Entertainment Highlights: Myra Flynn Comes Home to Chandler
Myra Flynn will be performing at the Chandler Music Hall in Randolph on Saturday, May 11, at 7:30 p.m. (JP Candelier photograph)
The womens choral group Feminine Tone presents their final concert, "Rejoicing in Song," featuring Feminine Tone favorites from the last 16 years. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on May 10 at the First Congregational Church of Claremont and 7:30 p.m. on May 11 at the First Universalist Society of Hartland. (Courtesy photograph)
The Chandler Music Hall stage in Randolph has borne witness to every step of singer-songwriter Myra Flynn’s career, from her first performance at age 8 in one of Chandler’s children’s musicals to her annual appearances in Chandler’s Mud Season Variety Show, and to the Brookfield, Vt., native’s emergence as a soulful vocalist and sophisticated songwriter.
“I was always at Chandler,” Flynn, 28, said in a phone interview this week, ahead of her show Saturday night in Chandler’s Upper Gallery. “My dad was in all the musicals as well, so I was constantly there, and then he became part of the board. It’s just been a big part of my life.”
Last year, Flynn relocated from Burlington to Brooklyn, where she’s currently working on her third album. To finance the recording, she could have gone the route of many emerging artists, and raised money via a crowdsourcing site like Kickstarter or IndieGoGo. Instead, Flynn is returning to her home state this weekend for three benefit concerts, in Burlington, Montpelier and at Chandler, to reconnect with longtime listeners and raise money for the new album. Instead of uploading a video of her music and appealing to listeners she’s never met, Flynn prefers performing for an audience.
“The people I grew up with Vermont, they’ve been seeing me perform for a decade or sometimes longer,” she said. “In the Chandler instance, I’ve been performing there since I was 8 years old. That makes more sense to me, for me to be like, Hey guys, help a sister out, because I’m trying to do this thing, and you all know that I’ve been trying to do it for a million years, you know? And they get it, and they love coming to see me perform and seeing the way that I’ve grown.”
On the album she’s recording, Flynn is working with the same backing band that performed on her last record, Crooked Measures , and she continues to craft the tender-hearted lyrics that have become her trademark. Longtime listeners may notice a departure in tenor with the inclusion of two bouncy pop songs. “I kind of wanted to have some fun with melody and stuff. I wrote these two pop songs that you can even dance to,” Flynn said.
Compared to her previous efforts, “I guess I’m just a way more mature writer and singer,” she added. “So it’s kind of a departure in that way. Everything just sounds more grown up. I’m not unsure of anything. I’m taking myself very seriously on this record, and I’m very, very very proud of it,” Flynn said. It’s so good that she’s “a little intimidated by how good it’s sounding. I’ve got a great team of people that’s working with me as well. They all feel the same. It’s just a great project.”
Flynn’s concert is the second time this year that a homegrown artist has chosen the Chandler as the place to share new work with a familiar audience. In January, Stockbridge, Vt., singer-songwriter Bow Thayer and his band Perfect Trainwreck performed songs from their new album, Eden, to thank area fans for supporting the band.
With Flynn’s performing history at Chandler, “it feels sort of like we’re welcoming this wonderful young woman home,” said Becky McMeekin, Chandler’s executive director. Flynn’s show also follows closely on the heels of singer-songwriter Seth Glier’s May 3 performance in Chandler’s Upper Gallery, a space that Chandler’s board sees as crucial for attracting a young audience to the 106-year-old building.
“Young people don’t necessarily see this as a wonderful place. I think they see it as sort of static,” McMeekin said. With a cash bar and shows that tend to be less expensive and more intimate than those in Chandler’s 600-seat main performing space, the Upper Gallery is Chandler’s attempt to create an atmosphere in central Vermont akin to a music club like Burlington’s Higher Ground.
“I do feel it’s a pressing need,” McMeekin said. “We need to bring this next generation of people who love to hear live music and are not content to stream something live. The live performance experience is so important. So we’ll keep at it.”
For Flynn, performing live is more than something she does in between studio albums. From her earliest performing days at Chandler to present, playing live has allowed Flynn to form stronger bonds with an audience than she could make solely through the Internet.
“If you do things that are near and dear to your heart and mean something to you, it always works out. Whereas there’s a certain sterility in just doing things online to me,” Flynn said. “I don’t necessarily feel like there’s the same sentiment. I just try to live my life that way when it comes to music. I just try to participate in things that actually mean something to me, and they tend to work out. I’ve been pretty lucky so far.”
Myra Flynn performs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Upper Gallery at Chandler Music Hall in Randolph ($25). To hear Flynn’s music, visit www.myraflynn.com
The graduating seniors who are members of Dartmouth College’s Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble will get one last chance to steal the show in the ensemble’s 34th annual “Senior Feature” concert at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Hopkins Center’s Spaulding Auditorium. Seniors Stephanie DeCross, Alan Gottesman, Joshua Kaye, Rodrigo Monroy and Grant Neubauer will be featured on pieces from Joe Bowie, Kermit Ruffins and Chick Corea, in a concert directed by Don Glasgo, Barbary Coast’s longtime leader ($16).
∎ For their spring concerts, the Thetford Chamber Singers are exploring “The Elements,” with pieces from Vermont composers Robert DeCormier, Erik Nielsen, Jeremiah McLane, Kevin Quigley and Gwyneth Walker. The group, led by director Lindsey Warren and accompanied by Annemieke Spoelstra, performs at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow and 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the First Congregational Church of Thetford and at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the North Universalist Chapel in Woodstock ($12, advance tickets available at www.thetfordchambersingers.org; $15 at the door; $8 for students and the financially challenged).
∎ The women’s choral group Feminine Tone presents its final concert, “Rejoicing in Song,” featuring Feminine Tone favorites from the last 16 years, including “Amavolovo,” a Zulu song, “Inner Voices” from Sweet Honey and the Rock, and contemporary arrangements of traditional African-American spirituals Led by Maricel Lucero, Feminine Tone will be joined by Hafiz Shabazz, director of the World Percussion Music Ensemble at Dartmouth College, blues and gospel singer Moonlight Davis and Eugene Uman, artistic director of the Vermont Jazz Center in Brattleboro.
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at the First Congregational Church of Claremont and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the First Universalist Society of Hartland ($10 suggested donation).
∎ Cats Under the Stars, the Vermont-based tribute band to the Jerry Garcia Band, has been gaining steam across New England since its founding in 2010. With lone original member Zach Nugent, a.k.a. “Jerry Jr.” helming, the group returns to Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction at 7 p.m. Saturday with a new lineup and plenty of Garcia-inspired tricks up their sleeve ($15).
∎ Court Street Arts at Alumni Hall in Haverhill hosts an evening of roots and Americana music with fiddler Joyce Anderson and guitarist Harvey Reid at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The duo’s repertoire ranges from Celtic tunes to gospel numbers, and the expanse of musical traditions in between. The concert is the latest offering in Alumni Hall’s Bliss Tavern Music series, sponsored by legendary singer Betty Johnson Gray ($17.50).
The Handel Society at Dartmouth College, the oldest town-gown choral society in the nation, will close out its performing year by presenting J.S. Bach’s 280-year-old St. Matthew Passion at 7 p.m. May 18 and 2 p.m. May 19 in the Hopkins Center’s Spaulding Auditorium. Two adult choruses and a children’s chorus featuring many Upper Valley children will perform the St. Matthew Passion , based on St. Matthew’s Gospel account of the crucifixion of Jesus ($20-$29).
∎ Porgy and Bess , George Gershwin’s 1935 opera based on the lives of African-Americans living in the Catfish Row section of Charleston, S.C., gets a new treatment from BarnArts Center for the Arts. The principal cast, which includes vocalists Jasmine Thomas and Cameron Bernard Jones, will be joined by an ensemble of local performers for the opera’s famous numbers, including Summertime and I Got Plenty of Nothin’ . Directed by Andy Roninson and BarnArts Executive Director Jarvis Green, Porgy and Bess in Concert will be performed at 7 p.m. May 17 and 18 at the First Universalist Church of Barnard ($15, adults; $10, students; reserve tickets by calling 802-332-6020).
To whet their audience’s appetite for the summer season, the 70-member Upper Valley Community Band presents “Spring Bling,” an evening of familiar marches, showtunes and patriotic songs, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Lebanon Opera House ($8, adults; $5, senior citizens and children).
Louis Burkot directs the Dartmouth College Glee Club in “Renaissance Revisited,” a free concert at 5 p.m. tomorrow at the Top of the Hop. Pieces included in the Glee Club’s program include Thomas Morley’s April Is In My Mistress’ Face and Fire, Fire My Heart , John Bennet’s Weep O Mine Eyes , and Benjamin Britten’s Hymn to St. Cecilia.
The renowned Dallas Children’s Theatre present a musical theater adaptatation of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs , Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith’s humorous book told from the Big Bad Wolf’s point of view, at 3 p.m. Sunday at Dartmouth’s Hopkins Center ($13-$23).
Northern Stage closes its 2012-13 season with Nunsense , the long-running Off-Broadway musical comedy about a group of five scheming Little Sisters of Hoboken who must scramble to raise the money to bury the members of their order who died after consuming bad vichysoisse. Visit www.northernstage.org for showtimes and to purchse tickets.
∎ The Old Church Theater presents Catch Me If You Can , a comedy-mystery about the antics that ensue when a honeymooning ad man’s new wife goes missing. Directed by Diane Chamberlain and starring Anne Foldeak and Anthony Helm, Catch Me If You Can will be performed at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday at the theater, located behind the Bradford Congregational Church in Bradford, Vt.
Seth Barbiero and Brian Warren host tonight’s open mic at Salt hill Pub in Lebanon, starting at 8.
∎ Chad Gibbs hosts Salt hill Pub in Hanover’s open mic at 7:30 p.m. Monday.
∎ Shepard’s Pie Restaurant on Route 4 in Quechee holds a Tuesday night open mic, starting at 6.
∎ The Colatina Exit in Bradford has an open mic on Tuesdays at 8 p.m.
∎ There’s an open jam every Tuesday night from 7 to 9 at Tuck’s Rock Dojo in Etna.
∎ Wednesday night is open mic night at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland. It’s led by Gregory Brown and starts at 8:30.
∎ Anthony Furnari hosts an open mic at Seven Barrel Brewery in West Lebanon at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Entertainment Highlights appears each Thursday. Email news of upcoming events to firstname.lastname@example.org.