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Highlights: Irish Tenor Brings Traditional Songs to Haverhill

  • Irish tenor Anthony Kearns sings at Alumni Hall in Haverhill on Saturday night.

  • Irish tenor Anthony Kearns sings at Alumni Hall in Haverhill on Saturday night.

  • Pete's Posse, the roots music trio of , from left, Oliver Scanlon, Tristan Henderson and Pete Sutherland, perform at Woodstock's Town Hall Theatre on Friday night at 7, a benefit concert for the Nordic ski program of Woodstock Ski Runners. See 'Best Bets' for more information.

  • The Burlington alt-folk trio Navytrain plays two Upper Valley dates this week: at Windsor Station tonight, and at The Skinny Pancake in Hanover on Saturday. See 'Music' for more information.



Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, September 14, 2017

Ask him about Irish tenors, and Anthony Kearns will reach back over the last two centuries to cite the likes of John McCormack, William Percy French and Thomas Moore as role models.

Then he’ll hasten to add that he means no disrespect to his longtime touring partners and public TV co-stars, Finbar Wright and Ronan Tynan.

“I’m cut from the same cloth as the McCormacks, as far as the way I approach my solo work,” Kearns, 46, said last week during a telephone interview from his home in Florida. “What I sing depends in part on the mood, on the audience.”

For the audience at his concert at Alumni Hall in Haverhill on Saturday, he’s more likely to tackle some of the “evergreens” that McCormick and Italian-American tenor Mario Lanza rode to solo popularity from the 1930s to the 1950s. It’ll be a more intimate experience than his recent work in leading roles in operas, and than his performances with orchestras during such occasions as Pope Francis’ 2015 visit to the United States, a Veterans Day celebration in the U.S. in 2016 and the 2014 National Memorial Day Concert on PBS.

Kearns began performing in public in the early 1980s, specializing in the Sean Nós, or old-style, unaccompanied tradition. He went on to win several all-Ireland singing competitions, before dominating the “Ireland’s Search for a Tenor” contest in 1993 with renditions of Danny Boy and The Impossible Dream. That success led him out of a job in sales and into three years of study with voice teacher Veronica Dunne, at the Leinster School of Music, and then to The College of Music in Wales.

Then came the call from the modern day Irish Tenors, and a whirlwind that took Kearns, the junior member of the trio, around the world and through five PBS specials between 1998 and 2010.

“It was fantastic,” said Kearns, who still performs with the trio every other Christmas.

As for this Saturday’s show, expect Kearns, accompanied only by piano, to sing more than Danny Boy — but with far less flash than producers and choreographers have been trotting out for touring ensembles such as Riverdance and Celtic Thunder over the last couple of decades.

“There’s no smoke and mirrors, no fireworks,” Kearns said. “That’s a good thing for people to see. As the Celtic thing became big, everybody who could bang a drum came out. … I’ll stick to my guns. If people like it, they like it.”

Tenor Anthony Kearns performs at Alumni Hall in Haverhill on Saturday night at 7. Admission to the concert is $25, with proceeds benefiting the community programs of Court Street Arts, which maintains Alumni Hall. There will be refreshments served before the concert at the 1805 Grafton Hotel, near Alumni Hall in the historic district, at fees of $15 for members of Court Street Arts and $20 for others. To learn more, visit alumnihall.org or call 603-989-5500.

Best Bets

On the theme of “Scary Stories,” AVA Gallery and Art Center tonight resumes The Mudroom, its monthly session of storytelling in the spirit of The Moth Radio Hour. After refreshments at 6:30, the session begins at 7 in the South Studio on the second floor, with live music from Harmony Hotel. Advance tickets cost $7.50 for AVA members and $10 for others; tickets at the door are $20. To reserve seats and learn more, visit avagallery.org or call 603-448-3117.

Pomfret native Tristan Henderson and his colleagues in the roots trio Pete’s Posse will perform in Woodstock’s Town Hall Theatre on Friday night at 7, in a concert benefiting the cross-country skiing program of the Woodstock Ski Runners. To reserve tickets ($10 to $25) and learn more, visit pentanglearts.org or call 802-457-3981.

The Brooklyn-based company Theater of War performs Antigone in Ferguson on Friday and Saturday nights at 8, at Dartmouth College’s Moore Theater in Hanover. Through staged readings of Sophocles’ Greek drama Antigone, and the singing of a gospel choir, the play examines the 2014 shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in a St. Louis suburb. For tickets ($17 to $40) and more information, visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2422.

Northern Stage launches its 2017-2018 season at the Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction, with preview performances of A Doll’s House at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, at 7:30 next Thursday night, on on Sept. 22 at 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. The official opening night is Sept. 23 at 7:30; this adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s groundbreaking drama runs through Oct. 28. Tickets to the preview shows cost $13.75 to $32.75. From Sept. 23 on, admission is $13.75 to $57.75, except for Sept. 26, when entry costs $20. To reserve seats and learn more, visit northernstage.org or call 802-296-7000.

Newport-area singers, dancers, musicians, comedians and other entertainers perform at the Newport Opera House’s season-opening community talent show on Friday night at 7. General admission costs $7 at the door. To learn about the opera house’s 2017-2018 season, visit newportoperahouse.com.

Conductor Jaime Laredo leads the Vermont Symphony Orchestra into the Chandler Music Hall in Randolph on Wednesday night at 7, and into the Woodstock Town Hall Theatre next Thursday night at 7:30. On its “Made in Vermont” tour, the orchestra accompanies violinist Pamela Frank through Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, and performs contemporary Vermont composer Paul Dedell’s Breath. For tickets ($11 to $27.50) to the Chandler show, visit chandler-arts.org or call 802-728-6464. To reserve seats ($10 to $30) for the performance in Woodstock, visit pentanglearts.org or call 802-457-3981. To learn about other stops on the tour, visit vso.org/events.

Looking Ahead

The Royal Frog Ballet, which includes Thetford Academy graduate Sophie Wood, will perform its Surrealist Cabaret at the Feast and Field Market in Barnard on Sept 29 and 30 and Oct. 1. The cabaret, starting each afternoon at 5, blends storytelling, dance, installation pieces and roving characters to explore and celebrate the approaching harvest season. This year’s theme is “Roots.” For tickets ($9 to $18) and more information, visit theroyalfrogballet.org. Spectators are encouraged to arrive early.

Theater/Performance Art

The ArtisTree Music Theatre Festival raises the curtain on its adaptation of Godspell tonight at 7:30, with a preview performance at the new Grange Theatre in South Pomfret. After the grand-opening show on Friday night at 7:30, stagings over the coming week are scheduled for Friday night at 7:30, Saturday afternoon at 3, Saturday night at 7:30, Sunday afternoon at 2 and next Thursday night at 7:30. Tickets cost $10 to $20 for tonight’s preview and $15 to $25 during the rest of the run, through Oct. 1. To reserve seats and learn more about this and subsequent festival productions, visit artistreevt.org or call 802-457-3500.

The Old Church Theater in Bradford, Vt., stages four one-act comedies on the theme of “Duets” over the next two weekends, starting Friday night at 7:30 and ending on Sept. 24 at 4 p.m. The shows include Blind Date, Bride, Holiday and Secretarial. For tickets ($6 to $12) and more information, visit oldchurchtheater.org or call 802-222-3322.

Music

Michael Cressey sings and plays guitar at the Lebanon Farmers Market from 4 to 7 this afternoon in Colburn Park.

Goat Broke Loose serenades the weekly Feast and Field Market at Fable Farm in Barnard with zydeco rhythms tonight starting at 5:30.

The Delphi Trio performs chamber music at the Union Church in Claremont on Saturday night at 6:30, at the conclusion of the summer music series of the West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts. While admission is free, donations are welcome.

Performances of Haydn’s Third Mass and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Toward the Unknown Region are scheduled for the next Upper Valley Open Sing, on Sunday afternoon at 3 at the First Congregational Church in Lebanon. Listeners as well as singers are welcome. Hal Sheeler will conduct and Henry Danaher will play piano. While admission is free, donations are welcome. Aspiring singers are encouraged to reach out to Sheeler at hsheeler@gmail.com or at 603-398-2151, to let him know what voice part they sing.

The Freelance Family Singers begin rehearsing on Tuesday night at 7 for their annual holiday concerts in Woodstock. The rehearsals take place through November, every Tuesday night at Woodstock’s First Congregational Church. Singers of all ages and abilities are welcome. To learn more, call director Ellen Satterthwaite at 802-457-3980.

Pianist Sonny Saul, drummer Tim Gilmore and assorted musical guests perform jazz at Pleasant Street Books in Woodstock on Wednesday night at 7:30, as part of Woodstock’s celebration of abolitionist John Brown. While admission is free, donations are welcome. To learn more, email pleasantstreetbooks@comcast.net.

Dance

The Center for the Arts hosts a lesson and a session of ballroom dancing at Whipple Hall in New London on Saturday night. Natalie Mavor Miles of the Newport Ballroom Dance Studio leads the lesson at 7, and the social dance begins at 7:30. To learn more, visit centerfortheartsnh.org or call 603-526-4444.

Pianist Bob Merrill leads his Tango Norte ensemble into the ArtisTree Community Arts Center in South Pomfret on Sunday afternoon for ArtisTree’s monthly tango lessons and dance. The lesson, which starts at 3, costs $10. Admission is $15 to the dance, which runs from 4 to 7. The combined fee for lesson and dance is $22. To learn more, visit artistreevt.org or call 802-457-3500.

Bar and Club Circuit

Singer-songwriter Jason Cann rocks the Harpoon Brewery in Windsor tonight starting at 7.

The Burlington-based folk-rock trio Navytrain pulls into Windsor Station tonight at 7:30. Following them to the venue over the coming week are My So Called Band with covers of 1990s favorites on Friday night at 9:30, Adwela & The Uprising on Saturday night at 9:30 and Alex Culbreth with a set of alt-country and blues on Tuesday night at 6.

Singer-songwriter Tad Dreis plays the tavern at Jesse’s Restaurant in Hanover on Friday evening starting at 5.

Saxophonist Mike Parker and singer Iva Wich perform at the Stony Brook Tavern in Stockbridge on Friday night from 6 to 9.

Folk singer Alex Smith plays the weekly Sunapee Community Coffeehouse on Friday night at 7. While admission is free, donations are welcome.

Off the Rails performs a set of Americana at the Public House in Quechee on Friday night at 7.

John Lackard kicks off the weekend of music with a set of blues at the Salt hill Pub in West Lebanon on Friday night at 8.

Guitarist Ted Mortimer plays Salt hill Pub in Hanover on Friday night at 9, and organist Tom Caselli leads the B-3 Brotherhood into the venue on Saturday night at 9.

Club Soda performs its mix of top 40, classic rock, dance music, R&B and country at Salt hill Pub in Newport on Friday night at 9.

Twisted Rhythms sets the rockin’ pace for dancing at Salt hill Pub in downtown Lebanon on Friday night at 9. And on Saturday night at 9, Better Days plays rock hits of the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s.

The Lonely Heartstrings Band leads off the week of music at The Skinny Pancake in Hanover with a set of roots rhythms on Friday night at 8:30; admission is $15 in advance and $18 at the door. The alt-folk/rockers of Navytrain roll in on Saturday night at 9 and Australian guitarist Joe Robinson on Tuesday night at 8; admission to Robinson’s show is $15 in advance and $18 at the door. Bow Thayer plays his weekly session of Americana on Wednesday night at 7:30. To reserve seats for the ticketed shows, visit skinnypancake.com or call 603-277-9115.

Carlos Ocasio leads Frydaddy home to the Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners on Friday night at 9.

Open Mics

Jim Yeager hosts an open-mic tonight at 7 in the Hayloft at ArtisTree Community Arts Center in South Pomfret, as well as the weekly sessions 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.

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.

Bradford’s Colatina Exit holds an open mic, Tuesday nights at 8.

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