BarnArts Brings Brahms To Area

Thursday, April 24, 2014
While he couldn’t say the music of German composer-pianist Johannes Brahms ever lit his fire before this past winter, Jarvis Green could take a hint.

“One day I heard these vocal works on VPR Classical,” the founder and director of the nonprofit BarnArts Center for the Arts said this week. “That same day, I read an article about how classical music among young people was dying. So I wanted to put together something with young artists.

“I thought, ‘I have to share this music.’ ”

First, he called fellow singers in Maine, Boston and New York to find a way — and a window of time — to do that sharing, between their own performing and, in Jarvis’ case, producing, teaching and acting obligations.

“It was a case of, ‘Hey, guys: The spirit of Brahms has hit me,’ ” recalled Green, whose interest in vocal classical music began with the South Carolina choir for which he performed in his early teens. “ ‘Would you be willing to sing 
with me?’ ”

The result of that brainstorming hits the Upper Valley and Vermont over the next several days. The new group Cantare Con Spirito — including Pomfret native Luette Saul, a soprano and voice teacher based in Maine — will go on “A Salute to Brahms Tour” to venues in Woodstock, Lebanon, Bethel, Montpelier and Colchester, with admission of $15 benefiting the BarnArts Center’s efforts to encourage area residents to take part in musical and theatrical productions.

Singing with Green, a baritone who moved to Barnard from New York in the summer of 2011 and founded BarnArts, and Saul will be New York-based mezzo-soprano Tesla Kwarteng, Brazil-born, Metropolitan Opera-bound tenor Marco Jordao and pianist Mark Rossnagel, a graduate student in piano performance at the University of Southern Maine. Kwarteng sang the role of Maria in BarnArts’ production of Porgy and Bess in Concert, while Jordao performed as Tony in BarnArts’ production of Master Class.

“As we started putting this together, I e-mailed five (Brahms) pieces to Luette, and she suggested four quartets and some duets,” Green said. “We finally came up with what will be an hour and a half of quartets, duets and solos. Brahms’ work is just incredible. It’s rich. It’s incredibly complex. Our inspiration for doing the tour this way is that Brahms was a great lover of nature. He wrote music in the countryside. He wrote poetry about nature. To do the tour in rural Vermont and New Hampshire seemed perfect.”

And better in late April than in the stampede of cultural activity in high summer.

“It all sort of worked around folks’ schedules,” Green said. “After the tour through the fall, I’ll have no time. We have our youth theater institute in the summer, and I’ll be directing Carousel at the Lebanon Opera House.”

Cantare Con Spirito’s “A Salute to Brahms Tour” begins Friday night at 7 at the Blue Horse Inn in Woodstock. On Saturday, the quartet performs at the AVA Gallery in Lebanon at 2 in the afternoon and at Bethel Town Hall at 7. Sunday’s performances are 10 a.m. at Montpelier’s Bethany Church and at 4 p.m. in the recital hall of Saint Michael’s College in Colchester. Admission is $15 by donation. Before the Friday night concert, the team will tune up with a benefit at the 5947 North Bridgewater Road home of Claire and Dennis Shillen in Woodstock, starting at 3:30 p.m., at a ticket price of $50 a person; RSVP required.

For more information on all performances call 802-332-6020 or visit these links:, and

Best Bets

As a benefit for the Connecticut River Watershed Council’s Source to Sea river cleanup, Robin and Linda Williams will perform their blend of bluegrass, folk, old-time and acoustic music at the Woodstock Town Hall Theatre on Saturday night at 7:30. The couple appears frequently on public radio’s Prairie Home Companion, and has seen the likes of Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Tim O’Brien, Tom T. Hall and Kathy Mattea record their songs. Singer-songwriters Pat and Tex LaMountain, who produced the watershed council’s popular series of Living Along the River Concerts, will open for the Williamses. General admission tickets are $20 and priority seating is $40. For tickets and more information, call 413-772-2020, extension 207, or send e-mail to

∎ Straying from its usual orbit on the south end of campus, Dartmouth’s Hopkins Center for the Arts on Wednesday night will premiere composer Fay Wang’s Stem Arts: Music and Biology, in Oopik Auditorium of the college’s Life Sciences Building. Under a Hop commission in collaboration with the College of Life Sciences, Wang will lead an ensemble playing her piece viewed through the eyes of microbiology scientists. The show opens at 6:30 p.m., and admission is free.

Looking Ahead

A week from today, on May 1, Dartmouth College’s Hopkins Center will screen the first of two live broadcasts in HD of the UK’s National Theatre of Shakespeare’s King Lear, under the direction of Sam Mendes, at Loew Auditorium. Running 3½ hours, the production stars Simon Russell Beale in the title role of the aging monarch who triggers a whirlwind of chaos while trying to divide his kingdom among three daughters. Tickets are $23. A second screening is on May 8.

∎  Next up at Haverhill’s Alumni Hall, the intergenerational swing guitarists Bucky Pizzarelli, Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo will stop by May 3 on their Swing Xing tour. Show begins at 7:30 p.m. For tickets, which cost $25, and more information call (603) 989-5500 or visit

∎ Dartmouth College’s Hopkins Center for the Arts is inviting area students in kindergarten through grade 5 to the Dallas Children’s Theater’s production of Stuart Little on Monday, May 5. The play is based on E.B. White’s book about a mouse born to a family of otherwise ordinary humans. Staff members of public and private schools, and parents who home-school their children can order tickets at $6 a person for the 10 a.m. performance. The Dallas Children’s Theater last year performed The True Story of the Three Little Pigs! at the Hop. For more information, call 603-646-2422.


The Sunapee Kearsarge Intercommunity Theatre (S.K.I.T.) will wrap up its production of playwright Michael McKeever’s two-act adult comedy, 37 Postcards, this weekend at the Old Middle School Gymnasium in New London. Under the direction of Judy Lowe and assistant Martha Bristol, the cast of six — seven if you count Wilmot canine Scruffy — will take the stage at 7:30 Friday and Saturday nights, then at 2 on Sunday afternoon. The story revolves around the return of Avery Sutton to his family home in Connecticut, fiancee in tow, after eight years away. Tickets cost $10 to $12, and are available in New London at Tatewell Gallery and Morgan Hill Bookstore. Proceeds will benefit the Outing Club of New London and S.K.I.T.’s scholarship fund. For reservations and information call (603) 526-2910.

∎ Northern Stage continues its month-long run of The Spitfire Grill, a musical based on the 1996 movie of the same name about the camaraderie of small-town life, with a matinee this afternoon and Saturday afternoon at 2, a 5 p.m. show on Sunday, a student matinee at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, and nightly performances today, Friday, Saturday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30. For more information, go to

∎ For opera fans needing another dose, the Hopkins Center this weekend is screening two live HD broadcasts of Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte from the Metropolitan Opera in New York this weekend. James Levine returns to the podium to conduct the four-hour comedy of two men testing the faithfulness of their fiancees. The broadcasts, at $26 to $29 a ticket, will hit the screen at Loew Auditorium at 1 on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. For more information call 603-646-2422.


If the timing doesn’t work for you to see Upper Valley singer-songwriter Bow Thayer bring his Americana and rock to the Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction on May 2, there are a couple of alternatives to get your fix: On Tuesday of this week he released his first-ever in-performance recording, EDEN — Live at the Chandler. And if only truly live will do, Thayer and his band Perfect Trainwreck will close out the Musicians Against Child Abuse benefit concert at Sweet Melissa’s on Langdon Street in Montpelier on Saturday. The benefit begins at 4 p.m., and Thayer is scheduled to take the stage at 6.

∎ The Colby-Sawyer Singers ensemble of students and community members will present “Spring Choice, Spring Singers”on Friday night at 7 in the New London college’s Sawyer Fine Arts and Performing Center. Tickets, which cost $5 for general admission seating, are available at, and 603-526-3670.

∎  Director Walt Cunningham will lead the Dartmouth College Gospel Choir in a reunion concert on Sunday afternoon at 2 in Spaulding Auditorium. Alums of the ensemble will join current members, with a 20-piece band joining them in a mix of old favorites and new songs. Tickets cost $10 to $15. For more information, call 603-646-2422.


How long has City Center Ballet been telling timeless stories through music and dance? Long enough that many of the Lebanon Ballet School dancers in this weekend’s production of The Sleeping Beauty at the Lebanon Opera House weren’t born when the company debuted in 1999 by presenting Marius Petipa’s tale of the healing power of love. This revival, on Saturday night at 7 and Sunday afternoon at 1, features the music of Tchaikovsky, with choreography by the company’s Jennifer Henderson and costumes by Elizabeth Lurie. Setting the pace for the young troupe will be guest dancers Justin Koertgen of Michigan in the role of Prince Desire, Eric Carvill of Ohio as Bluebird and William Moore of South Carolina as Puss in Boots.

Tickets are available at the Lebanon Opera House (603-448-0400 or and at City Center Ballet (603-448-9710 or


Suffering neural frostbite after repeated viewings of Disney’s Oscar-winning animated feature Frozen and hearing its Oscar-winning theme song Let It Go? Try this antidote: The Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College will screen Hayao Miyazaki’s Academy Award-nominated The Wind Rises on Saturday night at 7 at the college’s Loew Auditorium. While Miyazaki devotees will find the animation less magical/hallucinatory than his Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke or Ponyo, and the love-story portions in need of editing and unsweetening, the movie soars visually and offers a novel — in some eyes controversial — look at Japan’s build-up to World War II, and into the nature and consequences of the creative impulse. If you wait until the credits to see which English-language voice actors dub in the dialogue for the major roles, the cast might surprise you. For tickets and more information, visit or call 603-646-2422.

∎ If you haven’t seen Singin’ in the Rain for a while, or at all, give it a look at Woodstock’s Town Hall Theatre tonight at 7:30. Somehow over the decades, the song-and-dance classic that Gene Kelly co-directed with Stanley Donen, and starred in with Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor, evolved from a gold standard of movie musicals to a borderline chestnut — unfairly, thanks in part to poor prints shown on TV. It will surprise younger viewers with its subversive, ahead-of-its-time cynicism, landing punch after punch at the studio system and the star-maker machinery of the day … while still entertaining wire-to-wire. For more information or tickets, visit

∎ Anyone curious about the evolution of director Wes Anderson from his debut Bottle Rocket to his most recent The Grand Budapest Hotel might want to check out The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou from a decade ago, which the Dartmouth Film Society will screen on Sunday night at 7 at the college’s Loew Auditorium. It stars Bill Murray as a marine scientist/documentarian along the lines of Jacques Cousteau, if Cousteau had needed scream therapy. For more information, visit or call (603) 646-2422.

Bar and Club Circuit

Singer-songwriter-producer Geoff Muldaur hits the Flying Goose Brew Pub in New London tonight at 8 with a live set spanning his long career in blues and folk, ranging from his days as a founding member of the Jim Kweskin Band through his most recent acclaimed albums, among them The Secret Handshakes. For tickets and more information, call (603) 526-6899.

∎ The Sullivan Hanscom Davis band will bring the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s back to life with a run of covers at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Friday night, starting at 9.


Baldilocks will pound out classic and modern rock in Lebanon’s Salt hill Pub at 9 on Friday night. At the same hour on Saturday, the trio Acoustic Truffle arrives from the New Hampshire seacoast with its blend of roots rock, blues and Americana.

∎ Carlos Ocasio gives his band Frydaddy a rest while playing a solo set on Salt hill Pub in Hanover. And 24 hours later, the classic-rockers Wall-Stiles do a Saturday show.

∎ The indie/folk trio The Vagabonds will set a spell on Saturday night at 9 at Windsor Station. And on Tuesday night at 6, the peripatetic singer-songwriter Robert Sarazin Blake takes the stage.

∎ The blues/rock duo Whiskey Geese comes from Boston on Saturday night to play the Salt hill Pub in Newport, starting at 9.

∎ Wanda and the Sound Junkies will play Southern and classic rock and possibly some blues at One Mile West in Sunapee at 9 p.m. on Saturday.

∎ The Stone Cold Roosters will play old-school country-western swing at the Canoe Club in Hanover on Sunday, starting at 7:30 p.m.

David Corriveau can be reached at or 603-727-3304. Send Highlights notices to

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.

David Corriveau can be reached at or 603-727-3304. Send Highlights to

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