Arts Beat for June 29, 2015: Festival kicks off with Rose's grit, charm
The Middlebury Summer Festival on-the-Green celebrates its 37th anniversary season during the week of July 5 through 11 at the Middlebury Recreation Park just south of the village center. The festival kicks off this Sunday at 7 p.m. with Caroline Rose, a rare mix of Northern grit and Southern charm whose musical influences trace back to her family’s Southern roots, running deep into the heart of Mississippi.
The festival, again rated a “Top 10 Summer Event” by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, continues on Monday with a “Brown Bag Special” presentation at noon by Rik Palieri. Then, at 7 p.m., the festival really gets under way with Ten Strings and a Goat Skin, an “on-fire fiddle/guitar/percussion trio (who) have harnessed an Acadian traditional spirit between them that is completely intoxicating, playing everything from French to Irish to even Gypsy music. Monday’s performances culminate with The 24th Street Wailers, five raw, gritty and funky young blues artists, at 8:30 p.m.
The balance of the festival will feature noontime “Brown Bag” family-oriented presentations through next Friday at noon. In addition, there will be evening musical performances from 7 until 10 p.m. by a wide variety of exciting musicians, including The Miles Donahue Quintet, Darlingside, Caitlin Canty, the Mike & Ruthy Band, the Bluegrass Gospel Project, Heather Maloney, Vance Gilbert, Ray Vega and Tales From the Boogie Down, and the Vermont Jazz Ensemble. See next week’s column for additional details and specific performance times.
Although all festival events are free, donations are welcome. For more information visit festivalonthegreen.org or call 462-3555.
RIPTON COFFEE HOUSE
The Ripton Community Coffee House, a nonprofit community concert series, welcomes folk duo Mark Mandeville and Raianne Richards on Saturday, at 7:30 p.m. at the Ripton Community House in Ripton.
Mandeville and Richards are a folk duo from Massachusetts who sing in a style that is a cross between alt-country and folk music categories, commanding familiar traditional melodies and poignant, introspective lyrics, and backing them with delicate arrangements on ukulele, clarinet, guitar and banjo. They began in the coffee shops and art spaces of New England, and have since tested the stages of more traditional folk music venues, colleges, living rooms and barrooms all around the country.
In 2011, Mandeville and Richards began rehearsing with pedal steel/dobro player Peter Hart and multi-instrumentalist Doug Williamson, among others, to release a collection of songs as Mark Mandeville & Old Constitution. This album stands alone, containing both folk rock arrangements and the sparse bluegrass/country-tinged songs expected from the duo’s recent performances, with the gamut at times drifting into the mainstream.
As always, the concert begins at 7:30 p.m. with an open-mike set, followed by the featured performers. Open-mike performers are encouraged to call in advance and reserve one of the four open-mike slots.
Admission to the coffeehouse is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and teens and $3 for children. The economically challenged may pay what they can afford. Refreshments will be available. The coffeehouse is held on the first Saturday of each month, except August. For more information, contact Richard Ruane or Andrea Chesman at 388-9782.
THE GRIFT AT LPV
The Grift will be playing at Lincoln Peak Vineyard on Friday, from 6 to 8 p.m. The Grift, Middlebury’s favorite rock and roll quartet, plays an eclectic set of originals and often-humorous covers. Catchy melodies, clever lyrics and tight vocal harmonies will get you dancing and singing along. The band includes Clint Bierman (guitar, vocals), Jeff Vallone (drums, vocals) and Peter Day (bass, trumpet, vocals).
The Grift’s style is pop-rock with literate lyrics and vocal harmonies, and it really grooves. These guys have serious musical and songwriting chops. The songs spring to life when the vocal harmonies of Bierman and Day meet the musical muscle of a road-tested touring band. Mix a deep love for the craft of songwriting with the rock-solid rhythm section of Vallone on drums and Day on bass with Bierman’s masterful guitar playing, and you get the strange, eclectic, dynamic brew that is Grift music.
As with all Wine Down Friday shows, the “doors” open at 5:30 p.m. for picnicking. Food will be for sale by Almost Home, and wine by the glass.
Admission is free. Bring lawn chairs or a picnic blanket. The Wine Down Friday series happens rain or shine —there’s room on the winery porch in the case of rain. No alcohol may be brought onto the grounds, and please leave your pets at home. Lincoln Peak Vineyard is located at 142 River Road in New Haven. For more information visit lincolnpeakvineyard.com.
SALISBURY SUMMER SERIES
On Friday at 7:30 p.m., the Salisbury Church will launch its 36th annual Summer Performance Series with a chamber concert by the faculty ensemble of the Point Counterpoint Music Camp under music director Karen Oosterbaan. They will be performing Haydn’s String Quartet in B flat minor (“Sunrise”) and Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor.
These talented young professionals hail from some of the country’s leading musical programs, including the New England Conservatory, the Cleveland Institute, Juilliard, Northwestern University, Boston University and the Manhattan School of Music. Their performance venues have included the Chamber Orchestra of Amsterdam, the Carnegie Recital Hall, Florida Pro Musica, the Warsaw Mozart Festival, the Orvieto Festival, Beijing, Atlanta, Aspen and Rio.
This will be the first of six consecutive Friday events at the historic 1838 church in Salisbury Village. Although the church tower will be scaffolded for repairs during this season, the sanctuary will still be readily entered through the front doors and the accessible rear entrance.
Although admission is free, a donation in support of the series is always appreciated.
TWO BROTHERS TAVERN
There will be three live musical performances this week at Two Brothers Tavern in Middlebury.
Join Two Brothers every Wednesday, at 9 p.m., for the Open Mic, an evening of music, comedy, or anything else, alternately hosted by Mark Sikora and Kai Stanley. Come cheer on your friends or let loose on the stage. It’s free to enter, and there is no cover charge.
Then, at 9 p.m. on Friday, Two Brothers presents Main Street Syndicate, who hail from Warren and are making the trek over the mountain to offer their own brand of rock psychedelia and original compositions. There is a $3 cover.
Finally, at 10 p.m. on Saturday, Rev. Ben Donovan and the Congregation take to the Tavern’s stage. The band’s eclectic mix of drinking tunes, gospel hymns, love songs and lust anthems — served up with a shot and a beer on a Friday night — has been steadily gaining traction. Come celebrate the Fourth with some foot-stomping musical mayhem. There is a $3 cover. For more information, call 388-0002.
The Middlebury College Summer Carillon Series begins its 30th year of concerts with a 5 p.m. performance on Friday in Mead Chapel by George Matthew Jr., carillonneur, Middlebury College and Norwich University.
Enjoy the sounds of the carillon bells from the chapel steps or, weather permitting, on the surrounding lawns. The free series continues every Friday through August with a different performer each week. This year’s 30th anniversary season is included in the Vermont Arts Council’s 2015 Year of the Arts “Anniversary Club.”
Mead Memorial Chapel is located on the campus of Middlebury College at 75 Hepburn Road. Free parking is available on Route 125 (College Street), and on Old Chapel Road. For further information, call 443-3168 or visit middlebury.edu/arts.