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Highlights: Folk Royalty Comes to Bradford

  • Singer-songwriter Sloan Wainwright performs in Bradford, Vt., on Saturday night, and conducts a workshop for singers earlier that day at Bradford's The Space on Main. (Courtesy photograph)

  • From left: Renee Kathleen Koher, Sarah Lasko, Taylor Hilt Mitchell and Erica Lustig star in "Suds: The Rocking '60s Musical Soap Opera," which opens next week as part of the ArtisTree Music Theatre Festival. (Courtesy photograph)



Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, September 27, 2018

As a sister, a mother and an aunt of folk singer-songwriters, Sloan Wainwright sees no point in keeping the joys, the challenges and the tricks of the trade all in the family.

Take her appearance this weekend in Bradford, Vt., her first since the final days of Middle Earth Music Hall. Before performing the final concert of the season at 30 Summer St., on Saturday night, Wainwright will teach a workshop at The Space on Main (174 Main St.), on the theme of “Singing With Heart, Mind and Body.”

“Teaching and mentoring have been a large part of my work, the last 25 years,” Wainwright said in a telephone conversation last week, while cleaning the keys of her piano in Armonk, N.Y. “I spend a lot of time with students and mentees on Skype, and I’m a visiting artist at the conservatory at SUNY-Purchase.”

The twist in Wainwright’s career came in 1994, when she was invited to run workshops at the Swannanoa Gathering in Asheville, N.C.

“I really thought they were mistaken, but I decided to try it, and that was when I began to figure out how to share the information I’ve picked up over the years.”

Now 59, Wainwright at first resisted picking up the musician habit while growing up on Long Island with older brother Loudon Wainwright III, who had hit the folk music scene with a bang in the late 1960s and early 1970s and continues to tour widely.

Then in 1989, Sloan entered and won an open mic competition at the Towne Crier cafe in Pawling, N.Y., and later opened there for Shawn Colvin. By 1995 she was releasing her eponymous first CD, and went on to record nine more over the ensuing 21 years and collaborating with a wide range of performers, including her brother’s millennial-troubadour children Rufus Wainwright and Martha Wainwright, and Rufus and Martha’s mother Kate McGarrigle, the late Canadian folk goddess.

Sloan Wainwright has two sons of her own, now grown and with children of their own, and one of them a musician. After her husband, George McTavey, died in 2008, she threw herself even more deeply into teaching, and rediscovered her love of taking the stage.

“Being a music mentor has been great for my performance career,” she said. “It has taken me all over the world and opened communities up to the work of Sloan Wainwright who might not have been introduced otherwise.”

She said that the audience in Bradford can expect an oblique reference or two to current events, but less in-your-face than her brother.

“Since my grandchildren started coming four years ago, I’ve focused on themes around time, around allowing for space,” she said. “I am astonished by what’s going on in the political landscape, but it’s not my style to write straightforward political songs.

“Frankly, I’m more interested in trees. In nature. In the natural world.”

Singer-songwriter Sloan Wainwright performs on Saturday night at 7:30, at 30 Summer St. in Bradford, Vt. Admission is by donation. That morning at 11, Wainwright will lead a workshop at The Space on Main, 174 Main St. To reserve a space for the workshop, email jennifer@dandjmusic.com or call 860-593-2484.

Best Bets

The Celtic-music quartet Coig returns to the Lebanon Opera House on Friday night at 7:30 to play their fresh take on Cape Breton traditional rhythms and songs. Before the show (for which general admission costs $15 to $25), the Juno Award nominees (Canada’s equivalent of the Grammy) will hold a workshop ($20 for musicians, by donation for spectators) for intermediate and advanced fiddlers wishing to learn the Cape Breton style.

■The Hopkins Center is inviting kids ages 9 to 12 to hone their storytelling skills by serving as narrators during the two “Blind Cinema” performances that European filmmaker Britt Hatzius is staging at Dartmouth College’s Loew Auditorium in Hanover on Sunday afternoon.

After two hours of rehearsal on Saturday, the young narrators will describe the action of a dialogue-free film to blindfolded members of the audience on Sunday at 1 and 3. To enroll as a narrator, visit hop.dartmouth.edu/online/blind-cinema. To check the availability of tickets ($18 to $20) or to serve as a blindfolded audience member, visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2422.

■For a break from all the bleating and the shearing at the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds, check out the Upper Valley roots bands that will be playing on the gazebo next to the Floral Hall. Saturday’s lineup includes Neil Fitzgerald and Tim Murphy from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Jennings & Macomber from 1 to 3. On Sunday, The Whatever Brothers — guitarist John Bardsley, banjo/harmonica player Niles Franc, bassist Paul Kifner — take the stage at 11, and Jim Rooney leads Turnip Truck into action at 1. Admission is $1 to $6 to the festival, which runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

■The countdown to Christmas Revels begins on Sunday at noon in Norwich’s Tracy Hall, where Revels North is inviting followers of and past performers in the solstice pageant to share their memories from the show’s first 35 years in the Upper Valley. Revels is setting up a pop-up video studio to record those memories in 10-minute segments. After this year’s production on the theme of “A Venetian Celebration of the Winter Solstice,” Christmas Revels will be performed in a new location in 2019, while Dartmouth College renovates Spaulding Auditorium.

■The West Fairlee Center Church is inviting Upper Valley performers of all ages and abilities to a talent show at its community center on Middlebrook Road on Saturday night, after the church’s potluck supper. Already signed up is 12-year-old fiddler Eli Munsur; to register, call Jenn Shatney at 802-333-9937. The potluck supper starts at 5:30 and the show begins at 7. Admission is by donation.

■Hal Sheeler and Henry Danaher lead the next Upper Valley Open Sing at the First Congregational Church of Lebanon on Sunday afternoon at 3. Scores for Brahms’ Schicksalslied and Nanie, and for Morten Lauridsen’s Dirait-On, will be provided for singers, and listeners are welcome. To RSVP to sing, and to learn more, email hsheeler@gmail.com.

Looking Ahead

Hartland’s Jay Nash and Stockbridge’s Bow Thayer lead a workshop for songwriters at the Barnard Inn on Oct. 7 from 6 to 11. Admission is $25.

Theater/Performance Art

Northern Stage continues its production of the Tony Award-winning drama Oslo through Oct. 21. Starting next Thursday, the company will stage Dear Elizabeth, based on the letters of 20th-century American poets and soulmates Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, on alternating days with Oslo. To reserve tickets ($19 to $58), and to learn more about the coming season, visit northernstage.org or call 802-296-7000.

■After wrapping The Fantasticks on Saturday night, the ArtisTree Music Theatre Festival rearranges South Pomfret’s Grange Theatre for a production of Suds: The Rocking ’60s Musical Soap Opera, which opens with a preview next Thursday night at 7:30 and runs through Oct. 20. For tickets ($28 to $35) and more information, visit artistreevt.org or call 802-457-3500.

■The puppeteers, musicians and light-show wizards of The Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia stages the company’s adaptation of the Marcus Phister children’s book The Rainbow Fish at Dartmouth College’s Spaulding Auditorium in Hanover on Sunday afternoon at 3. To reserve tickets ($13 to $23) and learn more, visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2422.

Music

Singer-songwriter Steve Spensley performs this afternoon from 4 to 6 at Colburn Park in Lebanon, during the weekly farmers market.

■Chaque Fois plays cajun music during the Feast and Field Market in Barnard this evening at 5:30.

■Worcester, Mass., fiddler Emma Back performs experimental folk music on Friday night at 7, at the Pema Osal Dharma Center in Vershire. Admission is free.

■Portland, Maine-based pianist Mark Rossnagel plays works of Chopin, Ravel, Couperin and Rameau at Pleasant Street Books in Woodstock on Friday night at 7:30. Admission is free.

■The Americana duo of Dana and Susan Robinson performs at the Seven Stars Arts Center in Sharon on Saturday night at 7. Admission is $20 at the door.

■Cellist Linda Galvan, pianist Evelyn Zuckerman and violinist Omar Chen Guay kick off Camerata New England’s fall season on Saturday night at 7, performing piano trios of Beethoven and Rimsky-Korsakov at the Norwich Congregational Church. For tickets ($28) and more information about the season, visit cameratanewengland.org.

■The Vermont Symphony Orchestra celebrates the arrival of autumn at Randolph’s Chandler Music Hall at 7:30 Saturday night, playing works of Haydn, Brahms and Mozart, and premiering contemporary Vermont composer Matthew LaRocca’s new work. For tickets ($10 to $25), visit chandler-arts.org or call 802-728-6464.

■The North Country Chamber Players perform at Court Street Arts, in Haverhill’s Alumni Hall, on Sunday afternoon at 3. For tickets ($25) and more information, visit courtstreetarts.org or call 603-989-5500.

■Dartmouth College pianist-in-residence Sally Pinkas kicks off the Hopkins Center’s autumn of classical performances on Tuesday night at Spaulding Auditorium, joining the Adaskin String Trio in playing Brahms’ Piano Quartet, English composer Frank Bridge’s Phantasy and three rediscovered works by French impressionist composer Jean Cras. To reserve tickets ($14 to $25) and learn more, visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2422.

Bar and Club Circuit

The WhiteSteer duo performs its blend of jazz, rock, reggae, folk, pop and hip-hop at Peyton Place Restaurant in Orford tonight at 6.

■The Repeat Offenders pull into Windsor Station tonight at 7. Supply & Demand performs at 9 on Friday night, Jack in the Pulpit appears on Saturday night at 9 and Wool plays next Thursday night at 7.

■Folk singer-songwriter Lucy Kaplansky performs at the Flying Goose Brew Pub & Grille in New London tonight at 8. To reserve tickets ($20), as well as seats for dinner before the show, and to learn more about the series, visit flyinggoose.com or call 603-526-6899.

■New London-native singer-songwriter Click Horning leads his trio into the Methodist church in Sunapee Harbor on Friday night at 7, for the weekly Sunapee Community CoffeeHouse. Admission is by donation.

■Still Hill plays bluegrass at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners on Friday night at 8.

■The Conniption Fits rock Salt hill Pub in downtown Lebanon on Friday night at 9.

■John Lackard plays and sings the blues at Salt hill Pub in Hanover on Friday night at 9, and Better Days covers hits of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s on Saturday night at 9.

■Singer-songwriter John Bundza performs at Salt hill Pub in West Lebanon on Friday night at 9, and GrooveSum shares a set of rock on Saturday night at 9.

■Alec Currier plays Newport’s Salt hill Pub on Friday night at 9, and Tirade plays a set of rock on Saturday 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.

■ Soulfix plays the Lake Morey Inn on Saturday night at 8:30.

■Saxophonist Michael Parker, bassist Peter Concilio and guitarist Billy Rosen play jazz at Carpenter & Main in Norwich on Tuesday night at 7.

Open Mics

Woodstock musician Jim Yeager hosts open mics tonight at 7 at the ArtisTree Community Arts Center in South Pomfret, and on Wednesday night at 8 at the Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners.

■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.

■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 the weekly open mic at Colatina Exit in Bradford, Vt., on Tuesday nights at 8.

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