RR Arts Preview

The VJC Big Band, with four current and past members of the Artie Shaw Orchestra including vocalist Sarah Hayes, performs at the Vermont Jazz Center Friday.

VJC Big Band

BRATTLEBORO – At 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, the Vermont Jazz Center will present its 16th annual Big Band Gala Performance. The VJC Big Band, under the leadership of musical director Rob Freeberg, is a community orchestra made up of professional musicians who come together to raise money for the VJC Scholarship Fund.

This year’s gala will feature the music made famous by the legendary clarinetist and bandleader Artie Shaw. The VJC will supplement its 16-piece big band with four affiliates of the renowned Artie Shaw Orchestra. Together they will perform an evening of dance music using original arrangements that helped the Artie Shaw Orchestra surge to stardom in the 1930s. The three current members of the Artie Shaw Orchestra who will perform with the VJC Big Band are vocalist Sarah Hayes, ASO Music Director and clarinetist Matt Koza, and trumpeter Kerry MacKillop. Former orchestra member John Wheeler (and current trombonist for the VJC Big Band) will be showcased as a soloist.

All money raised from this annual gala will go directly to the VJC’s Scholarship Fund. It serves as the primary funding source to assist scholarship students attending VJC’s educational programs.

Tickets are $25-$45 general admission, $30-$50 reserved seating; call 802-254-9088, ext. 1, or go online to www.vtjazz.org.

Pianist Cédric Tiberghien

MIDDLEBURY – At 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5, at Mahaney Arts Center’s Robison Hall at Middlebury College, French pianist Cédric Tiberghien will give a grand performance honoring the 100th anniversary of the 1918 World War I Armistice. His concert program will feature works composed during every year of the war, by composers from Poland (Szymanowski), Russia (Scriabin), Germany (Hindemith), France (Debussy), and England (Bridge), including an extraordinary work for left hand written for a pianist who lost his arm in battle.

“Cédric Tiberghien created something both arresting and significant. Choosing works composed in each year of the conflict, he built up a picture of piano music at this pivotal moment in its development, and also indicated something of the war’s human consequences” wrote The Independent.

Tiberghien has recorded complete cycles of music by Schubert, Szymanowski, and Mozart (Hyperion) and a Beethoven Sonata cycle (Wigmore Live). His recent three-volume exploration of Bartók’s solo piano works for Hyperion has received huge critical acclaim. Recital discs on Harmonia Mundi include repertoire by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, and Debussy.

Tickets are $22, $10 for youth; call 802-443-MIDD (6433), or go online to www.middlebury.edu/arts/tickets. The Mahaney Center is located at 72 Porter Field Road, just off Route 30 South/S. Main Street.

‘Life on a Cliff’

RUTLAND – Starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, Phoenix Books Rutland will host Stephen Russell Payne for a book signing and meet-and-greet featuring his new novel “Life on a Cliff.”

The book is a sequel to Payne’s award-winning novel “Cliff Walking.” Famous seascape artist Francis Monroe has come to love Kate Johnson and her artistic son Stringer, who were tracked from California to Maine by their abusive husband and father, Leland. After surviving a brutal attack and a subsequent grueling trial, Francis assumes they can all enjoy a normal life together. Kate, however, is anything but settled, as her old demons of addiction and self-destructive behavior resurface.

Payne, a fourth-generation Vermonter from the Northeast Kingdom, is the author of “Ties That Bind Us: A Collection of Vermont Short Stories,” and the biography “Riding My Guitar: The Rick Norcross Story.”

Admission is free; call 802-855-8078, or go online to www.phoenixbooks.biz. Phoenix Books Rutland is located at 2 Center St.

Lev-Evans Piano Duo

MANCHESTER CENTER – Taconic Music invites the public to a concert by the Lev-Evans Duo at Zion Episcopal Church at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. The concert program features lively works for piano four-hands by Handel, Bizet, Brahms, Poulenc and Fauré performed by Gili Melamed-Lev and Mark Evans.

Melamed-Lev is the founder and artistic director of The Concerts at Camphill Ghent. Evans is an assistant professor at the Schenectady County Community College School of Music and director of the SCCC School of Music Chamber Music Series.

Admission is by donation ($10 suggested); go online to www.taconicmusic.org.

Glen Velez percussion

BRATTLEBORO – The Brattleboro Music Center’s Season Guest Concerts continue at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, at the BMC, 72 Blanche Moyse Way, with Glen Velez Handance, featuring special guests Loire Cotler and Shane Shanahan, and the contemporary acoustic ensemble Dunham Shoe Factory.

Four-time Grammy winner Glen Velez brought a new genre of drumming to the contemporary music scene by creating his own performance style inspired by years of percussion and frame drumming studies from various cultures. His virtuosic combinations of hand movements and finger techniques, along with his original compositional style — which incorporates stepping, drum language and Central Asian overtone singing (split-tone singing) — has opened new possibilities for musicians around the globe, resulting in a shift in modern percussion.

Tickets are $20, $15 for students; call 802-257-4523, or go online to bmcvt.org.

Miss Guided Angels

RUTLAND – Folky bluegrass group Miss Guided Angels will be performing live at The Chaffee Arts Center from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6.

This Rutland group blends folk, blues, bluegrass, country, rock, pop and more into a musical stew, Americana-style, or as they like to say, “Ver-mericana.” With a long list of covers and a growing list of originals, each musician in the band brings a perspective and experience to the mix. Learn more about the band and listen to tracks or see videos at: www.georgesbackpocket.com/video.

Tickets are $7 at the door; go online to www.chaffeeartcenter.org.

Schmidt Chopin

MANCHESTER – At 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, pianist and composer Gary Schmidt will present “The Nocturnal Piano of Chopin,” at the First Congregational Church in Manchester, 3624 Main St.

Schmidt will perform a selection of six Chopin nocturnes, which will be accompanied with readings of poetry that reflect on the moods and mystery of Chopin’s life and music. Reciters will be Erika Schmidt, Burnham Holmes and Ken Holmes. Also included in the program will be an arrangement for piano and cello that Schmidt has composed to play with his wife Erika.

Admission is free; for information call 802-325-2603.

Romantic comedy

LUDLOW – “Hello, My Name is Doris” will be the next FOLA movie, at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at Heald Auditorium at the Ludlow Town Hall.

In this 2015 American romantic comedy-drama film, a woman in her 60s (Sally Field) tries to act on her attraction to a younger co-worker. As she continues her quest, nothing gets resolved in the expected movie fashion.

Admission is free (donations are appreciated); call 802-228-7239, or go online to www.fola.us.

Rhythm Future Quartet

BELLOWS FALLS – The acoustic jazz ensemble Rhythm Future Quartet has a straightforward agenda: to keep the spirit of Gypsy jazz alive and expanding in today’s musical universe. They will be doing just that in their Stone Church Arts’ performance in the Chapel at Immanuel Episcopal Church, 20 Church St., at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1.

The virtuosic foursome, named for a Django Reinhardt tune, offers up a newly minted sound, influenced by the classic Hot Club of France, yet wholly contemporary. Led by violinist Jason Anick and guitarist Olli Soikkeli, the quartet performs dynamic and lyrical arrangements of both Gypsy jazz standards and original compositions that draw upon diverse international rhythms and musical idioms.

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

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