Entertainment Highlights: Eschewing the City, Group Brings Chamber Music to Vermont

Thursday, October 10, 2013
Scrag Mountain Music, a chamber music group based out of Warren, Vt., will open its season this weekend with three shows in and around the Upper Valley, offering Hungarian and Estonian music performed by string quartet.

The quartet is The Aizuri String Quartet, a group formed in 2012 and based in New York City and Philadelphia, and the Eastern European flavor will come from composer-in-residence Lembit Beecher, Scrag Mountain’s first in its four years of existence.

“We’re kind of celebrating Lembit’s heritage and family history with this concert by programming a lot of Estonian music,” said Scrag Mountain Artistic Director Evan Premo.

For the shows, at the Green Mountain Girls Farm in Northfield, Vt., at 7 p.m. on Friday, the Warren United Church in Warren, Vt., at 7 p.m. on Saturday, and First Light Studios in Randolph at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Beecher will join the quartet on piano, and artistic directors Premo and Mary Bonhag will contribute a double bass and a soprano voice, respectively.

Premo, a former Carnegie Hall fellow, and Bonhag, a former resident of Lebanon, decided to leave New York several years ago, bucking the trend of cultivating careers in the city.

“It’s sort of an experiment, and has been a really fun reality lately,” he said.

This weekend, the group will play Bartok’s String Quartet No. 1, folk songs by Estonian and Hungarian composers, an original Beecher piece inspired by his grandmother’s escape from Estonia during World War II and new arrangements of Estonian folk songs that Beecher’s grandfather collected. One of the goals of this weekend’s shows, Premo said, is to introduce the composer-in-residence, who will be working with Scrag Mountain through the season, to the community.

Admission to all the shows is by donation. For information go to www.scragmountainmusic.org.

Best Bets

∎ Enfield’s Shaker Bridge Theatre is kicking off its season with a performance of Terrence McNally’s two-person play Frankie and Johnny in the Clair De Lune . The run starts on Friday and ends Oct. 27. Friday and Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m., and Sund ay matinees are at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for students. Reservations can be made by calling 603-448-3750 or emailing reservations@shakerbridgetheatre.org.

∎ Leo Moran and Anthony Thistlethwaite, of the famed Irish rock group The Saw Doctors, have embarked on an acoustic tour around the U.S., and on Friday the duo will visit White River Junction’s Tupelo Music Hall. The show will take on an informal feel, as Moran and Thistlethwaite play variations on popular Saw Doctors songs (such as I Useta Lover), but also digging into deep cuts and telling stories when they see fit. Tickets to the 8 p.m. show are $25, and can be purchased at tupelohallvermont.com.

Looking Ahead

Cyndi Lauper — yes, the Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award-winner with three No. 1 hits and various multi-platinum albums under her belt — will perform at the Lebanon Opera House on Friday, Oct. 25. The 7:30 p.m. show, which is part of Lauper’s “She’s So Unusual 30th Anniversary Tour,” will double as a benefit for the Upper Valley Haven, and will include the singer performing her seminal 1983 album, She’s So Unusual, in its entirety. Tickets range from $49 to $98, and can be purchased fromlebanonoperahouse.org.

∎ Those looking for something a bit stranger on Oct. 25 don’t have to venture far, as The Tiger Lillies will perform at the Hop. The group, which has decades of experience and a Grammy nomination, will lend its Halloween-styled horror aesthetic to a performance of music largely taken from its own adaptation of Hamlet. For more information — and photos and a video, which best explain the offbeat tendencies of the group — go to hop.dartmouth.edu. Tickets to the 8 p.m. show range from $20 to $25 for general admission.


Audrey Auld, a country, folk and Americana artist who was born and raised in the Tasmanian bush, will perform at Haverhill’s Court Street Arts at Alumni Hall. The show is at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $15, and can be purchased from alumnihall.org.

∎ Acclaimed Russian pianist Vassily Primakov will play an all-Chopin recital at Randolph’s Chandler Music Hall on Saturday, in a show that will mark his first visit to central Vermont. April marked his first solo show, at New York’s famed Carnegie Hall. The Chandler show will take place at 7:30 p.m., following a pre-concert talk at 6:45 p.m. in the main hall. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 day of show. They can be purchased from chandler-arts.org.

∎ Long Island-based guitar pop group Venlo will come up north to the Main Street Museum in White River Junction on Saturday. The show starts at 9 p.m.

∎ The Steve Kimock Band, featuring the eponymous guitarist, will visit White River Junction’s Tupelo Music Hall on Saturday. Besides the multi-faceted Kimock, a veteran of various Grateful Dead-styled bands, the group also boasts Bernie Worrell, a founding member of Parliament Funkadelic who has worked with the Talking Heads. The show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30, and can be purchased from tupelohallvermont.com.

∎ Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn will visit the Hop on Wednesday to give a talk — called “Banjo Breakdown” — about the banjo and its history, with some demonstrations. The 6 p.m. talk is free, but seating is limited. Fleck and Washburn’s show the next day, set for 7 p.m. in the Spaulding Auditorium, is sold out.


Twelve Angry Men continues its run at Northern Stage in White River Junction, ending on Oct. 20. Upcoming shows will take place every day except Monday. All shows are at 7:30 except for an additional 2 p.m. matinee this afternoon and a Sunday matinee at 5 p.m. The Saturday show will feature a discussion with the cast following the performance. For tickets or information, go to northernstage.org or call 802-296-7000. Tickets range from $23 to $60.


Dartmouth Film Society will screen Encounters at the End of the World, the documentary that took recent Montgomery Fellow Werner Herzog to Antarctica, at the Black Family Visual Arts Center at 7 p.m. tonight. Tickets are $8 for adults, and can be purchased from hop.dartmouth.edu.

In that same venue on Saturday, 2010 Dartmouth alum Jeremy Teicher will show Tall as the Baobab Tree, his feature-length film that follows a Senegalese trying to get her 11-year-old sister out of an arranged marriage. Adult tickets are $9, and can be purchased from hop.dartmouth.edu.

And finally, Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt will be shown there at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Bar and Club Circuit

The Squids, one of the Upper Valley’s foremost dance bands, will return to the Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland at 9 p.m. on Friday.

∎ Acoustic Americana duo The Twangtown Paramours, who come from Nashville, Tenn., and play a sort of combination of the Nashville and Austin, Texas styles, will play at the Sunapee Community Coffeehouse at 7 p.m. on Friday.

∎ Lebanon’s Salt hill Pub will welcome blues duo The Malicious Brothers on Friday. The next night, dance rock group Without Paris will take the stage. Both shows are at 9 p.m.

∎ At the Hanover Salt hill Pub, Jim Hollis will play on Friday, and surf rock group Great White Caps will perform on Saturday night. Both shows are at 9 p.m.

∎ Salt hill Pub Newport will host rockers Baldilocks on Friday, and then acoustic guitarist Wayne Canney on Saturday. Both shows are at 9 p.m.

∎ Folk singer Cormac McCarthy will kick off the weekend slate of shows tonight at Hanover’s Canoe Club. Friday will see a performance by the Michael Blum Duo, which features jazz guitar and upright bass. Tom Pirozzoli will play guitar on Saturday, and Jackson Beecham will bring his brand of finger-picked guitar for his Canoe Club debut on Sunday. All shows begin at 7 p.m.

∎ Vocal and guitar duo Don & Jenn PLUS will perform its jazz- and folk-inspired covers at the Seven Barrel Brewery in West Lebanon at 9 p.m. 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 7 p.m.

Open Mics

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 pm.

∎ 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 Highlights@vnews.com.