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FIRST NIGHT NORTH 2019

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"First Night Again"

By WindRose

ARTS CONNECT AT CATAMOUNT ARTS JURIED SHOW

Fried Family Gallery            11 am to Midnight

Juried by Nick Capasso, Fitchburg Art Museum Director, this exhibition of work by artist members of Catamount Arts is on display from November 27, 2018 to February 16, 2019, including all day long on New Year’s Eve. A feast for the eyes and the soul!

ACADEMY HILLTONES

South Church                4 pm

St. Johnsbury Academy’s select mixed a cappella vocal group sing a delightfully eclectic program ranging from the sacred to contemporary. They have shared the stage with Vermont’s premier professional vocal ensemble Counterpoint, the North Country Chorus, and most recently, the Boston Children’s Chorus. And in their annual appearance at the Vermont Madrigal Festival in Burlington, and you know why  director Alan Rowe refers to the Hilltones as the “Academy’s vocal ambassadors.”

ACADEMY JAZZ BAND

South Church                5 pm

Another highly accomplished student group from St. Johnsbury Academy, the Jazz Band offers a concert of audience-friendly improvisations from their recent fall concert. Under the capable leadership of director Alan Rowe, the group regularly represents the Academy at appearances throughout the state and has gained a well-deserved reputation for its tight riffs and enthusiastic renditions of jazz classics.

ALIVE AND WELL

Universalist Unitarian Congregation    7 pm

Tim Berry and Suzan Shute both grew up in musical households where any genre could be found, from blues to country, big band to southern rock. Their inherited love of music and well developed talents make for  a winning combination. Their voices blend beautifully, whether it's a slow love song or a driving solid number. Accompanied by two guitars and an occasional bass, Alive and Well promises a good ol' boy foot stomper followed by a sweet melodious tune, and everything in between.

BOB AMOS & CATAMOUNT CROSSING

United Community Church         9 pm

Vermont’s premier bluegrass band returns to First Night North with their entertaining mix of stellar harmony vocals, top shelf original and traditional material and rock solid instrumentation. The band’s two most recent CDs have each been awarded “best CD of the year” in the country/bluegrass category by the Vermont Times Argus, and Singout! magazine has called Bob “one of the most consistently interesting and intelligent songwriters in American music.” Catamount Crossing includes Bob on banjo and vocals, daughter Sarah Amos on vocals, Freeman Corey on fiddle, Gary Darling on mandolin and vocals, Steve Wright on guitar and vocals, and Chris Cruger on bass.

BOB & SARAH AMOS

United Community Church        8 pm

This popular father-daughter musical duo presents a wide variety of songs in an intimate style, with mesmerizing vocal harmonies accompanied by Bob's formidable guitar talents. Bob has written and recorded over 100 songs on 12 CDs over the past 30 years. His songs reflect many influences and styles including folk, bluegrass, blues, Celtic, pop, and rock-a-billy. Vocalist Sarah Amos has been singing professionally for 10 years, and currently performs with her father in the bluegrass band Bob Amos & Catamount Crossing. In their duo show Bob and Sarah step outside of their regular bluegrass setting, performing a wider selection of songs from Bob’s diverse musical catalog, plus a few of their favorite traditional and more modern covers.

ANNIE & THE HEDONISTS

St. Johnsbury School Auditorium        6 and 8 pm

Take a little bit of folk music and mix it with acoustic blues, Western swing, and vintage jazz from the 1920s and ‘30s, and you end up with Annie and the Hedonists. Annie is a dynamic and captivating singer. She delivers a lyric like it was a cherished bedtime story; as comfortable as your favorite sweater; as truthful as well, maybe there’s nothing that honest. With the tight harmonies and superb musicianship of Jonny Rosen on guitar and Don Young on bass, the Hedonists bring back the songs of the great female blues artists of the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s, including Bessie Smith, Sippie Wallace, Memphis Minnie, Ma Rainey, Billie Holiday, and Ella Fitzgerald.

THE BALD MOUNTAIN BOYS

Catamount Arts Cabaret         10 to 11:30 pm

Searing vocals and foot-tapping grooves abound in this Northeast Kingdom trio's assortment of original and classic music. The Bald Mountain Boys bring disparate elements of the American roots and rock-n-roll traditions together in an intimate sound that is at once evocative and enlivening. The Bald Mountain boys are James Bentley on guitar, Tiaan Van Der Linde on the fiddle, and Lucas Weiss on the mandolin

THE BARNYARD INCIDENT

United Community Church        6  pm

This four-piece acoustic band wraps its wide variety of tunes and styles around the talents of seasoned musical veterans. The Barnyard Incident is Deb Sullivan singing lead vocals and adding percussion, Perry Williams thumping his upright bass, Barry Moore picking his array of dobro, mandolin, and guitar, as well as blowing some harp, James Sullivan playing fiddle and guitar, and everyone singing in solid harmony. Together they create a rhythmic sound ranging all the way from toe-tapping barn-burners to smooth ballads. Expect music from alt country to bluegrass to Celtic to blues, covering the likes of the Be Good Tanyas, the Steel Drivers, Bonnie Raitt, and Doc Watson along with band originals. And you might just hear some tales of the of the original “incident”  and the ashes of which gave rise to their name

BAYLEY-HAZEN BOYS

United Community Church        11 pm

As authentic as their  namesake - the Vermont military road constructed during the Revolutionary War - historical stories and yarns about musicians (famous or not) provide the background to the music of the Bayley-Hazen Boys. This trio of veterans from the locally legendary bluegrass band Gopher Broke take you on a rollicking ride from the hills of northern Vermont down through Americana to the southern Appalachians. Combining their fresh interpretation of time-tested traditional material with a wealth of original songs, they blend soulful ballads, tight vocal harmonies, and hard-driving instrumental work into a sound evoking the spirit of the early Stanley Brothers and Bill and Charlie Monroe. The Bayley-Hazen Boys are Gary Darling on mandolin, Steve Wright on guitar, and Chris Cruger on bass.

BOBBIE AND ME

Universalist Unitarian Congregation    9 pm

Bobbie Strich and Marvin (“Me”) Drake have been performing in the North Country for three decades, presenting many of their acoustic classics long before they were classics. Their unique guitar styles and vocal harmonies bring these vintage songs to life with an original twist that’s sure to appeal to almost any taste in music. Bobbie and Marv love interacting with their audiences and especially enjoy taking requests.

CANTATE!

St. Johnsbury House            8 pm

Taking their name from the Latin command to sing, Cantate! focuses on a cappella performance of motets, madrigals, and anthems.  One might call much of their music the real “golden oldies.” Under the direction of St. Johnsbury Academy’s music master Alan Rowe, the singers are (front) Beth Emerson, Woody Starkweather, Jenny Land Mackenzie, (back) Susan Taylor, Jason Kaiser, Robert Wilson, Brenda Kendall, and Alan Rowe.

CATAMOUNT PIPE BAND

St. Johnsbury School Auditorium    10 pm

Vermont’s premier Scottish bagpipe band is an intergenerational organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Celtic music, tradition, and culture. Catamount Pipe Band is currently the 2017 New England Pipe Band Champion and appeared on the Glasgow green in Scotland in August for their fourth time as competitors in the World Pipe Band Championships. The pipe band is well known for its Celtic "variety show" where audiences will hear tunes from Scotland, Ireland, Brittany, and more. The show includes several types of traditional instruments fused with an undercurrent of modern percussion giving the music a unique hypnotic feel. The Catamounts are well known in the circuit as a talented, edgy, and sometimes brazen bunch. Wherever they go, a ceilidh is sure to follow! Irish and Scottish dancers will join the band adding to the celebration! Aye!

CHAMBERLAIN SISTERS

St. Johnsbury House                          4 pm

Nineteen-year old Autumn, with her 16-year-old twin sisters Lauren and Sadie sing harmonies that are as close as their family relationship. With guitar and keyboard and Autumn’s gift of perfect pitch, the Chamberlain Sisters sing their pop classics and original songs right in tune.

COMFORT COUNTRY

Universalist Unitarian Congregation    8 pm

Four good friends who have been making music all their lives got together and Comfort Country is what came of it! Lee Baker, Tim Berry, Joanne Gilman, and Suzan Shute each play multiple instruments - often passing them around - and sing exquisite harmonies on timeless country classics. You’ll hear everything rom Merle Haggard to Patsy Cline with a few gospels thrown in for good measure. This North Country band has been wowing local audiences; and now with their second CD under their belt, these well-seasoned musicians are branching out to a wider region. Just like comfort food, Comfort Country is good for the soul.

BARBARA CONNELLY

United Community Church        5 pm

North Church's 2,000-pipe, three-manual organ with over 40 stops is a centerpiece of the stately north building of the United Community Church’s sanctuary. Barbara Connelly has been at the console of this magnificent “king of instruments” for over three decades, offering parishioners a rich accompaniment to weekly worship services. The mostly classical program for organ also includes some seasonal songs.

COOIE AND SKIP

Catamount Arts  Theater Two        7 pm

Vermont songbird Cooie DeFrancesco lends a unique and heartfelt depth to a lyric, using guitar to complement her roots blues, country and western, jazz, and folk vocal interpretations. Skip Gray is a singer-songwriter who plays acoustic, electric and bass guitar, as well as upright electric bass. As a solo artist, he performs an eclectic mix of classic, contemporary, and original songs infused with elements of rhythm and blues and the rest of the American roots music traditions. Their collaboration thrills and inspires their audiences every time!

ANA D’LEON

Catamount Arts Theater One        5 and 9 pm

A self-taught musician, Ana D’Leon started playing guitar at 13 and composing songs long before that. She feels that her music is created in cooperation with a force much larger than herself. She draws from her life experiences and a diverse musical background to create “soul expression, emotional exchange, connection, rhythm and harmony.” She lives to create and connect with others through her music. Her sound is unique, but when compared to Tracy Chapman, she modestly replies, “I get that all the time.”

DIDGERIGROOVE

Catamount Arts Cabaret        6 and 8 pm

The didgeridoo, that magical instrument from native Australia, has taken Vermonter Pitz Quattrone from the Arctic Circle to the Equator performing, collaborating, and passing on what he has learned about the “didge”. This master player, builder, and teacher of the didge, joins fellow Vermonter and slide guitar ace Chris Robertson in forming the duo DidgeriGroove. Add in their voices and percussion they create grooves that move! Pitz writes songs from tragic to comic, and everything in between. Whether manic and hilarious, or serious as a heart attack, Pitz is as unique as the Didgeridoo.

MANIKA DRUKE

Catamount Arts Theater One        7 and 10 pm

Singing with the Hilltones and playing in the Jazz Band isn’t enough for the musical talents of this St. Johnsbury Academy student, who is also taking college courses. Manika Druke is a singer-songwriter who plays acoustic and bass guitar, keyboard, and ukulele. She also works with a looper to build her own backing tracks, live in front of the audience. Using just her guitar, she can create the sound of bongos, shakers, and more. Pronounced “Mah-NEE-kah”, her name means “doll” in a native language of the Philippines, the land of her birth. Can’t you just imagine her on stage one day as a one-name star? Ladies and gentlemen, MANIKA!

THE DRUMATICS

Catamount Arts Cabaret         4 pm

These dedicated drum enthusiasts come to Linda Warnaar’s percussion class from many walks of life to understand and share the universal appeal of the traditional beat of a wide variety of drums. The Drumatics are sure to get hearts pounding and spirits soaring when they draw you into their circle of rhythm this New Year’s Eve.

 

FAMILY FUN FAIR

St. Johnsbury School             4 to 8 pm

Youngsters can let their energies run wild on the giant inflated obstacle course and in the bouncy castle. The photo booth is always a favorite way to take those happy smiles home. It’s all there in a safe, fully supervised, music-filled environment. A supper of pancakes and sausage is served by the men of Masonic Lodge.

BOBBY FARLICE SOUND SYSTEM

Catamount Arts    Theater Two            5 pm

With a long history of music in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area, Bobby Farlice was a member of Nobuko Miyamoto’s band Warriors of the Rainbow and the Change Band with Flip Nunez and Michael Howell. He was also a contributor to music for the progressive social scene at San Francisco’s Glide Memorial Church. His set is jazz, blues and Latin, all with a touch of soul, and all for your listening pleasure. Having played the nightclub scene for many years, he prefers playing community gigs like First Night, which he generously supports. The sound system in the Bobby Farlice Sound System is his Roland FP2  keyboard with Session Partner, which turns Bobby into a one-man band.

FIFTH BUSINESS

Catamount Arts Cabaret         5 and 7 pm

Hold the habaneros! It may be folk music, but it can still be spicy! Fifth Business presents an eclectic repertoire featuring English pub songs and ballads, fiddle tunes, and contemporary works as well, with a preference for songs about rural living. They’ve been blending traditions for over a dozen years, performing at farmers markets and other local venues, and have just released their second CD, Plenty Love and Bacon. Most noted for their rich vocal presentations, Fifth Business includes Heather Alger and Kate Davie, who also add light percussion. Classically trained Nick Anzalone easily turned his fiddling to the dark side to join with Stuart Corso on button accordion, Hannah Davie on mandolin, and Steve Davie on guitar and octave mandolin. While their traditional songs aren’t always politically correct, their personal habits are unimpeachable and they’re fun at parties.

JON GAILMOR

St. Johnsbury School Auditorium        4 and 5 pm

A First Night performance with Jon Gailmor is a celebration of people, places, events and moments that have shaped who he is. Most of all, though, it is a way of saying thanks to the audience for making it possible for him to pounce on his passion. His music is fraught with emotion, poignancy, rampant childishness, and incessant audience involvement. It is geared toward humans - prenatal through prehistoric - and ranges from the outrageously relevant to the criminally, meaninglessly absurd. The songs are gluten-free, low in cholesterol, and guaranteed to uplift.  Folks should be prepared to laugh, sing, grunt, scream and maybe just listen, from time to time, feeling quite hopeful, indeed, for 2019 and beyond.

BARRY HAYES

Universalist Unitarian Congregation    10 pm

On the stage as the director, MC, and performer at last year’s 80th anniversary musical revue by the St Johnsbury Players, Barry Hayes has been working with local theater groups in varied capacities for over 25 years. He has sung the lead role in musicals such as Camelot, Kiss Me Kate, and Carousel. He wrote, directed, and performed in “The Musical Mystery Tour,” an original revue featuring the music of the Beatles. He has played guitar and bass for productions of Tommy, Wizard of Oz, Evita, and Jesus Christ Superstar. Tonight he brings the music of classic favorites like Peter, Paul and Mary, John Denver, the Eagles, and of course, the Beatles.

HIGHLANDS VIEW CHAMBER ENSEMBLE

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church        4 and 5 pm

Ranging in age from 7 and up, members of the Highlands View Chamber Ensemble are students of Glee and Kathy Charlestream, who founded their School of Music in the hills of Cabot, Vermont. Laughter and fun is what sets this group apart from others. In a family-like atmosphere, the students’ music reflects the joy of music as well as a high level of musicianship. Pianist Robert Wilson accompanies the ten young violinists on Celtic fiddle tunes, as well as works from classical composers such as Bach and Vivaldi.

THE HITMEN

Streeter Hall                9 to 10:45 pm

Remember the days when dance bands played only hits, were all great instrumentalists, and everyone sang in tight harmony? Remember when those bands used to go big with great sound and lights? Remember how special it was to go out to hear a band and experience that "wow" factor? So do The Hitmen, because they were in those bands! Performing the groovy classic hits and rock songs from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s with four-part harmony, band members have toured eastern America with regional super-acts Daze of Time, Skywalker, and TANK performing their original songs. It's rock history in person with Bob Dimick on keyboards, Bruce James on drums, Larry Beaudry on guitar, and Mitchell Chase on bass and sax.

ISLAY MIST CEILIDH

South Church                6 pm

A ceilidh (pronounced "kay-lee") is a Gaelic word usually referring to an informal evening of Scottish traditional music. Islay Mist Ceilidh is an engaging group from northern New Hampshire that is fast gaining a following as the freshest, most enjoyable collection of enthusiasts of traditional Celtic music in New England. The music is toe-tapping, hand-clapping friendly and celebrates not only the Celtic heritage of our area, but the positive, community-minded spirit as well.

TIM JENNINGS

St. Johnsbury Athenaeum        4 and 6 pm

Traditional folk storyteller Tim Jennings shows signs of becoming a kind of Vermont tradition in his own right. Built around his distinctively engaging form of folk storytelling, his programs also feature Irish and American music, rustic vaudeville, and a bit of magic; a kind of old-time one-man variety show that appeals equally to children and adults. “The old tales are ageless,” he says. “You listen, time changes, and you become ageless too.” Thirty years ago, Sing Out! magazine was already reporting that Tim was “that rare thing, a storyteller you cannot, upon any exertion of willpower, stop listening to. Jennings grabs you by the scruff of the imagination and hurls you into his world. He doesn’t pretend to be a storyteller, he simply is one.”

KINGDOM ALL STARS

Fuller Hall                5 to 6:40 pm

The Kingdom All Stars are a twelve member band featuring some of the best young musicians from seven different communities in northeastern Vermont. This year, the group of talented middle and high school students delighted audiences with their collection of blues, rock, pop, country, modern and world music at NEMBAFest in Lyndon, Levitt AMP Music Series at Dog Mountain, Caledonia County Fair, Danville Fair, and the Red Barn in Danville. The band has been featured on Vermont Public Radio programs “Morning Edition” and “All The Traditions.” They are now working on its first album of original music.

SOPHIE & JAMES LAMAR

St. Johnsbury House            9 pm

This father-daughter duo play a blend of originals and covers. After her high school graduation, Sophie moved to California to pursue her musical interests. James is a songwriter and local teacher who has previously played for young audiences during First Night. His original songs will include a few from his recent musicals. Together, Sophie and James will share an uplifting mix of songs that will make you feel good.

WILLEM LANGE

St. Johnsbury Athenaeum           5 and 7 pm

“One of the most beloved storytellers in northern New England.” That sounds like an opinion, but long-time listeners to Vermont Public Radio would attest that it’s simply a fact. Willem Lange’s stories draw from a vast assortment of life experience working his way through college as a ranch hand, Adirondack guide, preacher, construction laborer, bobsled run announcer, assembly line worker, cab driver, bookkeeper, and bartender during nine years of scattered semesters. Then there followed stints as a high school English teacher, an Outward Bound instructor and director, and a career as a building and remodeling contractor.  All these jobs led to his vocation as a writer of his weekly column, “A Yankee Notebook” and later as a commentator or host for VPR and both Vermont and New Hampshire Public Television. Willem has published nine books. His audio recordings have received four Emmy nominations, and won one!

MAPLE LEAF SEVEN

Morse Center Stuart Theater        6 and 7 pm

For more than 30 years, the Maple Leaf Seven ensemble has been bringing its Dixieland style jazz well north of the Mason-Dixon line. Under the direction of Phil Brown, these seven musicians combine clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, tuba/bass and drums to perform a broad selection of favorites from the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, Louis Armstrong and others. But it isn’t just the sound of New Orleans. Dancers enjoy swing, fox-trot, waltz, Latin, ballads, tango, and even some rock 'n roll. Traditional jazz, contemporary songs, spirituals, and gospel hymns are also added to the pot with that unique Dixie spice to make maple-sweetened gumbo for a cold winter night.

MARKO THE MAGICIAN

Fuller Hall                9 pm

What makes Marko’s performances so special is his ability to mystify, entertain, and make everyone laugh on different levels at the same time. There’s nothing better than seeing grandparents, parents, and children all having a wonderful time together at the same show.  Marko’s magic show truly transcends all age and social barriers to bring people together in a common state of amazement. See children’s faces as they watch Marko perform tricks, hear them laugh with sheer delight at his jokes, see their eyes sparkle, then you have seen the real magic.

MARKO THE HYPNOTIST

Fuller Hall                 10:15 pm

As a certified Master Hypnotist and member of the National Guild of Hypnotists, Marko believes the participants in his shows are the stars, and he makes them shine. His hypnosis show starts a little past the hour and  runs to around 11:30 pm to allow Marko enough time to wring every drop of comedy from his audience volunteers. Marko’s shows are designed for fun; no one is ever really embarrassed or compromised, even as they willingly obey his hilarious commands.

MICHAEL HAHN BAND

Streeter Hall                6 to 7:45 pm

Now with his new eponymous group, Michael Hahn has made music for decades with popular bands like Hornbeam, Don’t Call Betty, Hooch Lombardo, Whetstone, and Ten Mile Shuffle. Performing a wide variety of rock, country, blues, and reggae, the Michael Hahn Band features John Pheiffer on cello, Dr. Bob Primeau on drums, Sid Gulick on guitar, Dan Keenan on bass, and Donna Delmoora on backing vocals. Michael sings, plays guitar, and writes some of the songs.

ASHLEY MILES

Catamount Arts Theater 2        8 and 10 pm

Country singer Ashley Miles has been described as “a talented songwriter as well as a fantastic singer with tremendous guitar skills.” Her songs have that timeless feel yet also fit in well with the current world of roots country/Americana. Twice-named a North American Country Music Association International Future Star of Tomorrow and winner of several state and national country music awards, she has appeared on stage with Jo Dee Messina. Ashley is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Association International and the Northern Vermont Songwriters. She has two CD’s of original songs: “Today is Now” and “Some Fairytales Do Come True.”

MUSICA SVENSKA

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church        6 pm

A fluid group of eight or so musicians, mostly fiddles, along with the occasional Nyckelharpa, accordion, and/or guitar, Musica Svenska performs traditional Swedish music. They love to introduce audiences to its beauty, which verges on the classical. Some of the music is dance-based:  Polskas, schottisches, hambos and the like. Some is 'processional': bridal marches, 'walking tunes', or music for players as they proceed in local costume from town square to church. There might even be a lively 'drinking tune' or an edgy tune from the border of Sweden and Norway. Each region - each town! - has its own unique tunes and dances - thus, an endless variety of amazing music!

NEWARK BALKAN CHORUS

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church        7 and 8 pm

Based out of the Northeast Kingdom’s Newark Street School’s after school program, the Newark Balkan Chorus is a revival of the chorus that Evanne Weirich started in 1995. The Chorus is now lead by Elly Barksdale and Erin (Barksdale) McKinnon and helped by Jericho Bicknell, who were all original chorus members during their elementary school days. The a cappella chorus sings traditional songs in the Macedonian, Croatian, Bulgarian, Serbian, and Russian languages in two, three, and four-part harmonies that range from sweet to dissonant. The unique quality of this style of music, often very robust, allows these young voices to soar and find themselves at a precious young age. The Junior Chorus is comprised of students as young as 8 years old, and the senior group is capped by eighth graders. The senior chorus has been honored to sing in the Young Traditions Vermont showcase and for devotions for the Vermont House of Representatives.

NO STRINGS MARIONETTE CO.

Morse Center Stuart Theater        4 and 5 pm

Welcome to the mysterious and magical world of marionettes. Creating one-of-a-kind puppets sparkling with spirit, Barbara Paulson and Dan Baginski masterfully animate these figures, channeling thought into gesture, transforming wood into being. Join them on a fun-filled adventure that is truly out of this world in this year’s show, “Nick of Time.” Suspend reality and take a trip that is truly out of this world. Join Astronaut Nick Eastman and his robot companion Glitch on a space mission to study black holes. After encountering a deep-space alien, Nick is sucked into a time-warp and explores many intriguing dimensions of puppetry. See if our time travelers can decipher the gravity of their situation and save Earth in the Nick of Time.

NORTHERN STANDARD TIME

Morse Center Stuart Theater        8 and 9 pm

A newly formed jazz quintet playing all your favorite dance tunes, Northern Standard Time plays the standards by the likes of Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis, and Thelonious Monk, and more. With Rosanne Hebert on keyboards, De Mallary on sax and flute, Linda Warnaar on trumpet, Micah Carbonneau on drums, and Kevin Colza on bass, NST runs the gamut from Latin to swing, all the way to funk. if you've got a horn, bring it and and sit in on a couple tunes. And if you’ve got dancing feet, get up and get down!

 

NORTHERN VERMONT SONGWRITERS

St. Johnsbury House            5 to 6:45 pm

They come from many walks of life with a common love of writing songs and performing them.The Northern Vermont Songwriters share a common stage for nearly two hours, taking turns singing and playing short sets of their wide variety of songs for each other and their First Night audience. In alphabetical order this year’s artists are:

 

Carl Beverly has been writing and perfecting his finger-picking guitar style for the past ten years. He and his wife Carolyn host the monthly Brook House Songwriters’ Circle in Warner, NH. Whether he’s singing a catchy tune about never growing up or a moving song of a forgotten soldier, Carl’s songs reflect his distinctive style, that wraps around the audience, carrying you wherever he wants to take you.

 

Jane E. Cline began her singing career at the age of seven, performing in rock bands. Two of her songs have been highlighted in an Indie film titled Mustang Stallion- Outlaw’s Tail. Her style is country folk with a little hint of spirituality, blues, bluegrass, funk, and jazz. She finds inspiration with songs that tell a story or have an emotional impact.

 

Charles Doherty is an earnest young man of advanced years who relocated to the Northeast Kingdom half a dozen years ago. He has been a member of any number of inexplicably obscure rock and blues bands and rubbed shoulders with some artists of whom you will have actually heard. Nothing rubbed off but odds are you will still find pleasure in his performance even as you forget his name. Once described as “Tom Waits interpreted by Tom Petty”.

 

Scott Graner was raised in a musical family ,amidst a vast array of musical styles: everything from classical, jazz and show tunes to country, folk and R&B. However, it was his introduction to the alternative rock music of the 90’s that sparked his creative songwriting juices. Bands like The Red Hot Chili Peppers originally influenced the direction of Scott’s musical style. Today, Scott has come full circle, writing music as varied as his musical experiences, while looking forward to releasing several new singles.

 

Alan Greenleaf is a singer/songwriter from Northern Vermont who is a self-taught acoustic guitarist whose songs, for the most part, reflect his life as a farmer there. He had a band in his twenties, but not being a night person, he gave up that lifestyle. The influences reflected in his original "Americana" songs are from many genres, including Appalachian folk, popular song, and blues, which tell stories of his life and reflect his place. Vermont Public Radio's Robert Resnik sums up Alan's work: "I've said it before, and I'll say it again...Alan Greenleaf is a true Vermont treasure!"

 

Michael Hahn attended Berklee College of Music and has entertained New England audiences for decades with such popular bands as Hornbeam, Don’t Call Betty, Hoochi Lombardo, Whetstone, and The Ten Mile Shuffle Band. Michael was a finalist in the USA Songwriting Competition for his original song, “Chick Magnet.”

 

Carol Hausner’s pure, heartfelt singing, compelling harmonies, and expressive, award-winning songwriting playing traditional, contemporary and original bluegrass, country, and folk music with various bands in the Mid-Atlantic States and New England. In 2009 she placed first in the bluegrass category with co-writer Colin McCaffrey at the legendary MerleFest Chris Austin songwriting contest for “Love Gone By."

 

Jim Karns is a past winner of the Baltimore/Washington Songwriters’ Association songwriting contest.  He is proud to have shared the stage with members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, .38 Special, Molly Hatchet, and the Rossington Collins Band and has had the great pleasure of opening for the Charlie Daniels Band. Jim is currently concentrating heavily on songwriting, including co-writing new material with Bob Amos. He’s recently signed a publishing contract with Sherrill Blackman, one of Nashville’s top independent music publishers.

 

Kyle Woolard has enjoyed a time of quiet, unbroken reflection this year. Isolated in the woods of northern Vermont while building his house, Woolard has written a host of staggeringly honest new songs that resonate with unapologetic confession and appreciation of life's tactile pleasures. His orchestral rock group The Anatomy of Frank is recording an album for and on every continent, and Woolard's unique relationship with the sense of "place" is never far away in his music.

 

Victor Tremblay considers himself lucky to be living in beautiful rural northern Vermont and loves the outdoors. Now retired, he has been a singer-songwriter since his early teens.

NOT QUITE DEAD

Catamount arts Cabaret            9 pm

This acoustic trio that brings together three seasoned and accomplished musicians who capture the essence of the traditional and roots music that inspired the Grateful Dead. Their repertoire also includes original and Grateful Dead music. Featuring Carol Hausner on guitar and mandolin, Donovan Delabruere on guitar, and founder Jonathan “Doc” Kaplan on piano,  Not Quite Dead’s strong and enduring vocals and harmonies combined with great musicianship blend together to create their full, unique sound. Based in Vermont, Not Quite Dead performs throughout the state and New England.

THE PRIMAL BOYS

St. Johnsbury School Auditorium        7 and 9 pm

Presenting American roots music, blues and bluegrass, fiddler Jason Bergman leads the Primal Boys. After performing on five continents as half the New York duo Jason ‘n’ Grayson, here in Vermont Jason is a member of the Vermont Philharmonic and the Montpelier Chamber Orchestra. He also has a thriving presence as a music teacher at the St. Johnsbury Academy and the EPIC Music violin program at the St. Johnsbury School. Guitarist Russell Seeger is a talented songwriter who’s been around the New York scene the ‘70s as a member of the Sheiks and around the U.S. as a member of the Last Hombres. For the last few years, bassist  Steve Kaplan has been “holding the bottom” at the New York Roots Music Association and as one third of The League of Naughty Cubists. Steve, Russ, and Jason go back many years, opening countless shows for the New Riders of the Purple Sage, Dr. John, Commander Cody, Earl Scruggs, and others.

PHOENIX BAZAAR

Main St. and Eastern Ave.         6:40, 7:40, and 8:40 pm

From the far eastern realm of New Hampshire, all the way out to the western borderland of Burlington, Phoenix Bazaar has delighted young and old with their fiery antics. This fire arts performing troupe is an odd assortment of fire performers dedicated to exploring the balance of movement and flame. From poi, to fire staff, to fire fans, they bring a variety of fiery delights in front of the St. Johnsbury Fire Department, appropriately enough.

PLANETARIUM SHOWS

Fairbanks Museum Planetarium        6 to 9 pm

The Sun, Our Living Star,  has shone on our world for four and a half billion years. The light that warms our skin today has been felt by every person who has ever lived. It is our nearest star and our planet’s powerhouse, the source of the energy that drives our winds, our weather and all life. The passage of the Sun’s fiery disc across the sky - day by day, month by month - was the only way to keep track of time for countless past civilisations. Don’t be fooled by the terminology; although it is a typical dwarf star, the Sun consumes 600 million tons of hydrogen each second and is 500 times as massive as all the planets combined. Discover the secrets of our star in this planetarium show and experience never-before-seen images of the Sun’s violent surface in immersive fulldome format. The Fairbanks team has worked with some of the most talented planetarium producers to bring you this visually striking show about the most important star in our lives.  Audiences are welcomed and seated for each show every 30 minutes on a first-come, first-served basis.

POETRY SLAM

St. Johnsbury Athenaeum        8 to 9:45 pm

The First Night North Slam Poetry Competition pits poets from the community (perhaps you!) presenting their three-minute (maximum) poems aloud. The subject matter of slam poetry can be absolutely anything a poet cares enough to write about and to perform in front of an audience (that may well include youngsters). Poets compete against one another and are judged by the audience. No props or costumes - just the poet’s voice speaking the poet’s own original composition. All of this is overseen by the evening’s emcee. Audience participation greatly enhances the mood of the event. Cheering, applauding, hissing and booing are completely appropriate at a Slam Poetry Competition.

TOD PRONTO

Catamount Arts Theater Two        6 and 9 pm

Combining folk, roots music, country, rock, and blues to create a unique blend of Americana music, singer-songwriter Tod Pronto’s show features his originals, along with his fun brand of storytelling. Tod has shared the stage with Ellis Paul, Jonathan Edwards, Jimmy Wayne, Mark McQuinn and more. Tod has recorded 3 albums of original music to date including his album Nashville Stereo and his new album It Can't All Be Wrong. He also writes instrumental background music for television and his work has appeared on AMC and The National Geographic Network among others.

PUMPKIN HILL SINGERS

St.Johnsbury House            7 pm

An ensemble that has been singing together in one form or another for about 50 years might be considered an institution. If so, the Pumpkin Hill Singers are approaching that institutional status. Only a couple of the ‘Pumpkins’ go back that far, but the 16 voices of the current incarnation carry on a tradition of performing their signature mix of  four-part, mostly a cappella songs from around the world and songs composed by director Susan Terry and husband and tenor Steve Parker.. Directed by Susan Terry, their program for First Night includes songs of winter and the current holiday season and songs of that most elusive of seasons yet to come - a season of peace.

RED SHACK BAND VT

South Church                8 and 10 pm

A classic rock band, the four members of Red Shack Band Vt play a mix of country-rock and southern rock. Featuring saxophone, keyboards, drums, bass guitar, and lead guitar, this band puts out full, rich sounds. Lead vocalist Autumn Chamberlain is a young phenomenon. Dan Before, the lead male vocalist, is a few decades older and has decided that it’s time to retire from the music profession. So First Night audiences get to enjoy the very last gig of the Red Shack Band.

DANA AND SUSAN ROBINSON

Catamount Arts Theater One        6 and 8 pm

Americana roots and folk duo, Dana and Susan Robinson combine vivid, songwriting, and storytelling, with fiddle tunes, banjo grooves, elegant melodies, and rich harmony singing. Drawing upon experiences of more than twenty years of touring, Dana and Susan craft a performance that conveys the mystery and wonders of their journey. Their unique blend of original songwriting and traditional Appalachian music bring to their performances a deep understanding of America’s musical heritage and how it relates to our contemporary lives.

SHATTERBOX

166 Eastern Ave.            8:30 and 10:30 pm

Bringing catchy, hard-edged songs to the rock scene, Shatterbox will be performing in the display windows of their storefront studio just a short way uphill from Catamount Arts at 166 Eastern Avenue. Aine Baker is the lead vocalist with influences from the 80’s rock era. Evan Chase and Carter Norheim effortlessly weave in and out as they trade off between rhythm and lead guitars. Robert Nichols, bass extraordinaire, and Joe Bailo on drums form the engine room that drives each song from beginning to end. This is Shatterbox, and they're ready to introduce their original music to the world of rock on the street of First Night North.

SHRIMP TUNES

Masonic Hall                5 pm

Here’s something different: a one-man-band featuring bass and foot operated snare drum, guitar, harmonica, and vocals, playing an eclectic mix of classic rock, blues, Americana, and country tunes. Glenn McElwain, aka "Shrimp," is a performing musician from the Northeast Kingdom.  With decades of experience both on stage and in the studio, he performs regularly at resorts and music venues throughout New England. Be prepared to sing along!

SKY BLUE BOYS & COOKIE

United Community Church        7 and 10 pm

For over twenty years The Sky Blue Boys - Banjo Dan and Willy Lindner - combined two voices and a carload of stringed instruments to deliver a lively program characterized by the excitement of bluegrass, the authenticity of folk and the exuberance of old-time string-band music. The brothers’ high-energy delivery has entertained audiences across the Northeast with an ever-changing mix of ballads, vintage country numbers, Civil War-era songs, instrumentals and gospel, along with finely-crafted originals. The addition of the marvelous Carrie Cook opens up an even broader range of material with elements of jazz, jug, and pop influences. Her contributions on bass and vocals fill out the instrumental sound and broaden possibilities in the vocal mix, making the new trio one of the most exciting, compelling, and versatile acts on the New England scene.

THE TOASTERS

South Church                7 and 9 pm

Dish up an eclectic mix of  rock, country rock, country, blues, ballads, and Motown. It’s music chosen from the set lists of other bands and from the corners of their hearts some tunes that they always wanted to try. The Toasters play it all. Some music will be easily recognizable, although the arrangements may be different than expected. Some tunes will be obscure, but goodies. This three-piece of veteran musicians with a combined 14 decades of experience  features Carl Marcotte on drums, Sam Miller on bass and harmonica, and Terry Hosking on guitar, keyboard, and they all join in on vocals. Diners at the Creamery in Danville hear them every week, but this is the first time First Night audiences get a taste of their delicious music.

BILL TOBIN

St. Andrew’s Church             9 to 10:30 pm

Harpist Bill Tobin os an outdoor enthusiast whose original compositions are often inspired by the peace and joy that is found in nature. Bill is the harp chairperson at the New Hampshire Highland Games where he has won numerous awards including the New England Scottish Harp Championship.In addition to his highly regarded contemporary tunes, Tobin is also playing lively jigs and his arrangements of well-known classical and sacred music.His program includes works on his Celtic harp, electronic harp, and the grand concert harp.

TRITIUM WELL

Morse Center Stuart Theater        10  to 11:40 pm

With their irradiating mix of originals, traditional American, Cuban, reggae, rock, funk, blues, Tritium Well produces ecstatic musical experiences that feel like sonic excursions around the Earth! Hot guitarist Bobby Farlice-Rubio leads this “radioactive” four-member ensemble with wicked violinist Nick Anzalone, world-class drummer Linda Warnaar, and brilliant bassist Kevin Colosa. When people ask what kind of music they play, the standard answer is always “roots, rock, and reggae!” just to satisfy the need for brevity. Their varied and uncommon repertoire includes songs made famous by Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Hank Williams, Buena Vista Social Club, Leadbelly, Willie Nelson, Grateful Dead, Old Crow Medicine Show, among others. Whatever beat they play, feel free to get up and boogie!

UNCOMMON FOLK

Universalist Unitarian Congregation    5 pm

A merry little band of friends has been playing together for over a decade. Uncommon Folk play mostly folk; a little bit of bluegrass, some toe-tapping, old-time fiddle tunes, original songs, and even a sprinkling of country. Their multi-instrumental talents and sweet harmonies weave a magical spell and their stories always keep audiences entertained. Uncommon Folk share the vocals in common with Paul Amey on fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and viola; Samantha Amey on upright bass and finger-picking guitar; and Tom Bishop on frailing style banjo and bass.

VA-ET-VIENT

Universalist Unitarian Congregation    4 and 6 pm

With backgrounds rich in French cultures and language, through lifelong experiences living and traveling in French-speaking lands, Va-et-vient  (“Come & Go”) creates beautiful harmonies. Celebrating the many colors found in music from several French cultures, Carol Reed, Suzanne Germain, and Lausanne Allen take you from 16th century France to New Orleans with lively dance numbers, touching love songs, kickin’ Cajun tunes, and rollicking Creole favorites. From neighbors to the north, these musiciennes bring back new old tunes learned from Quebecois elders (and youngsters!) and re-weave them into their own arrangements. The Addison county trio accompanies their vocal harmonies on guitar, mandolin, fiddle, flute, and percussion.

VALLEY IMPROV

Masonic Hall                6 and 8 pm

Improvisational comedy is created spontaneously and performed unplanned and unscripted. The dialogue, action, story, and characters are made up on the spot by the players as the improvisation unfolds. Lebanon, NH-based Valley Improv’s work is similar to that seen on "Whose Line is it Anyway?" with an emphasis on audience interaction.  Voted New Hampshire's best comedy act by New Hampshire magazine, they have performed regularly at Lebanon Opera House and aboard the MS Mt. Washington on Lake Winnipesaukee. There will be laughs aplenty, and you might just be the star of the show!

VERMONT STAND-UPS

Masonic Hall                7 and 9 pm

First Night is pleased to again present three award-winning, family-friendly comics from the Vermont Comedy Club, where the best of the fast-growing Vermont stand-up comedy scene hone their craft.

Richard Bowen can attest that his stand-up comedy and his skateboarding have at least one thing in common: You can't get good at either without falling flat a bajillion times. But he has landed on his feet when he was recently named Laffy Taffy's Chief Laugh Officer. The stretchy confection launched a nationwide search for someone to help bring in a whole new wave of funny." One of three finalists to win an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles, he performed at the renowned Laugh Factory. Victorious, he came home with $10,000; and his jokes are being “published” on the wrappers of Laffy Taffy. Bowen counts Steve Martin, Rodney Dangerfield, and Mitch Hedberg among his main influences, along with “a heaping helping of hip hop.”

Tina Friml recently won the 2018 VT's Funniest Comedian Contest. During her award-winning set, she focused on side-splitting material centered on living as a woman with a disability. She has performed at the Boston Comedy Arts Festival and Boston Comedy Chicks, and co-launched a monthly comedy and variety show called “Casual Friday Live” at the Marquis Theatre in Middlebury..

Kathleen Kanz is pretty sure there is a funny gene. But because she was adopted, she can't be certain. She just knows that, even as a little kid, she made people laugh. She won the 2016 Vermont's Funniest Comedian competition - the first woman to do so. Kanz is the founder of the Green Mountain Comedy Festival, as well as Comic Relief, which benefits Burlington’s COTS, the Committee on Temporary Shelter. Seven Days featured both Friml and Kanz as two of the six most influential women in Vermont comedy.

VERMONT VAUDEVILLE

Fuller Hall                7 and 8 pm

Get ready to “laugh locally” with Vermont Vaudeville! The Northeast Kingdom-based ensemble produces funny, spectacular, and heart-warming variety shows throughout the Green Mountain State. Their performances feature colloquial Vermont humor, world-class physical comedy and circus, snappy novelty songs, and an ever-popular Gorilla stagehand. The action-packed show is full of surprises and laughter for the entire family.

AND FINALLY...  

FIREWORKS

St. Johnsbury Academy Gym Parking Lot     12 Midnight

First Night revelers gather to welcome the New Year as Classen’s 100-foot crane raises our big lighted ball.  Created by The foundry of Lyndonville, our ball -13 feet in diameter! - is bigger than the one that is dropped in Times Square in New York City with new electronic tricks to entertain. When the ball reaches the top at the stroke of midnight a spectacular show by North Star Fireworks starts the year off with a boom and fills the sky with bright color and joyous oohs and aahs. Everyone is invited to come on out to welcome the New Year at this town-wide celebration. (No admission button required.)

TUESDAY,  JANUARY 1, 2019  

SACRED CIRCLE DANCE

Universalist Unitarian Congregation    2 to 4 pm

Dance to sacred music from various cultures, while holding a safe space of mutual support for community and global healing and abundant blessings for all. All dances are taught, and no experience or partners are necessary to join in the simple, rhythmic movements. First Night buttons honored; or a $10 donation is suggested.