Celebrating 20 Years of the Finest Acoustic Music
Watermelon Wednesdays is beginning this anniversary year on Saturday, April 20. While most of our concerts will continue to be at the historic West Whately Chapel (and on Wednesdays!), this show will be in the newly renovated Whately Town Hall in the center of Whately.
This show is sold out. Please check back again soon; I’m currently finalizing the schedule for the regular summer season. More great concerts on the way. And thank you for supporting live music!
The concert features two trios of the finest in North Americana traditional string music. Shows opens with Bruce Molsky (fiddle), Allison de Groot (banjo), and Paula Bradley (guitar), (all on vocals). They are followed by Brittany (fiddle) and Natalie Haas (cello) and Yann Falquet (guitar). After that, who knows? This is truly an all-star team of trad musicians, who have played and recorded together many times over the years. (For more information about the performers, see below.) I can’t guarantee watermelon or a bat show at intermission, but there will be some light fare and drink (nonalcoholic) available.
The show begins at 7.30pm. The Town Hall is located opposite the Whately Inn at the intersection of Haydenville and Chestnut Plain Roads. For more information call Paul at 413-665-3741.
For tickets (advance tix are strongly recommended!) go to: Town Hall Concert
The program and the players:
First up will be Grammy nominated fiddler, Bruce Molsky (fiddle, vocals), Allison de Groot (vocals, banjo), and Paula Bradley (guitar, vocals).
Bruce is, as WBUR put it, “one of the greatest American fiddlers of all time.” His specialty is old-time music, but he covers almost every variety of traditional fiddle music. Allison, a native of Canada, is a virtuoso of the claw-hammer style of banjo playing. She has toured the world playing with the masters of all sorts of traditions and styles. Paula has toured with the legendary old-time band, Uncle Earl, as well as Tony Trischka in Jawbone. She heads up her own ensemble, Twangbusters, and is featured in the classic honky-tonk band, Girl Howdy.
Second on the bill are the Haas sisters, Natalie and Brittany, with Yann Falquet.
Nashville resident, Brittany Haas started her touring career playing fiddle in Darol Anger’s Republic of Strings when she was 14. She’s played with Bela Fleck, Tony Trischka, Steve Martin, Gillian Welch, and other stars of the American traditional music set. She is also a member of the house band for Live From Here (formerly known as Prairie Home Companion).
Her sister, Natalie, plays cello, tours with Scottish fiddle master, Alasdair Fraser, is a graduate of Juilliard School, a member of Mark O’Connor’s Appalachia Waltz Trio, is an associate professor of music at Berklee College of Music and has appeared in over 50 albums including those by Natalie MacMaster, Altan, Solas, and many more. She is easily one of the most sought after cellists alive.
Yann Falquet, like the others, is steeped in the traditional music of many cultures and also has a degree in jazz. He is the guitarist for the Quebecois “supergroup” Genticorum. His record with Pascal Gemme won the Canadian Folk Music award for best traditional album of the year in 2016.
This concert is produced by Watermelon Wednesdays, a 501 c3, nonprofit musical education organization based in West Whately. It is sponsored by the Whately Cultural Council.
More shows are on the way!!! I’m finalizing the summer program.
See below for some of our past concert offereings
Tony is coming back, this year to provide the grand finale, and grand it will be. Hel'll be joined by his mercuric (it is in constant flux) band, Territory, consisting of three incredible Berklee wunderkind (one of whom is credited with doing the computer design for Terminator V, and also plays a wild fiddle). As you may know from previous exposure to the "Master," Tony is one of the world's best banjoists, and, in my opinion, one of American music's greatest ambassadors as well as a great entertainer with a very wry sense of humor (not to mention, he's one of the nicest guys I know.) That should be reason enough to get your ticket asap.
New Quebecois folk trad (for lack of a better descriptor). Les Poules a Colin perform a sparkling, diversified, bilingual repertoire of intimate waltzes, reels and beautifully sung call-and-response songs. Since coming together in 2008, Éléonore Pitre (guitar, vocals), Sarah Marchand (vocals, piano, guitar, bohdran), Colin Savoie-Levac (strings, podo-rhythm, vocals), Béatrix Méthé (violin, vocals), and Marie Savoie-Levac (piano, bass, vocals) have toured, studied, created and recorded three albums.
Watermelon Wednesdays is proud to present this incredible quintet of singers, story-tellers, and dancers from Zimbabwe.
Black Umfolosi is a self taught Acappella (Imbube) singing and traditional dance group that was formed in 1982 by the then school age members who wanted to develop themselves and contribute to their community. Specialising in imbube music, gumboot dance and Zulu dance, Black Umfolosi has toured extensively nationally and internationally –Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and Asia. They have represented Zimbabwe at international events such as Expo 1992 in Seville, Spain and the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada.
The West Whately Chapel is the place to hear a string quartet, and the Parker is the quartet to hear. But you probably know that already.
They will be playing:
Leos Janáček: Quartet No. 1, "Kreutzer Sonata"
Kurtag: Officium breve in memoriam Andreae Szervanksky, Op. 28
Ludwig Van Beethoven: Quartet in E minor, Op. 59, No. 2, "Razumovsky"
The Human Hands are a collective of virtuoso jazz and bluegrass musicians from Brooklyn, NY. Along with Reider on accordion, they include violinist Alex Hargreaves (Turtle Island Quartet, Sarah Jarosz, Béla Fleck), saxophonist Eddie Barbash (Late Night with Stephen Colbert, Jon Batiste and Stay Human), guitarist Grant Gordy (David Grisman, Darol Anger, Aoife O'Donovan), mandolinist Dominick Leslie (Michael Daves, Tony Trischka, The Deadly Gentlemen), guitarist Roy Williams (Stephane Wrembel), and bassist Dave Speranza (Jim Campilongo).
Lula Wiles is a band deeply rooted in traditional folk music, but equally deep is their devotion to modern songcraft. They deliver love songs that are at once defiant and heartsick, as well as new contributions to the folk ballad canon and timely explorations of what it means to live in America today. Drawing from the deep wells of traditional old-time and bluegrass, classic country, and contemporary indie-folk-rock, Lula Wiles melds diverse influences to create a harmony-driven sound all their own. The three band members deftly swap instruments and frontwoman duties, with Ellie Buckland (vocals/acoustic guitar/fiddle), Isa Burke (vocals/acoustic and electric guitars/fiddle), and Mali Obomsawin (vocals/acoustic guitar/bass) each contributing singularly expressive vocals, instrumental lines, and songwriting. Onstage, the band gathers tightly around a single microphone for a spirited and emotionally resonant live show, anchored by their powerful three-part harmonies. Currently based in Boston, Lula Wiles released their debut album in May 2016 and have since recorded their sophomore album.
Celtic harpist virtuoso, Maeve Gilchrist, and Keith Murhpy, instrumentalist, composer, and singer, will grace the state of the West Whately Chapel for an intimate evening of heavenly and earthly musical delight. This will be a return performance for both artists. Maeve was last here in 2013 with Jordan Tice and soft-shoe dancer Nick Gareiss, Keith with his wonderful band Nightengale in 2007.
James and Anne played at the chapel last year. I have rarely had the same artists two years in a row, but I knew even before they finished the first half of their gig that I had to get them back as soon as possible. Fortunately, they're returning bringing not only their consummate instrumental and vocal artistry but also their incredibly highly entertaining and engaging manner. In such an intimate space as the chapel, performers have a chance to really interact with the audience. James and Anne gave a memorable performance that night; I can't wait to have them back on stage.
James will be offering a workshop to ukulele players of all lelvels at the West Whately Chapel from 3-4.30pm before his concert performance at 7.30 pm. The cost for the workshop only is $30, which includes a pizza/salade dinner immediately following the workshop and before the concert.
James and Anne will be doing two shows this year. This show has just been added. Buy tickets
Jeremy Kittel is an American fiddler, violinist, and composer. Fluent in multiple musical genres, his original music draws from traditional roots, jazz, Celtic, Classical, electronic, and more.
Kittel performs with his own band or trio, as a duo, and as a soloist with orchestras. In addition to his own projects, he has composed and arranged for such artists as Abigail Washburn, Aoife O’Donovan, My Morning Jacket, Camera Obscura, Jars of Clay, Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, Laura Veirs, and the Grammy-winning Turtle Island Quartet (of which he was a member for five years). He has also recorded with artists such as Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, Mark O’Connor and Mike Marshall.
I first heard Alison when she was playing with the other Alison (Krauss, of course). Both were trailblazing women of the Bluegrass scene: Krauss on the fiddle and Brown on the banjo. Brown has gone beyond any single genre and now incorporates many styles into her playing. For lack of a better word, she and her band play music. And for those of you who might think banjo music is an oxymoron, you haven’t heard Alison. Here’s your chance. And for those of you who have heard her, you’ve probably already purchased your tickets by now…see you at the show!
Note: This is a Friday show!
Carlo Aonzo is a native of Savona, Italy where he grew up
immersed in music. His playing has been recognized with awards at prestigious competitions
including winning the Vivaldi prize of the Vittorio Pitzianti
National Mandolin Competition in Venice and first prize at the
Walnut Valley National Mandolin Contest in
René Izquierdo is currently a professor of classical guitar at the
University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. A native of Cuba, René graduated from the
Guillermo Tomas and Amadeo Roldan Conservatories in
Havana. In the United States, he earned a Master of Music and
Artist Diploma degrees from the Yale University School of
Music. Mr. Izquierdo is a recipient of numerous awards, being a
winner of the JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Competition
in 2004, the Extremadura International Guitar Competition, the
Schadt String competition, and the Stotsenberg International Guitar Competition.
Sally Rogers and Claudia Schmidt: Folk Diva Duo. Sally and Claudia have been performing their "open heart surgery" for sometime now and, in the process, have brought thousands of people back to life by infusing them with the healing and revitalizing power of their music. They will be at the Chapel June 6 to work their magic on you, and for a lot less than cardiac surgery! Theirs is no placebo effect. They have been performing together in front of audiences of all ages, all around the world. Come experience an evening of the joy of song in the presence of two of its most skilled and efficacious practitioners. OK, enough with the medical metaphor. Come and simply enjoy an evening with two of the most engaging, experienced, and talented folk-singers in the world.
The Western Flyers are one of the most exciting new bands to glide onto the music scene in years. Their music is a distinctive cross section of the Great American Songbook: authentic Western swing, hot jazz and swing standards, cowboy songs and electrifying old-time fiddle tunes. Internationally renowned guitar master Joey McKenzie drives the train with his powerful rhythm, while reigning National Swing Fiddle champion Katie Glassman and world-class upright bassist Gavin Kelso add fuel to the fire. A blending of tradition and innovation, The Western Flyers are a singular musical experience; a fresh take on a venerable American art form performed by three virtuosos of the genre.
A Valley and personal favorite, Alasdair and Natalie play fiddle and cello that makes you forget about everything else. Soulful Scottish tunes and beyond that fill the chapel with heavenly sound sprinkled liberally with more fiery sparks from elsewhere.
I'm not particularly drawn to the accordion, that is, I didn't used to be until I heard what Ivan did with it. Ivan and Entcho brought the house down three years ago. Yikes! And Entcho matched the accordion with his virtuostic violin (he played the fiddler in the broadway production of the same name!). What a pair! You have to hear this to believe it.
Vocalist and songwriter Dara Tucker is establishing herself as one of the premiere voices in jazz and beyond. From winning the silver medal in the Ben Tucker Jazz Award to the prestigious “American Traditions Competition” (2017), Tucker is making her mark with a blend of soul, Americana, Gospel and jazz that is uniquely her own.