been cancelled in its 55-year history. “The organ program, being indoors, has always gone ahead, no matter the weather,” Ambler said. “The barn is too small, however, for our 45-piece orchestra and the several hundred folks in our audience, so on a handful of occasions the orchestral program has been moved by rain to either Guilford Central School or Broad Brook Community Center. But this is our first-ever cancellation.”
The Vermont Jazz Center will celebrate its 45th season by offering an online version of its annual Summer Jazz Workshop from August 9-14, 2020. In the spirit of moving forward, the VJC has developed a structure to share the love of jazz and the wisdom of the faculty as a temporary replacement for its traditional summer jazz workshop in Putney, Vermont. This year’s program features an expanded faculty, a new take on masterclasses, plus two new features: “Hot Topics” and “Zoom Tunes,” as well as a composition course led by Helen Sung as part of our theory curriculum.
Called “Zoom Into Jazz,” 2020’s workshop welcomes a handful of new masterclass instructors on bass (Linda Oh, Genevieve Rose, David Picchi), drums (Clarence Penn, Corey Fonville), piano (Shamie Royston, Maya Keren, Miro Sprague), trumpet (Rachel Therrien, Ray Vega) and saxophone (Felipe Salas) to complement VJC’s stellar faculty (see below for a full list). The masterclasses will focus on different, daily topics – transcribing, comping, improvising, electric or acoustic instruments, note sets, etc. Each teacher will define the parameters of their own offerings.
Next Stage Arts Project presents two Drive In theater concerts by the Vermont Jazz Center Sextet on Friday, July 3 at 5:30 and 7:30 pm in the Basketville parking lot in downtown Putney, VT. Cars will be socially distanced, leaving a vacant space between cars for lawn chair seating (bring your own chairs). Rain date for the concerts is Sunday, July 5.
The Vermont Jazz Center Sextet is the VJC’s community outreach ensemble. The group has developed programs which are performed in schools, assisted-living homes and libraries, bringing live jazz into settings outside of concert halls. Through these performances and clinics, people who might not attend concerts at the VJC are given the opportunity to hear and learn about the music of Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Art Blakey and others, with original music and arrangements often written by members of the ensemble.
The Convergence Quartet to Perform at the Vermont Jazz Center, Saturday, June 20th at 8:00 PM
The Vermont Jazz Center presents a live stream event with Eugene Uman’s Convergence Trio with special guest Wanda Houston on Saturday, June 20th at 8:00 PM. The group includes Uman on piano, Houston on vocals, David Picchi on electric piano and Jon Fisher on drums.
The Vermont Jazz Center is excited to present an online event on Saturday, May 23rd and Sunday, May 24th with drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science. The activities will be livestreamed from the VJC’s website at www.vtjazz.org beginning at 8:00 pm on Saturday and continuing Sunday, May 24th, from 2:00 – 5:00 PM. Saturday will feature a musical presentation and Sunday will be three separate masterclasses including Q&As with audience members.
The core of Social Science is Carrington on drums, pianist Aaron Parks and guitarist Matthew Stevens. This trio is expanded to a sextet on their recent double-length recording, Waiting Game, and, at the VJC event, will include multi-instrumentalist Morgan Guerin on bass and saxophone, as well as vocalists Kassa Overall and Debo Ray.
Something to brighten up your day:
The Connor Party
Lyrics Transcript :
00:30 You can catch it when you’re at the grocery store
00:36 You can catch it off the handle of a door
00:41 You can catch it from a friend just dropping by
I was wandering around the house humming this morning, as I often do, and the song that I was humming was “Button Up Your Overcoat.” This is nothing new. I’ve been humming it for the last two weeks. But it was only today that I had time to figure out why. Duh. It’s the pandemic, stupid.
The Vermont Jazz Center presents Downbeat Rising Star Award-winning vibraphonist Ross in concert on Saturday, March 14th. Ross, a 24 year-old Blue Note recording artist, is making the “vibes” a more familiar and accessible sound to audience members of his generation. For listeners familiar with the impact of the vibes in bebop and swing, Ross’ dynamic sound and virtuosity brings back memories of its judicious use by jazz legends Red Norvo, Lionel Hampton, Bobby Hutcherson, Milt Jackson and Gary Burton. Ross’ approach is both modern and steeped in the tradition. JazzTimes Magazine claims “Not since Stefon Harris’ arrival 20 years ago has the jazz world heard a young vibraphonist intent on exploring so many dimensions.”
Ross will be performing selections from his highly acclaimed Blue Note album, KingMaker, a musical tribute to his family. Joining him at the Jazz Center will be other mid-20s artists including Immanuel Wilkens on saxophone, Jeremy Corren on piano, Kanoa Mendelhall on bass, and Jeremy Dutton on the drums. All except Mendelhall can be heard on Ross’ recent release. Downbeat Magazine gave KingMaker a 4 star review, noting that “Ross’ playing erupts through the layers of lush arrangements like consistent currents of electricity, high-powered and full of luminous energy. These bright bursts of solos and melodic lines surprise, excite and stretch…”
The Brattleboro Women’s Chorus will begin their spring session with open rehearsals the first week of March. To celebrate the 100thanniversary of women’s right to vote, the theme of the songs will be of strength, solidary, and suffrage. Following the Chorus’s concerts in May, those who choose to can join a repeat performance of several songsat WomenSing100, a singing gathering in honor of women’s strength and voting rights to be held in Worcester, MA in August.
Open rehearsals are for any women or girls age 10 and older to check out with no obligation whether Chorus is right for them. The Chorus has been under the direction of Becky Graber since 1996 and is unique in that much of the music, even multiple and complicated parts, is taught by ear. Written music is available on occasion, but practice recordings and word sheets are always provided to help with learning.
The Vermont Jazz Center welcomes Bobby Watson and Horizon on Saturday, February 15th at 8:00 PM. Watson, on saxophone, will be joined by Rising Stars Jazz Award-winner Giveton Gelin on trumpet and a rhythm section comprised of members of the original group: pianist Edward Simon, bassist Carroll V. Dashiell and the legendary drummer Victor Lewis.
Horizon is a supergroup that performs straight-ahead, acoustic, hardbop music. According to band leader Watson, his composing style and the group’s sound is influenced by Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, and Sly and the Family Stone. Horizon does not play covers, they definitely play jazz.
Tom Pirozzoli is celebrating Reckon by the Light, the newest CD in his 40-years-and-counting career. He got his start busking on street corners and performing at anti-war rallies, eventually finding his way into the coffeehouse scene. His Fast Folk Music recordings are now part of the Smithsonian’s collection. He was named a winner in MUSICIAN magazine’s Best Unsigned Band Contest in the early ’80s, and has shared stages with artists like Greg Brown, Jesse Winchester, and Doc Watson. “Pirozzoli’s observations and travels bring seemingly dissimilar elements to harmony.” — Boston Globe
The Vermont Jazz Center is delighted to present pianist/vocalist Champian Fulton on Saturday, January 18th at 8:00 PM. Fulton, a DownBeat Magazine Rising Star, was recently lauded as 2019 Female Vocalist of the Year and 2019 Pianist of the Year by Hot House Magazine/Jazzmobile. She will be performing with her working quartet of over a decade including her father, Stephen Fulton, on Flugelhorn, Hide Tanaka on bass and Fuku Tainaka on drums.
Champian Fulton swings hard – she’s a top-shelf pianist and vocalist with an expansive repertoire and a broad stylistic vocabulary. She likes to leave her sets open-ended so that she and her band can choose between familiar and little-known gems from the Great American Songbook on the fly. Considering her youthful age (34 years old), it is intriguing that Fulton’s repertoire naturally gravitates to selections from the swing era. Her whole persona, public and private, resonates with a love for the music from that time period. She conveys the essence of swing effortlessly and authentically; her performances give listeners a fresh appreciation of the creative possibilities inherent in an older style. In Fulton’s hands, swing is a vibrant, living music that resonates with meaning and joyous playfulness.
An electronic music performance series celebrating synthesizers, circuit-bending, and sound manipulation on the second Saturdays of January through April at Stage 33 Live in Bellows Falls. Each session hosts up to five acts for individual performances followed by a group improvisation. Players will be in the center of the room, with the audience in the round. Sounds are expected to range from cinematic and lush to computeresque and urgent.
The series dates are January 11, February 8, March 14, and April 11, 7:00 PM at Stage 33 Live, 33 Bridge Street in Bellows Falls, Vermont. Suggested $5 donation at the door.
Next Stage Arts Project is thrilled to bring Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez back to Putney by popular demand for an all out rock n’ soul concert/dance party on Saturday, January 4th at 7:30 pm, at Next Stage, 15 Kimball Hill, Putney, VT. There will be a beer and wine cash bar. Tickets are $18 in advance, general admission, $22 at the door, available online at: nextstagearts.org. Snow date for this event is Sunday, January 5th. Call 802-387-0102 for info in the event of snow.
Known as “The Beehive Queen” for her outrageous, mile-high hairdo, Christine is the current, long-time vocalist with the Saturday Night Live Band. Voted #7 on Alternate Roots’ list of top 30 Female Vocalists, this queen of blue-eyed rock n’ soul 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.
BELLOWS FALLS — After wowing the audience with his energetic set last August, multi-instrumentalist Owen Nied returns as the main event to the Stage 33 Live listening room in Bellows Falls on January 5.
Here’s a 60-second taste of last time: www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBBvQkxvolQ
His original music careens from edgy pop to jazz to blues, rock and hip hop, influenced by artists as diverse as Wes Montgomery, Les Paul, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jack White, Jeff Beck, Brian Wilson, B.B. King, Dick Dale, Tony Bennett, Dave Brubeck, Chet Atkins, and Ella Fitzgerald. In addition to playing solo, Owen fronts the guitar- and horn-driven indie trio The Onlys; plays lead guitar in the jazz-grass band Cats in the Limelight; and is half of the UK-based indie-jazz duo Spooky Tricycle.
Next Stage Arts Project and Twilight Music welcome back New England’s acclaimed roots, rhythm and harmony quartet Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem to perform their “Wintersong” program at Next Stage on Saturday, December 21 at 7:30 pm. “Wintersong” is a celebratory, poetic, reflective collection of seasonal songs, an ode to light and dark at the turning of the year. “These are some of the most soul-lifting songs you’ll hear in your life… pure magic happens when these four musicians play together” – No Depression
Guilford, Vt. — Friends of Music at Guilford (FOMAG) presents “An Olde New England Christmas” at 7:30 on Friday, December 13, and again at 4:00 on Saturday, December 14. By tradition, this 47th annual Christmas at Christ Church event includes choral and instrumental music for the season, a dramatic reading, and a few carols for everyone.
The a cappella vocal program was drawn from tune books by New England composers born in the middle of the 18th century: William Billings, Supply Belcher, Oliver Holden, Timothy Swan, and Samuel Adams Holyoke, as well as one English composer, Joseph Stephenson. These itinerant singing masters traveled the region from about 1770 through 1810, teaching sight-singing to select groups in church parishes. They gave concerts for local folks and then moved on to the next town. This practice fundamentally changed the place of music in worship, which finds its legacy in church choirs today.
Innovative guitarist and composer Hiroya Tsukamoto will bring his fusion of folk, jazz, and world music to Stage 33 Live in Bellows Falls on December 22 in a special matinee performance for a well-timed break from the holiday rush.
Eclectic and immersive, Tsukamoto takes audiences on an earthy, organic odyssey. In addition to original compositions, his repertoire travels the world of traditional music. While his instrumental abilities are breathtaking, he also connects to audiences with his engaging personality.
The Vermont Jazz Center’s Big Band will present its Annual Scholarship Gala on Saturday, December 7th at 8:00 PM. This year’s celebration will honor Nat King Cole’s 100th birthday-anniversary. The VJC Big Band, under the leadership of musical director Rob Freeberg, is a community orchestra made up of professional musicians who come together once a year to raise money for the VJC’s Scholarship Fund. This event is the primary funding source that helps aid scholarship students attending VJC’s educational programs. In 2019 the VJC offered $30,000 in scholarships to help students attend ensembles, private lessons and their annual summer jazz workshop.
This year’s gala will feature the arrangements of songs made famous by Nat “King” Cole, who was recognized as “one of the most influential entertainers of the 20th century” by National Public Radio. The Grammy Hall of Famer was a superstar of his time: he recorded over 150 Billboard singles and sold over 50 millions records. Cole knew he was destined for a life of music – he dropped out of high school at the age of 15 to tour as pianist in his brother Eddie’s trio and he never looked back.