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Entertainment Highlights: Upper Valley Choral Groups Greet Spring With Concerts

  • The Bel Canto singers will perform Saturday in Lebanon and Sunday in Woodstock. (Courtesy photograph)

    The Bel Canto singers will perform Saturday in Lebanon and Sunday in Woodstock. (Courtesy photograph)

  • The Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth hosts a 7 o’clock concert tonight by up-and-coming Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodriguez. (Courtesy photograph)

    The Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth hosts a 7 o’clock concert tonight by up-and-coming Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodriguez. (Courtesy photograph)

  • Lebanon’s Wet Paint Players take aim at the bard himself with I Hate Shakespeare. (Courtesy photograph)

    Lebanon’s Wet Paint Players take aim at the bard himself with I Hate Shakespeare. (Courtesy photograph)

  • The Bel Canto singers will perform Saturday in Lebanon and Sunday in Woodstock. (Courtesy photograph)
  • The Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth hosts a 7 o’clock concert tonight by up-and-coming Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodriguez. (Courtesy photograph)
  • Lebanon’s Wet Paint Players take aim at the bard himself with I Hate Shakespeare. (Courtesy photograph)

Several houses of worship in the Upper Valley will be filled with melodic tones this weekend when two of the area’s foremost choral groups perform their spring concerts.

The Bel Canto Chamber Singers will provide a three-course meal of sorts for their audiences at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the First Congregational Church of Lebanon and at 4:00 p.m. Sunday at the North Universalist Chapel in Woodstock. Their “starters” program consists of several different pieces from Charles Villiers Stanford and Vermont composer Gwyneth Walker.

The “main course” of Bel Canto’s concert is a rendition of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem. It’s a new piece for the choral ensemble, and one that director Hal Sheeler described as “a great testament to the horrors of war and the hope for peace.” The “dessert” menu includes the rousing spiritual Ride the Chariot. It’s a varied springtime concert that Bel Canto members have been rehearsing with gusto, in Sheeler’s estimation.

“Bel Canto is noted for their high spirits, energy and thorough enjoyment of what they are doing, which I think they’re able to communicate to the audience,” Sheeler said. “We usually have wonderful audiences, too. There’s a certain spirit of joy, I think, at our concerts.”

Another choral ensemble performing this weekend is Cantabile (pronounced Cahn-tah-be-lay), an 18-member women’s ensemble led by Erma Mellinger, a senior music lecturer at Dartmouth College, and pianist Jeanne Chambers. “Cantabile” is an Italian music term, meaning “songlike” or “flowing in style,” and that’s a good way to describe the group’s springtime concert, titled “Alleluia, Let Us Sing!”

This weekend’s Cantabile concerts, which will take place at 3 p.m. Saturday at Woodstock’s North Universalist Chapel, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Lyme Congregational Church and 4 p.m. Sunday at the Norwich Congregational Church, will get under way with the group performing three a capella settings of Alleluia, including one by Bach. The women of Cantabile will also put their spin on Summertime from Porgy and Bess, English folk songs set by Ralph Vaughan Williams, a French melody from Gabriel Faure, and will close out the concert with spirituals.

“It’s a wonderful varied program,” said Mellinger. “I think there will be something for everybody.”

Best Bets

Tonight, the Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth hosts a 7 o’clock concert by the up-and-coming Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodriguez. The son of a Cuban singer and bandleader, Rodriguez received classical training in a Havana conservatory, but honed his improvisational skills by listening to jazz masters like Keith Jarrett and Thelonious Monk. Since his buzz-raising debut at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2006, Rodriguez has defected to the U.S., where producer Quincy Jones has taken him under his wing, and released his first CD, Sounds of Space . Rodriguez will perform as part of the Alfredo Rodriguez Trio, which includes upright bassist Ricardo Rodriguez and drummer Henry Cole ($17-$30).

∎ In his live show, Scottish folk singer Jim Malcolm performs a blend of familiar songs from his homeland with his own material. A former member of the Scottish band Old Blind Dogs, Malcolm brings his guitar, harmonica and voice to Alumni Hall in Haverhill at 7:30 p.m. Saturday for a concert sponsored by Bliss Tavern Music ($15).

∎ The Amesbury, Mass.-based band The Brew will perform an acoustic show of original songs, plus some made famous by Bruce Hornsby, Levon Helm, Buddy Holly and others who have influenced the band, at Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction tomorrow at 8 p.m. ($15).

∎ Fresh from a slew of performances in New York City last month, the Dartmouth College Gospel Choir is back in Hanover. The 100-member choir, led by Walt Cunningham, will perform at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Spaulding Auditorium ($10-$18).

On Stage

The strong bonds between the workers at a Gloucester, Mass., fish processing plant in its last days are explored in Israel Horovitz’s North Shore Fish, currently being staged by Enfield’s Shaker Bridge Theatre. Directed by Bill Coons, North Shore Fish will be performed at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Whitney Hall Auditorium ($25; $20 students).

School Performances

The irreverent comedy I Hate S hakespeare! will be given a treatment by the Wet Paint Players of Lebanon High School this weekend. Expect to see everything from a pie in the face to a Jerry Springer cameo when the Wet Paint Players tackle the Bard at the Lebanon Opera House, with performances at 7 p.m. tomorrow through Sunday and 2 p.m. Saturday ($5-$10; free for Lebanon High School students with ID).

Dances

Faye Grearson will lead a cha cha workshop at 6 p.m. Saturday, in advance of the fourth Saturday dance organized by the Upper Valley Dance Club ($10). A free nightclub two-step dance lesson will be offered at 7:30 p.m., and the dancing begins at 8 ($10; $5, students).It all takes place at the Richard Black Community Center in Hanover.

Bar and Club Circuit

Jason Cann performs at Harpoon Brewery in Windsor at 6 tonight and joins his band Wherehouse for a 9 p.m. show tomorrow at Salt hill Pub in Lebanon.

∎ The Malicious Brothers play an evening of blues at Salt hill Pub in Lebanon at 9 p.m. Saturday. The pub also has live traditional Irish music at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

∎ Salt hill Pub in Newport has classic rock from Baldilocks at 9 p.m. tomorrow and the Blue James Band from Boston at 9 p.m. Saturday.

∎ Sean Wyatt comes to Salt hill Pub in Hanover for a set at 9 p.m. tomorrow. Saturday, Hanover’s favorite funk band Green Room takes over the pub for a 9 p.m. show. And tonight, Roger Kahle, Randy Miller and friends lead a set of traditional Irish music, starting at 6.

∎ The Upper Valley dance band The Squids comes to Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland at 9 p.m. tomorrow.

∎ Linda Boudreault and Ted Mortimer of the dance band Dr. Burma play at Jesse’s Restaurant in Hanover starting at 5 p.m. tomorrow.

∎ You can catch The Woodshed Wailers perform at Seven Barrel Brewery in West Lebanon at 9 p.m. tomorrow.

∎ The Bluegrassoles entertain diners at Shepard’s Pie on Route 4 in Quechee tomorrow evening. On Saturday night, Tom Pirozzoli plays at Shepard’s Pie.

∎ Canoe Club in Hanover has music this week from pianist Gillian Joy tonight, guitarist Rowley Hazard tomorrow, guitarist Tom Pirozzoli Saturday, and pianist Bob Lucier on Tuesday.

Open Mics, Jams

An acoustic showcase, hosted by Dave Clark and with a new guest artist each week, is held every Sunday at 8 p.m. at Canoe Club in Hanover.

∎ ∎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 kbryan@vnews.com.