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Highlights: Performers and venues decide whether shows will go on

  • Singer-songwriter Jenna Rice, 22, photographed at home in Weathersfield, Vt., Monday, August 12, 2019, will release her debut album with a performance at Artistree in South Pomfret at 7 p.m. on August 17. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Valley News — James M. Patterson

  • Shawn Mullins performs at City Winery on Friday, January 19, 2018, in Atlanta. (Photo by Robb Cohen/Invision/AP) ap — Robb Cohen

  • Rusty Dewees is performing at the Newport Opera House in Newport, N.H., on March 14, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. as part of his Tiny Town Hall Tour. (Paul Rogers photograph) Paul Rogers

  • From left, Howard Wooden, Patti Casey and Pete Sutherland of the band Woods Tea Co. are to perform at the Claremont Opera House in Claremont, N.H., on Saturday, March 14, at 8 p.m. (Courtesy photograph)  Courtesy photograph

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 3/11/2020 5:09:36 PM
Modified: 3/13/2020 4:24:11 PM

Until further notice, Upper Valley residents planning to attend live music and theater should call (or click) ahead, as well as wash their hands and cough and sneeze into their elbows, in this time of coronavirus.

While most performers and venues expect their shows to go on over the coming week, many of them in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, some aren’t waiting for an outright outbreak.

Carlos Ocasio & the Backbone Horns, for example, postponed the Soul Revue they’d planned to play at The Engine Room in White River Junction this Sunday — even though the venue reopened this week, after the thorough cleaning its managers commissioned in the wake of a Feb. 28 private party attended by a Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center employee diagnosed as “presumptively positive” for the virus.

“Given everything that’s going on,” Norwich resident and Backbone trombonist Don Glasgo said on Monday, “we’re putting it off until spring or summer, at a time to be decided.”

Postponements and cancellations at other venues so far include:

■The Mudroom session of storytelling on Thursday night at 7 at AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon, now set for June 11;

■Friday night’s performance, at the Woodstock Town Hall Theatre, of Celtic folk music by the Canadian string band The Fretless. Pentangle Arts instead will screen the new movie Call of the Wild, with free admission.

■The free “HopStop” sessions of storytelling on Saturday at Dartmouth College’s Alumni Hall and at the CSB Community Center in Claremont. Dartmouth’s Hopkins Center also postponed its weekend screenings of the HD recordings of the opera Der Fliegende Holländer and of the 25th-anniversary celebration of Riverdance, and the New England Music Festival Association canceled its March 21 concert at the Hop for high school musicians;

■Saturday night’s annual performance of St. Patrick’s Day-themed music by the vocal ensemble Wind-Rose at the United Congregational Church of Orford

■Randolph-area fiddler Beth Telford and singer Jennifer Curtin’s concert of Celtic music on Saturday night at North Common Arts in Chelsea;

■The Second Saturday contra dance at Tracy Hall in Norwich.

“By definition, social dancing involves lots of person-to-person contact,” Thetford resident, folk musician and Norwich contra-dance organizer Rick Barrows said on Tuesday. “Given the ground-zero nature of our local outbreak, we think it is prudent to skip this dance event.”

While The Engine Room involuntarily became ground zero for the Upper Valley, Norwich resident Kevin McTaggart is confident enough in the precautions taken to host his monthly Comedy Club Night there on Thursday at 8. The lineup of standup artists includes Lebanon resident Peter Pardoe.

“It’s probably the cleanest building in the Upper Valley,” Pardoe replied on Facebook, with an LOL, to a friend who urged caution.

That’s good enough for folk-rocker Shawn Mullins, who plays a solo acoustic show at The Engine Room on Saturday night after back-to-back gigs in upstate New York.

“It sounds like they went to a lot of trouble,” Mullins said on Monday, during a telephone interview from his home in Decatur, Ga. “I’m coming unless something really breaks out.”

At 51, Mullins worries less about contracting respiratory illnesses since he gave up smoking cigarettes and adopted a healthier diet in the wake of the heart attack that forced him to postpone his original gig at The Engine Room last November.

“It gives you pause for thought,” said Mullins, best known for his 1998 Grammy-nominated song Lullaby. “I really feel motivated, in a Johnny Cash sort of way: This is your duty, man. It’s your duty to pass on the love and the music, live.”

Vermont performance artist Rusty Dewees, renowned for staying fit well into his 50s, cited a similar motivation this week while pledging to perform as The Logger on Saturday night, as scheduled, at Newport Opera House. The subject of coronavirus, he said, “hasn’t come up for Newport or my shows down the line. The shows are on.”

Dewees added that while he doesn’t have any coronavirus references planned for his monologues, an ad-lib could sneak out at any time.

“If I sneeze onstage — I have a short bit on how I love sneezing — most likely my mind will go to coronavirus,” he said. “And I might have a point-of-view joke there.”

Otherwise, performers are taking the crisis seriously while soldiering on, among them Weathersfield singer-songwriter Jenna Rice, the middle of three acts scheduled to play the Anonymous Coffeehouse on Friday night at the First Congregational Church of Lebanon.

“The venue did reach out to me, and said they’re monitoring the situation,” Rice said. “It’s been on my mind a little more, but I’m mostly concerned about folks who I care about who are more vulnerable.

“I haven’t thrown in the towel on anything yet.”

As of Wednesday morning, the sister-and-brother duo of fiddler Liz Faiella and guitarist Dan Faiella were trying to decide whether to travel from southeastern New Hampshire on Saturday to play Celtic music at 2 p.m. at the Seven Stars Arts Center in Sharon.

“We were going to play the contra dance in Norwich after this show, and now we’re wondering what’s the best thing to do,” Liz Faiella said. “If this one doesn’t happen, either, it’s going to be a quiet St. Patrick’s Day weekend for us.”

Details of the aforementioned shows that were still scheduled as of Wednesday morning are below, including contact information to confirm.

Erin go bragh!

The McGonagle School of Irish Dance steps lightly and loudly on Saturday night at 7, at Whipple Hall in New London. Admission $10 to $18; visit

■The Celtic duo Liz and Dan Faiella play the Seven Stars Arts Center in Sharon on Saturday afternoon at 2. Admission $15; visit or call 802-763-2334.

■The Vermont-based Woods Tea Company trio plays Celtic-flavored folk and roots music on Saturday night at 8, at Claremont Opera House. Admission $25; visit or call 603-542-4433.

■The five Salt hill Pubs celebrate Ireland’s patron saint on Tuesday between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m., serving a traditional Irish breakfast as well as lunch and supper with several local, regional and Irish acts commuting among them to serenade diners and drinkers. Here’s who’s playing where and when:

Lebanon — Bel Clare at 9 a.m., Footworks at noon, Atlantic Crossing at 4:30 p.m., O’hAnleigh at 9.

Hanover — Salt hill Ceili Band at 9 a.m., Bel Clare at noon, O’hAnleigh at 4:30 p.m., Celticladda at 8:30..

West Lebanon — Jack Hickey at 9 a.m, O’hAnleigh at noon, Salt hill Ceili Band at 5 p.m.

Newport — Atlantic Crossing at 9 a.m., Salt hill Ceili Band at noon, Celticladda at 4:30 p.m., Jack Hickey at 8 p.m.

Newbury, N.H. — O’hAnleigh at 9 a.m., Atlantic Crossing at 1 p.m., Bel Clare at 5, Great Bay Sailor at 8.

To learn more, visit or the pubs’ Facebook page.

■Still Hill mixes its usual repertoire of bluegrass with a splash of St. Patrick’s Day green on Tuesday night at 7 at Windsor Station.

Best bets

Pianist Annemieke McLane and accordionist Jeremiah McLane perform works of Dvorak, Piazzolla and Bach, as well as the married couple’s own compositions, during their Cassotto Duo concert on Frday night at 7, at the United Church of Strafford. Admission by donation to the fund for maintenance of the church steeple.

■Vermont performance artist Rusty Dewees appears as The Logger on Saturday night at 8, at Newport Opera House. Tickets $25 to $30; call 603-863-2412 or visit

■Singer-songwriter Shawn Mullins performs folk rock and Americana on Saturday night at 8, at The Engine Room in White River Junction. Tickets $25 to $30; visit

Theater/performance art

Citrus, performances of Northern Stage production through Sunday afternoon at Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction. For tickets ($17.75 to $57.75), visit or call 802-296-7000.

■Comedy Club Night with host Kevin McTaggert, Thursday night at 7 at The Engine Room in White River Junction. Admission $10.

■“Hindsight is 20/20” festival, three storytelling performances from Friday night through Sunday afternoon at Eclipse Grange Theatre on Thetford Hill. Some stories include mature subject matter. For tickets ($10 to $20) and more information, visit or call 802-785-4344.

■“Winter Moth” session of storytelling, Friday night at 7 at Abbott Memorial Library in South Pomfret. To learn about topic and to participate, visit


Monthly Anonymous CoffeeHouse, Friday night at First Congregational Church of Lebanon. Juke Joynt blues duo at 7:30, Weathersfield singer-songwriter Jenna Rice at 8:15, old-timey/folk duo Marc and Billy at 9. Free.

■Jason Lyle Black, aka “the Backwards Piano Man,” Sunday afternoon at 4 at Lebanon Opera House. Tickets $10 to $25; call 603-448-0400 or visit

■New Hampshire Troubadours, madrigals and a cappella, Sunday afternoon at 4:30 at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Upper Valley in Norwich. Admission $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

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.

■Over Under, rock, Thursday night at 7 at Windsor Station; Jester Jigs, rock, Friday night at 9:30; Mister Burns, hip-hop, Saturday night at 9:30.

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

Open mics, jam sessions

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

■Al Carruth and EJ Tretter host Sunapee Community CoffeeHouse’s monthly open mic on Friday night at 7, at Methodist Church in Sunapee. Admission by donation.

■Emerson Gale’s monthly all-comers jam session, Sunday afternoon at 4 at Seven Stars Arts Center in Sh aron. Slow jam for beginners through 6 p.m., fast jam for veteran players and dance-band musicians from 6 to 9. Admission by donation.

■Jakob Breitbach’s acoustic roots jam session on Tuesday nights at 6 at The Filling Station Bar & Grill.

■Tom Masterson’s open mic, Tuesday night at 7 at Colatina Exit in Bradford, Vt.

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

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

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