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Highlights: Vermont Musician Returns to the Stage

  • Chance Lindsley, of South Ryegate, Vt., rehearses at Patrick Ross's home in Newbury, Vt., on April 3, 2017, for three upcoming Mountain Money All-Stars shows. Lindsley, who is the principal at Newbury Elementary School, is recovering from recent heart problems that nearly killed him. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

  • From left, roots musicians Chance Lindsley, of South Ryegate, Vt., Patrick Ross, of Newbury, Vt., and Hunter Paye, of Portland, Ore., rehearse at Ross's home on April 3, 2017, for three upcoming Mountain Money All-Stars shows on April 7-9. Paye grew up in the Bradford area and is back visiting his mother. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

  • At their home in Newbury, Vt., on April 3, 2017, Ophelia Ross, 2, helps her father Patrick Ross with the fiddle during a rehearsal with other players for three upcoming Mountain Money All-Stars shows on April 7-9. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

  • Symphony NH performs at Lebanon Opera House on Sunday afternoon. For more information, look under ‘Best Bets.’

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 4/6/2017 12:05:29 AM
Modified: 4/6/2017 12:05:32 AM

One minute, Chance Lindsley was counting the days to his next opportunity to sing and to play his banjo-guitar hybrid on an Upper Valley stage with the likes of Patrick Ross, Bow Thayer and Hunter Paye.

The next thing he knew, on the afternoon of Jan. 20, the 42-year-old principal of Newbury (Vt.) Elementary School was gasping for breath in his South Ryegate driveway, wondering whether he’d live to see his two children again. 

“It was a massive heart attack, massive damage,” Lindsley recalled on Tuesday afternoon, after ushering Newbury students onto their buses. “It was like two guys were side by side taking turns hitting me with a sledgehammer.”

 Four stents and less than three months later, Lindsley is relishing every note he plays in rehearsal and informal practice for the Mountain Money All-Stars’ performances in Haverhill on Friday, Chelsea on Saturday and Sharon on Sunday.

“By the time I got home from the hospital and got my feet back on the ground, I thought I could still do it,” Lindsley said. “Patrick came over right away. He was totally willing to work around it if I wasn’t ready, but he said, ‘We’d love to have you if you feel up to it.’ ”

While Ross, a veteran fiddler and music producer and teacher living in South Newbury, didn’t want to rush Lindsley into prepping for the shows, he was crossing his fingers that his friend could again stir himself into the mix with the full-time musicians.

“He is a walking, living story with songs bubbling from within, based on his unique view of life and his compass-like existence in our community,” Ross said earlier this spring. “The songs he will sing will hit the soul of home.”

For this gig, those songs won’t include any new ones reflecting on his ordeal just yet: He’s been too busy during a recovery that included the installation of four stents in his heart, a medication-related fainting episode that led to two more precautionary nights in the hospital, and a drastic change in his eating habits.

“No more animal products — cheese, yogurt, meat, nothing,” said Lindsley, who estimates that he has lost 20 pounds since the heart attack on Jan. 20. “I’ve also got to really watch the salt. And no sugar. Sugar’s like the devil, which might be the hardest thing because I was quite addicted to chocolate-chip cookies.”

In addition to resisting temptation during bake sales and various celebrations at the school, he’s resumed most of his duties as principal since returning on Feb. 27 — five weeks after the heart attack.

Still, he’s found ways to retune the musical side of his brain, his voice and his fingers.

“My wife’s brother came up straight from Peru after it happened, and after I got home, we got out the guitars,” Lindsley recalls. “I sang a song but it was too soon. I wasn’t feeling right, yet. Didn’t have any brass. Little by little I’ve been toying with it.”

He’s had a little help from the youngest member of his household.

“I’ve been playing my old songs and watching my 2-year-old dance,” Lindsley said of son Sebastian. “I’m grateful for this opportunity to keep going.”

He’s been thanking lots of people for setting his comeback in motion. The heart attack struck while he walked to his mailbox in South Ryegate.

While his wife, Luisa, rushed him to the emergency room at Cottage Hospital in Woodsville, “the pain was so bad I slipped under it,” Lindsley remembers. “I was like a gazelle when a lion grabs it, and it’s at the point where it quits fighting. When I got to Cottage, I quit fighting.”

After medication brought him back around enough for a DHART helicopter flight to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center — “a trip I don’t remember at all” — DHMC cardiac surgeon Megan Coylewright and her  team installed the stents and gave him a regimen of rest and dietary restrictions.

Then colleagues, friends and neighbors took the baton.

“The school did an incredible job,” Lindsley said. “And the Newbury community, they did an incredible job, taking care of me and my family.”

And in lieu of the chocolate-chip cookies he favors, Lindsley has the sweetness of making music with Ross and the other Mountain Money All-Stars this weekend.

“This is exciting,” Lindsley said. “Knowing that they flew in Hunter, who’s having some big success out in Oregon, is pretty amazing.

“And here I am, just back from the Twilight Zone.”

Chance Lindsley performs with the Mountain Money All-Stars on Friday night at 7 at Alumni Hall in Haverhill, Saturday night at 7 at Chelsea Town Hall and Sunday night at 7 at the Seven Stars Center for the Arts in Sharon. To reserve tickets ($20) and learn more, visit or call 802-748-2600. 

Best Bets

The Parish Players kick off their 50th season with a three-weekend run of the Jack Neary play Jerry Finnegan’s Sister, starting with performances on Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 and on Sunday afternoon at 3, at the Eclipse Grange on Thetford Hill. To reserve tickets ($12 to $15) and learn more, visit or call 802-785-4344.

 Singer-songwriter Toshi Reagon and dancer-choreographer Michelle Dorrance stage their Blues Project celebration of their respective arts at Dartmouth College’s Moore Theater in Hanover on Friday and Saturday nights. Reagon leads her BIGLovely band while Dorrance, recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant, sets the pace for her ensemble of tap dancers. Both shows start at 8. To reserve tickets ($17 to $50) and learn more, visit or call 603-646-2422.

Saxophonist Michael Zsoldos plays two sets of the music of John Coltrane with bassist Peter Concilio, keyboard player Bruce Sklar and drummer Tim Gilmore on Friday night at the Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners. The shows are scheduled to start at 8 and at 9:40. For table reservations, call 802-436-2139.

 Resident artists of Opera North perform two shows over the weekend as tuneups for their summer 2017 season.

 On Friday night at 6 at the Quechee Club, the ensemble sings favorites from Gershwin, Bernstein, Weill and more during the company’s Spring Fling Soiree.

And on Saturday night at 7:30 at the Roth Center for Jewish Life in Hanover, the performers will present an “Opera, Schmopera” concert featuring most of the same composers.

 Both events also will include selections from the operas that the company plans to stage at Lebanon Opera House this summer. To reserve tickets for the Spring Fling ($35) or for “Opera, Schmopera ($25) and learn more, visit or email  

The Camerata New England trio of cellist Linda Galvan, violinist Omar Chen Guey and pianist Evelyn Zuckerman performs works of Mozart, Faure, Rachmaninoff and Piazzolla on Saturday night at 7, at the Norwich church of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Upper Valley. To order tickets ($28) and learn more, visit or call 802-785-4833.

The Vermont Comedy Divas team of Josie Leavitt, Autumn Engroff Spencer and Hillary Boone swings through the Lake Morey Inn in Fairlee on Saturday night at 8, to perform a benefit show for the nonprofit Safeline Inc.’s programs for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. For tickets ($20) and more information, call 802-685-7900, or visit

The Tango Norte quartet of pianist Bob Merrill, violinist Thal Aylward, accordionist Jeremiah McLane and singer Hugo Martinez Corzon set the rhythm for milonga dancing at Hartland’s Damon Hall on Sunday afternoon from 4 to 7. A lesson in this less-intense style of tango will be held at 3. Admission is $10.

Folk singer-songwriter Tom Rush plays two shows at the Flying Goose Brewpub and Grille in New London on Sunday. For both the 3 p.m. appearance and the 7 p.m. performance, reservations are required. For tickets ($25) and more information, call 603-526-6899.

Symphony NH performs Bedrich Smetana’s The Moldau and Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 7. Also, soloist Cheryl Bishkoff will play Bohuslav Martinu’s Concerto for Oboe at Lebanon Opera House on Sunday afternoon at 3. To reserve tickets ($10 to $49) and to learn more, visit For more information, visit

Looking Ahead

The Chandler Music Hall in Randolph is selling tickets for the April 14 performance by Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, the first couple of banjo. Admission ranges from $15 for students to $75 for VIP seating that includes a post-concert reception for the performers. To reserve tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show, and to learn more, visit or call 802-728-6464.

Theater/Performance Art

The Old Church Theater in Bradford is inviting aspiring actors to two auditions this weekend for its July production of Making God Laugh, playwright Sean Grennan’s family dramedy involving characters ranging in age from early 20s through early 50s. The auditions on both Saturday and Sunday start at 2 p.m. in the vestry of the Congregational Church on North Main Street. To set up an audition time and to learn more, call director Diane Chamberlain or Jim Heidenreich at 802-439-6199.

Collen Doyle and Ian Clark headline a comedy showcase at The Engine Room in White River Junction on Wednesday night at 7:30. Admission is $5.


Saxophonist Marco Pignataro joins the Dartmouth College faculty ensemble of guitarist John Muratore, cellist Naseem Alatrash and percussionist Hafiz Shabazz at Rollins Chapel in Hanover on Sunday afternoon, for a concert featuring Pignatoro's compositions as well as works of Heitor Villa-Lobos, Astor Piazzolla, Baden Powell de Aquino and Richard Galliano. The performance, to which admission is free, starts at 1.

The 16-member chorus Vermont Chamber Artists debuts this weekend with two performances of works of Thomas Tallis, Ola Gjeilo and Eric Whitacre. Their inaugural concert, on Saturday night at 7 at the Seven Stars Arts Center in Sharon, and their recital on Sunday night at 7 at the First Congregational Church on Thetford Hill, benefit the Norris Cotton Cancer Center. Admission costs $5 to $20 in advance and $10 to $25 at the door. To reserve tickets and learn more, email or visit


Heathen Creek sets the Americana rhythm and Nils Fredland calls the steps for the contradance at Norwich’s Tracy Hall on Saturday night at 8. Admission is $6 to $9.

Bar and Club Circuit

The Bradford-based ensemble Wild Roots ranges across folk, bluegrass, pop and rock at the tavern of the Lyme Inn tonight starting at 6:30.

Singer-songwriter Charlie Chronopulos performs at the Taverne on the Square in Claremont tonight at 7, and Tirade storms through a set of rock on Friday night starting at 8.

Pomfret native Tristan Henderson and his Pete’s Posse play Americana and roots music at the Skinny Pancake in Hanover tonight at 8. Singer-songwriter Chris Powers follows them to the venue on Friday night at 7, while the soulful alt-rock trio Navytrain steps to the microphone on Saturday night at 7:30 and Cold Chocolate plays the Bluegrass Brunch on Sunday from noon to 3.

Singer-songwriter Jim Hollis performs in the tavern of Jesse’s in Hanover on Friday evening starting at 5.

Singer Lydia Gray and guitarist Ed Eastridge join forces at the Canoe Club in Hanover on Friday night at 6 and at the same time on Wednesday night. Between those gigs, musicians performing shows from 6 to 9 will be pianist Randall Mullen on Saturday, jazz singer Rowland Hazard on Sunday and guitarist Bruce Gregori on Tuesday.

Celtic fiddler Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki plays the Sunapee Community Coffeehouse on Friday night at 7. While admission is free, donations are welcome.

Soulfix performs at Crossroads Bar and Grille in South Royalton on Friday night at 9. And on Tuesday night from 6 to 9, Soulfix singer Alison “AliT” Turner and saxophonist Michael Parker return to the venue.

Guitarist Ted Mortimer kicks off the weekend of music at Salt hill Pub in Hanover on Friday night at 8, followed by a soulful session of funk on Saturday night at 9 by Hammond-B3 organ aficionado Tom Caselli and his B3 Brotherhood.

Cloud frontman Mark Aldrich plays a solo session of acoustic folk and rock at Salt hill Pub in Lebanon on Friday night starting at 8, followed on Saturday night at 9 by the Conniption Fits.

Alex Smith & The Mountain Sound performs a Celtic-tinged blend of acoustic rock and bluegrass at the Salt hill Pub in Newport on Friday night at 8. And at 9 on Saturday night, the Sullivan Davis Hanscom Band rocks the house.

Open Mics

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.

Joe Stallsmith leads a weekly hootenanny of Americana, folk and bluegrass at Salt hill Pub in Hanover on Monday nights at 6.

Bradford’s Colatina Exit holds an open mic, Tuesday nights at 8.

Jim Yeager hosts an open mic at Hartland’s Skunk Hollow Tavern at 8:30 on Wednesday nights.

David Corriveau can be reached at and at 603-727-3304.

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