Highlights: Four Friends Gather in Sharon for a Celtic Concert

  • Cape Breton fiddler Andrea Beaton joins Beth Telford and Will and Eric Wright for a concert of traditional music at Seven Stars Center in Sharon on Saturday night. (Courtesy photograph)

  • Will Wright, of Pomfret, and Beth Telford, of Braintree, Vt., will team up with Wright's son, Eric, and the Cape Breton fiddler Andrea Beaton for a concert of traditional music at the Seven Stars Center in Sharon on Saturday night. (Courtesy photograph)

  • Cellist Eric Wright takes a break from his band The Fretless, to perform with friends at the Seven Stars Center in Sharon on Saturday night. (Courtesy photograph)

  • The a cappella ensemble Roomful of Teeth performs at Dartmouth College's Hopkins Center for the Arts on Tuesday night. For more information, see 'Best Bets.'

Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, January 04, 2018

The first time fiddler Beth Telford met Eric Wright, in the mid-1980s, the boy was “running around in diapers” while Telford practiced old-timey tunes with The Fiddleheads trio at the Wright home in Pomfret.

“There was pretty much always music in his house,” Telford said this week, during a telephone conversation from her farm in Braintree, Vt. “That is such a great thing to grow up with.”

More than 30 years later, Telford will join Wright, now an in-demand roots cellist, Wright’s father (and Fiddleheads founder) Will Wright and Cape Breton fiddler Andrea Beaton at the Seven Stars Arts Center in Sharon on Saturday for a night of Celtic music.

The younger Wright translated his upbringing into a career in which he now spends part of each year touring the world with the Canadian roots band The Fretless, part of it touring eastern North America with Beaton and the rest either recording music for The Fretless or for movies and movie trailers.

Meanwhile, Telford was learning a thing or two from the elder Wright, a multi-instrumentalist and founder of Rooster Records, on the way to becoming a busy teacher of aspiring fiddlers at Seven Stars, in Montpelier and at home.

Before settling into that life, Telford left Vermont to pursue a master’s degree in raptor biology and then to work for a time for The Peregrine Fund, which supports research on birds of prey and works to protect the habitat of rare species. Not long after Telford returned to the Green Mountains, Will Wright gave her a compact disc and a music book that one of his students had brought back from a trip to Cape Breton, at the northeast tip of Nova Scotia.

“It was by this fiddler named Jerry Holland,” Will Wright recalled this week. “I was overwhelmed with the greatness of his playing and the music, and I thought Beth should hear it.”

Wright guessed right.

“I started learning the music from that tape,” Telford said. “It basically changed my life.”

Telford finally met Holland at the Champlain Valley Folk Festival and stayed in touch with the legendary fiddler, who eventually asked her to promote some shows in Vermont and New Hampshire.

“We pretty instantly became fast friends,” Telford said. “Over the years, he mentored me, and he even lived with us here for a while around 2004, while he was teaching at Seven Stars and in Montpelier. I often sat in on his classes and we did camps together.”

Holland’s music in particular, and the Cape Breton style in general, blending Scottish and Acadian folk traditions, stayed with Telford long after Holland’s death from cancer in 2009. That’s why she’s looking forward to watching and playing this Saturday with Beaton, whose extended family on Cape Breton includes Grammy-nominated dynamo fiddler Natalie Macmaster.

“She’s the real deal,” Telford said of Beaton. “Along with being an amazing fiddler, she’s a fabulous step-dancer, like Natalie. She did a series of shows at my house, and has been to the New World Festival. Eventually it came to me, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool for us to do a concert together?’ I floated it to Andrea, and she thought it was a great idea.”

It’s also a busman’s holiday for Telford: Between her teaching and her farm, where she tends three horses, “I don’t get to perform that much or travel far to perform.

“To do a show like this is really a breath of fresh air. Just getting together and practicing with Will for this is such a joy.”

Fiddlers Andrea Beaton and Beth Telford, cellist Eric Wright and multi-instrumentalist Will Wright play Celtic music at the Seven Stars Arts Center in Sharon on Saturday night at 7. For tickets ($5 to $15 in advance, $7 to $18 day of show) visit sevenstarsarts.org or call 802-763-2334.

Best Bets

Northern Stage wraps its production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid at the Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction this weekend, with six shows between this afternoon at 2 and Sunday afternoon at 2. For tickets ($15 to $69) and more information, visit northernstage.org or call 802-296-7000.

Highlighting a busy First Friday in downtown White River Junction, Bayou X plays Cajun music starting at 7 p.m. to raise the temperature for the Main Street Museum’s annual Holiday Bush Burn. The museum is accepting defunct Christmas trees in its parking lot today and Friday, and is suggesting donations of at least $5 to cover the entertainment and the refreshments, including crawfish étouffée and mulled cider.

First Friday activities also include an 8 p.m. show at the Engine Room on South Main Street, where the Lebanon-based, teen alt-rock quartet Hey October makes its public stage debut by opening for Psych Unit.

Dartmouth College’s Paddock Music Library hosts the first of four sing-ins, featuring music of the civil rights movement, on Friday night from 5 to 6:30. After this week’s gathering, featuring music by Sweet Honey in the Rock, the sing-ins will include music of Johnny Clegg, Bob Marley and other overseas musicians on Jan. 12, 1950s and 1960s songs from the U.S. movement on Jan. 19 and Ron Israel’s Homeless in America on Jan. 26. To learn more, call 603-646-3234 or email paddock.music.library@dartmouth.edu.

The Chilean theater company Teatro Sur stages the U.S. debut of Inutiles (Useless) at Dartmouth College’s Moore Theater at 8 on Friday and Saturday nights. The satire explores the reaction of a Chilean colonial matriarch to a rebellion by her family’s indigenous servants. For tickets ($25 to $35) and more information, visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2422. At 7 on both nights at the top of the Hopkins Center, Dartmouth Professor Analola Santana and Hop director of programming Margaret Lawrence will lead a discussion about Chilean theater and what to expect in the show.

The young adult actors of the Claremont-based Repertory Theatre Company re-enact episodes from several 1960s situation comedies, in a staging called Snippets, on Saturday night at 7 at the Claremont Opera House. In addition to revisiting The Lucy Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Andy Griffith Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show, the ensemble will take on a movie short by The Three Stooges. Admission is $10. To learn more, email office@operahouse.org or call 603-542-4433 or visit the box office in City Hall.

The Grammy Award-winning a cappella octet Roomful of Teeth performs with jazz pianist Tigran Hamasyan at Dartmouth College’s Spaulding Auditorium on Tuesday night at 7. Admission is $17 to $35.

Before the concert, during which the ensemble will stage the world premiere of Hamasyan’s new composition, Roomful of Teeth will stage a free workshop for Upper Valley singers of all ages and abilities from 5:30 to 6:30. While no advance rehearsal is required for the workshop, aspiring singers are encouraged to register ahead to learn more about the music, which will involves yodeling and other forms of extended vocal technique.

To reserve seats for the concert and to learn more, visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2422.

Looking Ahead

Humorist and author Dwayna Covey will host a “Shine Your Light” session of storytelling by women on Jan. 13 at 6:30 p.m. at Bradford (Vt.) Academy, Admission is by donation to Safeline VT’s programs for survivors of sexual and domestic violence in Orange and northern Windsor counties, and in the towns of Sharon, Royalton, Bethel, Stockbridge and Rochester. To learn more about Safeline, visit safelinevt.org.

The Marlborough, N.H.-based Bogovich School of Dance will perform an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland at the Claremont Opera House on Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. Admission is $10. To learn more, visit claremontoperahouse.org.

Theater/Performance Art

The teen actors, singers and dancers from the Claremont-based World Under Wonder theater program perform an adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest for school groups at the Claremont Opera House, next Thursday morning at 10. Admission is $5. The troupe also will stage the play for all ages at the opera house on Jan. 20 at 7 p.m.; admission $10. To learn more, visit claremontoperahouse.org.

Organizers of The 1776 Project are inviting aspiring actors of all ages to audition for several available roles in a March production of the musical conversation about the rewards and obligations of U.S. Citizenship. The performance will take place in late March at the Briggs Opera House in White River Junction. To schedule and audition and learn more, visit the1776project.org.

AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon is inviting aspiring yarn-spinners to sign up for its March session of The Mudroom, which will focus on the theme of “The First Time.” Feb. 25 is the deadline to submit a story idea to mudroom@avagallery.org. Applicants should send a two- or three-sentence summary of their story plot. Five stories will be chosen for the March 15 gathering. For more, visit facebook.com/themudroomatava.


Singer-guitarist Bud Johnson of the Kind Buds folk-rock band will perform his solo acoustic show at the Whaleback Mountain ski lodge in Enfield on Saturday afternoon from 3 to 6. Admission is free.

The Bow Thayer Trio and guests to be announced play roots, folk and blues music on Sunday afternoon at the West Newbury (Vt.) Town Hall. For tickets ($20) to the show, which starts at 3 p.m., and for more information, visit rockfarmer.com or call 802-866-3309.


Belly-dance instructor Gina Capossela kicks off a series of free introductory classes on Monday night at 5:45 at the Little Theater in Woodstock. Subsequent classes for beginners are scheduled for Tuesday night and next Thursday night at 7:15 at Hanover’s Richard W. Black Center; Jan. 13 at 11 a.m. at the Carter Witherell Center in Lebanon; Jan. 14 at 11 a.m. at Dothan Brook School in Wilder; and Jan. 22 at 6 p.m. at Grantham Village School.

To register and learn more, email gina@ginadances.com or call 802-282-2149.

In advance of next week’s performance at the Hopkins Center by the Malpaso Dance Company, Osnel Delgado, the ensemble’s artistic director, leads a master class for intermediate-level dancers ages 16 and older on Wednesday night at 5:30 at Dartmouth College’s Straus Dance Studio in Hanover. To register, visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2422.

The dance company will perform to contemporary Cuban rhythms in the Hop’s Moore Theater next Thursday night at 7 and the following night at 8. For tickets ($13 to $40) and more information, visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2422.

Bar and Club Circuit

Folk musicians Rowe Williams, Jim Musty and Phyllis Shea perform at Peyton Place in Orford tonight between 6 and 9. Next Thursday night at the same time, the Bradford-based folk duo Don and Jenn Sinclair plays the venue.

Singer-songwriter Charlie Cronopoulos plays the Taverne on the Square in Claremont tonight from 6 to 9. From 8 to 11 on Friday night, The Wyld Nightz Trio sets a classic-rock rhythm for dancing.

Soulfix plays Salt hill Pub in Hanover on Saturday night at 9, the Crossroads Bar and Grill in South Royalton on Tuesday night at 6, and the Taverne on the Square in Claremont next Thursday night at 6.

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

Chris Powers leads Off the List into Windsor Station for a set of rock on Saturday night at 9:30.

Saxophonist Mike Parker and guitarist Norm Wolfe play jazz at the Quechee Inn at Marshland Farm on Wednesday night at 6.

Open Mics

Jim Yeager hosts the following open mics over the coming week: tonight at 7 at ArtisTree Community Arts Center in South Pomfret; at the Public House in Quechee on Tuesday night at 6; and on Wednesday night at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners.

Ramunto’s Brick & Brew Pizza in Bridgewater hosts an open mic starting at 7:30 on Thursday nights. Participants get a free large cheese pizza.

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.

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 Bradford’s Colatina Exit on Tuesday nights at 8.

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

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@vnews.com and at 603-727-3304.

Entertainment-related news and announcements also can be sent to highlights@vnews.com.