RR Arts Preview

Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater will present an evening of four-hands piano with Mairi and Nathan Harris Grewar Dec. 28.

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

Four-hands pianoMIDDLEBURY – When we want to get swept away by passion, drama, fantasy, and magic, we go to the theater. Drawing on their experience at opera companies across Europe, London-based pianists Mairi and Nathan Harris Grewar present “Night at the Theater,” piano duet arrangements of some of their favorite music from the world of ballet and opera, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 28.

From Bernstein’s fizzy Overture to “Candide” to Schreker’s brooding “Prelude to a Drama,” and treasures from Tchaikovsky including his “Nutcracker Suite,” each piece tells a captivating story.

“When we found out that Nathan is the son of Theresa Harris, the gallery manager at Edgewater here in town, and that he and his wife Mairi would be home for the holidays from Europe, we knew we had to try and organize a recital. Their playing is incredible! This is going to be a real festive end-of-year treat,” says Mark Bradley, executive director of Town Hall Theater.

The concert will be followed by a champagne and dessert reception at the Edgewater Gallery on the Green, just down the street from Town Hall Theater on Merchants Row.

Tickets are $25, $15 under 18; call 802-382-9222, or go online to https://townhalltheater.org. Town Hall Theater is located at 68 S. Pleasant St.

Swing NoireBRANDON – The local group Swing Noire, another firm favorite with Brandon Music audiences and who played this year’s first concert (now almost a tradition) at the Barn in January 2019, will close the year with its inimitable Gypsy jazz style at 7:30 p.m. Saturday Dec. 21.

Over the last decade, Swing Noire has become Vermont’s favorite Gypsy jazz ensemble. Some call it Gypsy jazz, some hot swing; in either case it is acoustic jazz in the spirit of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. Violinist David Gusakov (Last Train to Zinkov, Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Pine Island), guitarist Rob McCuen (Bloodroot Gap, The Good Parts), and Jim McCuen (Bloodroot Gap, Bessette Quartet) on double bass, make up Vermont’s hot club-style ensemble.

Swing Noire has performed at the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, Burlington’s First Night Celebration, Town Hall Theater in Middlebury, Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph, and countless other venues throughout Vermont and New England.

“In a time when good jazz groups are hard to find, Swing Noire rises to the top as one of the best jazz groups playing around Burlington,” said Jennifer Crowell, of First Night Burlington. “Swing Noire brings you into those smoky clubs of days past, makes you feel jazz the way it was meant to be felt, full of emotion and energy.”

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 Road; go online to www.brandon-music.net.

A Grift New Year’sMIDDLEBURY – Town Hall Theater throws a dance party for New Year’s Eve featuring The Grift Tuesday, Dec. 31. Doors open at 8 p.m. and The Grift will take the stage at 8:30. A free midnight champagne toast, a tradition at THT, will ring in the New Year.

“We’ve had great bands here on past New Year’s Eves,” says THT’s artistic director, Doug Anderson, “but The Grift is one of the best. We nabbed them again this year, and it’s a great thing for all of us.”

The Grift’s sound defies easy categorization, blending booty-shaking grooves and improvisation with radio-friendly hooks, witty lyrics, and tight vocal harmonies. The band includes Clint Bierman on guitar, mandolin and vocals; Peter Day on bass, guitar, vocals and the occasional trumpet; Jeff Vallone on drums, bass and vocals; Andrew Moroz on keys and horns. The Grift was formed by Middlebury College grads Clint and Jeff in 1999, and since then has performed more than 2,300 shows in 25 states and four countries.

Tickets are $20, $17 in advance; call 802-382-9222, or go online to https://townhalltheater.org.

Gingerbread showcaseRUTLAND – The Chaffee Art Center invites the community to enjoy its annual gingerbread showcase “Season of Giving.” Vote on your favorite creation with the “People’s Choice” awards in various categories until Jan. 3. While there, stroll through the galleries located on the first and second floors of the historic mansion and enjoy the holiday décor throughout. There are four magnificent fireplaces and a sweeping stairway beautifully decorated for the holidays by the Rutland Garden Club.

The current holiday exhibit, “Season of Giving,” is also on display. This is an all-member show celebrating the talented artists in area communities. Experience the beauty of the arts and the one-of-a-kind handmade treasures that are perfect for gifting this holiday season.

Hours are: noon to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday; call 802-775-0356, or go online to www.chaffeeartcenter.org. The Chaffee is located at 16 S. Main St.

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