RR Arts Preview

Steve Small and Mary Krantz in Middlebury Actors Workshop’s “Ada and the Engine,” opening April 11 at Town Hall Theater.

Contributions should be sent to jim.lowe@rutlandherald.com at least two weeks in advance.

‘Ada and the Engine’

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury Actors Workshop kicks off its 2019 season April 11-14 with Lauren Gunderson’s “Ada And The Engine,” the true story of Ada Byron Lovelace (only legitimate daughter of the poet Lord Byron) and her mentor Charles Babbage: two 19th-century visionaries who anticipated the computer age. Middlebury College music professor Peter Hamlin has composed a score for the play, and Rebecca Strum directs.

Performances are at Town Hall Theater at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

As the British Industrial Revolution dawns, young Ada sees the boundless creative potential in the “analytic engine” of her friend and soulmate, Charles Babbage, inventor of the first mechanical computer. Ada envisions a whole new world where art and information converge. The play is a music-laced story of love, friendship and the edgiest dreams of the future. Ada was a “Steve Jobs” for the Victorian Age.

“I’ve spent a career searching for plays of women’s stories that offer complex, challenging roles for women; ‘Ada And The Engine’ satisfies both of those requirements,” Strum said.

There will be a post-show talkback with audience, cast, director and Middlebury College mathematics professor Mike Olinick after the closing matinee on Sunday, April 14.

Tickets are $25, $12 for students; call 802-382-9222, or go online to www.townhalltheater.org.

Snake Mountain Bluegrass

BRANDON — Bluegrass music is rightly regarded as a truly American evolving art form. Whether you enjoy traditional bluegrass or a more eclectic flavor, Snake Mountain Bluegrass combines the best of great traditional and modern bluegrass. With harmonies and songs that vary in tempo from “breakdown” to ballad, this popular Addison County group puts on an authentic show for everyone. Its upcoming concert at Brandon Music at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 13 will feature tunes from its recent album, “For Keeps,” as well as many traditional favorites.

Retired Middlebury College professor Gregg Humphrey and Middlebury construction company owner Mike Connor formed Snake Mountain Bluegrass about 30 years ago. At the time, both Humphrey (guitar and vocals) and Connor (banjo and vocals) were living near Snake Mountain, and someone asked them what style of bluegrass they played. “Snake Mountain bluegrass,” was their immediate response, and the name has been theirs ever since. They are joined by Earle Provin and Jacob Blumberg.

Tickets are $20 (pre-concert dinner is available for $25; reservations are required); call 802-247-4295, or email info@brandon-music.net. Brandon Music is located at 62 Country Club Rd.

12 angry women

MIDDLEBURY — At 2 p.m. Sunday, April 7 at Town Hall Theater’s Byers Studio, an all-star cast of women will lend their impassioned voices to a reading of the classic play, “Twelve Angry Men,” by Reginald Rose, as part of the 12,000 Voices project. Women all over the country will read a play about the power one person can have when they speak with conviction in our judicial system.

In the story, a 19-year-old man has just stood trial for the fatal stabbing of his father. It looks like an open-and-shut case — until one of the jurors begins opening the others’ eyes to the facts.

Director Erica Furgiuele is collaborating with Town Hall Theater and Middlebury Community Players for this special project. A Middlebury College graduate, she has performed on the Town Hall Theater stage and with Middlebury Community Players. She also works with Courageous Stage, bringing Shakespeare to schools all over Vermont.

“This play demonstrates that it’s not enough to be staunch in your beliefs. You have to defend them articulately, compassionately and tirelessly,” Furgiuele said.

Admission is free (donations are appreciated); call 802-382-9222, or go online to www.townhalltheater.org.

Georgian men’s choir

BELLOWS FALLS — In the mountains and along the coasts of Georgia, the ancient country that straddles the Caucasus Mountains, songs have echoed for centuries. Villages and regions developed their own distinctive approaches to melody and harmony, to style and timbre. A men’s choir from Georgia in Eurasia will be coming to share those distinctive choral traditions at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 6 at Immanuel Episcopal Church, 20 Church St.

These traditional songs ring on, finding new life in the rich voices of Iberi. The six-person vocal and instrumental ensemble channels Georgia’s multitude of sounds, exploring the emotional potential of age-old polyphony and traditional instruments. These are songs so beautiful, they were launched into space on Voyager 2’s golden record and declared an intangible cultural treasure by UNESCO.

For tickets or information, call 802-460-0110, or go online to www.stonechurcharts.org.

Castalian String Quartet

MIDDLEBURY — Recent winners of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship Award, Lyon International Chamber Music Competition, Young Classical Artists Trust, and more, the Castalian String Quartet is rapidly emerging as a new voice in the international chamber music scene. Middlebury College presents the quartet in a free concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 12 at the Mahaney Arts Center, with a program including Haydn’s Op. 76, No. 2; Britten’s Second Quartet and Schubert’s “Rosamunde.”

Performing Arts Series Director Allison Coyne Carroll first saw the Castalian Quartet perform at the Banff International String Quartet Competition. “I recall how mesmerized and moved I was by their performance, and the thunderous standing ovation they received before their final chord had a chance to even ring in the hall.”

Professor of Music Larry Hamberlin will offer a pre-concert lecture at 6:30 p.m. The Mahaney Arts Center is located at 72 Porter Field Rd., just off Route 30 South/S. Main Street.

Seeking student art

RUTLAND — The Chaffee Art Center will again showcase young artists from dozens of Vermont schools and home-school groups for the annual student exhibit that will be on display May 3-June 7. Entries by students in grades K-12 from Vermont public, private and home-school groups are invited to submit work.

This year’s theme, “It’s All About the Arts,” expresses our passion and commitment to encompass all of the arts. The student exhibit is now open to include, but not limited to, entries in art medium, theater, culinary arts, poetry, music, and literature. Encouraged are entries in all of the arts so that aspiring young creative people have an opportunity to let others share and enjoy their talents.

Fees are $100 for high schools, $60 per other school and $10 per home-school student. A few scholarships are available to subsidize a reduced fee. Delivery schedule is 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, April 25; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, April 26; and 11 a.m.to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 27.

For a student exhibit packet or information, contact Sherri, 802-775-0356 (cell: 802-353-6605) or email info@chaffeeartcenter.org. The Chaffee website is www.chaffeeartcenter.org.

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