Highlights: A Bargain for the Blues in Lebanon

  • Dominican bluesman Joan Soriano and his band perform at Lebanon Opera House on Friday night. The opera house is offering half-price tickets to Lebanon students and school district employees. Soriano is a leading exponent of bachata, a blues style with African and Spanish roots. (Courtesy photograph)

  • ArtisTree Community Arts opens its production of "The Marvelous Wonderettes" with a preview performance at 7:30 tonight in South Pomfret's Grange Theatre. For more information, see 'Theater/Performance Art.'

Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, October 05, 2017

Blues singer-guitarist Joan Soriano and his band share the rhythms of their native Dominican Republic at the Lebanon Opera House on Friday night.

Tickets for the show are inexpensive, and students and employees of the Lebanon School District can get theirs half-price.

“Soriano is coming to LOH as part of the Southern Exposure program, which aims to introduce artists from Latin America to U.S. audiences,” opera house executive director Joe Clifford said last week. “All Southern Exposure artists are required to participate in community outreach, making the cultural exchange personal.”

Clifford described the show as “a way to cultivate relationships with the many international students and families now residing in Lebanon.

“According to the SAU,” he said, “there are 52 different languages spoken in the schools and the number of international students rises each year.”

In addition to ticket prices of $10 for adults and $5 for kids from the school district, Clifford said, “we’re also being generous with scholarship tickets. I’m really hoping to give these international visitors a big Upper Valley welcome — especially in light of the hurricane-related destruction happening in their homeland.”

After a welcome dinner that school volunteers are putting on for the band, the 45-year-old Soriano and his colleagues perform at 7.

The seventh of 15 children from a family living in the countryside near the capital city of Santo Domingo, Soriano fashioned his first guitar from fishing line and a discarded metal box on the way to mastering bachata, the blues music based on African and Spanish soul music. By the late 1980s he was performing as a session musician and writing and arranging songs for other artists.

In 2008, Soriano (whose first name is pronounced like Juan) formed his own band, and in 2010 released his first CD, El Duque de la Bachata.

Joan Soriano leads his band into the Lebanon Opera House on Friday night at 7:30. For tickets ($10 to $20 for audience members from outside the school district), call 603-448-0400 or visit lebanonoperahouse.org or the box office in City Hall.

Best Bets

The Gully Boys, bluesman Arthur James, The Tricksters, Toast, The 4 Horsemen and Joey Leone perform in Woodstock’s Town Hall Theatre tonight at 7 to benefit Hartland singer-guitarist Brian Warren in his recovery from a recent stroke. For general admission tickets ($20), visit pentanglearts.org or call 802-457-3981. To learn more about the effort to help Warren, visit gofundme.com and type Help Our Friend Brian Warren into the search engine.

Shaker Bridge Theatre kicks off its 2017-2018 season tonight with a performance of the Melissa James Gibson comedy This, at Whitney Hall in Enfield. The play will run on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 and on Sunday afternoons at 2:30 through Oct. 22. After tonight’s show, Shaker Bridge will hold a free reception with the cast of the play at the nearby 56 Main Street restaurant. To reserve tickets ($16 to $32) to the play and learn more, visit shakerbridgetheatre.org or call 603-448-3750.

Clarinetist Steve Loew and Classicopia pianist Daniel Weiser reunite to play works of George Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Simon Sargon, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw and other composers at two Upper Valley venues this weekend of October. Classicopia’s second series of concerts exploring the connections between klezmer music and jazz begins on Friday night at 7:30 at the First Congregational Church in Lebanon. The duo also performs on Saturday night at 7:30 at the Roth Center for Jewish Life in Hanover. For tickets ($18) and more information, visit classicopia.org. Loew and Weiser also will perform the program in Stowe, Vt., on Sunday; to reserve tickets and learn more, visit jcogs.org or call 802-253-1800.

Revolution, the White River Junction clothing store, hosts its Tip Top Couture Fashion Extravaganza at the Briggs Opera House on Saturday night, as a benefit for the upcoming season of plays on African-American themes that Jarvis Green’s JAG Productions will stage during 2017-2018. The doors open at 8, and the fashion show begins at 9, with more than 40 Upper Valley models showing off casual, formal, sustainable and radical wear to music and visual projections. Admission $15.

Before the show, JAG Productions hosts a “pregame party” at neighboring Piecemeal Pies, starting at 7. Admission to the party, also a fundraiser for the upcoming season, is $75. To learn more, visit jagproductionsvt.com.

The Parish Players stage performances of R.J. Crawley’s A Vehicle for Change on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at the Eclipse Grange on Thetford Hill, as a benefit for the family of Fairlee resident Sierra O’Leary, who is battling to regain use of her legs after a skiing accident. The starting times are 7:30 on Saturday and 3 on Sunday for Crawley’s “urban fairy tale” about the passengers a New York cab driver encounters on one night of work. The Parish Players recommend a donation of at least $10, as well as reserving seats by visiting parishplayers.org.

The Camerata New England trio of violinist Omar Chen Guay, cellist Linda Galvan and pianist Evelyn Zuckerman will play chamber works of Schumann, Dvorak and Ferruccio Busoni at Norwich Congregational Church on Saturday night at 7. To reserve tickets ($28) and learn more, visit cameratanewengland.org or call 802-785-4833.

Cedar Circle Farm in East Thetford hosts its 15th annual Pumpkin Festival on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. In addition to pick-your-own pumpkin opportunities, activities include wagon rides and games for kids. Sensible Shoes will serenade the celebration between 1 and 3 in the afternoon. Admission is $10 to $15 per car. To learn more, visit cedarcirclefarm.org.

Looking Ahead

Toting his fiddle, mandolin, cello, banjo, guitar and steel guitar, South Newbury, Vt., musician Patrick Ross brings his Traveling Sound tour of northern New England to the Upper Valley in mid-October. Performances are planned for Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. in Tunbridge Town Hall, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. in Hartland’s Damon Hall and Oct. 15 at 3 p.m. at the Seven Stars Arts Center in Sharon. For tickets ($20) and more information, visit rockfarmer.com or call 802-866-3309.

Theater/Performance Art

The ArtisTree Music Theatre Festival raises the curtain on its adaptation of The Marvelous Wonderettes tonight at 7:30, with a preview performance at ArtisTree’s new Grange Theatre in South Pomfret. For tickets ($10 to $20 for tonight’s preview, $15 to $25 thereafter) and more information, visit artistreevt.org or call 802-457-3500.

After a week’s hiatus, Northern Stage resumes its staging of A Doll’s House with performances Sunday afternoon at 5, on Wednesday night at 7:30, and next Thursday at 2 in the afternoon and at 7:30 that night at the Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction. The stripped-down adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s groundbreaking drama runs, in repertory with the one-man show Robert Frost: This Verse Business, through Oct. 29. To reserve tickets ($13.75 to $57.75) and learn more, visit northernstage.org or call 802-296-7000.

Club Diesel, at the Engine Room in White River Junction, holds a night of stand-up comedy on Wednesday starting at 8. Admission is $5.


Myra Flynn performs soul music at Fable Farm in Barnard tonight starting at 5:30, during the weekly Feast and Field Market. The weekly music series concludes next Thursday night with an open mic.

The Sensible Shoes Duo of Barbara Blaisdell and Tim Utt provides the soundtrack for the First Friday Pop-Up Art Show at Lampscapes in White River Junction on Friday night from 5:30 to 8.

Pianist Sonny Saul leads bassist Bill Martin and drummer Pete Michelenie on Friday night at 7, to play jazz during an open house at printmaker Jeanne Amato’s gallery in downtown Woodstock.

Fiddler Andy Stewart and guitarist Mary Jo Stewart play folk music on Saturday and singer-songwriter Martin Decato performs on Sunday, during the Harvest Moon Festival at Autumn Harvest Farm in Grafton. Admission is $5 to the festival, which runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. To learn more, visit autumnharvestnh.com.

Cellist Edward Arron and pianist Jeewon Park perform sonatas of Beethoven at the Chandler Music Hall in Randolph on Saturday night at 7:30. For tickets ($10 to $40) and more information, visit chandler-arts.org or call 802-728-6464.

Violinist Aaron Boyd joins the North Country Chamber Players at Alumni Hall in Haverhill on Sunday afternoon at 4, to perform works of Schubert, Brahms and Rossini. To reserve tickets ($25) and learn more, visit courtstreetarts.org or call 603-989-5500.

Bar and Club Circuit

The Americana duos Oliver the Crow and The Brother Brothers share the stage at the Skinny Pancake in Hanover tonight at 8. For tickets ($12 to $15) and more information, visit skinnypancake.com or call 603-277-9115. The weekend lineup at the venue also includes the singer-songwriter duo Auguste and Alden on Friday night at 8:30 and the funk/soul duo of drummer Walker Adams and guitarist David Bailis. Bow Thayer performs his weekly session of Americana music on Wednesday night at 7.

The roots ensemble BliNd DoG & MaMa MeDiciNe pulls into Windsor Station tonight at 7:30. Following them to the venue over the coming week are the Sullivan Davis Hanscom Band on Friday night at 9:30, Supply and Demand on Saturday night at 9:30 and Still Hill next Thursday night at 7:30.

The string duo of Kaitlyn Raitz and Ben Plotnick perform a wide range of Americana and roots music during the weekly Sunapee Community Coffeehouse on Friday night at 7. While admission is free, donations are welcome.

Troubadour Jim Hollis kicks off the weekend of music at Salt hill Pub in Newport on Friday night at 8. Following him to the venue on Saturday night at 9 will be GrooveSum with a set of blues-based rock, funk, Americana and jam-band rhythms.

Wheel of Awesome plays covers between its mix of game shows and trivia concerts, during its visit to Salt hill Pub in downtown Lebanon on Friday night at 9. The Squids will rock the venue Saturday night at 9.

Bassist Peter Concilio performs jazz with saxophonist Scott Mullett, keyboardist Tom Robinson and drummer Tim Gilmore on Friday night from 8 to 11 at the Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners.

The Brian Cook Band plays its blend of rock, pop, soul, rhythm-and-blues, country and folk at Club Diesel, a sports bar and lounge in White River Junction, on Friday night at 9. To learn more, visit Club Diesel’s Facebook page.

The Randolph-based band Two Count rocks Crossroads Restaurant and Bar in South Royalton on Friday night from 9 to 12. Soulfix singer Alison “AliT” Turner and saxophonist Mike Parker play at Crossroads on Tuesday night at 6.

Parker leads his full Soulfix band into the Wagon Wheel Bar and Grill in Chelsea on Friday night at 9. Parker and Turner then collaborate with guitarist Ted Mortimer at Tessie’s Tavern in Bethel on Saturday night at 7.

Open Mics

Ramunto’s Brick & Brew Pizza in Bridgewater hosts an open mic starting at 7:30 on Thursday nights. Participants get a free large cheese pizza.

String players of all ages and abilities are welcome at the weekly acoustic jam session at South Royalton’s BALE Commons on Friday night from 6:30 to 10.

Joe Stallsmith leads a weekly hootenanny of Americana, folk and bluegrass at Salt hill Pub in Hanover on Monday nights at 6.

Jim Yeager hosts the weekly open-mics on Monday night at 8 at Bentley’s in Woodstock (filling in for Brian Warren) and at 8:30 Wednesday night in Hartland’s Skunk Hollow Tavern. And next Thursday night at 7, Yeager directs traffic for an open-mic in the Hayloft at ArtisTree Community Arts Center in South Pomfret.

Bradford’s Colatina Exit holds an open mic every Tuesday night at 8.

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@vnews.com and at 603-727-3304.