Highlights: Halloween Brings Out the Bands, and the Costumes

  • Last Kid Picked performs its annual Halloween show at Newport Opera House on Saturday night.

  • The Upper Valley cover band Last Kid Picked, from left, Jason Ricci, John DeGange, Keith Willey and Mark Morin, has become a fixture at the Newport Opera House Association's annual Halloween party. (Courtesy photograph) Courtesy photograph

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/25/2018 12:05:16 AM
Modified: 10/25/2018 12:58:31 PM

In October 1996, John DeGange invited some friends from other Upper Valley bands to play the Halloween party at what was then the Radisson and is now the Fireside Inn in West Lebanon.

The pick-up band’s name for the occasion? Werewolves of Lebanon.

“It was a good gig,” DeGange, a Hanover native and 1987 Hanover High School graduate now living in Belmont, N.H., recalled this week. “I want to say there were a couple hundred people there.”

DeGange enjoyed the experience enough to form a cover band that became Last Kid Picked. Starting with New Year’s Eve of 1996, the group, with various lineups, continued to play Halloween gigs and dozens of others a year over the ensuing two decades, including the Newport Opera House Association’s annual masquerade party. Saturday night, with DeGange still the sound man, lead singer and harmonica player, Last Kid Picked will perform yet another return engagement at the opera house, one of many options for Halloween revelers and shape-shifters between tonight and the official All Hallow’s Eve on Wednesday.

“It’s got to be over a decade we’ve been doing this one,” DeGange said in a telephone conversation, while driving to Massachusetts to set up a sound system for a client on Tuesday. “It could go back as much as 15 years.”

And per usual, DeGange, guitarist Jason Ricci, bassist Keith Willey and drummer Mark Morin will play and sing rock and pop favorites while wearing costumes, naturally.

“The people who come for the party set the bar pretty high with their outfits and their themes, so we feel obligated to meet the standard,” DeGange said. “Coming up with that many different Halloween costumes is hard. We were the Addams Family one year. Another year we did the characters from The Island of Misfit Toys in (the 1960s animated Christmas special) Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, coming in on a train with square wheels.”

In recent years, the band’s themes, both at the opera house and at the Newport, Vt. Elks Club’s annual Halloween party, have also included police officers and gangsters in zoot suits, broad-brimmed fedoras and dark ties over dark dress shirts.

“Halloween is one of the occasions where everybody goes out to have a good time,” DeGange said. “That’s why we keep coming back here. Every year at the end of the night, it’s a handshake and, ‘Are we doing this again next year?’ ”

Last Kid Picked serenades the Newport Opera House Association’s annual Halloween masquerade party on Saturday night from 8 to the stroke of midnight at the opera house. Open to ages 21 and older. For tickets ($25 per person and $40 per couple) and more information, call 603-863-2412 or visit newportoperahouse.com.

More Halloween Haunts

Call it the Upper Valley’s autumn Mardi Gras: The Rio Blanco Social Club’s 15th-anniversary Gory Daze celebration in downtown White River Junction hits full stride with Tuck’s Rock Dojo performing at Newberry Market on Saturday night from 5 to 8. Meanwhile, Pariah Beat lends an Americana vibe to the session of “Pre-Parade Madness” at The Main Street Museum on Bridge Street between 6 and 8.

At 8, the Celebration Brass Band leads a parade through downtown to The Engine Room on South Main street, where the High-Ball costume party for ages 21 and older begins at 9. At the same hour at the Junction Teen Center, DJ Sweat Stain hosts an All-Hallows Eve Ball for revelers ages 15 to 20.

But wait, there’s more throughout the coming week:


The Upper Valley Young Professionals association hosts a Halloween party at The Engine Room in downtown White River Junction from 6:30 to 9:30. DJ Light Show Joe spins the dance tunes. Prizes of $100 will be awarded for the best individual costume and for the best group costume. Cover charge $5.


The Conniption Fits perform the second annual Halloween Madness Feat at Salt hill Pub in West Lebanon at 9 p.m. Prizes are up for grabs for the best costumes. For adults ages 21 and older.


Windsor author Joseph Citro delivers a relatively restrained version of his seasonal “Read and Rant format” at F.H. Gillingham and Sons General Store in Woodstock, starting at 2 in the afternoon. He’ll talk about and sign his books of New England-based folk horror stories, including a new, illustrated collector’s edition of his first novel, 1987’s Shadow Child. “It’s unique in its approach,” Citro said this week. “It’s packaged like a DVD, with plenty of extras.”

■FLEW-Z rocks the 12th annual Halloween Bash at Salt hill Pub in Newport from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Ages 21 and older. And during the same hours at the Salt hill in downtown Lebanon, the Party Crashers set the pace for the pub’s 16th annual Halloween Party from Hell.


The Modern Times Theatre duo of musician-puppeteers Rose Friedman and Justin Lander perform a family-friendly Halloween tableau at the Quechee Library at 4 in the afternoon. Admission is free, and costumes are welcome.

■Piecemeal Pies hosts its inaugural Haunted Pub Pop-Up party from 7 to 11 p.m., at the former watering hole in the basement of the South Royalton House, on Park Street in SoRo. Piecemeal’s house DJ, Sean Livemixkings, spins the tunes for dancing, and there will also be burlesque performances. Costumes are encouraged. Admission, for ages 21 and older, is $15 at the door. To learn more, visit Piecemeal’s Facebook page.

■ DJ Brad spins the records during the fourth annual Scary-Oke party at Salt hill Pub in Hanover from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Open to ages 21 and older.

Best Bets

Fiddler-composer Jeremy Kittel leads his eclectic quartet into Barrett Hall in South Strafford on Friday night at 7. For tickets ($12 to $22) and more information, email smsherry28@gmail.com or call 802-333-9004.

■Bassist Carrie Cook joins the Sky Blue Boys for a night of bluegrass and other old-timey music on Friday night at 7:30, in the HayLoft at the Artistree Community Arts Center in South Pomfret. For tickets ($20) and more information, visit artistreevt.org or call 802-457-3500.

■Missing those balmy summer evenings on town greens, listening to local ensembles play marches and pop favorites? Check out the eighth annual Festival of New Hampshire Community Bands on Saturday at noon, at the New London Outing Club’s Indoor Center at Colby-Sawyer College. In addition to New London’s host Kearsarge Community Band, groups scheduled to perform include the Lyme Town Band and the Upper Valley Community Band. At the end, all the musicians will gather for a grand finale. Admission is free.

■Illusionist Vitaly Beckman makes faces disappear from driver’s licenses, animates photographs and performs other sleights-of-hand at the Chandler Music Hall in Randolph on Saturday night at 7:30. Student admission is $15; adults pay $35 in advance and $38 at the door. To reserve seats and learn more, visit chandler-arts.org or call 802-728-6464.

■The Cameo Baroque quartet performs works of Handel, Telemann, William Boyce, Antonio Caldara and Tomaso Albioni on Sunday afternoon at 4, at the Church of Christ at Dartmouth College in Hanover. Admission is by donation to Southeastern Vermont Community Action’s solar-energy assistance program for low-income clients.

Looking Ahead

Tuba maestro Joseph Daley and pianist Kris Davis will join Dartmouth College’s Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble at Spaulding Auditorium in Hanover on Nov. 2 at 8 p.m. For tickets ($10 to $12) and more information, visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2422.

Theater/Performance Art

Northern Stage wraps its production of the epistolary drama Dear Elizabeth with six performances over the coming weekend at the Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction. For tickets to and information about these and upcoming plays, visit northernstage.org or call 802-296-7000.

■Shaker Bridge Theatre lowers the curtain on its run of John Patrick Shanley’s Tony Award-winning romantic comedy Outside Mullingar with performances at 7:30 tonight, Friday night and Saturday night and at 2:30 on Sunday afternoon, at Whitney Hall in downtown Enfield. For tickets ($16 to $35) and more information, visit shakerbridgetheatre.org or call 603-448-3750.


The Rough & Tumble duo of Mallory Graham and Scott Tyler plays Americana tunes and songs at the Sunapee Community CoffeeHouse on Friday night at 7, in the basement of the Methodist Church in Sunapee Harbor. Admission is by donation.

■The Deadgrass quintet pays tribute to the music of Jerry Garcia at The Skinny Pancake in Hanover on Friday night at 9. Tickets cost $12 in advance and $15 at the door. To learn more, visit skinnypancake.com or call 603-277-9115.

■The Wrensong chorus sings on the theme of “Longing, Happiness and Regret” on Saturday afternoon at 3, on the mezzanine of Woodstock’s Norman Williams Public Library. Admission is free.

■ Camerata New England cellist Linda Galvan, violinist Omar Chen Guey and pianist Hannah Shields play works of Beethoven and Tchaikovsky on Saturday night at 7 at Norwich Congregational Church. For tickets ($28), visit cameratanewengland.org or call 802-785-4833.

■Walt Cunningham directs the Dartmouth College Gospel Choir’s fall concert on Saturday night at 8, at Spaulding Auditorium in Hanover. For tickets ($10 to $15) and more information, visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2422.


The David Bartley Trio sets the Americana rhythm and David Millstone calls the steps for Muskeg Music’s Fourth Saturday contra dance at 8 p.m. at Tracy Hall in Norwich. Admission is $8 to $12, and dancers are encouraged to bring snacks for the potluck at the break.

Bar and Club Circuit

Singer-songwriter Rick Clogston plays at Peyton Place Restaurant in Orford tonight at 6.

■Rose Hip Jam pulls into Windsor Station to play a set of Americana tonight at 7. Maiden Voyage performs there at 10 on Friday night, The Wheelers rock the house on Saturday night at 9:30, and Nashville singer-songwriter Zac Eddington appears on Tuesday night at 6.

■Blues guitarist-singer Brooks Williams performs at the Flying Goose Brewpub and Grille in New London tonight at 8. To reserve tickets ($20) and learn more about the series, visit flyinggoose.com or call 603-526-6899.

■Saxophonist Mike Parker and singer-guitarist Alison “AliT” Turner play Bentley’s restaurant in Woodstock on Friday night at 7.

■Enfield native Brooks Hubbard leads his eponymous, Nashville-based band into The Engine Room in White River Junction on Friday night at 9.

■The Party Crashers crank up the volume for dancing at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners on Friday night at 9.

■Rocker Chris Powers performs at Salt hill Pub in Hanover on Friday night at 9, and Nashville-based singer-songwriter Zac Eddington appears there on Saturday night at 9. Gibbs also plays Salt hill Pub in downtown Lebanon on Friday night at 9.

■John Lackard sings and plays the blues at Salt hill Pub in West Lebanon on Saturday night at 9.

■Singer-songwriter Jim Hollis plays Newport’s Salt hill Pub on Friday night at 9.

■Pianist Sonny Saul plays jazz at the On the River Inn in Woodstock on Saturday and Wednesday nights from 6:30 to 9.

■The Occasional Jug Band performs at SILO Distillery in Windsor on Sunday afternoon between 1 and 3.

■Saxophonist Michael Parker leads his jazz trio into Carpenter and Main in Norwich on Tuesday night at 6.

Open Mics

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

■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 his weekly hootenanny of Americana, folk and bluegrass on Monday night at 6 at Salt hill Pub in Hanover.

■Chris Powers hosts the monthly open mic at the Imperial Buffet and Lounge in Claremont on Monday night at 7.

■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.

■Tom Masterson hosts an open mic at Colatina Exit in Bradford, Vt., on Tuesday nights at 8.

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@vnews.com and at 603-727-3304. Entertainment news can be sent to highlights@vnews.com.

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