Artists and Schedule for First Night North 2023 coming soon!
Arts Connect Juried Show
Juried by Devon Zimmerman, Associate Curator at Maine’s Ogunquit Museum of American Art, this exhibition of work by artist members of Catamount Arts is a feast for the eyes and the soul!
At 7:40 pm Catamount Arts will draw the winning ticket for this year’s All Wheel for the Arts Car Raffle.
St. Johnsbury Academy Jazz Band & The Hilltones
Under the direction of Alan Rowe, the St. Johnsbury Academy Jazz Band and The Hilltones share a set for First Night. The Hilltones are the Academy’s select mixed a cappella vocal group who sing a delightfully eclectic program ranging from the sacred to contemporary. The ensemble makes an annual appearance at the Vermont Madrigal Festival in Burlington as the “Academy’s vocal ambassadors.” Another highly accomplished student group from St. Johnsbury Academy, the Jazz Band offers a concert of audience-friendly improvisations. The Jazz Band regularly represents the Academy at appearances throughout the state and has gained a well-deserved reputation for its tight riffs and enthusiastic renditions of jazz classics.
Alive and Well
Tim Berry and Suzan Derby both grew up in musical households where any genre could be found. Their inherited love of music and well-developed talents make for a winning combination to make music from the country and bluegrass genius of Merle Haggard, Doc Watson, Nanci Griffith and Alison Krauss. As Alive and Well, their voices blend beautifully, whether it’s a slow love song or a driving solid number. Accompanied by two guitars and an occasional bass, this duo promises a good ol’ boy foot stomper followed by a sweet melodious tune, and everything in between.
Bob & Sarah Amos Band
The Bob & Sarah Amos Band presents an exciting and varied program of Americana and Bluegrass original and traditional songs, with intricate instrumentation and soaring vocal harmonies. Guitarist/banjoist/vocalist Bob Amos is an award winning and chart topping songwriter who has recorded twelve albums and performed throughout the USA and Europe. His songs have also been recorded by other top national Bluegrass performers. Fifteen years ago Bob began performing with his thirteen year old daughter Sarah, who has since developed into a vocalist of remarkable power and sensitivity. Together, their vocal blend is mesmerizing. Joining Bob and Sarah will be three seasoned and talented pros of the New England acoustic music scene: Andy Greene on guitar and vocals, Kirk Lord on bass, and Bob Dick on mandolin.
Bring back musical memories of the 50s, 60s and 70s with the Belaires. Whether you love “At The Hop by Danny” and the Juniors, “Sultan of Swing” by Dire Straits or “Ventura Highway” by America, you’ll love the Belaires. You just can’t sit still with this band. It’s dance, dance, dance. With Paul Toney on guitar, Bruce James on drums, Buzz Hubbard on lead guitar, and Al Bourbeau on bass, these seasoned veterans of the music business have the chops and first-hand knowledge of how these great classic hits are played. So get ready to rock‘n’roll to your favorite songs you grew up with, with the Belaires.
Blue Berry Blossom
A new trio based in the Northeast Kingdom, Blue Berry Blosson features two brilliant young talents – Siri Joliffe and J.D. Miller. Joliffe is a prolific songwriter and a powerful singer. Miller brings virtuosic guitar and a rough and tumble vocal style to the group. Joining these two is the old man of the group, Lucas Weiss. Lucas is a singer and plays mandolin and guitar. Rich harmony, beautiful and affecting melodies, and searing guitar solos will fill your ears throughout their set.
Caledonia Jazz Ensemble
Getting their start as the house band at Salt Bistro, Caledonia Jazz is now a Northeast Kingdom fixture. Playing jazz standards and many original tunes, they like to keep it full of energy and experimentation. The trio is Linda Warnaar on trumpet and drums, Micah Carbonneau on the bass, and Kevin Colosa on the keys, all three sharing vocals.
Patti Casey & Colin McCaffrey
With voices that blend beautifully, Patti Casey and Colin McCaffrey are two of Vermont’s most beloved musical treasures, having created individually and together an artistic landscape as ruggedly beautiful as the Green Mountains of Vermont, where they both grew up. Gorgeous vocal harmonies and rock solid acoustic instrumental work, Casey and McCaffrey create energizing music that tells a story and celebrates the human spirit. Both are internationally known as award-winning songwriters and singers; together their ease and humor onstage give you a chance to catch your breath from the last song, which may just have taken it away.
The Chamberlain Sisters
Big Sister Autumn, with twin sisters Lauren and Sadie sing harmonies that are as close as their family relationship. With guitar and keyboard and Autumn’s gift of perfect pitch, the Chamberlain Sisters sing their pop classics and original songs right in tune.
Barbara Connelly, organist
With over 40 distinct sounds, or stops, mimicking the instruments in an entire orchestra, the United Community Church’s 2,000-pipe, three-manual organ earns the nickname “King of Instruments.” Barbara Connelly has been organist and directing music at the church for over four decades. Her program of classical and holiday selections includes J. S. Bach’s stirring Toccata and Fugue in D minor, plus works by Brahms and Pachelbel.
Dance Company at North Country Union High School
Thrilled to be performing at First Night North in-person this year, Dance Company at NCUHS explores several different styles of dance including, but not limited to, jazz, hip-hop, ballet, modern and lyrical/contemporary. Under the direction of Taryn Colby, students at this advanced level have the opportunity to both teach and create their own choreography. The first four pieces in their show are choreographed by students. The final group piece is a collaborative effort using improvisation and imagery to share a powerful message with our audience. Members of Dance Company perform out in the community at local events, nursing homes, elementary schools, and dance festivals.
(They will be sharing the First Night stage with the Lyndon Institute Dance Company.)
Owned and directed by Stevie Durocher, Dance Workshop is a dance school specializes in ballet, tap, and jazz instruction and provides programming for children as young as three all the way through high school graduation. Dance Workshop’s First Night presentation includes three group numbers and a solo debut, with styles ranging from poetic to fiery. Each piece celebrates the students’ love for dance and their commitment to working together to put on a show.
Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium
“Dinosaurs of the Antarctic” is a life-like, animated film which will be projected on the planetarium dome every half-hour from 5 to 7 pm. Welcome to the lost prehistoric world of Gondwana as you travel back in time to the age of the dinosaurs on a journey to the south polar landscapes of Antarctica hundreds of millions of years ago. Roam the primitive forests and thick swamps with bizarre dinosaurs and colossal amphibians. Enter a surreal world of bug-eyed giants and egg-laying mammals—where survival means enduring the sunless, six-month polar winter surrounded by meat-eaters with night vision. Join intrepid Antarctic scientists on a quest to understand the ice continent’s profound transformation—and to predict the future as humans drive dramatic change.
With a long history of music in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area, Bobby Farlice uses his Roland FP2 keyboard with Session Partner to become a one-man band. Farlice was a member of Nobuko Miyamoto’s band Warriors of the Rainbow and the Change Band with Flip Nunez and Michael Howell. He was also a contributor to music for the progressive social scene at San Francisco’s Glide Memorial Church. His set is jazz, blues and Latin, all with a touch of soul, and all for your listening pleasure. Having played the nightclub scene for many years, he prefers playing community gigs like First Night, which he generously supports.
Inspired by the high-energy Gaelic music of Nova Scotia, Footworks is a dynamic, Vermont-based instrumental band whose goal is to bring to audiences the powerful rhythm and beautiful melodies of Cape Breton music. Members have played nationally at such venues as the Boston Celtic Music Festival and The National Old Time Music Festival, as well as at local venues.
A First Night performance with Jon Gailmor is a celebration of people, places, events and moments that have shaped who he is. His music is fraught with emotion, poignancy, rampant childishness, and incessant audience involvement. It is geared toward humans – prenatal through prehistoric – and ranges from the outrageously relevant to the criminally, meaninglessly absurd. The songs are gluten-free, low in cholesterol, and guaranteed to uplift. Folks should be prepared to laugh, sing, grunt, scream and maybe just listen, from time to time, feeling quite hopeful, indeed, for 2023 and beyond.
A musical mainstay with the St Johnsbury Players, Barry Hayes has been working with local theater groups in varied capacities for over 25 years. He has sung the lead role in musicals such as Camelot, Kiss Me Kate, and Carousel. He wrote, directed, and performed in “The Musical Mystery Tour,” an original revue featuring the music of the Beatles. He has played guitar and bass for productions of Tommy, Wizard of Oz, Evita, and Jesus Christ Superstar. Tonight he brings the music of classic favorites like Peter, Paul and Mary, John Denver, the Eagles, and always and forever, the Beatles.
Heather Pierson Duo
Pianist, singer-songwriter, and performer Heather Pierson joins with her bassist Shawn Nadeau to delve into Americana, jazz, blues, and folk. Best known for her ease at the piano and her bell-tone vocals, Pierson’s songs embody honesty, playfulness, and a desire to share from the heart. From the streets of New Orleans to the mountains and back again, this duo’s performances take listeners’ ears and hearts on a journey with their conversational style of musicianship, speaking many dialects of the language of music with ease and wit.
If You Must Know
Rachel Clemente and Dan Houghton bring together an unlikely pairing of bagpipes and harp. While firmly rooted in the fertile ground of Scottish traditional music, their gritty, avant-garde musical interpretations put them at the forefront of Celtic folk musicians in New England. Houghton is a member of Cantrip, Pipers’ Den and former member of Salsa Celtica. Clemente is a member of harp duo Two Shores and a US National Scottish Harp champion. They are both avid tunesmiths and their repertoire reflects this as it features many original compositions as well as traditional melodies.
Islay Mist Ceilidh
A ceilidh (pronounced “kay-lee”) is a Gaelic word usually referring to an informal evening of Scottish traditional music. Islay Mist Ceilidh is an engaging group from northern New Hampshire that is fast gaining a following as the freshest, most enjoyable collection of enthusiasts of traditional Celtic music in New England. The music is toe-tapping, hand-clapping friendly and celebrates not only the Celtic heritage of our area, but the positive, community-minded spirit as well.
The talented teens of the Kingdom All Stars did the impossible this year by winning the statewide 2022 “Beats For Good” contest. The independent non-profit band then opened for major acts at the DoGood Festival in Montpelier. They will be releasing a new original song on New Year’s Eve called “Whisper.” The song was written by band members Macey and Zane Mawhinney and produced by the legendary “8084” guitarist Andre Maquera. “Whisper” will be available on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube, but hear it first at First Night North!
Melding the beautifully complex traditional drumming of Central Ghana, the sturdy bass and keyboards of the Caribbean, and the joyous horns of New Orleans, Kotoko Brass forge a sound the Boston Globe has described as “propulsive, infectious party music.” The band began when the Paulding brothers–Ben, a performer and scholar of Ghanaian drumming, and Brian, a longtime trombone player in Boston’s reggae scene–joined forces. They fortified the percussion section with Attah Poku and Kwame Ofori, two master percussionists from Ghana. The rhythm section of M’talewa Thomas (bass), Dillon Zahner (guitar), Yusaku Yoshimura (keyboards), and saxophonist Andy Bergman, fill out veteran rhythm and horn sections. While each member plays an equal and vital role in Kotoko Brass, the drums are at the heart of the band. The tradition of Asante drumming is intimately intertwined with dance in West Africa, and it informs the harmony and melody in all of their music.
Kowal Family Band
With a joyous enthusiasm, power, and expertise that is delightfully surprising for their age, the Kowal Family lays and sings traditional bluegrass. In chronological order from age 13 to 19, the Kowal siblings are Ted on mandolin, Mae on fiddle, Finn on banjo, and Max on guitar. Vocals are shared by Max, Finn, and Mae with lots of full-throated bluegrass harmonies thrown in. Their audiences are always delighted to hear such mature music coming from these sibling teens.
Dre and Jayder Moore are a husband and wife duo who call themselves Loud Moon. Originating in the Southwest and loving the Northeast, they are travelers at heart. Along with their trusty sidekick pups, they have been exploring the Northeast Kingdom and surrounding areas for the past two years. You may have seen them at some of your favorite places around town grabbing a bite or playing a song. Dre sings, fiddles a fiddle, plucks a bass, and serenades with a tune from the harmonica. Jayder is a singing and guitar playin’ fool (mostly fool) with blues, punk, and pop influences. They come together and deliver an indie acoustic sound with undertones of punk, country, electronica, and even hip-hop.
Lyndon Institue Dance Company
An auditioned-based ensemble dedicated to performing and teaching in their local community, the Lyndon Institute Dance Company aspires to bring dance education to the general public and younger students. They teach about the benefits of movement for lifelong wellness, dance as an artistic appreciation of people and culture, as well as dance as a means of expression, understanding and building connection. The L.I. Dance Company’s performance at First Night will embrace dance through interpretation of self and life’s adversities and showcase dance from various cultural aspects – modern/contemporary, jazz fusion, and thematic improvisation.
(They will be sharing the First Night stage with the Dance Company at North Country Union High School.)
Marko the Hypnotist
As a certified Master Hypnotist and member of the National Guild of Hypnotists, Marko believes the participants in his shows are the stars, and he makes them shine. His hypnosis show starts a little past the hour and runs to around 11:30 pm to allow Marko enough time to wring every drop of comedy from his audience volunteers. Marko’s shows are designed for fun; no one is ever really embarrassed or compromised, even as they willingly obey his hilarious commands.
Marko the Magician
What makes Marko’s performances so special is his ability to mystify, entertain, and make everyone laugh on different levels at the same time. There’s nothing better than seeing grandparents, parents, and children all having a wonderful time together at the same show. Marko’s magic show truly transcends all age and social barriers to bring people together in a common state of amazement. See children’s faces as they watch Marko perform tricks, hear them laugh with sheer delight at his jokes, see their eyes sparkle, then you have seen the real magic.
Michael Hahn Trio
Delivering a unique interpretation to a diverse variety of music, the Michael Hahn Trio’s repertoire spans popular country, rock, blues, Americana and Alternative tunes, as well as several original songs. Michael Hahn has performed for decades with acclaimed dance bands including Hornbeam; Don’t Call Betty; Hoochie Lombardo; Whetstone, and Ten Mile Shuffle Band. An award-winning author of books and magazine columns, Hahn also was a finalist in the USA Songwriting Competition. He is joined by Sid Gulick, a retired nuclear physicist, on guitar and vocals; and John Pheiffer, who earned a performance degree in cello.
Nisht Geferlach Klezemer Band
The soulful and stirring music of the Jews of Eastern Europe and, more recently, of New York’s Lower East Side has found a home in Vermont. In the summer of 1981 a group of central Vermont musicians, entranced by the rhythms and spirit of klezmer music, formed the Nisht Geferlach Klezmer Band. “Nisht Geferlach” translated literally from the Yiddish means “not dangerous”. More colloquially, it means “Relax, it won’t kill you”. The band plays songs from the golden age of New York’s Yiddish Theater as well as freilachs, bulgars and other lively instrumentals that display the Dixieland influence on Jewish immigrant musicians. Their music can be jazzy, melancholy, thoughtful and ecstatic – sometimes in the same tune! People can get up and dance, they can listen to the songs, they can learn something or they can just have a really good time.
Northern Vermont Songwriters
They come from many walks of life with a common love of writing songs and performing them. The Northern Vermont Songwriters share a stage for nearly two hours, taking turns singing and playing short sets of their wide variety of songs for each other and their First Night audience.
Kim Darling is a multi-medium artist who landed in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom following her studies in visual art at the Art Students League of New York. Writing, particularly poetry, has been a constant companion through her life of creating and teaching art. Darling’s focus has mainly been painting, drawing, and printmaking, but she has also made work in photography, video, and animation. When a few years back she decided to finally really learn to play the guitar, it dawned on her that her poetry had all along been begging to be songs. As her guitar and songwriting teacher, Bob Amos, said to her, “You found a new medium.”
Charlie Doherty is an earnest young man of advanced years who relocated to the Northeast Kingdom half a dozen years ago. Once described as “Tom Waits interpreted by Tom Petty,” he has been a member of any number of inexplicably obscure rock and blues bands and rubbed shoulders with some artists you have actually heard of. Nothing rubbed off, but odds are you still find pleasure in his performance even as you forget his name.
Rachel Funk comes from a musical family and has been writing songs since high school. Her songs stem from folk and old-time country roots, but she enjoys and plays music from many genres. She has performed at several venues throughout New England and is currently the vocalist for Lamoille County band Take 5. When not on stage, she is the youth services librarian at Morristown Centennial Library, where she teaches ukulele and piano classes for all ages.
Scott Grenier was raised in a musical family amidst a vast array of musical styles: everything from classical, jazz and show tunes to country, folk, and R&B. However, it was his introduction to the alternative rock music of the 90’s that sparked his creative songwriting juices. Today, Graner has come full circle, writing music as varied as his musical experiences, while looking forward to releasing several new singles.
Sid Gulick lived in Montreal for about 40 years, going to school and then working at McGill University as a physicist before retiring and moving to northern Vermont.
Michael Hahn attended Berklee College of Music and has entertained New England audiences for decades with such popular bands as Hornbeam, Don’t Call Betty, Hoochi Lombardo, Whetstone, and The Ten Mile Shuffle Band. Hahn was a finalist in the USA Songwriting Competition for his original song, “Chick Magnet.”
Carol Hausner’s pure, heartfelt singing, compelling harmonies, and expressive, award-winning songwriting playing traditional, contemporary and original bluegrass, country, and folk music with various bands in the Mid-Atlantic States and New England. In 2009 she placed first in the bluegrass category with co-writer Colin McCaffrey at the legendary Merle Fest Chris Austin songwriting contest for “Love Gone By.”
Jim Karns is an award-winning songwriter whose song “Poor Town” was recently named Americana/ Bluegrass Song of the Year by the Nashville songwriting group Song Town. He is honored to have shared the stage with members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, .38 Special, Molly Hatchet, and the Rossington Collins Band and has had the great pleasure of opening for Charlie Daniels. Karns is currently concentrating on songwriting and has publishing contracts with Sherrill Blackman and Matt Lindsey, two of Nashville’s top independent music publishers.
Britt Moore is originally from Southern California who graduated from a state university as an audio engineer and worked as a live engineer for several years before moving to Vermont. She was part of the first group of faculty that put together the Music Business and Industry major at Northern Vermont University. During Covid she’s been writing songs that are basically pages or thoughts out of her diary. Previously she worked with a trio called Fiasco. The style of that group was slightly different, but Britts lyrics have always been a bit conversational. You can take a listen to that project at jamendo.com under the artist name Twin Flames.
Trevor Robinson writes idiosyncratic songs about the inner lives and outward dilemmas of regular and not-so-regular folks. Bingo nights, black-metal teens, polar bears and circus freaks. Ex-cons, current-cons, folk singers and house fires.
Like the late, great Blaze Foley, Johanna Rose lives in a treehouse. Living in a treehouse is not just a realized childhood dream, but a necessity in a state that has a severe housing shortage. Rose started building the treehouse in 2020 when their life as a touring musician with Nickel&Rose came to a screeching halt, but it wasn’t until late 2021 that they braved their first winter in the treehouse where they wrote and largely recorded the EP “can’t love you from the ground.”
Victor Tremblay considers himself lucky to be living in beautiful rural northern Vermont and loves the outdoors. Now retired, he has been a singer-songwriter since his early teens.
And there could be yet another artist or two who will step up to offer a few songs.
From the far eastern realm of New Hampshire, all the way out to the western borderland of Burlington, Phoenix Bazaar has delighted young and old with their fiery antics. This odd assortment of fire artists is dedicated to exploring the balance of movement and flame with a range of props that include poi, fans, staff, hoop and swords. Where? Where else but near the St. Johnsbury Fire Department Main Street?
Pitz Quattrone, Didgeridoo Maverick
The didgeridoo, that magical instrument from aboriginal Australia, has taken Pitz Quattrone from the Arctic Circle to the Equator performing and passing on what he has learned about the “didge.” This master player, builder, and teacher of the “didge” creates grooves that move! Quattronewrites songs from tragic to comic, and everything in between. Whether manic and hilarious, or serious as a heart attack, Pitz is as unique as the didgeridoo itself.
Dana and Susan Robinson
The Rough & Tumble
From their upbeat, commanding stage presence and sharp banter, to their earworm-inducing melodies and heartstring lyrics, The Rough & Tumble are a self-described “dumpster-folk/thrift-store Americana duo.” Mallory Graham and Scott Tyler will have you in stitches one minute and falling apart at the seams the next. Joy and sorrow, comedy and drama all have the same punchline, it’s just the setup that’s different. The Rough & Tumble’s close harmony weave interchangeably between power and delicacy, the lighthearted to the gut wrenching. demonstrating restraint while sinking the accelerator to give each song its due.
Toussaint St. Negritude
Drawing from his life and repertoire as both a poet and jazz bass clarinetist, Toussaint St. Negritude presents a dynamic solo performance of liberational truth-telling, collaboratively pairing the call of his poetry with the intuitive responses of the soprano, bass, and alto clarinet, the kalimba and additional instrumentation. Along with the music and poetry, he further extends the experience visually with his own self-designed hats and attire. As with the call of our beloved mountains, St. Negritude’s work summons the soul to be held, heard, and seen.
Swing North Band
Swing North Big Band plays classic swing and dance music with an 18-piece Big Band featuring Vermont and New Hampshire’s finest jazz musicians. Under the direction of Phil Brown, their program includes seasonal music and Big Band favorites for dancing and listening.
You may have seen juggling, but you haven’t truly experienced it until you’ve seen the explosive, inventive, high-energy juggling of Jason Tardy. His show is a combination of many years of relentless practice, and virtually no social life whatsoever. His hilarious show includes innovative choreographed juggling to music, fitting his body through a tennis racket, bowling ball juggling, balancing a ladder on his face, and standing on a yoga ball. Jason’s multifaceted training and over 26 years of experience in the performing arts has brought him all over the US and abroad. Some highlights include Disney Cruise Ships, the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, the Golden Phoenix Casino, and even The White House in Washington DC three times!
Taryn Noelle Trio
With a voice that has been described as “clear and pure as a bluebird day on the ski slopes of Vermont.’” Taryn Noelle is “someone who does it all (dancing, choreography, singing, acting, teaching, directing) and is also a first-rate composer and lyricist.” With Dave Rowell on bass and Don Schabner guitar, her trio all share in the vocals singing standards from the Great American Songbook along with Western Swing, holiday and winter songs, and some family friendly originals.
Tod Pronto Trio
A retired machinist who worked 23 years in a paper mill, Tremblay started playing guitar and writing songs in his early teens, mostly self-taught. Bluegrass, folk, and classic country all find their way into his music. Tremblay has performed at First Night as a long-time member of the Northern Vermont Songwriters and is eager to share more of his repertoire with his own set. 7Days music critic Jordan Adams called his CD “a quirky and unpretentious slice of Northeast Kingdom goodness. It’s full of irreverent tunes and showcases the artist as a kooky hidden gem.”
With their irradiating mix of originals, traditional American, Cuban, reggae, rock, funk, blues, Tritium Well produces ecstatic musical experiences that feel like sonic excursions around the Earth! Hot guitarist Bobby Farlice-Rubio leads this “radioactive” four-member ensemble with wicked violinist Nick Anzalone, world-class drummer Linda Warnaar, and brilliant bassist Kevin Colosa. When people ask what kind of music they play, the standard answer is always “roots, rock, and reggae!” just to satisfy the need for brevity. Their varied and uncommon repertoire includes songs made famous by Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Hank Williams, Buena Vista Social Club, Leadbelly, Willie Nelson, Grateful Dead, Old Crow Medicine Show, among others. Whatever beat they play, feel free to get up and boogie!
Troll Bridge Theatre Troupe
Andrea Otto, Nathan and Andy Colpitts present an original, musical puppet theater adventure into the story of Vermonter Romaine Tenney. The three members of Troll Bridge have performed variously with the St. Johnsbury Players, UP Theatre, Bread & Puppet, and elsewhere around and beyond the Northeast Kingdom.
Tibetan vocal master Migmar Tsering shares traditional and modern music and songs from Tibet. Tsering accompanies himself on the dranyen, a long-necked, seven-stringed instrument. Born in Tibet, brought up in India, and a Vermonter since 2011, Tsering is a singer, songwriter, musician, composer, and Tibetan dance instructor. He is the founder of Burlington’s Rolyang Lobling (in English, “music class”) where he has worked with dozens of apprentices to make Tibetan music and dance happen in Vermont.
A one-of-a-kind composer, guitarist and singer-songwriter, Hiroya Tsukamoto fuses together folk, jazz, and world music. Born and raised in Japan, he began playing the five-string banjo when he was thirteen, and took up the guitar shortly after. A scholarship to Berklee College of music brought him to the United States. Tsukamoto’s instrumental abilities are breathtaking, but his performances are so much more than that. He has the unique capability of engaging an audience with his personable and genuine approach, transfixing and transcending his capabilities as a guitarist. Tsukamoto plays with effortless skill on the guitar and a repertoire that will have you traveling the world through his compositions. Tsukamoto headlines concerts throughout the U.S. as well as internationally including Blue Note in NYC, the United Nations, and Japanese National Television. Tsukamoto won 2nd place in International Finger Style Guitar Championship in 2018.
J. T. Turner
Northeast Kingdom-based award-winning actor, director, voice-over talent, historian, and educator J.T. Turner is delighted to return to First Night, this time live and in-person. In his early show, Turner shares traditional global tales such as “Nian and the Lunar New Year” (China), “The Poor Man with the Kind Heart” (Kenya), “The Tailor of Pinsk” (Belarus) and “The Three Dolls” (Persia/Iran). These engaging stories bring both laughter and life lessons, and are sure to bring thoughtful joy all ages. Turner’s later show animates traditional American ghost stories including “The Fiddler of Maine,” “John and the Ghost,” “The Old Man,” and more: This spooky, but not too-spooky, mix of traditional ghostly tales, is sure to delight, not a fright, everyone.
United Community Handbell Ensemble
First Night occurs right in the middle of the 12 days of Christmas. The United Community Handbell Ensemble celebrates the season with a “Carol-Ring.” Under the direction of Phil Brown, their program features seasonal carols from various traditions, plus opportunities for the audience to sing along.
Celebrating the many colors found in music from several French cultures, Carol Reed, Suzanne Germain, and Lausanne Allen take you from 16th century France to New Orleans with lively dance numbers, touching love songs, kickin’ Cajun tunes, and rollicking Créole favorites. With backgrounds rich in French cultures and language, through lifelong experiences living and traveling in French-speaking lands, Va-et-Vient (“Come & Go”) creates beautiful harmonies. From neighbors to the north, these musiciennes bring back new old tunes learned from Québecois elders (and youngsters!) and re-weave them into their own arrangements, this trio accompanies their vocal harmonies on guitar, mandolin, fiddle, flute, and percussion.
In case you’re wondering, “improv” is short for improvisational comedy. It’s a form of live theater in which the plot, characters, and dialogue are made up on the spot from audience suggestions and structures called “games.” Valley Improv is the premiere improvisational comedy troupe in this part of Vermont and New Hampshire. Founded in 2008, they have been performing fun and energetic comedy all around northern New England for over a decade now. Valley Improv is well prepared to make you laugh!