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Highlights: Viking woman’s saga entrances ex-Parish Player

  • Lynn Noel as the Vinland Viking Gudrid the Wanderer at Gudrid's birthplace of Arnarstapi, Iceland. (Courtesy photograph)

  • The Infinitus String Trio, from left, violinist John “Adidam” Littlejohn, cellist Alex Cheung and violist Anthony Cheung, conduct a hip-hop workshop from 4 to 5:30 on Wednesday at the Upper Valley Music Center in Lebanon, and perform at 7 p.m. next Thursday, Nov. 7, at the First Congregational Church of Lebanon. (Courtesy photograph) .

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/30/2019 7:02:45 PM
Modified: 10/30/2019 7:02:34 PM

While aspiring Thors and warrior princesses sally forth in pursuit of Halloween plunder on Thursday night, Lynn Noel is preparing to portray a Viking heroine without a sword, a hammer, a shield or a grudge.

Say hello to Gudrid the Wanderer, the first European woman to settle — and bear a child — in North America. Noel will share her saga, in word (English), in song (Old Norse and other Scandinavian dialects, while playing a lyre) and in costume, on Sunday night at Latham Memorial Library on Thetford Hill.

“Gudrid is an explorer,” Noel, a former Thetford resident and alumna of the Parish Players and Dartmouth College who now lives west of Boston, said last week. “When you study real women who leave everything they know to go into the wilderness, you learn that they don’t go for church or country. They don’t go to plant the flag. They don’t go to claim territory or property.

“They go for adventure. They go for freedom. They go for independence.”

As best researchers can piece together, Gudrid went with her trader husband to a settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows, at the northern tip of what is now the Canadian-island province of Newfoundland between 1009 and 1012 A.D. Almost 1,000 years later, two women, archaeologists from Norway, unearthed a ring-headed pin from a cloak, made from bronze, and a spindle whorl for hand-spinning cloth — the clearest evidence yet that women made the journey west from Iceland and Greenland.

“Gudrid and the women of that expedition spun and wove all of the cloth for all of the sails for those Viking trips,” Noel said, “and the cloth that everybody wore, the shrouds for men and women who died in the New World.”

While majoring in geography and minoring in women’s studies at Dartmouth in the mid-1970s, and while pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin, Noel soaked up all she could learn about woman adventurers and explorers. She was particularly taken with the Vinland Sagas — Icelandic manuscripts that, among other things, detailed Gudrid’s gifts not only as a seamstress and a trader but as a singer.

Combining her growing body of knowledge with her own skills as a folk singer and a longtime heritage interpreter at historic sites, Noel took the next logical step during a research visit to Newfoundland in the late 1990s. Invited to deliver a lecture on a cruise ship — as a fellow at Dartmouth’s Institute of Arctic Studies — Noel performed for the first time the one-woman show she’s been refining and sharing ever since.

Along the way, Noel developed a series of shows, A Woman’s Way, including the tale of Lisette Laval, a French-Canadian fur trader who paddled a birchbark canoe west-to-east for 2,300 miles across North America in a single year during the early 1800s.

For now, their stories are a labor of love for Noel, who makes her living as a data-management consultant.

“This has always been my calling, never my occupation,” she said. “I’m a geek by day, and a Viking by night.”

Lynn Noel performs her one-woman show Gudrid the Wanderer on Sunday night at 7, at the Latham Memorial Library on Thetford Hill. Free.

Best bets

Central Vermont composer Dennis Bathory-Kitsz stages Goat Songs of the Regime of Monsters, which he describes as his “oratorio for a certain era,” on Saturday night at 7 at the Seven Stars Arts Center in Sharon. The choral work features singers portraying political figures from the Trump and Obama administrations, Supreme Court justices, members of Congress and more. Admission $15; advance tickets available at sevenstarsarts.org.

■The Transylvanian ensemble Wild Roses and their accompanying Enthusiastic Band perform native Hungarian folk dances on Saturday night at 7:30, at Marion Cross School in Norwich; tickets cost $10. The dancers and musicians also will lead a workshop on Saturday afternoon at 2, at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Upper Valley in Norwich; fee $15.

■South Newbury, Vt., fiddler Patrick Ross and performance artist Rusty “The Logger” DeWees bring their Tiny Town Hall Tour to the Chandler Music Hall in Randolph Saturday night at 7:30. To reserve tickets ($22), visit chandler-arts.org or call 802-728-6464.

■ Director Brian Messier debuts with the Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble at Spaulding Auditorium on Saturday night at 7:30, leading a program that includes 2004 Dartmouth alumnus Oliver Caplan’s commissioned celebration of the school’s 250th anniversary. Admission $12 to $25.

■Soprano Sherezade Panthaki joins the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra at Darmouth College’s Spaulding Auditorium on Tuesday night at 7:30, to perform 17th-century violinist and composer Salamone Rossi’s blend of Jewish and Italian songs. For tickets ($30 to $50) and more information, visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2422.

■The Infinitus String Trio leads a free hip-hop workshop for ages 10 to 16 on Wednesday afternoon at 4, at the Upper Valley Music Center in downtown Lebanon, in advance of their performance next Thursday night at 7 at the neighboring First Congregational Church of Lebanon. To sign up for the workshop and order tickets ($10 to $23), visit uvmusic.org/event/hip-hop.

■The Parish Players stage seven 10-minute-long plays during their annual festival from next Thursday night through Nov. 17, at the Eclipse Grange Theatre on Thetford Hill. For tickets ($10 to $20) and more information, visit parishplayers.org or call 802-785-4344.

Theater/performance art

Jordan, final weekend, performances Thursday afternoon through Sunday afternoon at Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction. Tickets $17.75 to $57.75.

The Dog in the Dressing Room, performances Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoon at Old Church Theater, 176 Waits River Road in Bradford, Vt. Tickets $6 to $12.

Romeo and Juliet, performed by Boston-based Classic Repertory Company, Saturday night at 6:30 at Alumni Hall in Haverhill. Admission $10.


Last Kid Picked, classic rock, during Halloween Masquerade Dance on Thursday night at 8 at Newport Opera House. Ages 21 and older. Admission $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

■Singer-songwriter Lynne Taylor, Friday night at 7 at Sunapee Community CoffeeHouse. Admission by donation.

■The Central Aires, folk and Celtic songs, Saturday night at 7, the main sanctuary of United Church of Orford, on Main street. Admission by donation to fund for new heating system at the Orfordville Building.

■4Play, classic rock, during opening dance of The Shindigs series on Saturday night at 7:30 at Tunbridge Town Hall.

■“Takin’ it to the Streets,” Doobie Brothers tribute show, Saturday night at 8 at Claremont Opera House. Admission $29.

■Cellist John Dunlop, classical, Sunday afternoon at 1 at Dartmouth College’s Rollins Chapel. Free.

■ Arka Quartet, chamber works for strings by Haydn, Debussy and David Balakrishnan, Sunday afternoon at 1 at Dartmouth College’s Top of the Hop. Free.

■Dartmouth College Glee Club, Vivaldi’s Gloria and contemporary choral works, Sunday afternoon at 2 at Rollins Chapel. Admission $12 to $25.

■Sean Heely Trio, Celtic, Sunday night at 7 at Seven Stars Arts Center. Admission $15.


Shimmyathon Festival, with middle-Eastern bellydancers and musicians, Saturday night at 7:30 at the Lebanon Elks Club. For tickets ($25) and more information, visit raq-on.net.

Bar and club circuit

Mad Hazard Band, jazz, bossa nova and blues, Thursday night at 5:30 at the Quechee Club’s Davidson’s Restaurant.

■ Stallsmith & Shea, rock/Americana, Thursday night at 6 at Peyton Place restaurant in Orford.

■Jack in the Pulpit, rock, soul and R&B, Halloween-season performances Thursday night at 7 at The Public House Pub in Quechee, and Friday night at 8:30 at The Wagon Wheel Bar and Grill in Chelsea.

■Bassist Peter Concilio, saxophonist Fred Haas, guitarist Draa Hobbs and drummer Tim Gilmore, jazz, Friday night sets at 8 and 9:45 at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners.

■Ken Macy, Americana/roots, Friday night at 8 at Salt hill Pub in West Lebanon; Amanda McCarthy, acoustic rock, Saturday night at 8.

■Chris Powers, acoustic rock, Friday night at 9 at Salt hill Pub in Hanover; Arthur James, blues, Saturday night at 9.

■Arthur James, blues, Friday night at 9 at Salt hill Pub in Lebanon; Jester Jigs, rock, Saturday night at 9.

■Singer-songwriter Jim Hollis, Friday night at 9 at Salt hill Pub in Newport.

■ Jes Raymond and Jakob Breitbach, folk/roots, Sunday night at 5 at Harpoon Brewery in Windsor.

■Singer-songwriter Jim Yeager, Monday nights at 6:30 at 506 on the River in Woodstock.

■Saxophonist Michael Parker, jazz, with bassist Peter Concilio and guitarist Billy Rosen on Tuesday night at 7 at Carpenter and Main in Norwich; and with guitarist Norm Wolfe on Wednesday night at 5:30 at Quechee Inn at Marshland Farm.

Open mics, jam sessions

Fiddler Jakob Breitbach hosts jam sessions at two White River Junction venues over the coming week: jazz on Friday night at 6 at Cafe Renee in Hotel Coolidge; and roots on Tuesday night at 7 at Filling Station Bar and Grill.

■Alec Currier’s open-mic at Salt hill Pub in Lebanon, Thursday nights at 8.

■Joseph Stallsmith’s hootenanny of Americana, folk and bluegrass, Monday nights at 6 at Salt hill Pub in Hanover.

■Jim Yeager, open mic Tuesday nights at 6 at The Public House Pub in Quechee.

■Tom Masterson’s open mic, Tuesday nights at 7 at Colatina Exit.

■Jes Raymond, first of two  November sessions of String-Band Karaoke, Wednesday night at 6 at Skinny Pancake in Hanover.

■Peter Meijer’s open mic,  Wednesday nights at 8 at Skunk Hollow Tavern.

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

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