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Former Woodstock Resident Performs at Killington

  • New York City performer Troy Ramey, formerly of Woodstock, Vt., is to perform the national anthem and to give a concert at the World Cup's opening ceremony in Killington, Vt., on Nov. 24, 2017. (Courtesy photograph)

  • Troy Ramey was a contestant on "The Voice," where he was mentored by pop singer Gwen Stefani.(Courtesy photograph)



Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, November 23, 2017

Once in a while, Troy Ramey can’t help wishing that his father had lived to see him catch the ears of Gwen Stefani, Alicia Keys, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton during NBC’s song competition The Voice earlier this year.

But most of the time, the former Woodstock resident realizes that he might not have pursued a career in music, much less have toured the country after appearing on The Voice, if his father, Wayne, hadn’t died in 2004.

Ramey will sing the national anthem and play a concert on opening day of the World Cup alpine ski competition at Killington Resort on Friday.

“Music wasn’t even a blip on a radar screen for most of my life, because I was really into sports,” Troy Ramey said by telephone last Thursday, near the end of a West Coast tour with fellow Voice competitor Johnny Gates. “I figured when I was done playing I’d coach basketball like my dad did.”

A life at courtside was still the younger Ramey’s plan in 2004, when cancer silenced 56-year-old Wayne Ramey, a teacher of history and psychology who had guided Woodstock’s varsity boys to Vermont Division II titles in 1998 and 1999 before moving his family to Rhode Island. After losing his father on the eve of his sophomore season at Division III Wentworth Institute, Troy gave up the game, transferred to Boston College, and eventually found his way into a band.

“I was working at a restaurant, and some of the guys who worked there heard me singing to myself,” Ramey recalled. “They said, ‘You sound good. Let’s jam.’ We started out in a basement, and it sparked something in me I never knew I had.”

But his connection to music, like his connection to sports, came from a nearby source.

“I grew up with music surrounding me,” Ramey said. “My dad sang and played the guitar, and even took a leave of absence from teaching before I was born to form a band and try music for about eight years. He had an amazing voice.”

While writing for and singing with the band In Like Lions, Troy Ramey was finding his own voice.

“It was therapeutic,” the son said. “I felt like I could take a piece of him with me. It was a way to turn sadness into something that made me happy.

“But I had no idea it would take me this far. I’m so blown away with the opportunities that opened up in my life.”

More doors opened in 2013, when Ramey moved to New York and began working with Dante Lattanzi, a producer at the Long Island recording studio Caelum Music. By 2016, Ramey’s recordings were attracting hundreds of thousands of listeners on Spotify and iTunes — and finally an invitation to a blind-audition for The Voice on March 6.

“I almost didn’t want to do it,” Ramey recalled. “I don’t like singing covers that much, and the show is a situation that’s not on your terms. You have to follow their rules.”

With his mother and his sisters in the audience, Ramey opened with Cat Stevens’ Wild World, an interpretation that prompted Stefani, Keys, Levine and Shelton to all invite him to join their teams for tutoring through future appearances on the show. He wound up on Stefani’s team, and advanced to the top 12 before being eliminated.

The experience taught him a lesson no music-school course could have imparted.

“It’s hard to describe the stress and anxiety right before you go out on stage,” Ramey said. “Finally what happens is, all of the hours of practice mean something at that point. I trusted myself.”

And while Ramey didn’t reach the finals, recordings of all but one of his performances reached the top 10 on the iTunes rock charts, and he hit No. 1 with his finale cover of Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’. In addition to his national tour with Gates, his appearance on the show caught the eyes and ears of fellow Woodstock High alum Perrin Worrell, a daughter of longtime Wasps football coach Chuck Worrell. She advised organizers at Killington to invite Ramey to sing the national anthem ahead of the first World Cup races on Friday.

“That was going to be it,” Ramey said. “Then they had a band scheduled to play a concert who backed out. I figured that after the anthem, it was going to be a fun weekend relaxing with my mom and my girlfriend.

“It turned into something much bigger.”

Troy Ramey plays a free concert at Killington Resort on Friday afternoon at 4, during the opening celebration of the return of World Cup ski racing to the ski area. Ramey will appear in the World Cup Expo Village at the K-1 base lodge area. On Saturday, the indie rock band Dispatch, made up of alumni of Middlebury College, performs at the village. The opening day of the World Cup weekend also will include the premiere of the ski-adventure movie Rogue Elements at 7 in Killington’s Snowshed Base Lodge. To learn more about entertainment options over the World Cup weekend, visit killington.com/worldcup.

Best Bets

Spare yourself some holiday-shopping stress by reserving tickets this weekend for one of the two shows in which singer-songwriter Susan Werner will warm up the Flying Goose Brewpub and Grille in New London next week. She’ll share Cuban rhythms from her new album and her scorching wit at 8 on Wednesday night and the same time next Thursday. For tickets ($25) and more information, visit flyinggoose.com or call 603-526-6899.

The Thetford Chamber Singers open their 40th winter tour of central Vermont on Wednesday night at 7:30, with a performance at the United Church of Strafford. This year’s selections feature composers ranging from the 16th century into the 21st, including a work that the ensemble commissioned from Vermonter Roger Grow.

Subsequent performances are scheduled for Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the First Congregational Church in Woodstock, and for 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 3 at the First Congregational Church on Thetford Hill. Admission at the door is $15. To reserve tickets ($8 to $12) and learn more, visit thetfordchambersingers.org

Looking Ahead

Enfield’s Shaker Bridge Theatre kicks off a three-weekend run of Mark St. Germain’s romantic comedy Dancing Lessons next Thursday night at 7:30. The play follows the unfolding relationship between a Broadway dancer and the young man with Asperger’s syndrome whom she’s teaching some steps for an awards dinner. Performances are scheduled on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 and on Sunday afternoons at 2:30. For tickets ($16 to $35) and more information, visit shakerbridgetheatre.org or call 603-448-3750.

BarnArts will hold auditions for its 2018 production of Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs on Dec. 2 and 4, at ArtisTree’s Grange Theatre in South Pomfret. There are roles for three males ages 15, 18 and early 40s, respectively, and for four females ages 13, 16, late 30s and early 40s. Auditions are scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. on the 2nd and for 7 to 9 p.m. on the 4th.

Regular rehearsals begin in January, for performances on the second and third weekends of February. To learn more about auditioning, visit barnarts.org or email info@barnarts.org or call Tom Beck at 802-359-2279.

South Newbury, Vt. fiddler Patrick Ross will lead his folk ensemble Atlas Key into Alumni Hall in Haverhill on Dec. 2. Fiddler Eliza Goodell, a senior at Oxbow High School, will open the show at 7:30 p.m. For tickets ($20) and more information, visit courtstreetarts.org or call 603-989-5500. The venue’s cafe opens at 5:30.

More than 35 years after they first staged it at the Eclipse Grange on Thetford Hill, the Parish Players will perform a revival of Peter Parnell’s Scooter Thomas Makes It to the Top of the World, during the first two weekends of December. Kay Morton will direct the play, which follows a young man replaying memories of a friend who recently died for clues about their estrangement. Parnell wrote the playfor his senior thesis project at Dartmouth College. Performances are scheduled for 7:30 the nights of Dec. 7, 9, 14, 15 and 16 and 3 p.m. the afternoons of Dec. 10 and 17. To reserve tickets ($10 to $15) and learn more, visit parishplayers.org.

The Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph is seeking transgender and cisgender actors and aspiring actors to audition next month for the Vermont Pride Festival’s staged reading of Paul Lucas’ Trans Scripts, Port I: The Women, in late January.

Auditions for the play’s six roles will take place in Montpelier on Dec. 8, in Burlington on Dec. 9, and, on Dec. 10 at 2 p.m., at Randolph’s Bethany Church, just across Main Street from the Chandler. The one-act play, based on interviews that Lucas conducted with 75 people of transgender experience, will be staged at the Chandler Music Hall on Jan. 27. To arrange an audition time and to receive descriptions of the characters before the audition, email director Cher Laston at dramaqueen1957@gmail.com) or producer Sharon Rives at kenrives@gmail.com.

Theater/Performance Art

The No Strings Marionette Company performs The Cunning Little Vixen, an adaptation of the Rudolf Tesnohlidek children’s book, at Randolph’s Chandler Music Hall on Saturday morning at 11. After the troupe’s annual holiday show, the Arts Bus leads an afternoon workshop for kids in the Esther Mesh Room, before Santa Claus visits. Admission is $7. To learn more, visit chandler-arts.org or call 802-728-6464.

Music

Zach Nugent leads his Dead All-Stars (the latest incarnation of his Grateful Dead tribute ensemble) into The Skinny Pancake in Hanover on Saturday night at 9. For tickets ($10 to $15) and more information, visit skinnypancake.com or call 603-277-9115.

Dance

The Upper Valley All-Stars set the rhythm and Nils Fredland calls the steps for the next Muskeg Music contradance at Norwich’s Tracy Hall on Saturday night at 8. There will be a run-through for newcomers and for rusty dancers starting at 7:45. All dancers should bring clean, soft-soled shoes and finger food for the potluck snacks during the break. Admission is $6 to $10.

Bar and Club Circuit

The Occasional Jug Band plays the tavern at Jesse’s restaurant in Hanover on Friday night at 5.

Wherehouse sets the rockin’ rhythm for dancing at the Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners on Friday night at 9.

Guitarist Ted Mortimer kicks off the weekend of music at Salt hill Pub in Hanover on Friday night at 9. Arthur James play the blues Saturday night at 9.

Whiskey Crossing plays country at Salt hill Pub in West Lebanon on Saturday night at 9 .

Singer-songwriter Chris Powers appears at Salt hill Pub in Lebanon on Friday night at 9. The next night at 9, Night Cap plays classic rock in its debut show at the venue.

The New Hampshire-based duo WhiteSteer performs an acoustic set at Salt hill Pub in Newport on Friday night at 9. The 360 Band visits on Saturday night at 9 to play a set of rock.

River Frog pulls into Windsor Station on Friday night at 9:30, to play a set of roots music. Binger rocks the house on Saturday night at 9:30, and guitarist Ted Mortimer and saxophonist Katie Runde play next Thursday night at 7:30.

Open Mics

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.

The ever-in-motion Jim Yeager hosts the open-mics on Monday night at 8 at Bentley’s in Woodstock, at the Public House in Quechee on Tuesday night at 6, on Wednesday night at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners and next Thursday night at 7 at ArtisTree Community Arts Center in South Pomfret.

Fiddler Jakob Breitbach leads a weekly acoustic jam session of bluegrass, Americana and old-timey music on Tuesday nights at 7 at The Filling Station Bar and Grill in White River Junction.

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.