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  • THANK YOU! Despite the challenging economy, Blackstone River Theatre saw more than 6,000 audience members attend nearly 100 concerts, dances, classes and private functions in 2009! September marked the 9-year anniversary of the reopening of Blackstone River Theatre after more than four years of volunteer renovation efforts from July, 1996 to September, 2000. Since reopening, BRT has now presented almost 1,000 events in front of more than 60,000 audience members!
  • Look for details about another six-week round of fiddle classes for beginner, continuing beginner, intermediate, advanced intermediate and advanced students with Cathy Clasper-Torch beginning Jan. 12 and Jan. 13.
  • Look for details about a six-week round of Irish step dance classes for adult and children beginner, and advanced beginner students with Terry Songini beginning Jan. 16.
  • Look for details about six-week classes in advanced beginner tin whistle and clogging with Aubrey Atwater beginning Jan. 18
  • There will be a photographic history of BRT's 4-year renovation effort from July, 1996 through September, 2000 in BRT's Art Gallery through Feb. 7.

Saturday, January 9, 9 a.m. to noon, By Invitation Only

Made possible by a generous grant from the Rhode Island Foundation
Co-sponsored by the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce and Cumberland Public Schools
Join us for a facilitated discussion and community-wide conversation that will center both energy and action to develop a web of support for learning throughout Cumberland. Imagine a town where lifelong learning is a priority for everyone, young and old alike. A place where learning is a core component of the town's culture... That place is Cumberland.
For further information, please call 401-658-1600 x 8 or email:

Saturday, January 9, 8 PM

Our scheduled opening concert with Moira Smiley & VOCO on January 9 has had to be postponed to a later date due to health issues within the band. Because of the late notice, BRT will open our 2010 season next week instead with The Gnomes!

Saturday, January 16, 8 PM, $12.00

Members of The Gnomes each bring an enormous wealth of musical knowledge, musicianship, creativity, and fun to their performances. Their live shows are upbeat and never fail to get folks on their feet, moving and grooving! They'll go from a traditional tune into a tango, or a piece of music that makes you feel like you just stepped off a dirt road in Ireland to a sidewalk cafe in France. Gnomes concerts also have plenty of songs interspersed with their instrumental music. Pete Breen wails on everything from Reggae to Gospel while playing his bass; Otis Read, a gifted singer-songwriter, plays rhythm and lead guitar; Cathy Clasper-Torch is a fiddler, pianist and harmony queen; Phil Edmonds, a master Irish whistle-player and button accordionist, writes much of The Gnomes' original music; Ron Schmitt is a phenomenal World Beat and dance percussionist. The Gnomes play a lively blend of world music with a repertoire featuring Irish, Scandinavian, klezmer, Latin, eastern European, Reggae, and original material. Their debut CD "To the Dance Floor," was followed by 2008's "Everybody Must Get Gnomed."

Friday, January 22, 8 PM, $12.00 advance/$15.00 day of show

"Exuberant and rhythmic, somehow both wild and innocent, delivered with captivating melodic clarity and an irresistible playfulness," says the Boston Globe about Hanneke Cassel's playing. Such charismatic fiddling has brought the native Oregonian many honors and awards. She is the 1997 U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion, she holds a Bachelors of Music in Violin Performance from Berklee College of Music, and she has performed and taught across North America, Europe, New Zealand, Australia, and China. Hanneke's new release, "For Reasons Unseen," features an all-star cast of musicians including Alasdair Fraser, Natalie Haas, Rushad Eggleston, Casey Driessen, Brittany Haas, Keith Murphy, and Aoife O'Donovan. Influences from Scotland to China, along with grooves and musical innovations from the hip Boston bluegrass/Americana scene, fuse together to create a uniquely American approach to Scottish music. Simply put, Hanneke creates sounds on the cutting edge of acoustic music, while retaining the integrity and soul of the Scottish tradition. For tonight's Rhode Island CD release concert, Cassel will be joined by Ariel Friedman on cello and Keith Murphy on guitar. In addition to her solo career, Hanneke tours regularly with Baroque/Celtic group Ensemble Galilei, and has performed with the Cathie Ryan Band, Cherish the Ladies, Alasdair Fraser, and Matt Glaser and the Wayfaring Strangers. She is also an active member of Boston-based band Childsplay (featuring 20+ fiddles made by Bob Childs) and winner of 1st place INSTRUMENTAL and 3rd place OVERALL in the 2008 USA Songwriting Contest.

Saturday, January 23, 8 PM, $12.00

Barry Brown's repertoire is a reflection of the rich heritage of blues and ragtime, traditional American folksongs, instrumental guitar pieces, and tunes that he has either borrowed from others or written himself. While he has appeared on the recordings of other musicians, Barry's first solo CD, "Roots & Wings," finds him, at long last, in the driver's seat. Accompanied by an all-star cast on the CD, including Cathy Clasper-Torch, Martin Grosswendt, Chris Turner, Tesseract3 and Monica Ambroziak, "Roots & Wings" will be available at tonight's solo show for the first time. Growing up in Detroit in the mid-'60s, Barry was part of a fertile community of folk and blues musicians that ran the gamut from Joni Mitchell to John Lee Hooker. When still in his teens, he moved to the East Coast, quickly establishing himself as a popular performer and guitar teacher. Working as both soloist and back-up guitarist, Barry performed at The Bitter End and Gaslight in NYC, in concerts around New England and in numerous coffeehouses and clubs. He has composed and recorded the soundtrack for "The Sacred Circle of Yoga," and presented several workshops on music as a healing tool. For 14 years, Barry taught more than 3,000 people to play guitar at Bristol Community College in Massachusetts. Barry's private students include a two-time Grammy winner, an MTV composer and countless living room legends. Acclaimed singer-songwriter Michael Troy will also make his BRT debut, performing the first set. Michael was born and raised in the rough-and-tumble mill town of Fall River, Mass. Having spent parts of his own life as a mill worker, fisherman, laborer and carpenter, and most of his adult years as a husband and father, Michael has traveled many paths, and the experience and wisdom he's gleaned along the way echoes through his music. A magical storyteller with a gift for melody, a deep rich voice, and excellent finger-pickin' skills, Michael's plaintive ballads speak of childhood dreams not quite forgotten in the adult quest to make an honest living. Michael's second CD, "Romancing the Moon," continues to celebrate the beauty and intrinsic value of hard work and perseverance, memory and history, love and friendship, and above all, survival. He has won critical acclaim and many awards including the 2007 New England Songwriting Contest. Don't miss this special evening which promises to warm up even the coldest winter night!

Saturday, January 30, 8 PM, $10.00

Rory Raven is a mentalist with over 14 year of experience reading minds and astonishing audiences. Neither a psychic nor a magician, he offers a compelling kind of entertainment unlike anything audiences have ever seen. With a few simple props (paper and pencil, a pack of playing cards, some paperback books, and the thoughts of some volunteers) Rory involves the audience in a highly unusual - and unusually entertaining - experience. Thoughts are revealed, predicitions come true, and perhaps even the spirits are summoned... Rory is also well-known for leading people on his Providence Ghost Walk; he also released his first book, "Haunted Providence: Strange Tales from the Smallest State," in 2009. Frequently Asked Questions: Okay, let's start with that title - what's a mentalist? A mentalist is a theatrical mind-reader... a performer who, using a variety of techniques, is able to produce results that would only seem possible by psychic or paranormal means. And those techniques would be...? They range from a knowledge of subtle psychological principles and the quirks of human behavior, to quick thinking and a good memory. Rory is also interested in things like suggestion, non-verbal communication, and the so-called trance state. And he doesn't hesitate to borrow ideas from the stage magician, either! So is he psychic or what? No. Not everyone believes him when he say that, but there's not much he can do about it he explains. People who believe in the paranormal will believe no matter what he tells them, and those who don't believe won't believe no matter what he shows them. But a long time ago Rory realized that everybody's mind is pretty much made up before they came to a show, so it was a fool's errand to try and convince people of the validity of one viewpoint or another. So we invite you to sit back, concentrate on your mother's maiden name, and enjoy the show...

  • BRT's six-week round of fiddle classes for beginner, continuing beginner, intermediate, advanced intermediate and advanced students with Cathy Clasper-Torch continues on Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout February.
  • BRT's six-week round of Irish step dance classes for adult and children beginner, and advanced beginner students with Terry Songini beginning continues through February 20.
  • BRT's six-week classes in advanced beginner tin whistle and clogging with Aubrey Atwater continues on Mondays throughout February.
  • The photographic history of BRT's 4-year renovation effort in BRT's Art Gallery will run through Feb. 6. A new watercolor exhibit by Lisa G. Bailey featuring Color Weaves will run February 13 through March 20 in BRT's Art Gallery.

Saturday, February 6, 8 PM, $15.00

The most recent addition to the Atwater-Donnelly performance repertoire is Jerimoth Hill, named after the highest point in Rhode Island, in the town of Foster, home of Elwood and Aubrey. Jerimoth Hill is an all old-time gospel band that includes Aubrey Atwater on mountain dulcimer, banjo and mandolin; Elwood Donnelly on lead vocals and guitar; Cathy Clasper-Torch on fiddle and cello; Heidi Cerrigione on autoharp; John Cerrigione on bass; and Uriah Donnelly on piano and lead guitar. "The Halfway Ground," the 10th recording for Atwater-Donnelly and the first for Jerimoth Hill, was voted 2007 Album of the Year in the Motif Magazine Music Poll. The band itself won Best Americana Act of the Year at the 2008 Motif Music Awards. The project summarizes years of research throughout those hidden pockets of America where music, as an integral part of daily life, weaves an emotional thread through work and play, commitment and faith, endurance and hope, struggle and peace. Come witness "The Halfway Ground," where the hereafter is ever-present in conversation and song, and greener pastures are a simple assurance. A simple brand of old-time acoustic music featuring glorious five-part harmonies!

Saturday, February 13, 8 PM, $15.00

Master guitarist, singer and songwriter Archie Fisher is Scotland's foremost troubadour and is known throughout the country as the host of BBC Radio Scotland's award-winning "Travelling Folk" show, which he has presented for more than 25 years. Recognized for his contributions to Scottish folk music, he was inducted into the Scots Traditional Music Hall of Fame and in 2006 was awarded an MBE, (Distinguished Member of the British Empire), a prestigious honor nominated by his peers and bestowed by Queen Elizabeth for services to traditional music in 2007. Archie was born in Glasgow into a large singing family, which yielded three professional singers - Archie and his sisters Ray and Cilla Fisher. Fisher's first self-titled album was recorded in 1968. During the mid-1970s he formed a long-term partnership with Dundee musician Allan Barty, and later joined the revived pairing of Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy. As well as performing as a backing musician and arranger for Maken & Clancy, he also produced a series of albums with them and got involved in record production with the dynamic Scottish band Silly Wizard. During the 1980s, he began a partnership with Canadian songwriter Garnet Rogers, touring throughout North America together. He later toured with John Renbourn and Bert Jansch in the mid-'90s. His current "Windward Away" release on Red House, a collection of introspective ballads that evoke the wild and rough beauty of the Scottish Border country, has already achieved widespread acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. Don't miss the distinctive voice and guitar playing of this legendary Scottish musician in an intimate, listening room setting!

Saturday, February 20, 8 PM, $12.00

Do not miss the Rhode Island debut of RUNA as they play a split concert with the amazing ladies of Long Time Courting! Take four individually accomplished traditional musicians and singers with fresh attitudes. Combine them and you have the rich, soaring four-part vocal arrangements and fiery Irish jigs and reels that is Long Time Courting. This high-energy band brings heavenly harmonies to old and new ballads and also serves up a zesty side of high-energy dance tunes. Bringing together the talents of Ellery Klein on fiddle/vocals, Liz Simmons on guitar/vocals, Shannon Heaton on flute/vocals, and Ariel Friedman on cello, this Boston-based ensemble shares a love of traditional Irish and American music, as well as contemporary folk and pop. Together, they bring elements of these various genres to their traditional repertoire with sensitivity, musicality, beauty and a bit of mischief, too! Ellery Klein's fiddling is deeply rooted in an authentic Irish sound, but seasoned with the Americana sounds of her Ohio childhood. Her lyrical, high-energy fiddle style was onstage in over 600 shows around the U.S. with Irish super-group Gaelic Storm. Liz Simmons has developed a unique style that incorporates the sounds of Appalachian traditional singing and pop. She is currently the lead singer of Annalivia, a band that infuses a contemporary edge with the traditional sounds of Ireland, Appalachia and Cape Breton. Shannon Heaton has toured nationally with her husband, guitarist Matt Heaton, for eleven years and her exquisite Irish flute style has been featured with numerous other Boston groups. Ariel Friedman is an inventive folk and classical cellist from Boston, and a winner of the American String Teachers Association's 2009 Alternative Styles Award. She also performs, tours, and records with Hanneke Cassel and Childsplay. Drawing on the diverse musical backgrounds of its band members, Shannon Lambert-Ryan & RUNA brings a contemporary experience to traditional and more recently composed Celtic material. Through their repertoire of both highly energetic and graceful acoustic melodies, along with their fusion of music from Ireland, Scotland, Shetland Islands, Canada, and the United States, this vocal and instrumental ensemble give their traditional songs and tunes a fresh sound. Shannon Lambert-Ryan, of Philadelphia, fronts the band with rich, vibrant vocals. As a musician, she spent three years as the lead female vocalist in the world music ensemble, the Guy Mendilow Band, before forming RUNA with husband and co-founder, Fionán de Barra. Together, they recorded and produced her solo album, "Across the Pond," in 2008, and RUNA's new release, "Jealousy," in 2009. Dublin-based guitarist de Barra, of Moya Brennan and Fiddler's Bid, is joined by Tomoko Omura on fiddle and Canadian percussionist Cheryl Prashker.

Thursday, February 25, 6 to 8 PM

Saturday, February 27, 8 PM, $12.00

Note: The Occidental Gypsy Jazz Quartet will be rescheduled to a later date. Tonight's split concert will feature two amazing musicians, one well known to BRT audiences and one making his Rhode Island debut.
Peter Mezoian's web site is called "outrageous banjo" and for good reason... This Portland, Maine resident plays the four-string banjo which exists on a different plane than the more popular five-string banjo typically used in bluegrass and its rootsy, related genres. Even among banjo enthusiasts, Mezoian often finds himself having to explain just what it is that he does. "I'm still a freak to them," the 42-year-old said. "They don't even know the term 'plectrum banjo'" - another way of saying a banjo played with a pick, the customary way to play the four-string. Simply put Peter takes the four-string banjo places it has rarely visited. His repertoire can include classical, jazz, rock, Simon & Garfunkel, Stevie Wonder, medleys from "Fiddler on the Roof" or "Jesus Christ Superstar," the classical piece "Recuerdos del Alhambre" by Terrega or "Hoedown" by Copland. I can write about it all I want but it's easiest to just take a look at his website...sit back and be amazed! French finger-style acoustic guitarist and songwriter Bertrand Laurence has become a BRT favorite over the years; he celebrated the release of "6 & 12 String Guitar Music" at BRT in 2009. Laurence is a master of the art of country blues fingerpicking and slide guitar, but he's no purist. His live shows feature traditional, contemporary, and original blues but are full of surprises including swing tunes, ragtime, boogie, rockabilly... even blues sung in French! Inspired by childhood heroes, Laurence tries to recapture in his music the exuberance of Jelly Roll Morton and the rocking guitar style of Big Bill Broonzy. Having spent a number of years as a performance artist, Laurence also knows how to put on a show and his time working at a homeless shelter also taught him the healing power of the blues. "I like to focus on the upside of the blues," he says. "I'm into joy and celebration." Bertrand is joined tonight by Mark Chênevert on clarinet. Come out and see two eclectic and incredibly talented musicians doing what they do best... entertain!

  • The watercolor exhibit by Lisa G. Bailey featuring Color Weaves will run through March 20 in BRT's Art Gallery. Aaron Usher will present a photography exhibit from March 27 through April 24 in BRT's Art Gallery.

Saturday, March 6, 8 PM, $20.00 advance/$24 day of show

Advance ticket purchase strongly recommended!
Tonight's show will be the Rhode Island debut of new Roomful singer Phil Pemberton and bassist John Turner!
Here's a rare chance to hear this amazing band in an intimate listening room setting! USA Today says Roomful of Blues plays "marvelous wall-to-wall grooves... between the wicked guitar work and the brassy horn section, things never stop swinging." With their masterful combination of jumping, hard-edged blues and R&B, it's no wonder why the great Count Basie called them "the hottest blues band I've ever heard." DownBeat said the band is "in a class by itself." Without a doubt, Roomful of Blues is all this and more. Since 1967, the band's deeply rooted, horn-driven blend of swing, rock 'n' roll, jump, blues and soul has earned it five Grammy Award nominations and a slew of other accolades, including four W.C. Handy Blues Awards. The band has always boasted great musicianship featuring a stellar horn section - they won two W.C. Handy Blues Awards in 2004: Instrumentalist of the Year - Horns, as well as the coveted Blues Band of the Year. Remaining together for so long is not simply a matter of survival, but rather a testament to Roomful of Blues' commitment to its originality and its ability to evolve. Over the years, Roomful's lineup has changed but the band has always been one of the tightest, most joyful blues ensembles in the world. Currently a 8-piece unit led by guitarist Chris Vachon, the band has never sounded fresher or stronger. With new vocalist Phil Pemberton, new bassist John Turner, drummer Ephraim Lowell, keyboardist Travis Colby, and baritone and tenor saxophonist Mark Earley along with long-time tenor and alto saxophonist Rich Lataille (the longest-standing member of the group) and trumpet player Doug Woolverton. Their newest CD "Raisin' A Ruckus" swings as convincingly as it rocks.

Sunday, March 14, 7 PM, $15.00

Advance ticket purchase strongly recommended!
New England has long had a rich tradition of Celtic-inspired music. Having celebrated their 26th anniversary in September, Pendragon has embraced that tradition and created a timeless sound of its own, performing roots music with an unmistakable contemporary edge. Pendragon is step dancer and percussionist Kevin Doyle, Bob Drouin on fiddle, bouzouki and tenor banjo, Russell Gusetti on guitar and concertina; Josh Kane on flute and whistles and Mary Lee Partington on vocals. Pendragon's music celebrates the lives and lore of generations of New Englanders who brought traditions from Ireland, Scotland, French Canada and other distant shores to the banks of the Blackstone River. The band performs their original songs and dance tunes on an exciting combination of fiddle, flute, bouzouki, concertina, banjo, guitar, whistle, and percussion. Past tributes include three straight Boston Music Award nominations for Outstanding Celtic Act and a Governor's Tourism Award. Pendragon has been voted Rhode Island's Best Celtic Act in the 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2005 Motif Magazine's Best Music Poll. Pendragon has also been voted Best Local Folk Act of the Year in the Providence Phoenix' Best Music Poll eight times.

Saturday, March 20, 8 PM, $12.00 advance/ $14.00 day of show

Cory Pesaturo, a 22-year old resident of Cumberland, is a graduate of the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA, where he was the first musician to ever major in accordion. Cory's extensive resume includes appearances at the White House on four different occasions; he was also the youngest musician to ever play at a State Dinner at age 12. Cory has won the New England Cup Accordion Competition three times, and the National Accordion Competition 4 times (at age 15, he was the youngest person to ever win the US National Accordion Championship.) Tonight's show will feature Cory playing many styles of music, from classical to Klezmer to jazz to Balkan and more as he performs with several guest musicians. In 2009 alone, Cory was named WORLD DIGITAL ACCORDION CHAMPION as well as the 2009 Leavenworth International Champion, 2009 Leavenworth International Jazz Champion, 2009 Kimberley International Jazz Champion, and the 2009 US National Digital Accordion Champion. Cory has recorded two CDs with legendary sax player George Garzone and his band The Fringe. At the 2007 World Accordion Championships, Cory was hailed as the best jazz accordionist in the World, as none of his competitors included improvisation. Tonight, Cory will be joined by Bob Giullotti on drums, Gabriel Soloman on violin and Richey Tally on bass. Do not miss this amazing evening of music!

Saturday, March 27, 8 PM, $15.00

Fiddler Kimberley Fraser was born on Cape Breton Island and nurtured within its rich musical heritage. She first began to impress audiences at the age of three with her step-dancing talents. Soon after that she took up both the fiddle and the piano. Like many in Cape Breton, music is not new to Kimberley's family. She proudly owns the fiddle of her great great grandfather, spanning the musical tradition within her family over a hundred years. Though still in her early 20s, Kimberley's career is already a distinguished one having played with Ashley MacIsaac, Natalie MacMaster, Alasdair Fraser, Lunasa and Martin Hayes. A master at the trio of fiddling, step dancing and piano, Kimberley is a much sought after teacher for all three and has been a long-time instructor at the renowned Gaelic College in Cape Breton. Fraser is continuing her music education by attending the acclaimed Berklee College of Music in Boston. Her latest accomplishment includes the release of "Falling on New Ground" which won the 2008 East Coast Music Award for best "Roots/Tradtional Album of the Year." With her tonight is fiddler/pianist/dancer Troy MacGillivray whose 2008 CD, "Live At The Music Room" was named 2008 ECMA "Instrumental Recording of the Year." Guitarist/singer Matt Heaton and Irish flute player/singer Shannon Heaton have been making music together since 1992. Together, they built up their traditional Irish music skills on flute and guitar in the Chicago sessions. For years, the two worked as active side players for major Celtic acts including Robbie O'Connell, Aoife Clancy, Boys of the Lough, and Emily Smith. After releasing two previous duo albums, several things happened to push Matt and Shannon's new CD, "Lovers' Well," in the direction it took. While assembling songs for the record, they realized that all the material was a love song of some sort or another. Being a CD of traditional Irish ballads, many of the stories don't have happy endings, but they all explore various dynamics of lovers (passion, flirtation, jealousy, despair). Unapolagetically traditional in style, with bold American roots on full display, the Heatons bring respect and glee to these centuries-old ballads. Don't miss this amazing split concert featuring four of the best young traditional musicians performing today!

Wednesday, March 31, 8-9:30 AM AND 5:30-6:30 PM
Lonsdale/Valley Falls Revitalization Plan Neighborhood Kick-Off Event

We welcome you to a morning or evening open house/community outreach event to introduce residents and businesses in the Lonsdale and Valley Falls neighborhoods to the Lonsdale/Valley Falls Revitalization Plan, an initiative being promoted by the Town of Cumberland's Department of Planning & Community Development, in collaboration with Cube 3 Studio. For more information contact Steve Munroe, Neighborhood Planner, Town of Cumberland at (401) 728-2400 x143.

  • Aaron Usher's photography exhibit "Beauty in the Everyday" will run through May 8 in BRT's Art Gallery. There will be an opening for the exhibit on Friday, April 16.
  • Look for details about an 8-week round of fiddle classes for continuing beginner, intermediate, advanced intermediate and advanced students with Cathy Clasper-Torch on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in April and May.
  • BRT's 8-week round of Irish step dance classes for adult and children beginner, and advanced beginner students with Terry Songini continues through May 8 on Saturday mornings.

Thursday, April 1, 6-9 PM
Rep. Ken Vaudreuil Fundraising event

Saturday, April 3, 8:00 PM, $12.00

Martin Grosswendt has been a blues performer and teacher for more than three decades. A multi-instrumentalist and singer, Martin is equally at home playing the old-time music of the Southern Appalachians or the Cajun and Creole music of Southwest Louisiana. He plays six- and twelve-string guitar, five-string banjo, mandolin and fiddle. In late 2004, Martin released his first solo recording in 24 years, "Call and Response," featuring solo performances of songs from the Golden Age of blues - the late 1920s and '30s. Tonight celebrates the release of "Payday," which features vintage and original acoustic blues, as well as two original instrumentals, performed on guitar, banjo and fiddle. Amongst musicians and fans of country, blues and folk, Martin is sort of an underground legend....come see why for yourself! Playing the first set is a musician that Martin himself suggested, and for very good reason. Trina Hamlin combines gentle understanding with raw emotion in a way that is, quite simply, captivating from the first note. With a rich, powerful voice, Hamlin reveals a rare confluence of Midwestern innocence, contemplative focus, and raw passion while adding a disarmingly sharp wit in her stage banter. She seamlessly moves from guitar to piano with self accompaniment on harmonica leaving many who have seen her wondering what she can't do. Regarded as one of the best harmonica players around, Trina presents a driving, sensuous rhythm in her performance reawakening audiences to the art of the instrument.

Friday, April 9, 6-9 PM
C-L Rotary Club Winetasting & Silent Auction Fundraiser for Franklin Farms

Franklin Farm, in Cumberland, RI, is a town-owned historic farm. Recently added to the National Register of Historic Places, Franklin Farm encompasses 65 acres of land and includes a mid-19th century Greek Revival-style farmhouse; an early-19th century timber-framed barn; a 1903 dairy barn; and a 20th-century garage. Used for many years as a dairy farm, the land and buildings now belong to the public, under the direction of the Historic Metcalf-Franklin Farm Preservation Association. Many town programs are run on the site, and the farm is home to a community garden and farm stand.

Saturday, April 10, 8:00 PM, $12.00

Join BRT for an incredible night of Irish traditional music featuring the band Chulrua - Dale Russ on fiddle, Paddy O'Brien on button accordion, and Pat Egan on guitar and vocals. Chulrua (pronounced cool-ROO-ah), translates from the Irish as "red back," and was the name and distinguishing feature of the favorite wolfhound belonging to ancient Irish hero Fionn MacCumhaill. It is also the name of an internationally acclaimed trio of some of the most respected exponents of traditional music. Chulrua's music is the old instrumental dance melodies of Ireland: jigs, reels, hornpipes, polkas, and the occasional song. Concerts are in keeping with the old tradition-music in a relaxed, intimate atmosphere, and tunes offered as they were handed down from generation to generation in Ireland. A product of County Offaly in the midlands of Ireland, Paddy O'Brien is regarded by serious players and collectors of Irish traditional music as one of the tradition's most important repositories; in a musical career that spans 40 years, he has collected more than 3,000 compositions including many rare and unusual tunes. His mastery of the two-row button accordion has been acknowledged through prestigious awards: he was named Oireachtas champion four times, and All-Ireland senior accordion champion in 1975. In Ireland, he played and recorded with the famed Castle Ceili Band and Ceoltoiri Laighean. A native of Tipperary, Pat Egan has been a member of Idle Wall, and the Mayo-based traditional group Sheeaun. More recently, his performance on the internationally acclaimed recording Music at Matt Molloy's brought his talent to much wider attention. Dale Russ is an American fiddle player who gets rave reviews from the best Irish fiddle players. Martin Hayes tells Folk World Magazine "Dale Russ is one of the greatest fiddlers I know in Irish Traditional Music."

Sunday, April 11, 7:00 PM, $12.00 advance/$15.00 day of show
Sponsored by Navigant Credit Union

BRT is very excited to present the R.I. debut of Jaerv, a Swedish quintet playing an extroverted, vigorous and heartfelt folk music with influences from both jazz and pop music. Rooted in several different musical traditions, Jaerv offers a varied concert where vocal, five-voiced songs blend in with energetic dances and free improvisations. In early 2009 they released their first studio CD, "Inrikes." Jaerv is Harald Nilsson on guitar, Tobias Hedlund on percussion, Anders Bergsten on double bass and nyckelharpa, Markus Gustavsson on fiddle and vocals, and Joel Hagen on flute and soprano saxophone. On par with groups like Väsen and Triakel, Jaerv's music is relaxing on one level, while challenging your ear on another. Fans of Celtic traditions will find lots of common ground musically while fans of Scandinavian music will get a rare chance to hear this music live. Don't miss this amazing young band!

Friday, April 16, 8:00 PM, $12.00 advance/$15.00 day of show

This is Tempest's first time back at BRT in many years and the only New England concert on this tour! Tempest will have just released their new CD, "Another Dawn," in March, their first studio album of new material in four years. Since forming in 1988, Tempest has delivered a hybrid of high-energy folk rock fusing Irish reels, Scottish ballads, Norwegian influences and other world music elements. The last 20 years have seen the San Francisco Bay Area based act release 12 critically acclaimed CDs and play more than 2,000 gigs. Tempest has enjoyed an evolving line-up that's enabled its musicianship and creativity to rise with each new member. Hailing from Oslo, Norway, founding member and lead singer/electric mandolinist, Lief Sorbye, is recognized as a driving force in the modern folk-rock movement. Fiddler Michael Mullen, a favorite with the fans, is the original fiddler for Tempest. Bassist Damien Gonzalez is an accomplished drummer and didgeridoo player. Native of Devon, England, and a former member of the UK's folk-rock band Equation, guitarist James Crocker combines a deep-rooted British folk sensibility with a life-long rock experience. Cuban-born drummer Adolfo Lazo, also an original Tempest member, colors the band's sound with inventive percussion. Tempest is regularly featured at prestigious festivals including The Philadelphia Folk Festival, Denmark's Skagen Festival, Britain's Cropredy Festival and The Winnipeg Folk Festival in Canada as well as countless American Celtic festivals. If you like your Celtic music loud, this will be the place to be!

Saturday, April 17, 1:00 PM, $20.00

The Little Black Dress is a unique program led by Bill Graham, one of New England's leading floral design professionals and lecturers. He combines floral designs with interesting fashion accessories, flavored by the vision of the legendary Coco Chanel. Eight floral arrangements will be raffled at the end of the program. Tea & coffee and pastries will be available. Feel free to wear your little black dress! For ticket information, please call 401-334-0739. A portion of proceeds will benefit Cumberland's Franklin Farm.

Sunday, April 18, 3:00 PM, $15.00/$7.00 children/$45 family maximum
A benefit for cardiac research at Children's Hospital Boston
Featuring: The Atwater-Donnelly Trio, Pendragon, The Miller Family, Donnie Wilson

All checks should be made payable to: "Children's Hospital Boston."
Heidi and Brian Blais, of Smithfield, recently approached Blackstone River Theatre about hosting a benefit concert for Children's Hospital Boston and we are very happy to help out. BRT will donate the use of our facility, and all of the performers will be donating their time and musical talents as all proceeds from this event will be used to support cardiac research at Children's Hospital Boston. Congenital heart defects are the most common group of birth defects, affecting 1 in 125 babies. 35,000 babies with congenital heart defects (CHD) are born in the USA each year. Nearly 1,800 infants die each year as a result of congenital heart defects. Children's Hospital Boston is a leader in cardiac care and research, and the funds raised through this event will help to develop better treatments for children with CHDs and allow these children to grow up healthy and strong. Heidi and Brian themselves have three beautiful little girls. The two youngest were born with a rare and complex heart defect called truncus arteriosus. If you met Aoife and Tarynn you would not be able to tell that they have already had miraculous journeys in their short lives. Tarynn was born in Feb. 2009 and had open heart surgery when she was just four days old. During surgery, the doctors closed multiple holes, moved several arteries, and created a new artery using an artificial conduit, all on a heart that is smaller than a walnut. Aoife underwent similar surgery in her first month and both children will have at least two more surgeries as they grow to replace the conduits. But today they are happy and thriving. It is the goal of this event to raise awareness of heart defects in children while also raising money for Children's Hospital Boston. Please help us spread the word by forwarding information about this event to your email contact list. If you are on Facebook, you can find this event here:!/event.php?eid=343013262505 Please feel free to invite your Facebook friends! The Miller Family and The Atwater-Donnelly Trio immediately volunteered to perform as did members of Pendragon and Donnie Wilson, a S.E. Mass. singer/songwriter who is also the father of a child with a heart defect. If you cannot attend the concert, but would like to help out by making a tax deductible donation, please go to to make an online donation. All checks should be made payable to "Children's Hospital Boston". We hope you will join us and help support this amazing organization and the miraculous work they do!

Sunday, April 25, 2:00 PM, $12.00 advance/$15.00 day of show
Sponsored by Navigant Credit Union

Experience an amazing performance of gypsy music! The Bohemian Quartet is a four-piece string band composed of violin, viola, cello and an upright bass. The Quartet was founded by violinist Stan Renard in 2005. The name "Bohemian Quartet" was borrowed from the original Bohemian Quartet (also known as the Czech Quartet after 1918), a string quartet of international repute that was founded in 1891 and disbanded in 1934. The new Bohemian Quartet performs a vast and unique repertoire revolving around 'Gypsy' or 'Romany' music as well as traditional Eastern-European folk music which has been collected via recordings, transcription, interviews, and has been arranged by Renard. Today will be the CD release of "Beyond Tradition," much of which was recorded live at BRT at their Sept. 2009 concert. French violinist, conductor/arranger Stan Renard is joined by Nancy Richardson, viola, John DeBossu, upright bass, who performs in numerous jazz ensembles throughout New England, and Christine Harrington, cello, who performs regularly with pianist Joe Parillo and is also a member of the Hartford Festival Orchestra.

  • Fiddle classes for continuing beginner, intermediate, advanced intermediate and advanced students with Cathy Clasper-Torch continues on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in May.
  • Irish step dance classes for adult and children beginner, and advanced beginner students with Terry Songini continues through May 8 on Saturday mornings.

Saturday, May 1, 8 PM, $12.00 advance/$15.00 day of show

The Bee Eaters is a new group that boasts four of the most accomplished, creative young talents of the new generation, tracing roots back to the musical traditions of Bluegrass, Old-time, Celtic, Jazz and Pop. The quartet combines the strong, striking music of hammered dulcimer virtuoso Simon Chrisman and banjo phenomenon Wes Corbett with the inimitable sound of brother-sister fiddle duo Tristan and Tashina Clarridge. The result of the foursome's collaboration is an elegant fusion of tradition and innovation. Says fiddle legend Darol Anger, "The Bee Eaters are the instrumental cream of the brand new string nation. Harking back to the 'grand old days' when new virtuosos seemed to spring onto the scene fully formed with a whole repertoire of brilliant music nobody had ever heard before, somehow these kids have absorbed everything we had to offer and alchemized it into a new musical world." Tristan Clarridge, an inventive cellist and 5-time Grand National Fiddle Champion, tours internationally with Crooked Still and Darol Anger's Republic of Strings, and has also appeared with Mike Marshall, Bruce Molsky and Natalie MacMaster. Tashina Clarridge, the 2005 Grand National Fiddle Champion, has toured with Mark O'Connor and Tony Trischka, and performed at Carnegie Hall as part of MacArthur Fellow/Grammy-winning bassist Edgar Meyer's Young Artists program. 23-year-old banjoist Wesley Corbett has appeared with the David Grisman Quintet and Matt Glaser, and toured internationally with bluegrass sensation The Biscuit Burners. Hammered dulcimer wizard Simon Chrisman has performed with Mike Marshall and Darol Anger, opened for Bill Frisell, and at 16 was a scholarship guest artist at the Augusta Heritage Festival in West Virginia. His sophisticated rhythmic sense and ingenious tonal flexibility, on an instrument usually considered limited, has created a buzz among musicians all over the world. The Bee Eaters held their debut CD release party at BRT in Feb. 2009 to a packed house.... do not miss their return!

Saturday, May 8, 8 PM, $12.00 advance/$15.00 day of show
JOY KILLS SORROW - Rhode Island CD release!

With its bold new brand of acoustic music, Joy Kills Sorrow pushes right through the envelope and out the other side. The Boston-based string band brings a decidedly modern sensibility to an old-world sound, channeling the prodigious talents of its individual members into elegant arrangements and well-crafted songs. While the group pays due homage to its Bluegrass roots - its name is taken from WJKS, a radio station that broadcasted the Monroe brothers' show in the 1930s - the band truly excels in its rich treatment of more contemporary material. Boasting a full arsenal of original songs, Joy Kills Sorrow plumbs the entire spectrum of its spare instrumentation, effortlessly merging influences as diverse as folk, rock, pop, and jazz. The music that emerges is dark and often funny, ruminating on modern life and love with eloquence and wit. The result is a radical new strain of folk music, one that breaks with tradition even as it salutes the past. Formed under the banner "a modern American string band," Joy Kills Sorrow first emerged out of BostonŐs thriving folk music scene in 2005. Founding member Matthew Arcara, an expressive guitarist, was the 2006 winner of Winfield's National Flatpicking Championship and has performed with such luminaries as Darol Anger. Joy Kills Sorrow's newest addition, mandolin virtuoso Jacob Jolliff, is Berklee's first full-scholarship mandolin student and a veteran performer, having toured professionally since age eleven and shared the stage with mandolin legends David Grisman and Mike Marshall. Wesley Corbett, a banjoist of uncommon facility and grace, has toured nationally with Crooked Still, The Bee Eaters, and The Biscuit Burners. Emma Beaton, the 2008 Canadian Folk Music Awards' Young Performer of the Year, adds an earthy, powerful presence to the band as its newly-minted vocalist. And bassist Bridget Kearney, winner of the 2006 John Lennon Songwriting Contest, is largely responsible for Joy Kills Sorrow's inimitable sound, thanks to her impeccable musicality and distinctive songwriting style. This will be their RI debut as well as the Rhode Island CD release of "Darkness Sure Becomes This City," released on Signature Sounds.

Saturdays, May 15 and May 22, at 8:00 p.m.
Sundays, May 16 and May 23, at 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 23, 2:00 p.m. matinee
$18.00 advance/$20.00 day of show
Seating limited; reservations suggested
Visit for online ticket purchase
or send check payable to: "The What Cheer Art Co." to BRT address

For two weekends in May, a fully-staged opera will be presented in the Blackstone Valley, at Cumberland's Blackstone River Theatre. Are northern Rhode Island audiences ready for opera? That's what Steven Jobe, the Providence-based composer of "Joan of Arc: An Opera in Three Acts," and Russell Gusetti, executive director of BRT, can't wait to find out. Says Jobe, "One of my primary goals was to tackle the question of how to keep opera alive and relevant in today's world. I hope some of the choices I have made will allow "Joan of Arc" to become part of the answer to that question." The libretto and music for the opera "Joan of Arc" were completed in 1993 by Jobe, a Providence-based composer and musician. Workshop versions of the piece were presented in Providence in 1993 and 1997 (then entitled "Jeanne d'Arc"). In 2009, Jobe made the decision to finalize the instrumentation and join forces with director Bob Colonna to present the piece as a fully realized, theatrical work, complete with costumes. With this, Jobe believes the strength of the narrative will be fully revealed for the first time.

So, how does one make opera of interest to today's audiences? Jobe explains, " 'Joan of Arc' is sung in English, and it's a true opera in that it presents narrative set to music in a theatrical setting. But it also has certain non-traditional features. There is not a lot of 'talk' by the characters, so it's by and large a quick succession of beautiful melodies clocking in at a concise 70 minutes." The opera will be presented in two parts with a short intermission. The fact that the opera was written by a living, local composer should also be of interest to existing fans of this age-old art form. Gusetti adds that the music will truly be something to hear...and to see. "Steve's score features an unusual 18-piece orchestra including exotic instruments such as a hurdy-gurdy, the cornetto, harmonica, Glass Bells and a 7-foot-long Drone Machine that he designed - a feast for both the eyes and ears." Internationally-celebrated guitarist Mark Davis will conduct the orchestra, and the overall effect will be a compelling blend of medieval-style melodies in a context of new, modern instrumentation. Cumberland's Blackstone River Theatre will provide the setting for this dramatic rendering of Joan of Arc and her visions. Onstage, soprano Teresa Wakim - who enjoys an internationally successful career as soloist in opera, oratorio, and chamber music - will play the role of Joan of Arc. Jason McStoots, a renowned vocalist from the Boston area, will play the Dauphin.

Why did Jobe choose to debut his opera in the Blackstone Valley instead of Providence? "I approached Blackstone River Theatre because of my longtime connection with Russell and because of his willingness to try new works," says Jobe. "And while I had previously workshopped the piece in church settings, I was longing for a real theatrical setting where I could start with a blank canvas and give the show a simple look, a patina of austerity that I think serves the intent of the work." Jobe further explains that when he visited the theatre, he was reminded of the qualities of Cumberland and the Blackstone Valley region - the blend of old-fashioned urban with its attendant charm and the obvious beauty of the surrounding countryside. "Being an area with a strong French cultural history attracted me but I was also intrigued with the fact that there may not have been many, if any previous productions of opera at all. With this fully-staged production, we hope to build a new audience for a new work," says Jobe.

For audio files of "Joan of Arc" and for further information about Jobe's work as a composer, visit or

  • Laura Travis will present a beginners class for Celtic stone carving in limestone on June 19-20. See classes link for full details.
  • Except for a concert event on June 12 and the June 19-20 stone carving class, BRT will be doing renovation work at the theatre during the month of June.

Saturday, June 12, 7:00 PM, $10.00 advance/$12.00 day of show
The Music of Upright Bassist/Composer Tom Casale - CD release party!
Featuring the Infinite Darkness Quartet with guest vocalist Kara Casale
and The Drive Quartet featuring Greg Takemoto

This evening will feature the music of bassist and composer Tom Casale. His new CD, "Two Quartets: Live at The Lily Pad" brings together two diverse quartets who play Casale's music beautifully. The Drive Quartet is led by bassist Tom Casale along with saxophonists Brian McCarthy and Jared Sims, guitarist Ian Macaulay and drummer Alex Chapman. The Infinite Darkness is also led by Tom Casale but features guitarist Mike Bernier, pianist Tony Cabral and drummer Alex Chapman. Both groups approach Casale's music differently, but with equal energy and understanding. The music ranges from groove, to straight ahead, to soundscapes and everything in between. It will remind the listener of the sounds of Wayne Shorter, Jimi Hendrix, Bill Evans, Esjborn Svenssen, The Bad Plus and many others, but while retaining a sound all its own. Casale's music is interesting and unique, a must hear for any listener looking for something new.

Saturday, June 19 AND Sunday, June 20, 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM

Thursday, June 24, 7:00 PM

  • Blackstone River Theatre will be doing renovation work at the theatre during the month of July. There will be no programming or classes.

Wednesday, July 7, 3-5:00 PM, Free
National Park Service Public Meeting

Monday, August 2, 6:30-9:00 PM

Saturday, August 7, 12-2 PM

Saturday, August 7, 8:00 PM, $12.00
Bjärv - Nordic Folk Music

From the far provinces of Sweden comes the music of Bjärv, an exciting, traditional Nordic folk trio. Infused with youthful charm, their innovative, stunning three-part harmonies and show-stopping improvisational musicianship make their live performances a great time for all audiences. On fiddle is the charismatic, 28-year-old Olof Göthlin. A protégé of renowned fiddler Mats Eden, Olof became a "Riksspelman" (Fiddler of the Realm) in 2006; he also performs in the headlining folk-fusion group, Alla Fagra. Mikael Grafström provides both hypnotic rhythm and artistic nuance with his beautifully fluid guitar playing. A recent graduate of the folk music department at the Malmö music conservatory, Mikael has studied with Mats Eden, Jens Ulvsand, as well as Roger Tallroth from the Swedish band Väsen. The youngest member, on the traditional Swedish nyckelharpa, is Benjamin Teitelbaum, 26. After being awarded Sweden's Eric Sahlström nyckelharpa scholarship for 2000, Ben studied at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and Bethany College in Lindsborg, KS, becoming the first American to earn a degree in nyckelharpa performance. The trio has been touring the United States and Scandinavia since the release of their self-titled CD in 2002. This will be their first tour in the eastern US as they promote their new CD, "The Red Album." Don't miss an amazing and rare evening of Nordic folk music!

Sunday, August 15, 2:00 PM, Free!
PENDRAGON presents "The Ryan's Mammoth Collection" Concert
An American Masterpiece performance sponsored by
the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts / National Endowment for the Arts

Elias Howe, Jr., was born in 1820 in Framingham, Massachusetts, of a New England family known for everything from sewing machines to the "Battle Hymn of the Republic." By the 1840s Howe was selling music and repairing instruments (and umbrellas!) in Providence, Rhode Island, before heading north to a brilliant career in Boston. Having learned to play the fiddle as a child, Howe had a fondness for collecting tunes from the old timers, so it is not surprising that in 1883, this prolific music entrepreneur published "Ryan's Mammoth Collection 1050 Reels and Jigs, Hornpipes, Clogs, Walk-arounds, Essences, Strathspeys, Highland Flings and Contra Dances, with Figures, And How To Play Them." This was only one of many music collections published by Howe, in addition to his manufacture of military drums used by the United States Army and a line of stringed instruments dating from the late 19th century.

This chapter of New England musical history and its Rhode Island connection will come to life at the Blackstone River Theatre today with a free concert to celebrate the legacy of Elias Howe and his partner William Bradbury Ryan, for whom the "Mammoth" collection is named. Consisting primarily of traditional Irish dance tunes, the collection also offers composed tunes that provide a window from which to view the ballrooms and barn dances of old time New England and a young nation. With names like "Young America" and "President Grant's Hornpipe," Ryan's collection of tunes is a high-stepping history of dance music in America. The collection focuses on dance steps brought to America by Irish immigrants, English mill workers, and Scottish dancers... among others.

The "Ryan's Mammoth Collection" Concert represents the continuing work of the BRT's Heritage Arts Studio, originally supported by a Rhode Island State Council on the Arts American Masterpieces / National Endowment for the Arts grant to convey the story of Elias Howe and music of the Ryan's Collection to new musicians as well as audience in a time-honored tradition. With newly-passed Grade Span Expectations in the Arts joining recent GSE's in Historical Perspectives and Rhode Island History, regional music and dance keep time with students of the arts and social studies. Performers include the R.I.-based ensemble Pendragon, step dancer Kevin Doyle, fiddler Cathy Clasper-Torch, and several of her fiddle students from Blackstone River Theatre's Heritage Arts Studio.

Saturday, August 21 AND Sunday, August 22
Sponsored in part by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts

Two-day workshop with Stan Renard, Christine Harrington, Nancy Richardson and John DeBossu of The Bohemian Quartet on Romany and Eastern European folk music and culture culminating in a concert performance on August 22. For registration information, please contact Christine at:

Monday, August 23, 6:30-9:00 PM

Friday, August 27, 6:00-9:00 PM

  • Blackstone River Theatre is celebrating our 10th anniversary season! BRT has now presented more than 1,000 events since reopening in September, 2000, in front of more than 65,000 audience members! THANK YOU!
  • Five levels of fiddle classes with Cathy Clasper-Torch start September 14th and 15th including total beginner.
  • A two-day beginner Celtic stone carving workshop with Laura Travis will run Sept. 18-19.
  • A Svaroopa Yoga weekend workshop will be offered Sept. 25-26 with Vidyadevi Stillman.
  • Deborah Bazer and Lahri Bond will exhibit "Leaf and Stone: Mythic Sculptures and paintings" in BRT's Art Gallery from September 16 through October 30. Their shared love of world myths and legends, particularly Celtic and Norse tales, has been the inspiration for this current show of new and older works that encompass terra cotta relief tiles and wall panels, as well as paintings in gouache and acrylic.
  • BRT continues to host more and more private events... in September we will host a fundraiser for Frank Caprio as well as the public showing of the final draft for the Broad Street Regeneration Initiative.

If a show at BRT has an advance price & a day-of-show price it means: If you pre-pay OR call in your reservation any time before the show date, you get the advance price. If you show up at the door with no reservations OR call in your reservations on the day of the show, you will pay the day of show price.

Tuesday & Wednesday, September 14 and 15
Fiddle classes begin with Cathy Clasper-Torch

Thursday, September 16, 8 PM, $13.00 advance/$15.00 day of show
PRESTON REED - Virtuoso percussive fingerstyle guitarist

"Widely thought of as the world's most gifted guitarist" - Total Guitar
Preston Reed has virtually reinvented how the acoustic guitar is played. Practicing a flamboyant self-invented style, characterized by percussive techniques and simultaneous rhythm and melody lines that dance and ricochet around each other, Reed gives his music a level of excitement that is unparalleled among today's guitarists. Playing an array of guitars from acoustic to electric to classical, Reed's vast range of explosively original music will forever change your expectation of a guitarist. His influence is crucial for a new generation of guitarists including Kaki King and Andy McKee, both of whom play in the style developed by Reed in the mid-'80s. Simply put, this 53-year-old New Yorker tweaks the nose of musical convention and burns the rule book of the past. His unique style is unthinkable as with blurred hands he taps, tickles, and slaps his guitar, fusing polyrhythmic percussion with emotion-filled melody to create a sonic landscape. Starting with 1979's Acoustic Guitar, several thrilling albums spread Reed's reputation, and by 1988 he had signed a major deal with MCA. But behind closed doors, the guitarist was frustrated. Though spellbinding by any standards, his playing had reached a plateau, his muse held in check by the physical limitations of the instrument. Then the thunderbolt struck. Reed wiped his technique clean, and made his first attempt at the two-handed fretboard attack that would change his career forever. If Reed were the type of musician to look back, he could reflect on 30 years of glories including gigs with Bonnie Raitt and Linda Ronstadt, huge sales of his 15 studio albums, untold hits on YouTube, and the praise of both the man on the street and fellow six-string pioneers like Al DiMeola and Michael Hedges. But Reed doesn't deal in nostalgia. Twenty years after he changed the face of the acoustic guitar, this trailblazer still tours and records with a passion that flows into the hearts, heads and feet of his audiences, and continues to push his musicianship to a place where other guitarists fear to tread. Do not miss this guitar innovator's first Rhode Island performance (and only New England show) as BRT kicks off our 10th anniversary season!

Sat. & Sun., September 18-19, 9 AM to 3:30 PM both days
Celtic stone carving for beginners with Laura Travis

Monday, September 20, 8:30-9:30 AM and 5:30-7:00 PM, Free!
Public showing of final draft of the Broad Street Regeneration Initiative

Thursday, September 23, 8 PM, $15.00
THE TANNAHILL WEAVERS - Music from Scotland

The Tannahill Weavers are one of Scotland's premier traditional bands. Their diverse repertoire spans the centuries with high-energy instrumentals, topical songs, and original ballads and lullabies. Their music demonstrates to old and young alike the rich and varied musical heritage of the Celtic people. These versatile musicians have received worldwide accolades consistently over the years for their exuberant performances and outstanding recordings that seemingly can't get better... yet continue to do just that. The Tannies turn their acoustic music loose on audiences with an electrifying effect featuring a unique combination of traditional melodies, driving rhythmic accompaniment, and rich vocals that make their performances unforgettable. As the Boston Globe notes, "Scotland's Tannahill Weavers play acoustic instruments, but the atmosphere at their shows is electric. The quartet is as tight and as versatile as any band in the Celtic music revival. They can summon rock 'n' roll intensity or haunting introspection." Born of a session in Paisley, Scotland, and named for the town's historic weaving industry and local poet laureate Robert Tannahill, the group has made an international name for its special brand of Scottish music, blending the beauty of traditional melodies with the power of modern rhythms. Over the years, the Tannies have been trailblazers for Scottish music, and their tight harmonies and powerful, inventive arrangements have won them fans from beyond the folk and Celtic music scenes. Members are Roy Gullane on vocals and guitar, John Martin on fiddle and vocals, Phil Smillie on flute, whistles and bodhran, Les Wilson on bouzouki and guitar, and Colin Melville on Highland bagpipes and Scottish small pipes. They are firmly established as one of the premier groups on the concert stage; from reflective ballads to footstomping reels and jigs, the variety and range of the material they perform is matched only by their enthusiasm. Don't miss a rare New England appearance!

September 25-26: Svaroopa Yoga Weekend Workshop, 9 AM to 5PM

Saturday, September 25, 8 PM, $12.00
PAUL GEREMIA / MARY FLOWER - Acoustic blues at its best

Acoustic Guitar magazine calls Paul Geremia "One of the best country blues finger-pickers ever." Geremia is possibly the greatest living performer of the East Coast and Texas fingerpicking and slide styles and he has been called a national treasure. Paul has created a style which is very much his own combining his interpretations of the music of Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Blind Willie McTell and Blind Blake. His superb recordings have made him a critical favorite and place him firmly among the legends who inspired and influenced him over the past four decades. With his six and twelve-string guitars, harmonica and a husky, soulful voice - and with an innate sense of the humor as well as the drama of the music - Geremia keeps traditional blues fresh and alive with his performances. Paul has recorded ten solo albums, and has also appeared on numerous anthologies and compilation discs. Mary Flower, 2008 Blues Music Award nominee as "Acoustic Artist of the Year," is renowned for a uniquely personal vision of roots music that blends ragtime, acoustic blues, and folk - technically dazzling yet grounded in the down-to-earth simplicity of early 20th century American music. With eight albums under her belt, Flower has earned rave reviews from critics and audiences alike for her unassuming vocals, but it is her instrumental skill - a mastery of the difficult Piedmont blues guitar that takes most players a lifetime to hone - for which Flower is most celebrated. Mary also excels at lap slide guitar, allowing her to infuse songs with a supremely delicate, plaintive sound that's hers alone while recalling the blues giants of the past. Flower performs and teaches internationally, and has released several instructional DVDs. "A world-class fingerstyle and lap-slide guitarist" - Downbeat Magazine; "unfailingly sweet, hot and sassy" - All Music Guide to The Blues

Wednesday, September 29, 6-8 PM
Frank Caprio Fundraiser Event

  • Five levels of fiddle classes with Cathy Clasper-Torch continue; a new 5-week session begins Oct. 19 and Oct. 27.
  • An 8-week session of Irish step dance classes for adult and children beginners, and advanced beginners begins October 2.
  • New 6-week beginner and intermediate beginner sessions of mandolin classes with Ben Pearce begin October 18.
  • Deborah Bazer and Lahri Bond will exhibit "Leaf and Stone: Mythic Sculptures and paintings" in BRT's Art Gallery through October 30. There will be a meet-the-artists reception on Oct. 3.

If a show at BRT has an advance price & a day-of-show price it means: If you pre-pay OR call in your reservation any time before the show date, you get the advance price. If you show up at the door with no reservations OR call in your reservations on the day of the show, you will pay the day of show price.

Saturdays, October 2 through Nov. 20
Irish step dance for beginner adults & children with Terry Songini begins

Sunday, October 3, 7 PM, $20.00 advance/$24.00 day of show

Advance ticket purchase strongly recommended!
Irish fiddle virtuoso Martin Hayes and American guitarist Dennis Cahill possess a rare musical kinship, ranking them among the most memorable partnerships of our era. Together they have garnered international renown for taking traditional music to the very edge of the genre, holding listeners spellbound with their slow-building, fiery performances. Hayes has been an All-Ireland fiddle champion six times over and has taken home a National Entertainment Award, the Irish equivalent to the "Grammy." Possessing the slow, lyrical style of his native East County Clare, Martin grew up playing traditional music with his father, P.J. Hayes, leader of the famed Tulla Ceili Band. Dennis Cahill is a master guitarist, as well versed in classical, blues and rock as he is in traditional music. A Chicago native, Cahill's innovative accompaniment is acknowledged as being a major breakthrough for guitar in the Irish tradition. The musical rapport between Hayes and Cahill is so strong that it is often said they appear to be playing one instrument; while Martin pursues a melody, Dennis explores the harmony and rhythms within the tune. Their live performances can weave tunes that stretch up to thirty minutes long, in what Hayes describes as "a three-way conversation between the two of us and the music." Not to be missed!

Saturday, October 9, 8 PM, $12.00 advance/$15.00 day of show
JOHN DOYLE - Irish singer & virtuoso guitarist

As an original member of Irish-American supergroup Solas - and a highly sought-after session player - John Doyle pioneered a rhythmic, sophisticated approach to Irish guitar accompaniment, setting a new standard for the instrument. Over the past decade, Doyle's gifts as a guitarist, songwriter, vocalist, and producer have continued to play an essential role in the ongoing renaissance of Irish traditional music. When the original members of Solas parted ways, Doyle embarked on a solo career, producing albums for other artists and touring as a sideman as well as recording his own material. Preserving the tasteful simplicity of tradition, Doyle nonetheless adds a contemporary edge, finding fresh life in even the most well-worn of tunes. His playing encompasses hard-driving strumming, inventive chord voicings, precise single-note runs, and powerful rhythmic effects borrowed from traditional instruments such as the bodhran and fiddle. Doyle and Liz Carroll received a 2010 Grammy nomination for Double Play, in the Best Traditional World Music category; John also received a 2009 Irish Music Awards nomination for The Tommy Makem Award. Along with the release of the critically-acclaimed "Exiles Return," which sees Doyle join up with old friend Karan Casey, John continues to tour with fiddler Liz Carroll, and was also musical director and guitarist on Joan Baez's latest tour. Do not miss a rare solo show with one of this generation's best traditional Irish singers and guitarists.

Saturday, October 16, 8 PM, $12.00 adv/$15.00 day of show
ANNALIVIA - Neo-traditional fiddle band

New England has long been a fertile environment for musicians inspired by sounds from the British Isles, and the group Annalivia is one of the latest, and best. The band features harmonious singing and high-energy instrumentals on a selection of traditional and contemporary material. One of latest alt-traditional acoustic bands to emerge form the potent Boston fiddle music scene, Annalivia's music combines Anglo-Celtic ballad singing and fiddle dance music traditions with their North American counterparts in the Southern Appalachians and Cape Breton Island. The sound is a genuine fusion of closely related musics, in addition to contributing original instrumentals to an evolving tradition. The band is comprised of seasoned touring musicians and champion fiddlers, all of whom have performed and recorded with many notable acts in a range of Celtic and American folk genres. Annalivia features the beautiful singing of Liz Simmons (The John Whelan Band, Long Time Courting), the stunning twin fiddling of Brendan Carey Block (Glengarry Bhoys) and Emerald Rae (The Cathie Ryan Band), and the rhythmic intensity of Flynn Cohen on guitar (Halali, Cathie Ryan, John Whelan) and Stuart Kenney on bass and banjo (Wild Asparagus, Airdance). Together they bring a fresh and exciting approach to traditional and contemporary songs from both sides of the Atlantic. Don't miss the Rhode Island release of Annalivia's new CD, "Barrier Falls" when they make their BRT debut!

Sunday, October 17, 7 PM, $12.00 adv/$14.00 day of show
JEZ LOWE - English singer-songwriter (solo show)

Jez Lowe is a remarkable songwriter using wit, sensitivity and keen perception to paint colorful portraits of ordinary people with ordinary lives who may be specific to North East England, but through Jez's eyes and verse become universal characters. Jez hails from Northeast England, an area rich in working-class values, with a wealth of songs and music unique to that windswept corner of the British Isles. Born to a coal mining family with Irish roots, Lowe was raised and still lives in an area close to the English/ Scottish border where coal mining was the dominant occupation. This was to be the substance from which he would create a body of work that would make him one of the most popular and enduring of the many singer songwriters to emerge from Britain in the last 25 years. His songs have been covered by Fairport Convention, The Tanahill Weavers, The Dubliners, Cherish the Ladies, and a host of other acts. Lowe was nominated for the 2008 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards as 'Folksinger of the Year' and he was an Indie Acoustic Project USA "Album of the Year" finalist in 2008 for his solo CD, "Jack Common's Anthem." Jez and the Bad Pennies have just released a new CD "Wotcheor," inspired by the people and the culture of North East England, and presented in a "radio cabaret" style in homage to the legendary 1950s BBC Radio show "Wot Cheor Geordie." Do not miss a BRT favorite and one of folk music's best songwriter!

Mondays, October 18 through Nov. 22
Beginner & intermediate beginner mandolin classes with Ben Pearce begin

October 19 and October 27
New 5-week session for five levels of fiddle classes begin

Thursday, October 21, 7-9 PM
David Cicilline Fundraiser Event

October 23 concert has been cancelled!

Saturday, October 30, 8 PM, $12.00 adv/$15.00 day of show
PADDY KEENAN - Irish Traditional music

Paddy Keenan, who has been referred to as "the Jimi Hendrix of the pipes," and "the King of the pipers" is generally acknowledged as one of the most accomplished, innovative uilleann pipers playing today. He will be joined tonight by Nashville guitarist James Prendergast. Paddy was the 2003 recipient of the Irish National Traditional Musician Award. Specializing in a wild, fluid style solely his own, Paddy was a founding member of the Bothy Band, one of the most influential Celtic bands of the 1970s. Keenan continues to tour in Europe and the U.S. and has released several solo albums including his most recent CD "The Long Grazing Acre." Paddy was born in Trim, Co. Meath, to John Keenan and the former Mary Bravender. The Keenans were a Travelling family (the wanderers of Ireland known amongst themselves as Pavees) steeped in traditional music; both Paddy's father and grandfather were uilleann pipers. Taking up pipes at age 10, Keenan moved to America at age 17 to play blues and rock and roll only to return to Ireland in the seventies. After several member changes, Paddy soon found himself with musicians who would go on to change the face of traditional Irish music. The Bothy Band forever changed Irish music, merging a driving rhythm section with traditional Irish tunes in ways that had never been heard before. Paddy's virtuosity on the pipes combined with the ferocity of his playing made him, in the opinion of many, its driving force. Paddy's style has continued to mature in the intervening years since the break-up of The Bothy Band as he has pursued a solo career. Keenan is certainly one of the most brilliant musicians of his generation. In a live situation, Keenan is possibly one of the most exciting traditional musicians in the world. His inventiveness and willingness to take risks most players wouldn't even think of and pull them off, make his playing an endless source of fascination for traditional music lovers and pipers in particular. Don't miss a rare Rhode Island appearance by a true Irish music legend!

  • Five levels of fiddle classes with Cathy Clasper-Torch continue through November 16 and November 24.
  • Three levels of Irish step dance classes for adult and children beginners, and advanced beginners continues through November 20.
  • Beginner and intermediate beginner sessions of mandolin classes with Ben Pearce continue through November 22.
  • Susan Shaw will exhibit landscape paintings in BRT's Art Gallery from November 5 through December 17.

If a show at BRT has an advance price & a day-of-show price it means: If you pre-pay OR call in your reservation any time before the show date, you get the advance price. If you show up at the door with no reservations OR call in your reservations on the day of the show, you will pay the day of show price.

Friday, November 5

Saturday, November 6, 8:00 PM, $12.00
MICHELE CHOINIERE - Franco-American music
Sponsored by Navigant Credit Union

Singer Michele Choiniere was born into a musical Franco-American family in northern Vermont, and from an early age performed traditional Franco-American music with her father Fabio, an accomplished harmonica player. In 1995, she began writing and composing her own songs and has performed to audiences throughout New England, Quebec and France. Her lyrics and music focus on nature, romance and social issues connected to being Franco-American. She has been featured on TV5 International's "Visions d'Amerique," which was broadcast to francophone nations worldwide, as well as on Vermont Public Television's "Rural Delivery" and has recorded an archival family collection of Franco-American music with her father. She is featured on the Smithsonian Folkways CD "Mademoiselle Voulez-Vous Danser: Franco-American music from the New England Borderlands" released in 1999. In 2003, Michele self-released her debut solo album, "Coeur Fragile," following up with her 2010 release of "La Violette" to critical acclaim. Michele has appeared in concert at the American Folk Festival (Bangor), the Lowell Folk Festival, the Great Lakes Folk Festival (Michigan) and the Tadoussac Folk Festival (Quebec). She is a recognized 'master artist', having been awarded the prestigious and competitive Governor's Heritage Award in 2007. She is also a member of the Vermont Arts Council's American Masterpieces program, as well as a juried Arts Council performer and teaching artist. Michele will appear at Blackstone River Theatre with violinist David Gusakov, mandolinist Will Patton, and guitarist Dono Schabner. Their performances blend traditional Franco-American and Quebec folk songs, original compositions, jazz standards, and covers of well-known artists such as Edith Piaf.

Wednesday, November 10, 4:30-6 PM, Free
Public meeting to discuss the Broad Street Regeneration initiative

Thursday, November 11, 7-10 PM
Community School Winetasting / Fundraiser Event

Friday, November 12, 8 PM, $12.00

Tonight's evening will bring together two old friends as musician/visual artist Jay Bolotin will perform in a split concert with local blues/folk legend Ken Lyon. Kentucky native Jay Bolotin's self-titled debut has been out of circulation almost since its release. Since that time, former RISD student Bolotin has had an interesting career, writing a song for Dan Fogelberg, earning Kris Kristofferson's admiration (he named Bolotin "one of the three best songwriters in the country"), writing an opera, and creating a film out of his animated woodcuts called "The Jackleg Testament," which was shown at BRT in 2007. Recorded in New York City in 1968, with bassist Ken Lyon, keyboard player Mark Taber, guitarist David Mowry, and Bobby Mason of the Fugs on drums, Bolotin's debut album has a quiet intensity. Its sureness and maturity are surprising, given that the songwriter was only 18 years old at the time, and the songs are a shadowy mix of Appalachian folk, blues and country. The CD was reissued in 2009 and tonight's show will feature music from that debut album as well as songs from both Jay's and Ken's bottomless repertoire of folk, blues and more.

Saturday, November 13, 8 PM, $15.00
DUKE ROBILLARD & SUNNY CROWNOVER - Tales from the Tiki Lounge
An evening of Les Paul-style jazz, blues and lounge music

Duke Robillard was already an excellent, tasteful guitarist when he founded Roomful of Blues in the late '60s. Since he left Roomful in the late '70s, Robillard has played blues, jazz, swing and more and has only gotten better. Boston area-based Sunny Crownover is an amazing vocalist with Texas roots and a band called the Joy Boys, which also includes Robillard. "Tales from the Tiki Lounge" was conceived as a tribute to Les Paul and Mary Ford but also encompasses the concept of "Lounge" and "Bachelor Pad" music by mixing multi-layered guitar tracks with swinging acoustic bass and adding bongos, congas and other percussion around the sweet and sultry vocals of Sunny Crownover for a decidedly exotic effect. From blues to standards, vintage tunes from movies to South American pop from the '40s and '50s, this eclectic package is pure ear candy. Although the styles vary, the underlying consistency of Duke's orchestral approach to his guitar tracks and the wonderfully warm vocals of Sunny make for an aural trip to another time and place. The CD just got a great review from September's Blues Review Magazine, "Duke's studied guitar chops, on both electric and acoustic, evoke the era's musical style as well as the fretwork and picking techniques of one of history's most influential and respected guitarists. Simultaneously, Crownover's mesmerizingly beautiful vocal texture accentuates the splendor and sex appeal of the lyrics in a manner that would make Mary Ford, Mae West, and the Andrews Sisters proud." Sunny and Duke will be joined by Paul Kolesnikow on guitar, Jesse WIlliams on bass and Mark Teixeira on drums.

Friday, November 19, 8 PM, $12.00
PETER JANSON/TIM FARRELL - Amazing fingerstyle guitarists

We are excited to offer a great split concert featuring the return of Peter Janson and the debut of Pennsylvania-based guitarist Tim Farrell. Considered a "gifted acoustic fingerstyle guitar player" by Dirty Linen, Peter Janson's brand of fingerstyle music brings world-class solo guitar playing to the concert stage. With a repertoire incorporating American folk guitar, Celtic music, and American roots music, his original and contemporary style is filled with artistry, superb technical mastery, and heartfelt passion. Janson has collaborated on stage with a variety of acoustic artists including guitar luminaries Alex de Grassi, Ed Gerhard, Dakota Dave Hull, and many more... With critical acclaim such as "a true artist's soul," and "perhaps the leading contemporary fingerstyle guitarist today" there's no doubt Peter has bridged a gap bringing together the every-day music fan with die-hard guitar fans. Peter's music has entertained millions throughout the world on radio, digital radio, internet radio, TV, on airline flights, and live. He is a regular performer at guitar festivals and concerts throughout North America and his solo recordings include Firelight Moonlight, Winter Gifts, Across the Bridge, Sometimes From Here, and most recently Compass Rose. Tim Farrell's music expresses an elegant simplicity that celebrates the pure beauty of the acoustic guitar. It is a sound that has the power to captivate, intrigue and inspire. He has been described as "one of the new trailblazers," a musician with the unique ability to entertain an audience and inspire future generations of players. His playing infuses craft, technique, and melodic substance to create a style that transcends genre.
"Tim Farrell stands apart from the numerous guitar slingers out there. He is a guitarist to be heard," - Billboard, Critics Choice. Making his BRT debut tonight, Tim has the rare ability to inspire listeners to experience music on a multitude of levels. Through his mastery of the intricacies and melodic grace of fingerstyle guitar, he has created a sound that evokes emotion - a sound that is to be felt as well as heard.

Saturday, November 20, 8 PM, $12.00 adv/$15.00 day of show
PATRICK BALL - The Fine Beauty of the Island
Sponsored by Navigant Credit Union

A solo musical theater piece written and performed by Celtic harpist & storyteller Patrick Ball
Patrick Ball is one of the premier Celtic harp players in the world and a captivating spoken word artist. In playing the ancient, legendary brass-strung harp of Ireland with its crystalline, bell-like voice, and in performing marvelous tales of wit and enchantment, he not only brings new life to two cherished traditions, but blends them to create "a richly theatrical and hauntingly beautiful performance." There may be only one person on the stage, but in "The Fine Beauty of the Island," a whole culture appears before us. Through the voice of his Celtic harp, the lilt of his penny whistle, and the brogues of a pubful of characters, contemporary bard Patrick Ball casts a spell out of scraps of stories, researched history, and the raucous dark humor of the Irish. The Blasket Islands lie three miles off the coast of County Kerry in Ireland. For centuries they were a lonely, remote place, a place of fishermen and farmers, of poets, musicians and storytellers. In the early 1950s, however, the last remaining inhabitants of the islands were forced to leave their homes and settle on the mainland, for their turf was gone, their land poor, and their seas plundered of fish by large trawlers from England and France. The islanders loaded all that they could carry into their curraghs and rowed away - a leave-taking known as "The Vanishing." But they also carried with them their tales and legends, one of which told of a deeply haunting tune that was heard on the winds of the islands, then passed on through generations of island musicians. Twenty years after "The Vanishing," Patrick Ball heard this tune in an Irish bar in San Francisco, and his life was changed forever. In "The Fine Beauty of the Island," Patrick tells the story of his journey in search of the origin and meaning of this strange, enchanting tune which led him back not only to a Blasket Island community and culture "whose like will not be seen again," but to a long-neglected corner of his own past. Don't miss this amazing one-man performance!

Saturday, November 27, 8 PM, $20.00
HOMECOMING CONCERT and Silent Auction Fundraiser
featuring The Atwater-Donnelly Trio, Barry Brown, Blue Around the Edges, Bertrand Laurence with Mark Chenevert, Robbie O'Connell, Pendragon and Triple Spiral

Advance ticket purchase recommended!
With family and friends in town for Thanksgiving, BRT's 10th annual fund-raiser features some of the best of Rhode Island's homegrown talent as well as others who now live in the Ocean State. It is also a great way to experience upcoming performers at Blackstone River Theatre! 100% of the proceeds from both the concert and the silent auction will go to support Blackstone River Theatre's programming and operating expenses. Having celebrated their 10th anniversary in September, Blackstone River Theatre has now presented more than 1,025 concerts, dances, arts classes and children's events in front of 66,000 people. At 7:00 p.m. and during intermission, Blackstone River Theatre will also hold a silent auction featuring CDs, jewelry, original artwork, Christmas items and gift certificates. Pendragon will act as hosts this evening and will perform a set of their Celtic-inspired music. Featured performers, who are all donating their time, include celebrated Irish singer-songwriter Robbie O'Connell, The Atwater-Donnelly Trio featuring Aubrey Atwater, Elwood Donnelly and fiddler Cathy Clasper-Torch, who will perform Appalachian, gospel and Celtic-inspired folk music and dance, and folk/blues fingerstyle guitarist and singer Barry Brown. Guitarist Bertrand Laurence with Mark Chenevert on clarinet return with a set of country blues, ragtime and French music and we will welcome the debut performances by Blue Around the Edges, performing bluegrass and old-time music with beautiful vocal harmonies, and Triple Spiral, performing a fusion of Celtic and folk music with an emphasis on five-part harmonies. Don't miss this great night of music as you help support BRT's programming!

  • Susan Shaw's oil and watercolor painting exhibit continues in BRT's Art Gallery through December 17.
  • Blackstone River Theatre will shut down for the holiday season starting December 18 and will reopen again on January 15 with Moira Smiley & VOCO. We wish everyone a very happy and safe holiday season with best wishes for a peaceful new year!
  • Blackstone River Theatre gift certificates make a great gift for friends and family of all ages!

If a show at BRT has an advance price & a day-of-show price it means: If you pre-pay OR call in your reservation any time before the show date, you get the advance price. If you show up at the door with no reservations OR call in your reservations on the day of the show, you will pay the day of show price.

Saturday, December 4, 9 AM-3:00 PM, Free admission!

Blackstone River Theatre invites the community to our 3rd annual Holiday Craft Fair! Please come out and support BRT programming as well as local craft vendors and home-based businesses while you do your holiday shopping locally! We will have 24 local vendors on site and the event will also feature continuous live music by members of Pendragon, BRT fiddlers and pianist Mark Taber, raffle prizes, a bake sale table, refreshments and more. Door prizes will be raffled off from each vendor with the raffle proceeds to benefit BRT's programming. Think out of the box (store!) Vendor/crafters/artisans will include: Moosup Valley Designs, Laura Travis Celtic Stone Carving, Erin McCombs Photography, KKline Design, Jewelry by Lauren Tucciarone, Majeau Tote Bags, Chesbrough Smoke Rings, Ascots & Hats, Tina Kenney's Ren-Friends, Lilley Recycled Tote Bags, Arbonne, Water Wonders, Scentsy Candlewarmers, Beads with Heart, Lague Felted Pocketbooks, Lia Sophia, Shaker Shoppe, Eco Woolies, Vandenakker Mittens, as well as boxwood trees, handpainted holiday crafts, stuffed animals, grab bags, wood, leather & clay figurines, crochets, sun catchers, tapestries and more!

Saturday, December 4, 8 PM, $15.00 advance/$18.00 day of show
NEWPOLI - An Italian Christmas Celebration

Newpoli is a group of exceptionally talented musicians, all alumni from Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory, that performs Southern Italian Folk Music, mainly from the regions of Campania and Puglia, integrating a wide variety of styles such as Tarantella-Pizzica, Tammuriata, Villanella and the Neapolitan Canzone, encompassing music from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. Because Italian Folk music, with the exception of a small number of Neapolitan songs, has not received its deserved attention and recognition, neither in Italy nor abroad, Newpoli, guided by their passion for playing and researching these seldom played traditional styles, introduces to the audience, often for the first time, the joy and beauty of this music while recounting the ancient stories and rituals described in the lyrics. Tonight, for the first time in the U.S., Newpoli will perform Christmas carols of the Italian folk tradition from various regions such as Sardegna, Campagnia, Puglia, Basilicata and Sicilia. The repertoire will include traditional folk prayers, simple but spirited in their melodies. Most notably the evening's program will feature spiritual songs by the Neapolitan bishop, Saint Alphonsus Maria de' Liguori. Around the mid-18th century, de' Liguori composed most of his Christmas repertoire in Italian and Neapolitan dialect, inspired by the folk stories of the people of Naples. Newpoli, guided by their passion for playing and researching these seldom-played traditional songs, introduces the joy and beauty of this music while recounting the ancient stories described in the lyrics. Newpoli is: Carmen Marsico - lead vocals, artistic director; Angela Rossi - lead vocals, artistic director; Bjorn Wennas - guitar, artistic director; Fabio Pirozzolo - vocals, Italian tambourine/percussion; Roberto Cassan - accordion; Megumi Sasaki - violin; and Andrew Blickenderfer - acoustic bass.

New show!
Thursday, December 9, 8 PM, $12.00

From carpenter to songwriter. Since leaving construction and recording "Torn Screen Door" in 1999, Scottish-born Canadian David Francey has become recognized as one of today's finest singer-songwriters. Francey has released 8 CDs to date. His newest CD is "Seaway," a collaberation with Mike Ford of Moxy Fruvous fame with songs based on their voyage on the M.V. Algoville, a 750-foot carrier. Francey's previous CD, "Right of Passage," earned him his third JUNO (Canada's top music award) in less than 5 years. Francey's straightforward songs tell honest stories of real people and real places. Poetic perception and a keen eye for the heart of the matter are trademarks of the man and his music and his songs and stories are a direct connection for audiences seeking meaning in the day-to-day. Touring with David is American multi-instrumentalist Craig Werth. Francey was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, where as a paper boy he got his first taste of the working life. He learned to read at an early age, and by age eleven was devouring the newspapers he delivered. This helped establish his interest in politics and world events while developing the social conscience that forms the backdrop of his songs. He was twelve when his family immigrated to Toronto. He says he can trace his love of the land, the history, and the people of his adopted country to weekend family drives exploring southern Ontario. Music played a large part in these family outings. They sang traditional Scottish tunes as they drove through the Canadian countryside. His attachment to Canada grew with travel. He hitched across the country three times, then thumbed his way to the Yukon. This attachment surfaces in his songs of rail lines, farms, and the St. Lawrence Seaway. He grew to understand the people while working in Toronto train yards, the Yukon bush, and as a carpenter in the Eastern Townships. In concert David is a singer and an amazing storyteller. His wry humour and astute observations combined with his openhearted singing style have earned him a loyal following and we are thrilled to bring him back to BRT for the first time in three years!

Two Holiday performances!
Saturday is SOLD OUT! Still tickets for Sunday but call ahead!

Saturday, December 11, 8:00 PM, $18.00 advance/$20.00 day of show
AND Sunday, December 12, 7:00 PM, $18.00 advance/$20.00 day of show
THE ATWATER-DONNELLY TRIO AND PENDRAGON with The Miller Family & Victorian Carolers
Advance ticket purchase recommended!
Blackstone River Theatre will present our 3rd annual Christmas Celebration featuring Pendragon, the Atwater-Donnelly Trio, The Miller Family and special guests. Audiences can expect the unexpected - songs, dancing, carols, spoken word and more - as each group will perform on their own and also join together on many Christmas and winter-themed pieces. "That's one of the nicest thing about this show," explains Russell Gusetti, BRT executive director and a member of Pendragon. "People in each group get a chance to perform with each other in several different configurations, something audiences do not get to see at any other point in the year." In addition to Aubrey Atwater, Elwood Donnelly and Cathy Clasper-Torch, as well as Kevin Doyle, Bob Drouin, Russell Gusetti, Josh Kane and Mary Lee Partington of Pendragon, special guest performers will include the Swamp Meadow Victorian Carolers from Foster, 15-year-old Irish bagpiper Torrin Ryan, from Attleboro, and music and step dancing by The Miller Family - Ruby May, Evelyn and Samuel.

Friday, December 17, 8:00 p.m., $30.00 advance/$35.00 day of show

Advance ticket purchase recommended!
They have grown from a one-time concert concept to an Irish traditional music sensation, literally the most successful and sought-after Irish-American group in Celtic music. Organized by folklorist/musician Mick Moloney and sponsored by the Ethnic Folk Arts Center and the National Endowment for the Arts, they began as a concert series featuring the brightest lights in Irish traditional music. Taking their name from the name of a traditional Irish jig, the group initially won recognition as the first and only all-women traditional Irish band. In a relatively short time, they soon established themselves as musicians and performers without peer and have won many thousands of listeners and fans of their music. With their spectacular blend of virtuosic instrumental talents, beautiful vocals, captivating arrangements and stunning step dancing, this powerhouse group combines all the facets of Irish traditional culture and puts it forth in an immensely humorous and entertaining package. Cherish the Ladies - Joannie Madden, Mary Coogan, Grainne Murphy, Mirella Murray and KT Boyle - have been named Best Musical Group of the Year by the BBC, Entertainment Group of the Year by the Irish Voice Newspaper, chosen as the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall's International Group of the Year Award at the Celtic Connections Festival in Scotland and voted the Top North American Celtic act by NPR Radio's "Thistle and Shamrock." Cherish the Ladies was also chosen as top North American Celtic Act at the Irish Music Awards held in Castlebar, County Mayo in August! Last year at BRT they debuted their new Christmas album, "A Star In The East," which was a follow up to "On Christmas Night," hailed by critics as one of the best Christmas albums of 2007. The CD continues the theme with old Christmas favorite singalongs - given their unique Celtic touch - and some new Christmas songs with jigs, reels, polkas, airs and slides. For tonight's Christmas show, the band will be joined by several step dancers... do not miss a VERY rare small room appearance by this amazing group!