“Fine & Dandy” Gala Celebrates Gershwin’s Muse, Composer Kay Swift

West Brattleboro, Vt. – Friends of Music at Guilford’s tenth annual celebration of Women in Music begins at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 14, and salutes Katherine Faulkner “Kay” Swift (1897-1993). She was a classically trained composer who became George Gershwin’s trusted musical advisor and companion. After Gershwin (1898-1937) encouraged her to compose popular music, Swift became the first woman to write a hit Broadway musical, “Fine and Dandy” (1930), now the borrowed title for FOMAG’s gala.

Some of both genres of music will be performed at this house-concert benefit for FOMAG’s current 53rd season. The program opens with a piano transcription of the Overture to “Fine and Dandy,” performed by Virginia Eskin, and later includes Swift’s Theme and Variations for Piano and Cello, performed with cellist Rebecca Hartka. Eskin will also accompany several songs from Swift’s musical theater and film scores featuring vocals by Jessica Gelter and Tony Grobe.


Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas at Next Stage on Thursday, April 11

Next Stage Arts Project and Twilight Music present an evening of cutting edge fiddle and cello explorations of Scottish, Celtic and global music by Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas at Next Stage on Thursday, April 11 at 7:30 pm.  With a shared passion for improvising on the melody and the groove of traditional tunes, Alasdair and Natalie feature dazzling teamwork, swapping melodic and harmonic lines and trading driving rhythmic riffs.   “…soaring sustains, windswept refrains, and sudden, jazzy explosions. Their sound is as urbane as a Manhattan midnight, and as wild as a Clackmannan winter.” — Boston Globe


Dance Party on 4/7 for the Women’s Chorus!

What better way to celebrate the coming of spring than a Bayou-themed dance party with three local dance bands! Everyone is invited on Sunday, April 7 from 5:00-8:00 pm to the Vermont Jazz Center for music hailing from the Louisiana Bayou to the streets of Brazil and from points all over the Afro-Creole culture sphere. Featured will be two of Brattleboro’s signature New Orleans roots music ensembles, Bayou X and the Celebration Brass Band, with a special guest appearance by SOVESA, the Vermont Jazz Center Samba Ensemble. The event is a benefit for the Brattleboro Women’s Chorus (and it happens to be our director, Becky Graber’s, birthday).


Vermont Jazz Center Presents: Helen Sung’s “Sung With Words”

The Vermont Jazz Center welcomes Helen Sung and celebrates her Chamber Music America sponsored suite, “Sung With Words” on Saturday, March 30th at 8:00 PM at the Vermont Jazz Center.  This show is a rescheduled date from a snowed out event on January 19, 2019.  The pianist/composer will present a project that embodies the alliance of poetry and jazz and then takes it to new places. The performers in the octet are Helen Sung (piano and composition), Jason Palmer (trumpet), John Ellis (woodwinds), Charenée Wade and Carolyn Leonhart (vocals), Rick Rosato (bass), Adam Cruz (drums) and Samuel Torres (percussion).


Socks in the Frying Pan and Zoe Darrow at Next Stage

Next Stage Arts Project and Twilight Music present an evening of traditional Celtic and folk music from Ireland and New England by County Clare-based trio Socks in the Frying Pan and fiddler/singer Zoe Darrow at Next Stage on Sunday, March 24 at 7:30 pm.

Socks in the Frying Pan is a multi-award winning trio from the west coast of Ireland, the universal hub of Irish traditional music.  Their dynamic vocal harmonies, virtuosic musical ability and onstage wit have captivated audiences the world around and earned the band critical acclaim and accolades including the Irish Music Association “New Band the Year” award.  With their personal flair, contemporary style and energetic approach to music, Aodán Coyne on guitar and vocals and brothers Shane and Fiachra Hayes on accordion, fiddle and banjo make traditional Irish melodies their own.


Vermont Jazz Center Presents: Russell Malone Quartet

The Vermont Jazz Center welcomes guitarist Russell Malone to its stage on March 16th. He will appear with his established quartet including pianist Rick Germanson, bassist Luke Sellick and drummer Anwar Marshall. Perhaps best known for his Grammy nominated work with vocalist Diana Krall, Malone is one of the leading guitarists on the jazz scene today.

Russell Malone is a hard-swinging guitarist also known for his evocative ballad playing. His signature sound is a full-bodied tone with long, fat, sustained notes, reminiscent of one of his early heroes, George Benson. According to his website, “on a school night when [he] should have been in bed” in 1975, he saw George Benson play “incredible things” on a TV special called “Seven Comes Eleven.” Malone quickly purchased two of Benson’s recordings, The George Benson Cookbook and Benson Burner,” which, along with Wes Montgomery’s Smokin’ At the Half Note and Boss Guitar, then set him on what he says is “a course that I have not deviated from.”


The Stockwell Brothers at Next Stage

Next Stage Arts Project and Twilight Music present contemporary bluegrass and folk quartet The Stockwell Brothers at the Next Stage Cafe on Saturday, March 16 at 7:00 pm.  To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, JD McCliments Pub will offer an Irish dinner starting at 6:00 pm, while the Stockwells will explore the connections between folk/bluegrass music and the music of Ireland.   

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.


Mar. 9: Early Music Benefit Concert by Night’s Black Bird

West Brattleboro, Vt. — At 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, tri-state fans of Early Music are invited to All Souls Church in West Brattleboro for “Love’s Harvest,” a benefit concert of airs, arias, madrigals, and tonos by the Night’s Black Bird trio from Allentown, Pennsylvania. Admission at the door is $15 per person and includes a gala reception; proceeds will help support ASC community-based programs and the Meeting House.


“Stolen Jewels”: Gems for Flute & Piano

FOMAG artists

Guilford, Vt. – Friends of Music at Guilford, now in its 53rd concert season, presents “Stolen Jewels,” its Midwinter Musicale, on Saturday, February 23, at 3:00 p.m. in the sanctuary of Guilford Community Church. Alison Hale, flute, and Christopher Lewis, piano, both busy teachers and guest artists, will perform four romantic duets transcribed for flute that were originally scored for other instruments with piano. The program of chamber favorites includes the Brahms Sonata in F minor for clarinet, the Schubert Arpeggione Sonata for Cello, the three Romances for Oboe by Schumann, and the Sonata in A Major for violin by Fauré.


The Sweet Remains at Next Stage on Sunday, February 24

Next Stage Arts Project and Twilight Music present folk/rock quartet The Sweet Remains, featuring singer/songwriters Rich Price, Greg Naughton and Brian Chartrand, at Next Stage on Sunday, February 24 at 7:30 pm.  Based in Burlington, VT, NYC and Phoenix, AZ, the trio has formed a unique musical kinship around three-part harmonies and shared songwriting that transcends geography and three solo careers.

Celebrating 10 years together and over 30 million Spotify plays in 2018, Rich, Greg and Brian each bring strong lyrical and melodic writing and lush harmonies to The Sweet Remains.  Rich and Greg first started collaborating for Rich’s 2004 Geffen Records debut – a CD that spawned his single “I’m On My Way,” featured on the multi-platinum “Shrek 2” soundtrack. 


The MILES Band at Next Stage on Saturday, February 9

Next Stage Arts Project and Twilight Music present a dance party/concert featuring The MILES Band at Next Stage on Saturday, February 9 at 7:30 pm.  Next Stage rolls back its portable front row risers to double as a dance hall and concert venue, with a spacious dance floor between the stage and raked theater seating, for this special evening of funk, soul, rock & roll, folk/rock and reggae classics and contemporary hits.


Vermont Jazz Center Presents: Helen Sung’s “Sung With Words”

The Vermont Jazz Center welcomes Helen Sung and celebrates her Chamber Music America sponsored project, “Sung With Words” on Saturday, January 19th at 8:00 PM at the Vermont Jazz Center.  The pianist/composer will present a new body of work that embodies the alliance of poetry and jazz and then takes it to new places. The performers in the octet are Helen Sung (piano and composition), Jason Palmer (trumpet), John Ellis (woodwinds), Carolyn Leonhart and Alina Engibaryan (Vocals), David Wong (bass), Kush Abadey (drums) and Felipe Fournier (percussion).


On Banning Baby, It’s Cold Outside

One of the by products of the new ban on Baby, It’s Cold Outside is that I can’t stop humming it. It’s so eminently hummable.  It doesn’t help that we listened to four hours of Christmas music last night, or that I’ve heard everyone from Dolly Parton to Dean Martin sing it in cover versions going back to the 1940s.  In our extensive seasonal music collection, we must have at least a dozen versions and there are many more. 


Antje Duvekot and Brooks Williams at Next Stage on Friday, December 7

Next Stage Arts Project and Twilight Music present award-winning contemporary folk singer/songwriter Antje Duvekot and Americana, roots and acoustic blues singer/songwriter Brooks Williams at Next Stage on Friday, December 7 at 7:30 pm.

Antje Duvekot is a German-born, American-raised singer/songwriter whose songs have been critically praised for their hard-won wisdom, dark-eyed realism and street-smart romanticism.  Her bicultural upbringing and relative newness to English have helped shape her unique way with a song, giving her a startlingly original poetic palette.


Joyeux Noël: A French Christmas on Dec. 7 & 8

Guilford, Vt. — Friends of Music at Guilford (FOMAG) presents “Joyeux Noël,” its 46th Christmas at Christ Church program, at 7:30 on Friday, December 7, and again at 4:00 on Saturday, December 8. Traditional elements of this event include vocal and instrumental music of the season, an entertaining story with a holiday or winter theme, and a short carol sing. 

This year’s program is dedicated in memory of Neil Quinn, who passed away in mid-September. He served as Guilford’s town moderator for many years and was a long-time member of Christ Church Guilford Society, the nonprofit group that maintains this historic site, performing much of that work himself. An avid cyclist and skier, he founded and ran the West Hill Shop in Putney from 1971 through 2004.


Cameo Baroque Offers Wintertide Concert at Main Street Arts

SAXTONS RIVER, Vt. – Main Streets Arts ushers in the holiday season with a benefit concert by Cameo Baroque Saturday, Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m.

With a theme of Wintertide, the four-piece group will offer music by English, Italian and German composers such as William Boyce, Antonio Caldara, Georg Philipp Telemann, George Frideric Handel and Tommaso Albinoni.

Members of the quartet performing on period instruments are Beth Hilgartner, recorder and voice, Leslie Stroud, traverso (Baroque flute), Ernie Drown, harpsichord, and Laurie Rabut, viola da gamba.


48th Community Messiah Sing on Dec 1: A Benefit for the Homeless

Brattleboro, Vt. – Friends of Music at Guilford (FOMAG) invites singers and music lovers in the Tri-State region to start their holiday season at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 1, with the 48th 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.

Kenneth Olsson, conducting the Sing for a second season, is well known in the region as a performer in opera and musical theater productions as well as pianist, organist, and choral conductor. He has led FOMAG’s season-opening Guilford Festival Orchestra concerts since 2012 and in 2014 co-founded the Southern Vermont Lyric Theatre.


The Lonely Heartstring Band and The Stockwell Brothers at Next Stage on Saturday, November 24

Next Stage Arts Project and Twilight Music present an evening of contemporary bluegrass and folk music with The Lonely Heartstring Band and The Stockwell Brothers at Next Stage on Saturday, November 24 at 7:30 pm.

The Lonely Heartstring Band is Boston-based, Berklee College of Music graduates George Clements (guitar, vocals) Patrick M’Gonigle (fiddle, vocals) Charles Clements (bass, vocals) Matt Witler (mandolin) and Gabe Hirshfeld (banjo).  Their music is a combination of old and new styles, melding the sounds of traditional bluegrass with modern songwriting and arranging.


Brattleboro Women’s Chorus Concerts: Keep Hope Alive

The Brattleboro Women’s Chorus will present their annual fall concerts, “Keep Hope Alive,” on November 17 and 18 at The Brick Church (formerly the Baptist Church). Joining the eighty women and director Becky Graber will be Cathy Martin on piano, Julian McBrowne on bass, and Lisa McCormick on guitar and with her ukulele orchestra.

Several songs will feature arrangements by local musicians – Andy Davis’s four-part arrangement of “Let the Life I’ve Lived” and Peter Amidon’s “Crossing the Bar.” Graber arranged the wondrous song by India Arie, “I Am Light.”


Halloweeny Ukulele Flash Mob! Friday!

Third Annual Halloweeny Ukulele FLASH MOB! All are welcome for this fun and spooky community sing-and-strum-along. All are welcome, whether you play ukulele or not. Brooks House Atrium, Main St. Brattleboro (across the street from The Shoe Tree). Free, Accessible, Presented by Lisa McCormick. This coming Friday, Oct. 26. Music from 6:00-6:30 pm. Costumes encouraged!