MIDDLEBURY – The acclaimed Brentano String Quartet — hailed as “passionate, uninhibited, and spellbinding” (The Independent, London) — returns to Middlebury College’s Mahaney Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 26, this time joined by five-time Grammy Award-winning soprano Dawn Upshaw.
The Brentano Quartet will play Haydn’s Op. 20 No. 2 and Bartók’s second quartet, and then will join Upshaw for performances of Schoenberg’s second quartet and Respighi’s “Il Tramonto (The Sunset).” Both Brentano and Upshaw performed individually as part of the Performing Arts Series two years ago, and were very well received. When Director Allison Coyne Carroll heard that the two were developing a collaborative concert, she jumped at the chance to bring them back. “To have this much talent performing together on our Robison Hall stage will most surely be unforgettable.”
Reserved seat tickets are $30, $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.
BRANDON – Guitar wizard Sean Ashby performs live at Brandon Music at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 27. As one of America’s go-to guitarists, Ashby has played and recorded with Sarah McLachlan, Delirium, Ginger (former Grapes of Wrath) and many more.
Ashby is a singer-songwriter, stellar guitarist and producer who released his debut album, “Brass and Gold,” on Black Sparrow universal in April 2008. Since then Ashby has released four further albums. He describes his sound as “Jackson Brown meets Junior Brown meets James Brown Americana.”
Often referred to as a guitar superhero, Ashby is known for touring with up to eight different guitars, including his favorite, the Burns Black Bison — a British surf guitar used by The Shadows in the 1960s. His guitar collection includes three types of slide guitar, one of which is a Hawaiian slide guitar, and three Gretsch guitars including a White Falcon, a Country Club and Chet Atkins Nashville.
Tickets are $20; (pre-concert dinner is available for $25; reservations are required) call 802-247-4295 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Brandon Music is located at 62 Country Club Road.
Stellar chamber music
BRATTLEBORO – Brattleboro Music Center artistic advisors Jaime Laredo and Sharon Robinson welcome two colleagues with thorough Vermont connections for a collaborative performance at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 28, at the BMC.
Violinist Soovin Kim and pianist Gloria Chien, husband and wife, join Laredo and Robinson for this special Chamber Music Series concert that features two quartets for piano and strings. The two couples will present the Quartet in E-flat major by Mozart and the Quartet in C minor by Gabriel Faure. Kim and Chien will also perform the Sonata for violin and piano by Maurice Ravel.
Kim and Chien are artistic directors of the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival (LCCMF) in Colchester.
For tickets or information, call 802-257-4523 or go online to https://bmcvt.org.
Wonderfeet ‘Lip Sync’
RUTLAND – Wonderfeet Kids’ Museum, Rutland’s very own children’s museum located in the heart of downtown, will offer a generous portion of play at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 27 at 6 p.m., at the Paramount Theatre. All proceeds will benefit Wonderfeet Kids’ Museum.
As audiences from the past two years can attest, the talent and creativity displayed on stage during this live “Lip Sync Battle” are not to be missed. Teams of local residents will lift spirits and show off with costumes, music and choreography. The team lineup this year includes performers from Aldermans, GE, Head Start, Rutland Regional Medical Center, Rutland Recreation and many museum supporters.
“If you want a night out that promises to deliver big laughs and surprises that will leave you feeling full of community pride, then you don’t want to miss this show!” explains Laura Pierce, event organizer. “We’ve been blown away by the performances in the first two years, and can’t wait to see what they dream up this year!”
For tickets, call 802-775-0903, or go online to www.paramountvt.org. Children may attend, but parents are reminded that the night’s content may not be suitable for all ages. For more information, visit www.wonderfeetkidsmuseum.org.
Brattleboro Concert Choir
BRATTLEBORO – The Brattleboro Concert Choir presents “Beauty Through Tragedy: The Music of Ralph Vaughan Williams & Amy Beach” in two concerts, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 26, and 3 p.m. Saturday, April 27, both at the Latchis Theatre.
Beach was the first American woman to publish a symphony, and the first major American composer of any gender not to receive early training in Europe. Her Four Canticles, Op. 78, is a sumptuous setting of four psalms in English, leaning into their evocative descriptions of nature and music. As Beach was composing the Canticles, Vaughan Williams was serving as a member of the Royal Army Medical Corps, driving an ambulance in France and Greece. He wrote his “Dona nobis pacem” two decades later, in the years leading up to World War II, having witnessed firsthand the horror of “the war to end all wars.”
For tickets or information, call the Brattleboro Music Center, 802-257-4523 or go online to https://bmcvt.org.
‘Putnam Spelling Bee’
MIDDLEBURY – Middle school. It’s awkward. A few years ago these students were nose-picking, butt-scratching bundles of sweetness. A few years from now they will register to vote.
Broadway loves to weave stories from this kind of stuff, and audiences everywhere have fallen in love with “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” Middlebury Community Players will stage this Tony Award–winning musical at Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater April 25–28 and May 2–5. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.
The premise is brilliant: Cast young adults to play middle-schoolers competing in a spelling bee. Add some adult characters with “issues.” Layer in sophisticated but contagious music. Then — every single show — invite a few audience members onstage, cross your fingers, and hope the cast can keep everything under control.
What could go wrong?
Tickets are $25, $20 ($17 Thursdays); call 802-382-9222, or go online to www.townhalltheater.org.
WEST RUTLAND – The Carving Studio and Sculpture Center will present two workshops Saturday and Sunday, May 18-19, focusing on techniques for working artistically with stone and clay.
Led by Amanda Sisk, “Bas Relief Sculpture” offers the opportunity for the creation of dynamic clay forms. “Letter Carving” with Kerry O. Furlani introduces participants to ancient techniques of cutting letters in slate using hand chisels and mallets.
For details on these and more workshops, go online to www.carvingstudio.org.
Calling local artists
SPRINGFIELD – Local artists are invited to show their work at Gallery at the Vault’s “Open Wall Show.” This is a chance to display your work in a non-juried show. There is no fee. The show will run May 8-July 25.
The theme for the show is “Rhythms.” Themes are loosely adhered to. This is a great opportunity for artists who would like to get their work out there for the first time, as well as for seasoned artists.
Please bring work that is framed and wired for hanging and acceptable for viewing by all ages. You can bring in two works if they are 18 x 20 inches or smaller, or one if it is larger. Sculpture, jewelry, pottery and fiber art are welcome along with the paintings and photos.
For information, call 802-885-7111, or go online to www.galleryvault.org.