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Entertainment Highlights: Hartland JazzFest Pitches a Bigger Tent

Barefeet Theatre of Zambia starts a world tour with two free performances in the Upper Valley this weekend.

Barefeet Theatre of Zambia starts a world tour with two free performances in the Upper Valley this weekend.

The first time Peter Concilio and his team staged the Hartland JazzFest, a classic June thunderstorm in 2012 left them wondering if they’d ever host another.

“We were out in the open, then, and when the sky opened up, people ran to their cars,” Concilio, the festival’s artistic director, recalled this week. “We figured that might be the end of that. But after it let up, people got out of their cars and came back, and the show went on.”

Which it did in 2013 with some 800 spectators, and will again this Saturday afternoon and evening, from noon to 8 on the lawn of the Hartland Public Library, as a benefit for the Hartland Community Arts Council’s music and arts scholarships for local kids. And this time, performers — ranging from vibraphone master Arthur Lipner and New Orleans vocalist Samirah Evans to the Upper Valley’s East Bay Jazz Ensemble and Dr. Burma — will play under a tent broad enough to cover listeners as well as players.

Just in case the extended forecast for sun and temperatures in the mid-70s changes, either for the hotter or the wetter ...

“We have a big (tent),” Concilio said. “This year, we’re able to make people more comfortable.”

For listeners who might need tuning up for the live performances, the festival on Friday night at 7:30, in Damon Hall, will screen Talking Sticks, a documentary about Lipner’s travels through Ghana, Brazil and Iceland, at the last of which Lipner performed on a xylophone carved from, well, ice. Concilio, who taught high school English to Lipner in the mid-1970s, will interview his former student at movie’s end.

The East Bay Ensemble kicks off the festival on Saturday at noon. Lipner follows at 1, before Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital physician Eric Bronstein leads the Almost Legendary Thundering Muskrats to center stage. Next comes Tim Gilmore’s Electric Bebop Band, with guitarists Randy Roos and Dave Tonkin and guest trumpeter John Carlson, whose credits include touring and recording with the Either Orchestra. Down the homestretch of the day, Samirah Evans will belt her New Orleans sound, followed by teacher/composer/saxophonist Fred Haas and pianist Armen Donelian, tuning up for Interplay Jazz and Arts’ coming week of performances and workshops in Woodstock. The closing honors belong to the 17-piece Vermont Jazz Ensemble — fresh from the Burlington Jazz Festival — and then Ted Mortimer’s Dr. Burma at 7.

Between acts, Woodstock Union High School music teacher Jody Henderson’s high school and middle school-age performers will keep the vibe going.

“From the first year,” Concilio said, “the one thing that people who played here have commented on is that we’re the most organized festival they go to. Our volunteers are a big part of that. If we had to pay the people who make this go, we wouldn’t have the money to give to these scholarships.”

The third annual Hartland JazzFest will take place Saturday from noon to 8 on the grounds of the Hartland Library. Admission is $10 for ages 12 and older. On Friday night at 7:30 in Hartland’s Damon Hall, festival organizers will screen the documentary Talking Sticks , a movie about the world travels of vibraphone master Arthur Lipner, who will perform on Saturday. For more information on the lineup of performers, visit hartlandcommunityarts.org, or facebook.com/HartlandJazzFest, or @Hartlandjazzfest on Twitter.

Looking Ahead

Ricardo Lemvo will lead his eight-piece group Makina Loca onto the green in Hanover on Thursday, June 26 to belt out a salsa of influences from central Africa, Latin America and Los Angeles. Before the show itself starts at 5, Lemvo will talk about his musical heritage and influences at 4 at 219 Wilson Hall. Admission is free.

The Panhandlers Steel Band will kick off the Norwich Women’s Club series of concerts on the town green with a big dose of Caribbean music on Friday, June 27 at 7 p.m.

The 35-year-old contemporary troupe Hubbard Street Dance Chicago will hit the stage of Dartmouth’s Moore Theater on June 27 and 28, a Friday and a Saturday, to perform to the music of Steve Reich, Dean Martin, and Moroccan-born composer Hassan Hakmoun. Tickets for the show, in which some dancers perform with a bare minimum of costume, cost between $8.50 and $45. For more information, visit hop.dartmouth.edu/Online/hubbard_street_dance_company.

The Vermont Symphony Orchestra will perform a wide range of dance music at the Suicide Six ski area in South Pomfret on June 28, as part of the summer festival tour that VSO is co-sponsoring with Woodstock’s Pentangle Arts Council. Under the baton of guest conductor Anthony Princiotti, the “Let’s Dance” program will flow from waltzes and swing to polkas and salsa. The gates will open at 5 p.m., the music will begin at 7:30, and the show will close with a display of fireworks. For tickets and more information, visit pentanglearts.org.

Theater/Performance Art

“Boundaries” is the theme of the next installment of The Mudroom series of storytelling sessions, set for tonight at Lebanon’s AVA Gallery. The serving of Thai food and music — the latter from the S t. Johnsbury-area group Chickweed — begin at 6:30, and the storytellers take over the stage from 7 to 8:30. Open to ages 18 and older, for $5 admission. For more information about attending the session, or about submitting a story idea to perform, visit avagallery.org/category/special-programs/mudroom/.

The Pentangle Arts Council will hold auditions at Woodstock’s Town Hall Theater tonight and Friday night from 5 to 8:30 in preparation for its late October production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Under the direction of Sharon Groblicki, rehearsals for actors, singers and dancers of all ages and vocal ranges will begin during the last week of August. To secure a 10-minute audition slot, and to learn about how to prepare for auditions in specific roles, call 802-457-3981, send e-mail to info@pentanglearts.org or visit pentanglearts.org/joseph.

Dartmouth College’s Hopkins Center for the Arts tonight will screen the HD-video presentation of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s staging of Richard II, starring David Tennant (one of the more recent Dr. Whos) in the title role of the king who precipitated a century-long dynastic civil war in England. The show starts at 7, in Loew Auditorium at the Black Center Visual Arts Center. Tickets are $23. For more information, visit hop.dartmouth.edu.

The New London Barn Playhouse concludes its season-opening presentation of Stephen Sondheim’s multiple Tony Award-winning A Little Night Music, with performances tonight, Friday night and Saturday night at 7:30, and at 5 Sunday evening. Under the direction of Lillian King and the choreography of Jennifer Jancuska, The Barn’s artistic director Carol Dunne will star — and sing the musical’s signature song, Send in the Clowns — as aging beauty Desiree Armfeldt, around whom admirers past and present orbit on a European country estate at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Tickets cost between $19 and $40. For reservations or more information, call 603-526-6570 or 6710 or visit nlbarn.org/box-office/current-season.

The Barefeet Theatre of Zambia will start its world tour of its interactive show FLOAT with two free performances in the Upper Valley this weekend. The troupe’s acrobats, circus performers, drummers, dancers, singers and actors will stage the show at noon Friday on the Norwich Green and at 1 in the afternoon on Saturday at the Storrs Pond Recreation Area in Hanover. Before the Saturday show, Barefeet will hold a 10 a.m. workshop at Norwich’s Marion Cross School, for ages 7 to 7 0, at a fee of $50. For more information about all events, visit barefeettheatre.org and barefeet-america.eventbrite.com.

The Raw Shakespeare Company will stage its interpretation of Hamlet at Woodstock’s Little Theater during the next two weekends, under the direction of company founder Michael Barnhart. Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. this coming Saturday and 5 p.m. on Sunday, and at 7:30 the evenings of Friday, June 27 and Saturday, June 28. For more information, visit rawshakespearecompany.org.

Music

If this weekend’s Hartland JazzFest fires up your jones for the genre, the Woodstock-based Interplay Jazz and Arts group is offering a buffet of performances next week. It all begins with free “Improv Inspiration” concerts at 7 on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights at the North Universalist Chapel. The first, “A World of Jazz,” features pianist Armen Donelian and his trio blending Middle Eastern, European classical, and American jazz. Tuesday brings veteran vocalist Sheila Jordan and Grammy-winning composer-pianist-vocalist John Proulx taking turns, then joining forces at the finale, in “The Voices of Jazz.” On Wednesday, “Guitar Madness and Saxophone Battles” will showcase the talents of the guitar trio of Freddie Bryant, David Newsam and Jason Ennis with Interplay faculty in a program mixing jazz and Brazilian music, and of saxophonists Fred Haas and Michael Zsoldos and Interplay’s rhythm section. For more information about these performances, and about those coming the second half of next week, and about Interplay’s array of workshops, visit interplayjazzandarts.org.

Gerry Grimo will lead the East Bay Jazz Ensemble onto the Quechee Green tonight at 6:30, to kick off the Hartford Parks & Recreation Department’s series of summer concerts.

The Granite State Stompers step onto the Mary Haddad Bandstand in New London at 6:30 Friday night, for the second in the summer series of concerts on the town green.

Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish kicks off its summer concert series on Sunday afternoon with a performance by the Nevers Band of “Marching from Broadway to L.A.” Opening with the Star-Spangled Banner and closing with John Philip Sousa’s Liberty Bell March, the program will hopscotch among show tunes, patriotic marches, modern popular music (starting in the 1960s), and some classical. All the weekly concerts in the site’s Little Studio start at 2 p.m. on Sundays, with admission included in entry fee to the park. For more information, visit nps.gov/saga/planyourvisit/summer-concerts.htm.

Ska master Dave Wakeling will lead his current incarnation of The English Beat into Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction Friday night at 8, to play hits of The Beat, General Public and his new songs. Tickets are $35. For more information, visit tupelohallvermont.com.

Musician/comedian Nathan Brady Crain travels down the White River Valley on Wednesday night at 6:30 to perform a concert of acoustic folk, rock and country music during the Hartford Rec Dept. ’s weekly concert at Lyman Point Park in White River Junction. Because of construction on the Hartford Municipal Building next door, the rec office is advising late arrivers to park at the White River Junction Visitor Center downtown or at the White River Elementary School.

Film

The Hopkins Center at Dartmouth will screen the 2014 Romanian thriller Child’s Pose on Saturday night at 7, in Loew Auditorium at the Black Family Visual Arts Center. The film stars Luminita Gheorghieu as a socialite mother trying to keep her ne’er-do-well son out of jail in the wake of a fatal car crash. Tickets cost $5 to $8. For more information, visit hop.dartmouth.edu.

Featuring a new score by Dartmouth graduate student Carlos Dominguez, the Dartmouth Film Society will kick off its summer series “Film Noir: Embrace the Dark,” with a screening on Sunday afternoon at 4 of the 1929 German-Expressionist silent classic, Asphalt. Joe May directed the film, at the height of the Expressionist movement, following a by-the-book policeman who sets off a chain of unexpected events after failing to arrest the alluring thief whom he catches in the act of stealing a diamond. Tickets cost $5 to $8. For more information, visit hop.dartmouth.edu.

Bar and Club Circuit

Will Michaels will lead Mo’Combo into Salt hill Pub in Lebanon at 9 on Friday night, for long sets of soul, classic rock, R&B and dance tunes. And on Saturday night at 9, Moxie Union arrives for its first performance at the venue.

Tuning up for its finishing kick to the coming weekend’s third annual Hartland JazzFest, Ted Mortimer will lead the Dr. Burma team onto the stage at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Friday night, starting at 9.

Brian Warren will play a set at Salt hill Pub in Hanover at 9 on Friday night. And 24 hours later, the Vagabonds will make their first appearance at the venue.

The Pilgrims will play at Windsor Station at 9 on Saturday night, followed Tuesday night at 6 by Jason Cann.

The group Talkin’ Smack will rock Salt hill Pub in Newport on Friday night starting at 9. The Saturday night set at the same venue will feature Brian Warren, also at 9.

The next week’s parade of live performers at Hanover’s Canoe Club begins tonight at 7 with jazz guitarist Billy Rosen. Next in line come pianists Bob Lucier on Friday night at 7 and Randall Mullen on Saturday night at 7, multi-instrumentalist-composer-vocalist Tyne Freeman at 7 on Sunday night, pianist Gillian Joy at 7 on Tuesday night and pianist Keith Bush at 7 on Wednesday night. Marko the Magician will perform his sleight-of-hand at the club on Monday night between 5:30 and 8:30.

Open Mics

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

With Jim Yeager as host, the ArtisTree Community Arts Center & Gallery in Woodstock holds an open mic for all levels and abilities on alternating Thursdays (the 5th and the 19th in June).

At Salt hill in Lebanon, Brian Warren and Seth Barbiero will host an open mic tonight starting at 8.

Brian Warren also hosts an open mic at Bentleys Restaurant in Woodstock. It’s on Mondays, starting at 8:30 p.m.

Bradford’s Colatina Exit hosts an open mic on Tuesdays starting at 8 p.m.

The Seven Barrel Brewery in West Lebanon runs an open mic on Wednesdays, beginning at 8 p.m.

Gregory Brown hosts an open mic at Hartland’s Skunk Hollow Tavern, beginning at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.

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