Arts & Leisure

Arts Beat: ‘Breaking the Habit’ concert celebrates female rulers

STILE ANTICO CELEBRATES 16th century female rulers when they perform Renaissance works by female composers on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 7:30 p.m., at Mahaney Arts Center in Middlebury.

The three-time Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble Stile Antico will present “Breaking the Habit” at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9, in Robison Hall at Middlebury College’s Mahaney Arts Center.
The concert will celebrate the unprecedented number of female rulers in the 16th century, from the powerful Medici women in Italy to the great Tudor queens of England, many of whom used their patronage to facilitate the production of exquisitely beautiful music by female composers. Through this fascinating program, Stile Antico will shine a light on often-neglected repertoire, bringing women from the Renaissance to life through song. Middlebury’s Mountain Ayres will sing for arriving patrons starting at 7 p.m.
Stile Antico is firmly established as one of the world’s most accomplished and innovative vocal ensembles. Working without a conductor, its twelve members have thrilled audiences on four continents with fresh, vibrant and moving performances of Renaissance polyphony. Its bestselling recordings have earned accolades including the Gramophone Award for Early Music. The group has received three Grammy nominations, and performed live at the 60th Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden.
General admission tickets are $28 for the general public; $22 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, alumni, and emeriti; $10 for youth; and $6 for Middlebury College students, and are on sale at 802-443-6433 or The MAC is located at 72 Porter Field Road in Middlebury, just off Route 30 South/South Main St. Free parking is available curbside on Route 30 or in the MAC parking lot.

HONK! Jr. hits the stage at Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7. There will be repeat performances at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8, and at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9, and Sunday, Nov. 10.
HONK! Jr. is a musical version of the classic story of the different duckling, a story told in words, music and dance, a story both timely and timeless. Director/choreographer Kymberly Breckinridge, music directors Sarah Stone and Annette Franklin and the cast of young Addison County performers bring this tale to life, and they very much want you to join them as they have fun showing that different is neither good nor bad, it just is — and we all belong.
Ida is a loving mother duck, but when one of her new ducklings turns out to be different, she has to adjust. She loves her Ugly, but the other barnyard residents are not so understanding; some are even mean and bullying. Through a series of events, Ugly is sent on an unexpected journey of discovery, encountering various creatures along the way. Some are helpful, some dangerous, some kindhearted, but all contribute to Ugly’s own understanding of having a place in the world.
Tickets are $8 plus fees, and may be purchased at the THT box office, 68 South Pleasant St. in Middlebury, over the phone at 802-382-9222 (Monday to Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.), or online at

Shuman and Black, “Brothers in Art: An Exhibition in Diversity, Unity, Love,” opens at the Compass Music and Arts Center in Brandon on Friday, Nov. 8, with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m.
This exhibition’s title, “Brothers In Art,” draws an association to the historic warfare term, Brothers In Arms, where men from diverse backgrounds bond together in combat. Here, however, “Art” becomes the “armament” used by these two “brothers” whose works, while wholly different in form and content are unified in time, space and spirit. The art emerges from the love they share on their peaceful mission to inspire a more creative, loving world.
Tecari Shuman and Robert Black first encountered each other in a chance meeting about four years ago that has led to a firm and continuing friendship. At that time Shuman was combating post-polio syndrome and the beginnings of Parkinson’s. Recognizing a kindred soul Black felt impelled to suggest to Shuman that art was the way to rekindle his creative passions. As Shuman ventured tentatively into painting, Black became motivated to renew his own artistic exploration of collage. From this sharing each became a student and tutor for the other — and the rest is history.
The exhibit, which runs through Dec. 7, is free. The Compass Center is located at 333 Jones Drive, Park Village in Brandon. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 802-247-4295 or visit

The Vermont Bluegrass Pioneers will be performing for the Burnham Music Series at Burnham Hall in Lincoln on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 7:30 p.m. The Pioneers are an exciting new band that unites the talents of three of Vermont’s veteran and best-known bluegrass musicians: brothers “Banjo” Dan and Willy Lindner — co-founders of the prolific and well-traveled Banjo Dan & the Midnite Plowboys, and who, since the band’s retirement, have continued their career as the multi-faceted Sky Blue Boys — and Danny Coane, guitarist and dynamic lead singer formerly with such bands as the Throbulators and the Radio Rangers, and, since 1998, with Vermont’s nationally award-winning honkytonk heroes, the Starline Rhythm Boys. Joining them will be Peter Riley on bass.
The three became acquainted in the 1970s, when they were among the first musicians playing bluegrass — a uniquely powerful, updated version of acoustic string-band music — in the hills of Vermont. In May 2016, after years of friendship and other musical pursuits, Danny, Willy, and Dan hit on the idea of teaming up as the aptly named Vermont Bluegrass Pioneers.
Admission is $10 for adults, teens and kids are free. Refreshments will be served. Burnham Hall is located at 52 River Road in Lincoln. Doors open at 7 p.m. For more information, call 388-6863. 

After several years and many awards and accolades, the organizers of the 2019-2020 season at the Vergennes Opera House welcome back Dwight Ritcher and Nicole Nelson on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 7:30 p.m.
The duo is well known for their dynamic live shows and well-crafted songs; gaining plenty of industry respect with nods for nine Boston Music Awards, seven Boston Phoenix Awards, seven Daysie Awards, and six New England Music Awards. Joining them on stage is powerhouse drummer Ezra Oklan.
“The last time Dwight and Nicole played at the Vergennes Opera House people were immediately asking when we could get them back,” says Gerianne Smart, president of the all-volunteer group the Friends of the Vergennes Opera House. “Finally, we were able to find a date that works and we just can’t wait!”
Opening for the show will be Bristol native Helen Hummel, who will be returning from various music jaunts around New England to warm up the crowd, starting at 7 p.m. Tickets for this special event are $15 in advance online at and $20 at the door. Doors and cash bar open at 6:30 p.m. For more information or call 802-877-6737.

The Brandon Artists Guild (The BAG), located at 7 Center St. in Brandon, kicks off the holiday season with affordable, gift-able art and craft pieces. The show, “Celebrate with Art,” runs from Friday, Nov. 8, through Tuesday, Jan. 28. The public is invited to the free opening reception on Friday, Nov. 8, from 5 to 7 p.m. In addition to the “Celebrate with Art” show, the BAG also welcomes three new member-artists. Catherine Palmer, who works in colored pencils; photographer Michael DiMeola; and Winslow Colwell, who combines photography with kite forms. The BAG debut of these artists’ work coincides with the opening of the holiday show.
The Brandon Artists Guild is an artist-run gallery with approximately 40 exhibiting artists and additional supporting members. The BAG supports the visual arts through exhibitions, lectures, demonstrations and educational programs.
The BAG is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For additional information, call 802-247-4956, or visit

The 2019-2020 Hirschfield International Film Series continues on Saturday, Nov. 9, at Middlebury College, with the 2019 animated film “Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles” by Salvador Simó.
Paris, 1930. The infamous surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel is left penniless after the scandalous release of “L’Age d’Or” leads to a falling out with collaborator Salvador Dalí. On a whim, Buñuel’s good friend, sculptor Ramón Acín, buys a lottery ticket and promises to devote his winnings to fund Buñuel’s next film.
Incredibly, Ramón wins the jackpot, sending the two friends to the remote mountains of their native Spain to film the documentary “Las Hurdes: Land Without Bread.” Driven by mad artistic impulses and haunted by childhood memories, Buñuel must confront the specter of mortality looming over the lives of his subjects — and his own. The film, in Spanish and French with English subtitles, will be shown at 3 and again at 8 p.m. in Dana Auditorium on College Street (Route 125). It’s free. Some of the films in this series may be inappropriate for children.

In the tradition of Public Radio International’s “Selected Shorts,” Middlebury College students from Oratory Now will read selections from the New England Review (NER) literary magazine in the sixth annual live performance of “NER Out Loud” on Friday, Nov. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the Dance Theater at the college’s Mahaney Arts Center. The event will be followed by a “S’more Readings” reception in the lobby with student writers. Attendees will be invited to enjoy s’more-themed treats while listening to the readings and browsing an assortment of literary magazines.
Both events are free and open to the public. Sign language interpretation will be offered.
The Mahaney Arts Center is located at 72 Porter Field Road in Middlebury, just off Route 30 South. Free parking is available curbside on Route 30 or in the Center for the Arts parking lot. For more information, call 802-443-6433 or visit

The monthly (second Saturday of the month) Blues Jam, hosted by Tom Caswell at Sister Wicked, 3 West Seminary St., in Brandon will take place at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9. A signup sheet for musicians is available. Singers, guitarists, bassists, drummers, keyboardists, harmonica players; everyone is welcome to come and play the blues. Nothing but the blues from 8 until late. For more information, call 802-236-3368.

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