Highlights: Performances from off the grid

  • Eli Hooker, left, and Maggie Segale rehearse for the Sable Project's Water in the Wood: End of Summer Showcase to be performed in Stockbridge, Vt., at 6 p.m. on Aug. 24-25, 2019. (Sofie Rose Seymour photograph)

  • Sofie Rose Seymour rehearses for the Sable Project's Water in the Wood: End of Summer Showcase to be performed in Stockbridge, Vt., at 6 p.m. on Aug. 24-25, 2019. (Maggie Segale photograph)

  • Performance artist Michael Cavadias portrays a 500-million-year-old extraterrestrial in “An Evening with CLAYWOMAN” in a free performance on Aug. 24, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. at the Aidron Duckworth Art Museum in Meriden, N.H. (Eric McNatt photograph)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 8/21/2019 10:00:21 PM
Modified: 8/21/2019 10:00:11 PM

Forgive The Sable Project for describing this weekend’s season-ending showcases of performance and visual art as “multi-media.”

In the absence of reliable cell service, wi-fi or even electricity, high on the retreat’s hillside north of the White River in Stockbridge, Vt., the project’s artists-in-residence won’t be dazzling audiences for “Water in the Wood” with digital projections, amplified music or any other electronic bells and whistles on Saturday and Sunday nights.

“Another way to frame it would be multi-disciplinary — dance, poetry, song, sculpture, and probably more besides,” project founder Otto Pierce said on Monday. “As always, it’s very much off-the-grid, making use of materials we have here, a lot of them site-specific to the land itself.”

That elemental approach has been the mantra for Pierce since the White River Valley native bought these 15 acres of “Sable Lands” in 2013, then assembled a team to help him recruit and host artists willing to shed most of the trappings of modern life to focus on work that moves them. The residencies also require the artists to help with chores, from cooking to helping maintain the site’s vegetable garden, apple orchard and berry bushes.

And part of the package, from the start, has been outreach into the surrounding community, including regular visits to the weekly Feast and Field Market in Barnard to sell produce and artwork.

The end-of-season showcase also allows its leaders a chance to exercise their own creative muscles.

“All four team members are dancers ourselves,” Pierce said. “I’m going to be playing an other-worldly weatherman as well as an opera singer, and I have multiple sculptural installations.”

The Sable Project’s closes its 2019 season with a “Water in the Wood” showcase on Saturday and Sunday nights at 6, on the retreat’s homestead at the end of Taggart Hill Road North in Stockbridge. Admission is $25 per car; parking is limited. To learn more, visit waterinthewood2019.eventbrite.com.

Outside the box

In addition to the Sable Project finale, consider these other options for unusual entertainment over the next two weekends:

Performance artist Michael Cavadias portrays a 500-million-year-old extraterrestrial in An Evening with Claywoman on Saturday night at 7:30, at the Aidron Duckworth Art Museum in Meriden. Free.

And on Aug. 30 at 6 p.m., the Bread & Puppet Theater program’s Traveling Circus performs its “Diagonal Life Circus” at BigTown Gallery in Rochester, Vt. Admission by donation. To RSVP and reserve tickets, email info@bigtowngallery.com.

Best bets

Hartland native Kalmia Traver and her dream-pop ensemble Kalbells serenades the weekly Feast & Field Market on Thursday night at 5:30, at Fable Farm in Barnard. Free.

■Lebanon’s end-of-summer celebration begins at Colburn Park on Thursday afternoon at 4, with Tuck’s Rock Dojo performing during the weekly farmers market. From 7 to 9, The Conniption Fits set the rockin’ rhythm for dancing. At the end of the music, fireworks will erupt from the Storrs Hill ski area, across the Mascoma River. Best viewpoints include Storrs Hill ski lodge, Church Street and Logan Field on Water Street.

■Pianist Annemieke McLane and accordionist Jeremiah McLane, aka the Cassetto Duo, perform their arrangements of works of Bach, Dvorak, Piazzolla and Alan Hovhaness on Friday night at 7, at the United Church of Strafford. Admission by donation to the fund that supports renovation of the church steeple.

■Former NRBQ guitarist Johnny Spampinato joins Sensible Shoes at the Storrs Pond recreation area on Saturday night, to play danceable rock and pop for Waypoint NH’s annual Family Fun Day. The music begins at 6. Admission $15 per person and $50 per family. Visit waypointnh.org/happenings/campout for more information.

■Grafton troubadour Skip Gorman plays a free concert at noon on Sunday at Danbury (N.H.) United Church during Danbury.’s Old Home Days celebration. His set list will feature “solo songs and fiddle tunes about traveling West and returning home,” the focus of his new CD, Trails, Rails, Hills & Tales.

■Norwich native singer-songwriter Celia Woodsmith leads her roots-rock band Say Darling onto the Newbury, Vt., Village common on Sunday afternoon, to headline Court Street Arts’ annual Uncommon Jam Festival. Performers also include the Windsor-based rock ensemble Moxley Union and Linda B and the Barn Cats, featuring several members of the former Dr. Burma dance band. The festival runs from 1 to 6, and admission costs $10.

Theater/performance art

The Marvelous Wonderettes, Roger Bean’s musical using pop songs from the 1950s and 1960s to celebrate that era’s fad of high school Songleader squads, performances at New London Barn Playhouse through Sept. 1. Tickets $20 to $37.


Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival: Final weekend begins Thursday night at 7, with free, open rehearsal at Chandler Music Hall in Randolph. Formal performances, featuring works of Beethoven, scheduled for Saturday night at 7 at the Chandler, and on Sunday afternoon at North Universalist Chapel in Woodstock. Admission $25.

■Beacon Brass Quintet, First Baptist Church of New London, Thursday night at 7. Admission $5 to $25; visit summermusicassociates.org.

■Jay Nash, folk and jazz, Friday night at 5:30 on lawn behind North Universalist Chapel in Woodstock. Admission by donation.

■Henry Danaher Quartet, jazz, Friday night at 6:15 on downtown Lebanon mall; saxophonist Fred Haas, organist Norm Yanofsky and guitarist Billy Rosen, jazz, Saturday night at 6:15. Free.

■Kearsarge Community Band, Friday night at at 6:30 at Haddad Bandstand in New London. Free.

■Fiddler Patrick Ross, Americana/roots, Friday night at 7:30 at The Livery in Sunapee Harbor. Admission $20.

■Out on a Limb, folk/Americana, Saturday morning and afternoon during Norwich Farmers Market.

■Delphi Trio, two Upper Valley performances of works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Toru Takemitsu and William Bolcom, Saturday night at 6:30 at West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts; for tickets, visit wcc-ma.org. Also Sunday afternoon at 2 in Little Studio at Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park in Cornish. Admission included in park’s $10 entry fee.

■Dayna Kurtz, jazz, rock and folk, Saturday night at 7:30 at Seven Stars Arts Center in Sharon. Admission $20.

■East Bay Jazz Ensemble, Saturday night at 7 at Orford Bandstand. Free.

■Jazz singer Nancy Tripp, works of Harry Warren, Sunday afternoon at 5 at The Fells Historic Estate & Gardens. To reserve tickets ($40), visit thefells.org or call 603-763-4789, ext. 3.

■Shana Stack Band, country, Tuesday night at 6 at Grantham Recreation Park on Shedd Road.

■Eric Grant Band, country, Tuesday night at 6:30 at Fairlee Town Common. Free.

■Keyboardist John Lovejoy, guitarist Cam Cross, drummer Eric von Ammon and saxophonist Terry Langford, classic rock, Wednesday night at 6:30, at Ben Mere Bandstand overlooking Sunapee Harbor.


Folk musicians Colin McCaffrey and Dave Langford with caller Nil Fredland, contradance at East Thetford Pavilion, Saturday night at 8. Admission $5 to $12. To learn more, visit uvdm.org or call Bill Shepard at 802-785-2855.

Bar and club circuit

Jenna Rice and Chris Powers, roots rock, Thursday night at 6 at The Farmers Table in Grantham.

■The Road Home, roots, Thursday night at 6 at Peyton Place in Orford; Amani Mwingira, world roots, Sunday night at 6.

■Adam McMahon Trio, rock and blues, Thursday night at 7 at Windsor Station; Dr. No, rock, Friday night at 9:30; singer-songwriter John Sullivan, Tuesday night at 6.

■Roscoe & Etta, folk, Thursday night at 7:30 at Pierce’s Inn in Etna. Admission $35.

■Lefty Younger Blues Band, Friday night at 8 at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners.

■John Lackard Blues Band, Saturday afternoon at 4 at Salt hill Pub in West Lebanon; Saturday night at 9 at Salt hill in Hanover.

■Turnip Truck, roots/Americana, Saturday night at 6 at Crossmolina Farm in West Corinth. Coincides with fifth annual Farm Dinner; reservations recommended.

■Sensible Shoes, danceable rock and pop, Sunday afternoon at 2 at SILO Distillery in Windsor.

■Occasional Jug Band, Americana/roots, 4 p.m. Sunday at Salt hill Shanty in Newbury, N.H.

■Carlos Ocasio, rock/R&B, Sunday night at 5:30, weekly Loch Lyme Lodge supper buffet on Post Pond (admission $10 to $25); Oxford & Clark, roots/Americana, Wednesday night at 5:30 during weekly cookout (admission $8 to $20). For reservations, call 603-795-2141.

■Saxophonist Michael Parker and pianist Henry Danaher, jazz, Wednesday night at 5:30 at the Quechee Inn at Marshland Farm.

■Jazz pianist Sonny Saul, Wednesday night at 6:30 at On the River Inn in Woodstock.

Open mics/jam sessions

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 hosts open mics on Tuesday night at 6 at The Public House Pub in Quechee; and at Skunk Hollow Tavern on Wednesday night at 8.

■Fiddler Jakob Breitbach’s acoustic jam session of bluegrass, Americana and old-timey music, Tuesday nights at 7 at Filling Station Bar and Grill in White River Junction.

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

■John Lackard’s monthly blues jam, 8 p.m. Tuesday at Crossroads Bar and Grill in South Royalton.

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

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