Family Room

VSO’s Jukebox is coming to Rutland’s Merchants Hall Friday. Pictured is VSO violinist Brooke Quiggins.

One of the great things about the Vermont Symphony Orchestra’s Jukebox series is that it’s kid-friendly without being watered down.

The innovative chamber music series featuring a Jukebox string quartet with some of Vermont’s most talented musicians runs about an hour long, and incorporates a creative selection of styles of music.

“The idea of a jukebox, you sort of never know what you’re going to hear,” composer Matt LaRocca said the last time we spoke about the series. “It’s a huge mix of styles of music, it’s different from what you expect.”

At 7:30 p.m. Friday, the VSO Jukebox will be at Merchants Hall in Rutland featuring a sliding-scale admission charge, and a program curated by LaRocca.

From the optimism of Mozart’s Laudamus te from his C minor Mass, to Jessie Montgomery’s “I Want to Go Home,” Jim Territo’s “The Prophet (Love, Children, and Beauty),” and Kathy Wonson Eddy’s “Let Justice Roll Down,” the program offers a diverse and compelling range, in a unique and family-friendly space.

“When you walk into a jukebox show, it doesn’t feel like you’re walking into a concert hall,” LaRocca said. “It’s a more relaxed atmosphere, it’s less formal than a normal Vermont Symphony show.”

But the caliber of musicians is the same. Stefanie Taylor, who has played with VSO for the past several years, including the Jukebox series, said, “One of the beauties and challenges is the prep for a concert like Jukebox is really time-intensive, a lot of individual time preparation, practice and score study from each of us. It’s not something you do unless you’re completely devoted to it.”

“When we look at our audience we see people from every demographic,” LaRocca said. “It’s a great place for parents to bring kids, it’s a good (experience) for any age bracket, which is one of the things that I love about it the most. We see people my parent’s age, people my age, and people my kids’ ages all coming to hang out at one show see some great music.”

With the sliding-scale admission you can see the show for five dollars or whatever donation you’d like. “It’s really important to us as a way to make sure we can make this for everybody,” LaRocca said. Not to mention, “each one is really fun and really different.”

VSO Jukebox is at Merchants Hall, 40-42 Merchants Row, Rutland, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17. For more information, call 802-855-8081 or go online to

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