Pardon Our Appearance! Our Summer Show listings are being updated and are only partway complete.
Our opening weekend stars Patty Larkin on Saturday, June 10th and the Quabbin Valley Pro Musica with Charles Heffernan conducting on Sunday, June 11. And the season continues until our closing concert, a Rock Trifecta with Anthony Kaczynski, Trusty Sidekick and Fireking on Sunday, August 12.
Throughout the season we will have blues, swing, pop, jazz, classical, afrobeat, celtic, country, folk, bluegrass and more.
We're in the midst of gathering photos and bios; descriptions and online ticket sales will open soon.
We'll send our an email announcement as soon as the schedule is ready to go; if you'd like to be on our email list, please sign up below.
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Our campaign is well underway to raise money for necessary improvements to the building. The first phase was the replacing of the roof. As of late September, 2015, that work is now done, although we still need to raise a bit more money to pay for the work. Phase two is starting now. Next on our list is restoring interior plaster and paint, replace or rebuild the shutters, and catch up with a number of minor improvements to improve access to the building. And now we've discovered the steeple is leaning, and crucial work is needed to get it straight again, and to shore up its structural weaknesses. We've raised about $18,000 to date; our goal will need to increase to include repairs for the steeple and access improvements. Please help us - your donations, big and small, make a big difference. Here is our new donate button for this capital campaign:
or you can send checks to:
PO Box 8
New Salem MA 01355.
All donations are tax deductible.
~ Brad Foster, Executive Director
All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.
Tickets are also available at:
The New Salem General Store
410 Daniel Shays Hwy, New Salem, MA 01355
or at the Door
In 1987 a small group of dedicated individuals with a passion for the performing arts had a dream to preserve a historic building and to create a cultural center in north central Massachusetts. That vision was the inception of the 1794 Meetinghouse Performing Arts Center.
Your contribution will help sustain the performing arts; all donations are tax deductible.
PO Box 8 / 26 South Main Street
New Salem, MA 01355
Telephone of the Hall: 978-544-5200 (no voice mail)
Voice Mail: 413-335-3489 (Brad Foster's phone)
1794 Meetinghouse receives a portion of our funding through a grant from
The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) is a state agency that promotes excellence, access, education and diversity in the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences to improve the quality of life for all Massachusetts residents and contribute to the economic vitality of our communities.
We'd Like to Thank our
2013 Season Sponsor
WJDF 97.3 FM
"The BEST Music"
Dr. Charles Heffernan — Music Conductor
Quabbin Valley Pro Musica — chorus
The Meetinghouse's resident chorus, Quabbin Valley Pro Musica, is known for its varied music and high-quality concerts. Dr. Heffernan, Music Conductor, is professor emeritus of music at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His conducting and teaching careers have taken him from coast to coast in the US and Canada as he has groomed choruses, music educators, and solo performers.
Jay Mankita — guitar, vocals
A Special Father's Day Treat for the Whole Family for Father's Day!
Jay Mankita is a celebrated songwriter, innovative guitarist, and upbeat, often hilarious touring performer who truly engages, inspires, and entertains. This presentation is not to be missed, so kids, celebrate the day with your Dad, your Grandpa, or both. Parents, bring your kids for an afternoon filled with smiles and belly-laughs!
Catherine Bowness — banjo
Bronwyn Keith-Haynes — fiddle
Evan Murphy — guitar, voice
Nate Sabat — bass, voice
Mile Twelve is a fresh, hard driving young band beautifully walking the line between original and traditional bluegrass. Based in Boston and fast gaining recognition for their outstanding performances throughout bluegrass and folk circles, they create captivating songs and daring instrumental pieces from diverse influences.
Evan Murphy has been a creative force on guitar and voice in New England since he picked up the guitar at age 18 and began accompanying himself on traditional bluegrass songs. He received a bachelor's degree in Theater and Music at Boston College.
Native New Zealander Catherine (BB) Bowness started playing the banjo at the age of 12. A few years later, BB received the Frank Winter memorial award at the Auckland Folk Festival allowing her to travel to the USA. She won first place at the 2015 Freshgrass Banjo Contest.
Nate Sabat is a graduate of the voice program at New York City's renowned LaGuardia High School, and he attended Berklee College of Music as an upright bass principal.
Bronwyn Keith-Hynes was accepted on scholarship to Berklee College of Music at age 16, graduating with a Professional Diploma in Violin Performance. She is fast gaining recognition for her fiddling across bluegrass and acoustic music circles. In 2014 Bronwyn won first place in the Walnut Valley Old Time Fiddle Championship in Winfield, KS, and in 2015 won first place in the Freshgrass Fiddle Contest.
Brian Bender — trombone, trumpet, melodica, keyboards, percussion
Steve Crow — electric guitar
Bruce Dobbins — congas, Latin & African percussion
Jeff Hinrichs — drums
Peter Kim — electric bass
Adam Scotera — trumpet, alto saxophone
Jim Vogel — tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, percussion
The Pangeans are a seven-piece world music ensemble performing Latin Jazz, Samba, Reggae, Calypso, Soca, Funk, Afro Beat and other forms of African music. The group performs original compositions based on traditional rhythms as well as those of other composers. All members of the Pangeans are highly experienced world touring artists, renowned throughout the region and the entire music industry. Dancing in the aisles encouraged.
Brian Bender has formerly performed with O.J. Ekemode and the Nigerian All-Stars, Kotoja (African World-Beat), Ibrahima Camera, Black Rebels (African Reggae), La Perfecta (Salsa/Merengue) and the Berkshire Bateria Escola de Samba (Brazilian). He currently performs with the Wholesale Klezmer Band, Lucky Seven (Caribbean Ska) and Big Bandemonium (Celtic). Brian has performed in the Cape Verde Islands (West Africa), Egypt, Alaska, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and throughout the United States. He has performed at Carnegie Hall as well as the Presidential Inauguration of Bill Clinton.
Steve Crow has performed with Ras Moon (Reggae), the World Beat Ensemble, Kevin So (original) and Maeve Hughes (original), to name a few. Leaning towards the funky side, Steve currently leads his own group, the Steve Crow Band, and previously led a band called Inside Out.
Bruce Dobbins is the godchild of Mongo Santamaria and performs regularly with John Sheldon. Bruce is particularly well-versed in traditional Afro-Cuban percussion styles and truly has a style of his own.
Jeff Hinrichs has been in demand as part of the Valley music scene since 1978. One of the rare drummers equally versed on drum set as well as hand percussion, he has performed with many area top bands over the years. He started out on the path of being a musician when like so many of his generation he saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and decided that music was the only thing that really mattered. Never one to re-invent the wheel, he has studied with an impressive list of the world's best percussionists, and has earned a BA degree in Ethnomusicology from UMass. In addition to The Pangeans, currently he can be found working with Dicey Riley, The Kitchen Party, and The B3s,
Peter Kim has been performing for over 20 years. He has toured the USA from coast to coast and has had the honor to perform and/or record with James Taylor, Tonight Show drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith, Tony McAlpine (Steve Vai), The Equalites (Reggae), Dave Mattacks (Fairport Convention), Jeff Peaver and many others. He has opened up for B. B. King, Wilson Pickett, Johnny Winter and many others.
Adam Scotera has performed throughout the Northeast with many ensembles, including Caribbean Sounds, Lydia Lebron y la Connecticut Band, Banda Creacion (Salsa/Merengue), Inner Orchestra (Funk/Soul), and Souled Out. In addition to the Pangeans, he can currently be heard with Shokazoba (Afro-Beat), the Northside Saxophone Quartet, and Big Bandemonium (Contradance). He has extensive experience recording for some of these as well as various local artists. He holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Massachusetts.
Jim Vogel has performed and recorded with New Horizon (Reggae), New Roots (Reggae), the Berkshire Bateria Escola de Samba (Brazilian). Jim was a founding member of the acclaimed group Who's Kidding Who? (Funk), with one release on Bullet Records. He currently leads his own Jazz group and performs with Lucky Seven (Caribbean Ska).
Dr. Charles Heffernan — Music Conductor
John Salvi — baritone
Judy Johnson — piano
Quabbin Valley Pro Musica — chorus
The Meetinghouse's resident chorus, Quabbin Valley Pro Musica, known for its varied music and high-quality concerts, will perform Mendelssohn's Elijah plus two works by chorus members: the Prayer of Saint Francis by Carolyn Brown Senier and Commit My Spirit by Allison Pollitt. Dr. Heffernan, Music Conductor, is professor emeritus of music at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His conducting and teaching careers have taken him from coast to coast in the US and Canada as he has groomed choruses, music educators, and solo performers.
Paula Bradley — vocals, piano, ukulele
June Drucker — drums
Brian Rost — upright bass
Peter Zarkadas — electric guitar
Start your weekend holiday celebrations early with some boogie, blues & bop and a heapin' helpin' of twang! The Twangbusters bust out their own high-energy danceable blend of rootsy rhythms and soulful blues! Led by dynamo "Miss Paula" Bradley, described as "Patsy Cline meets Bessie Smith", on lead vocals, piano & ukulele, with the inimitable Peter "Dr. Z" Zarkadas on electric guitar, June Drucker on drums, and Brian Rost on upright bass, they mix the best of bluesy country, boogie woogie & barrelhouse into a musical cocktail, shaken & stirred. Guaranteed to make you move your feet!
Chris Anzalone — drums
Patrick Coman — acoustic guitar, electric guitar, vocals
Joe Klompus — bass
Peter Parcek — guitar
Boston- based Patrick Coman plays the reds and blues. Merging bluesy barroom shuffles with the red dirt of his native Oklahoma, he has garnered fans for his upbeat and contemporary take on traditional American music.
'It’s true, I’m a long way from home," Patrick Coman says with a faint twang that remains the most enduring clue to his beginnings south of the Mason-Dixon line. A fixture of Boston’s vibrant roots music scene as a performer, organizer of the New England Americana Festival and the For the Sake of the Song series, and as the host of Local Folk on Boston’s Americana radio station WUMB, Coman has made much of his multiple years in the Northeast, but it doesn’t quite yet feel like home.
An Okie from just north of Muskogee, Patrick grew up under the spell of his hometown’s famed Tulsa Sound. Equal parts red dirt, blues, rock, soul, and country this unique regional sound was the perfect template for a budding songwriter with a voracious and wide-ranging appetite for roots music.
Coman "begs comparison to some of Townes Van Zandt’s finest work" according to Northampton Media, and Redline Roots claims, "The blues are in this dude’s veins and he mixes it very well with his folk and country influences. Like a fine blended whiskey, aged, and pour straight up… this stuff is smooth.'
Alex Bell — drums, bodhrán
Max Cohen — guitar, vocals
Donna Hébert — fiddle, vocals
Molly Hebert-Wilson — vocals
Blurring lines between past and present, Mist Covered Mountains delivers traditional and original songs with layered voices. Ballads in English, Irish and French are supported with dynamic instrumentals from traditional and original sources. They break your heart, then they make you dance, usually in that order!
Mist Covered Mountains' dance-saturated fiddle rhythms take you from Acadie to the land of Faerie – and dare you to sit still! From Celtic melancholy and sly satire to fiddling frenzy, they satisfy their audience's need for variety while offering the finest of harmonies and lyrics. You'll leave humming and enchanted.
Molly Hebert-Wilson's nuanced vocals in English and Irish render a song's emotions in either language. An NYU theater and Irish studies grad, she grew up with traditional music around her. On stage from age 9, it was obvious that Molly would stay there but it was a welcome surprise that mother and daughter wound up together. Molly's recently added the upright and electric bass to her performances. A 2014 NERFA DJ pick, Molly's outstanding voice is part of every song.
Max Cohen's sparkling guitar supports Molly's nuance with his own and he adds deft, humorous lyrics and a rich baritone. Max also tours with singer Priscilla Herdman and with fiddler Donna Hébert and performs with Renaissance Faire duo The Misfits of Avalon.
Donna Hébert is a state Artists' Fellow in the Folk Arts whose fiddling was recognized by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. She teaches fiddle at Smith, Amherst and Mt. Holyoke Colleges and her Fiddling Demystified series was lauded by Strings Magazine: "required reading for all string teachers.' A singer, writer and composer as well as a fiddler, Donna has two original songs on Smithsonian recordings and a 1988 INDIE Award for Rude Girls: Rude Awakening on Flying Fish. One of the midwives of the contra dance renaissance, Donna's played for dances since 1972 and directs the house contra band at Philly Folk Fest.
Alex Bell joined the band in 2014 on drums and bodhrán. Long a rock drummer with Glens Falls NY band The Rose West, he was a kilted guide at Fort William and Henry, where he carried a bass drum in the corps. Also a member of The Waysties and Rare Spirits with Molly, Noam and Robare, Alex teaches percussion with the Great Groove Band posse at both festivals.
Ethan Bremner — tenor
Oriana Dunlop — mezzo soprano
Eric Mazonson — piano
Operatic tenor and Athol native Ethan Bremner will perform a selection of Bizet's Carmen along with arias and art songs that inspired or were inspired by the seminal operatic masterpiece. Since his arrival in Boston, Ethan has become one of the city's most sought-after young tenors. He made his local debut with Boston Opera Collaborative in 2006 as Achilles in Gluck's Iphigenie en Aulide, and then sang with the company as Rodolfo in Puccini's La Bohème. He also had and an auspicious debut as Cavaradossi in Puccini's Tosca, Nemorino in Donizetti's L'elisir D'amore and Tamino in Mozart's Magic Flute with Longwood Opera. He performed the premier performance of Odyssey Opera of Boston as Baroncelli in Wagner's Rienzi. Most recently he performed as Don Jose in Carmen and Lt. Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly. Recent appearances on the concert platform include Handel's Messiah with the Quabbin Valley Pro Musica and Beethoven's 9th Symphony with the Paul Madore Chorale. Mr. Bremner was a Finalist in the 2010 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (New England Region).
Mr. Bremner will be joined by mezzo soprano Oriana Dunlop and accompanist Eric Mazonson performing works by Bizet, Verdi, Puccini, and more.
Jim Armenti — guitar, vocals
Keith Levreault — drums
Ray Mason — bass, vocals
The Lonesome Brothers have performed together for more than thirty years and are well-known throughout the Valley and beyond. Featuring Jim Armenti on guitar and vocals, Ray Mason on bass and vocals, and Keith Levreault on drums, they combine the best elements of American music with well-crafted songs and poetic lyrics. Original, creative, pumping, swaying, digging, rocking, blues busting, curve making, straight shooting songs and solos distinguish the Lonesome Brothers from any other band you've ever heard.
Jim Armenti's songwriting talents have earned him great respect in the music industry. His unique, expert guitar and multi-instrument playing have mesmerized audiences for years and kept him in demand as a guitarist for other performers including Cry, Cry, Cry, Mark Erelli, Robin Lane, The Kennedys and Bill Kirchen. He especially enjoys playing for audiences as half of the song-writing, guitar-slinging Lonesome Brothers.
Ray Mason and his road-worn 1965 Silvertone guitar have been tirelessly touring since 1982. Starting his first band in 1966 and averaging over 100 shows a year, he's like a teenager with fifty years of experience. Throughout the years he has opened shows for NRBQ, The Band, Marshall Crenshaw, Bill Morrissey, Warren Zevon, Joan Osborne, Geoff Muldaur, Joan Jett, James McMurtry and more.
Drummer Keith Levreault has a BA in music from Westfield State College, and he also studied privately with Alan Dawson. He has more than fifteen years of experience, and he has played and recorded with many artists. He also teaches at Downtown Sounds in Northampton.
The Lonesome Brothers have garnered a reputation for being one of the best live bands in New England. The storytelling and bantering shared by Jim and Ray on stage amuses and enraptures. The trademark switching back and forth of songs authored by Jim or Ray invokes a sense of fun, predictability and unpredictability. Their solid partnership is evident by the quality of the songwriting, the tight instrumentals and the respect shown to one another on stage, so boogie on over and enjoy the show.
"Equal parts country swagger, wistful folk and breezy rock. The Lonesome Brothers' confluence of different musical genres is the key to the band's success. Although some people would be quick to lump the Lonesome Brothers into the alternative country milieu, the band has more dimensions than that." - Alex Green, Yahoo! Music
photo credit: Brandi Ediss