Entertainment Highlights: Young Pianist Gathering for Typhoon Benefit

It started as a germ of an idea, a response from thousands of miles away to the typhoon that hit the Philippines last month. Alessandra Mariano, 10, wanted to do something that would help the victims.

With her mother, Gayle Mariano, a native of the Philippines, she decided put her two years of piano performance experience to use in the form of a benefit concert. Mariano, of Manchester, N.H., got in touch with her daughter’s piano teacher, Mila Filatova, who began to recruit her other students.

The scope of the show has ballooned. What was initially a single-person concert has become several hours of performances, featuring pianists young as 5 and as old as 16. The benefit will start at 1 p.m. on Sunday at the Rollins Chapel in Hanover. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted for the American Red Cross.

“I think, seeing them performing for a cause, it’s very meaningful,” Mariano said of the youth performers. “They’re little, but they have their own ways to express their compassion.”

The performance currently credits 10 pianists from as close as Hanover and as far as Andover, Mass., but mentions that other works and duets will be performed. The performers will play pieces by composers including Schubert, Debussy, Bach, Prokofiev, Bartok and Glinka. Dartmouth’s Tucker Foundation is sponsoring the event.

Though Mariano is originally from the Philippines — she moved to the states in 1999, four years before Alessandra was born — she said she didn’t have any relatives immediately affected by early November’s Typhoon Haiyan, which killed thousands in the Pacific nation.

But last year, the family went to the Philippines on vacation and stayed in a poor coastal area, where Alessandra met kids her age. Those meetings affected her when news of the typhoon broke, her mother said.

“When she was looking on the news, the photos, she remembered those kids, those families that she interacted with,” Mariano said. “She kind of visualized that: These are the kids that I’ve seen when I visited the Philippines.”

The Typhoon Haiyan Benefit Concert will take place from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday at the Rollins Chapel in Hanover. Donations will be accepted, but admission is free.

Best Bets

Dancer Kate Gamble will perform a contemporary dance concert at Meriden’s Kimball Union Academy on Friday, collaborating with faculty members from KUA as well as Upper Valley dancers and guests from the Jacksonville Dance Theatre in Florida, among others. The 7 p.m. show is free, and will take place at the Flickinger Auditorium. At 10 a.m. that morning, Gamble will offer an improvisational dance class to the public, and on Saturday at 11 a.m. hip-hop choreographer James Morrow will teach a class. Both classes will be held at White River Ballet Academy in White River Junction.

∎ On Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Mike Backman of Quechee will perform Making Scenes: Gay Survivors of Straight Parents, a show containing staged readings about growing up gay in a straight household, at Randolph’s Chandler Music Hall. Backman, along with various Twin State actors, will perform selections from works including Torch Song Trilogy and Angels in America . Tickets are $20 for adults, and proceeds will benefit Outright Vermont and the youth programs of RU12?, both of which benefit LGBT people in Vermont. Tickets can be purchased from www.chandler-arts.org or 802-728-6464.

Looking Ahead

Thetford’s Parish Players have extended their performance of The Shadow Box, which is part of their Revival Series, for three performances next weekend. The play, which the Parish Players originally put on in 1980, will now also run on Dec. 13, 14 and 15. The Friday and Saturday shows will be at 7:30 p.m., and the Sunday matinee at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 for regular admission, and seats can be reserved by leaving a message at 802-785-4344.

Theater

Canadian troupe Cirque Alfonse will present Timber!, a circus show that takes place in a logging camp, tonight at 7 p.m. and Friday at 8 p.m. at the Hopkins Center. Tickets range from $25 to $40 for adults, and can be purchased from hop.dartmouth.edu.

∎ Northern Stage’s production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas opens this week in White River Junction with several previews before Saturday’s opening night. White Christmas will run through New Year’s Eve. For show information and ticket prices, go to northernstage.org.

∎  The Willey Perra Community Giving Benefit Show will hit the Newport Opera House on Saturday, telling a story of small-town life. This year, the Red Star Twirlers will join the show, which will also feature dancing. Tickets are $5, and it is recommended that they are purchased at The Petal Patch Florist in Newport, but they will be available at the door a half-hour before the show. The performance begins at 7 p.m.

Music

The Thetford Chamber Singers will present two Christmas Vespers concerts this weekend, during which the 40-member chorus will sing seasonal pieces, including three carols by Minnesota composer Abbie Betinis. The shows are at the United Church of Strafford at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and at the First Congregational Church of Thetford at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door, and can be purchased via thetfordchambersingers.org or at the Norwich Bookstore.

∎ Vermont-based Bow Thayer and his band, Perfect Trainwreck, will make their way to White River Junction’s Tupelo Music Hall to play the Americana music Thayer is known for. The band is currently supporting its third album, Eden, which came out earlier this year. Friday’s show will be at 8 p.m., and tickets are $15. They can be purchased from tupelohallvermont.com.

∎ The North Country Chorus will also present a holiday program this weekend, in which it will sing pieces including Daniel Pinkham’s Christmas Cantata and Morten Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium. Friday’s show at the First Congregational Church in Littleton, N.H., will take place at 7:30 p.m., Saturday’s show at the Wells River Congregational Church will start at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday’s performance at the Peacham Congregational Church will begin at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults at the door, or can be purchased from catamountarts.org.

∎ Woodstock’s Freelance Family Singers will perform its own holiday program on Saturday and Sunday at the First Congregational Church in Woodstock. The chorus will sing pieces including the carol Still, Still, Still and the Hanukkah song Lamp Burning in the Night . The Saturday show is at 7 p.m. and the Sunday show is at 3 p.m. The concerts are free, though a donation of non-perishable food is suggested.

∎  Soprano Mary Bonhag, of Scrag Mountain Music, will perform voice recitals in Randolph and Montpelier on Friday and Sunday, respectively. Bonhag will sing songs including Francis Poulenc’s La Courte Paille cycle and Leonard Bernstein’s I Hate Music . Admission to both shows, which benefit the Vermont Midwives Association, is on a pay-what-you- can basis. The Randolph show, at First Light Studios on Pleasant Street, is at 7 p.m. on Friday. The Montpelier show is at the Unitarian Church of Montpelier at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Dance

City Center Ballet will present its fourth annual performance of Clara’s Dream: A Nutcracker Story, based on Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, tonight, Friday and Saturday at the Lebanon Opera House. The shows tonight and Friday are both at 7 p.m. and the Saturday shows are at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Advance tickets for adults are $16.50, and can be purchased from lebanonoperahouse.org. Day of show tickets are an additional $5.

∎ The fall dance ensemble at Colby-Sawyer College will present “Turning Pointe,” featuring 28 student dancers moving through a variety of different genres. Adjunct Assistant Professor of Dance Laura Dunlop Shepherd serves as artistic director for the show, and also will choreograph some pieces along with students. The Friday show will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, and can be purchased from colby-sawyer.edu/tickets.

Bar and Club Circuit

Celtic duo Castlebay, from Maine, will perform a set at the Sunapee Community Coffeehouse at 7 p.m. on Friday.

∎ Singer and guitarist Cindy Geilich will play at Lebanon’s Stone Arch Bakery starting at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.

∎ Folk singer-songwriter Antje Duvekot will visit The Flying Goose Brew Pub & Grille tonight at 8 p.m.

∎ Jim Hollis will perform at Jesse’s in Hanover, starting at 5 p.m. on Friday.

∎ The Peter Concilio Jazz Trio will return to Hartland’s Skunk Hollow Tavern this weekend, with a show that starts at 9 p.m. on Friday.

∎ Nashville recording artist Clay Canfield brings his talents to the River Stones Tavern in Quechee on Fridays and Saturdays, starting at 8 p.m. He also performs at Bentleys Restaurant in Woodstock on Sundays, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

∎ Arthur James will perform at Lebanon’s Salt hill Pub on Friday. Upper Valley stalwarts Frydaddy will play on Saturday. Both shows are at 9 p.m.

∎ At Salt hill Hanover, That Tuck Band will take the stage on Friday. The next night, Dave Keller will hold a CD release party with his band at the pub. Keller’s new blues CD is called Soul Changes. Both shows are at 9 p.m.

∎ Acoustic rocker Sean Wyatt will play at Newport’s Salt hill Pub on Friday, and rock’n’roll group the Dave Sammarco Band will perform on Saturday. Both shows are at 9 p.m.

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.

∎ Salt hill Pub in Hanover runs an open mic hosted by Chad Gibbs on Mondays at 7 p.m.

∎ 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.

Jon Wolper can be reached at jwolper@vnews.com or 603-727-3242. Send Highlights to Highligh ts@vnews.com.