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Highlights: Bach Marathon Honors a True Great

  • Margaret Gilmore points out a line of Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #1 for Robert Racusin of Norwich, Vt., during a "flash mob" orchestra that was part of a Bach marathon at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Hanover, N.H., on March 31, 2014. Gilmore, a cellist and music teacher, organized the 12-hour event. (Valley News - Will Parson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Mark Ralston Daniel, 12, of Hanover, N.H., looks toward his father before performing a cello composition during the Bach marathon at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Hanover on March 31, 2014. (Valley News - Will Parson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Boston-based singer-songwriter Terry Kitchen plays the Sunapee Community Coffehouse on Friday night at 7. The coffeehouse show, held at the Sunapee United Methodist Church, is free, but a hat is passed for the musicians.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 3/23/2017 12:05:29 AM
Modified: 3/23/2017 12:05:35 AM

Bach is back, and Da Shih Hu is preparing to welcome him.

As soon as he learned that Thetford cellist Margaret Gilmore was looking for musicians to play and sing during this Saturday’s fourth annual Bach marathon — 12 hours of performances celebrating Johann Sebastian Bach’s birthday — Hu knew that this was the year to re-join the procession.

The only question for Hu was which instrument to play: Flute again? Or piano? Or maybe viola this time? Maybe more than one?

“It’s a neat event,” Hu, a psychiatrist who also teaches at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, said during a telephone conversation this week. “Bach was an amazing composer. There’s plenty of music to play. To celebrate that was fun, the last time I played.”

Fun and celebration were what Gilmore, who teaches cello when she’s not performing, was aiming to generate in 2014, when she started an Upper Valley version of the worldwide practice of celebrating the composer with a succession of musicians playing or singing samplings of his music, both individually and in ensembles small and large.

“Every place I’ve lived, there has been a Bach marathon,” Gilmore, who organized such events in Arizona and California before moving to the Upper Valley, recalled last week. “I started this one here because there are so many good musicians, professional and amateur. There are more formal, invitation-only marathons in Europe, but we wanted to make this one more welcoming.

“You don’t have to be accomplished. You just have to love the music, sign up, walk in and play.”

In 2014, some 60 performers signed up, a few of them ahead of time for the more organized flash mob orchestra that played Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F Major toward the end of the marathon, and most of the others at the last minute. They ranged from a 5-year-old pianist from Bradford taking on Bach’s Musette in D to organists and music directors from area churches to septuagenarians who took up music late in life.

“Since then, it’s continued to be an amazing mix,” Gilmore said. “One year we had a graduate student, maybe a medical student, show up at the last minute who turned out to be a wonderful violinist, who played a partita. She was a great surprise. I would have hired her for gigs.

“There’s no shortage of people out there. It’s just a matter of finding them.”

Contacts she’s made while teaching at the Upper Valley Music Center, in Lebanon, have helped Gilmore with networking, as have the students she tutors privately. She’s also gotten to know a variety of musicians while playing cello with various chamber ensembles around the Upper Valley. This year, the marathon is happening on a Saturday, the better to bring in both performers and audiences who might not be able to play or attend in the middle of a work day or a school day.

Hu recalled that the last time he answered Gilmore’s call, he “played flute in a fairly large ensemble.” This time, he’s considering playing viola for a string quartet taking on one of the Brandenburg concertos, and is open to helping out on keyboard during the flash mob.

As with many performers at the marathon, Hu finds the time spent practicing and performing music a good balance to the stresses of his day job.

“There’s an art in medicine, but music is more directly artistic, more of an emotional expression,” Hu said. “It’s a nice outlet. Being in psychiatry has helped my music helped me connect to my emotions. And the music has made me better at medicine.”

While Gilmore would welcome musicians with Hu’s versatility, she’d be happy to hear from those who focus on one instrument, and who can mesh with as few as one other performer or with an orchestra.

Speaking of which: “We need strings for the flash mob in the evening,” Gilmore said. “We desperately need string players, especially the violins and the violas. And we need a bass player.

“There are probably enough people, but I’m not sure I’ve reached them all.”

Our Savior Lutheran Church in Hanover hosts the annual Bach Marathon on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Musicians of all ages and abilities can sign up for a time slot to play and/or sing solos, duets, trios or chamber works for larger ensembles. String players, especially violinists and violists, are particularly needed, as well as players of flute, recorder, clarinet and brass instruments. To choose a time to play or sing, visit bit.ly/2017-bach-marathon. To learn more, and to learn how to download music for the flash mob orchestra, email Margaret Gilmore at mouxgie@gmail.com or Mark Nelson at markdnelson1@gmail.com.

Best Bets

The New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival kicks off tonight at 7 in room 013 of Dartmouth College’s Carpenter Hall, with a screening of Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?, a 2016 documentary about a former Israeli paratrooper who tries to reconcile with his religious family after learning he is HIV-positive. Next up in the festival over the coming week are Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story, a documentary about two behind-the-scenes legends of the film industry on Sunday afternoon at 4; and Fever at Dawn, an adaptation of Peter Gardos’ novel built on the true story of two Hungarian survivors of the Nazi concentration camps who find and heal each other, next Thursday night at 7. While admission to all screenings is free, donations are welcome.

Lebanon pianist Elizabeth Borowsky reunites with her violinist brother Emmanuel and cellist sister Frances for three performances in the Upper Valley over the weekend, starting Friday night at 7 at the First Congregational Church of Lebanon. Next up are a house concert in Hanover on Saturday morning at 11 a.m. and a concert at Dartmouth College’s Faulkner Recital Hall in Hanover on Sunday afternoon at 4.

The Borowsky Trio will perform works of Leos Janacek, Astor Piazzolla, Alberto Ginastera and Robert Schumann, as well as some of their own compositions. While admission is free on Friday (donations to the church are welcome) and Sunday, admission to Saturday’s house concert, where seating is limited, costs $5 to $20. To reserve tickets for Saturday and to learn more, visit borowskytrio.com and music.dartmouth.edu/events.

During its MindfulMarch celebration at the Simon Pearce flagship store in Quechee on Friday night, the LoveYourBrain Foundation screens a documentary about founders Kevin Pearce and Adam Pearce’s efforts to help people with traumatic brain injuries. The gathering, which starts at 5:30, also includes a session of gentle yoga and guided meditation, as well as light refreshments. The foundation welcomes donations of at least $25 toward its programs. To learn more, visit loveyourbrain.com.

Session Americana plays at Alumni Hall in Haverhill on Saturday night at 7:30. To reserve tickets ($20 for members of Court Street Arts, $22 for others), call 603-989-5500. To learn more, visit courtstreetarts.org.

Some 30 singers, dancers and actors ages 7 to 18 converge on the Chandler Music Hall in Randolph on Saturday night at 7, to stage the 10th annual Mini-Mud variety show. Proceeds from general admission tickets ($5 to $15) go toward youth programs at the Chandler Center for the Arts. To reserve seats and learn more, visit chandler-arts.org or call 802-728-6464.

Woolen Mill Comedy Club emcee Collen Doyle unveils his “Second plan A” routine at the Woodstock Town Hall Theatre on Saturday night at 8. For tickets ($10 to $15) and more information, visit pentanglearts.org or call 802-457-3981.

The Moving Violations trio of fiddlers Van Kaynor and Ron Grosslein and pianist Eric Eid-Reiner set the rhythm and Chris Riccioti calls the steps for Saturday night’s contradance at Norwich’s Tracy Hall. Before the dancing and the music begin at 8, there will be a 7:45 run-through for newcomers. Admission is $6 to $9. Dancers should bring a change of clean, soft-soled shoes, and are encouraged to bring snacks for a potluck.

Looking Ahead

With Fabrizio Poggi accompanying him on harmonica, bluesman Guy Davis will perform at the Flying Goose Brewpub and Grille in New London next Thursday night at 8. Reservations are required. To order tickets ($25) and learn more, visit flyinggoose.com or call 603-526-6899.

The Nordland Visual Theatre puppet troupe performs Made in China in the Moore Theater of the Hopkins Center in Hanover at 8 p.m. on March 31 and April 1. To reserve tickets ($17 to $35) and learn more, visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2422.

In an appearance benefiting West Windsor’s Fourth of July celebration, singer-songwriter Erik Boedtker will lead the roster of musicians who perform during the Flannel Fling on April 1 at the MountainView Ballroom of the Mount Ascutney Resort in Brownsville. Admission to the Flannel Fling, which runs from 7 to 10 p.m., costs $10 to $15. To learn more, visit westwindsorvt.govoffice2.com.

Celtic musician Reagh Greenleaf will sing and play the bodhran and the Fairlee Reel & Strathspey Society will dance during the country fair that the Scottish Club of the Twins States plans to host at the Newberry Market in White River Junction on April 1 at 10 a.m. To learn more, visit the club’s Facebook page.

Theater/Performance Art

Northern Stage continues its three-week run of the George Brant play Grounded with performances this afternoon at 2, tonight and Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30, Sunday evening at 5, Wednesday night at 7:30 and next Thursday afternoon at 2. The one-woman show explores an Air Force pilot’s reactions to being transferred from her fighter jet to the controls of a drone. The production continues through April 2. To reserve tickets ($14 to $54) and learn more, visit northernstage.org.

Plainfield’s Peter Pardoe hosts an open mic for comedians at Salt hill Pub in Lebanon on Monday night at 8:30. Sets run five to seven minutes. Sign-up starts at 8.

Music

Singer-raconteur Steve Marvin performs this weekend’s Jazz on a Sunday Afternoon session at the Center at Eastman in Grantham, at 4 in the afternoon. To reserve tickets ($16 to $18) and learn more, visit josajazz.com or call 603-381-1662 or email bill.wightman@comcast.net.

As a tuneup for the coming summer’s Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival, the Chandler Music Hall in Randolph hosts a concert of classical and spiritual compositions on Sunday afternoon at 4. A string trio will perform works of Bach, Mozart, Robert Fuchs and Erno Dohnanyi, as well as Vermont composer Gwyneth Walker’s set of spirituals When the Spirit Sings. Admission is by donation. To learn more, email outreach@chandler-arts.org or call 802-431-0204.

Bar and Club Circuit

The Gully Boys appear in the tavern of the Lyme Inn tonight at 6:30. And next Thursday night at 6:30, singer-songwriter Rick Clogston takes the stage.

Pianist Bob Lucier commands the keyboard at the Canoe Club in Hanover tonight at 6 and at the same hour on Tuesday night. Also scheduled to perform shows from 6 to 9 over the coming week are guitarist Ed Eastridge and fiddler Jakob Breitbach on Friday and guitarist Ted Mortimer on Saturday.

Singer-songwriter Brad Myrick performs at Taverne on the Square in Claremont tonight at 6. The Shana Stack Band steps to the microphone for a set of country-western on Friday night at 8.

The Americana ensemble Doc & Tom pulls into Windsor Station tonight at 7:30. Following them to the stage over the coming week are The Elovaters with a session blending reggae, rock and funk on Friday night at 9:30, Moxley Union on Saturday night at 9:30 and singer-songwriter Pete Meiler on Tuesday night at 6.

The folk duo Bobbi-N-Me performs in the tavern of Jesse’s in Hanover on Friday starting at 5 p.m.

Folk singer-songwriter Terry Kitchen plays the Sunapee Community Coffeehouse on Friday night at 7, in the downstairs of the town’s Methodist Church. While admission is free, donations for the performer are welcome. To learn more about the series, visit sunapeecoffeehouse.org.

Royalton’s Alison “AliT” Turner sings with Soulfix on Friday night at 9 at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners and on Saturday night at 7 at the Farmer’s Table in Grantham.

Bow Thayer performs his weekly set of Americana at the Skinny Pancake on Wednesday night at 7:30.

Open Mics

Jim Yeager hosts an open mic at ArtisTree Community Arts Center in South Pomfret tonight at 7.

Ramunto’s Brick & Brew Pizza in Bridgewater hosts an open mic starting at 7:30 on Thursday nights. Participants get a free large cheese pizza.

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.

Bradford’s Colatina Exit holds an open mic, Tuesday nights at 8.

Jim Yeager hosts open mics at Hartland’s Skunk Hollow Tavern, at 8:30 on Wednesday night.

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@vnews.com and at 603-727-3304.




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