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FIRST NIGHT NORTH 2018

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"First Night Again"

By WindRose

ArtsConnect Juried Show

Juried by John Stomberg, director of Dartmouth College's Hood Museum of Art, this exhibition of work by artist members of Catamount Arts is on display from December 2, 2017 to February 16, 2018, including all day long on New Year's Eve. A feast for the eyes and the soul!

Catamount Arts Main Gallery - 9 am - Midnight

Bob Amos & Catamount Crossing

 

Guitarist and banjo player extraordinaire, Bob Amos was the lead singer and songwriter for 13 years of the internationally acclaimed bluegrass band Front Range. After moving to St. Johnsbury, Bob put together his current band Catamount Crossing, which features Freeman Corey on fiddle, Chris Cruger on bass, Gary Darling on mandolin, and Steve Wright on guitar. Bob's daughter Sarah Amos plays a vital part in the band's signature sound, and their duets are proving to be big hits in their performances. The band puts on an entertaining high energy show, with stellar vocals, terrific original material, plus great new interpretations of bluegrass classics. Their CD Sunrise Blues received Vermont's Times-Argus' "Tammie" Award for "Best Traditional Album of the Year".

United Community Church - 7 and 9 pm

Barnyard Incident

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

Universalist-Unitarian Congregation - 7 and 9 pm

Bayley-Hazen Boys

This trio of veterans from the locally legendary Bluegrass band Gopher Broke are Gary Darling on mandolin, Steve Wright on guitar, and Chris Cruger on bass. The Bayley-Hazen Boys take you on a rollicking ride from the hills of northern Vermont down through Americana to the southern Appalachians. Combining their fresh interpretation of time-tested traditional material with a wealth of original songs, they blend soulful ballads, tight vocal harmonies, and hard-driving instrumental work into a sound evoking the spirit of the early Stanley Brothers and Bill and Charlie Monroe.

United Community Church - 11 pm

Bobbie and Me

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

Universalist Unitarian Congregation - 8 pm

Hillary Boone & Friends

First Night is pleased to again present award-winning comics from the fast-growing Vermont stand-up comedy scene with their best family-friendly material. A stand-up comedian and storyteller, Hillary Boone grew up in Sutton, VT. She is a member of the Vermont Comedy Divas and the Divas Do Good initiative, raising money for local nonprofits. Hillary takes part in comedic storytelling events and is the host of the Moth Story SLAM in Vermont. Her comedy has been described as quirky, likeable, smart, and even "simply delightful." She is joined on stage by Kathleen Kanz and Tim Bridge, the 2016 and 2017 winners of the Vermont's Funniest Comedian contest. Kathleen Kanz is a co-founder of the Green Mountain Comedy Festival, whose hilarious jokes and dry sense of humor make her comedy style as unique as her last name. Tim Bridge is a member of the Vermont Comedy Club's house long-form improv team, the Unmentionables. He is also a writer and performer for Burlington sketch comedy troupe Feed the Meter.

Masonic Hall - 7 and 9 pm

Catamount Pipe Band

Vermont's premier Scottish bagpipe band is an intergenerational organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Celtic music, tradition, and culture. Catamount Pipe Band is currently the 2017 New England Pipe Band Champion and is set to appear on the Glasgow green in Scotland in August 2018 for their fourth time as competitors in the World Pipe Band Championships. The pipe band is well known for its Celtic "variety show" where audiences will hear tunes from Scotland, Ireland, Brittany and more. The show includes several types of traditional instruments fused with an undercurrent of modern percussion giving the music a unique hypnotic feel. The Catamounts are well known in the circuit as a talented, edgy, and sometimes brazen bunch. Wherever they go, a ceilidh is sure to follow! Irish and Scottish dancers will join the band adding to the celebration! Aye!

St. Johnsbury School Auditorium - 8 pm

Chamberlain Sisters

Eighteen-year old Autumn, with her 15-year-old twin sisters Lauren and Sadie sing harmonies that are as close as their family relationship. With guitar and keyboard and Autumn's gift of perfect pitch, the Chamberlain Sisters sing their pop classics and original songs right in tune.

St. Johnsbury House - 4 and 6 pm

Chickweed

Playing guitar, bass, and conga, to accompany their great three-part harmonies, Chickweed sings primarily originals written by Linda Warnaar, plus a few covers with an original flavor. With friends Fran Forim and Abby Maier Johnson, they have been playing together for the better part of a decade to create a great groove whether it be Latin, jazz, blues, or folk.

Grace Methodist Church- 5 pm

Barbara and Paul Connelly

North Church's 2,000-pipe, three-manual organ with over 40 stops is a centerpiece of the stately north building of the United Community Church's sanctuary. Barbara Connelly has been at the console of this magnificent "king of instruments" for over three decades, offering parishioners a rich accompaniment to weekly worship services. She also was her son Paul's first organ teacher. For First Night, the Connellys share the stage and occasionally trade benches when they perform instrumental duets featuring the church's 1896 Steinway grand piano. The mostly classical program for organ also includes some seasonal songs.

United Community Church - 5 pm

Cooie and Skip

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

Catamount Arts Cabaret - 7 pm

Claire Cote

Based in Berlin, Germany, Claire returns to her hometown to perform a dance inspired by her traveling soul and her curious, open, and idealist perspective of the world. She hopes to transmit her free-spirit energy to inspire the viewer in their own expression of freedom, self-discovery, and love. She has composed an original, juicy, electronic soundtrack to inspire unique, emotionally expressive, improvised movements, influenced by modern, classical, experimental, and social/club dance. She embodies all the elements - earth, fire, wind, and water - including the fifth element, love. Finally, she also makes her own costumes. It's all clearly from Claire...or is her body channeling the source energy of the flow that connects the parts to the whole? The flow that sparks your intuition and soothes your soul. The flow that exists in the presence of now. The flow that weaves Mother Nature's intricate web. Nothing is coincidence, yet everything is unpredictable and random. Drop your thoughts and just feel the flow.

St. Johnsbury School Auditorium - 10pm

Dina Danielson Dance Ensemble

Energetic, sometimes humorous and wonderfully entertaining adult dancers return with their diverse, family-oriented repertoire of modern dance. These performers, many of whom have been dancing for over 15 years, meet weekly to pursue technical training in the Martha Graham dance technique under the direction of Dina Danielson. They have performed original works in local venues over the past nine years to rave reviews and are among the area's most technically advanced modern dancers. The company incorporates various themes, myths and story-telling through movement. Along with original works, this year's performance will include pieces from world renowned Sophie Maslow.

St. Johnsbury School Auditorium - 10pm

DJ Loud's Teen Dance

With his giant sound system and club lights, DJ Loud, along with his partner DJ Noisy, promises to shake the dance scene at First Night North. Playing the latest songs on the club DJ circuit, a dance mix of rock, hip hop, rap, and EDM are all in DJ Loud's bag. DJ Loud has performed at the infamous Higher Ground Club in Burlington, plus schools and ski resorts throughout the Northeast.

Streeter Hall - 6 and 7:45 pm

Ana D'Leon

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

Catamount Arts Theater One - 8 and 10 pm

Drumatics

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

Grace Methodist Church - 4 pm

Manika Druke

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

Catamount Arts Theater Two - 7 pm

Family Fun Fair

Youngsters can find the Family Fun Fair by the light of fire-twirling dancer, Rachel Morangues, outside St. Johnsbury School. Inside, the children can watch bell-bedecked Morris dancers. They get to let their energies run wild on the giant inflated obstacle course and in the bouncy castle. There's a buzz going around that children can become bees with costumes and kazoos they make and a song about pollinators they sing. An impromptu puppet parade is in the works. The photo booth is always a favorite way to take those happy smiles home. Who can tell what other surprises will be put on by Ellen Leonard and Janice Walrafen of Kids' Fest in East Montpelier? It's all there in a safe, fully supervised, music-filled environment.

St. Johnsbury School - 4 to 8 pm

Fifth Business

Like the weather in the Kingdom, if you don't like the music of Fifth Business, just wait a minute! That English pub song might be followed by a set of Celtic fiddle tunes, or an original song about local affairs. Fifth Business has been blending music from the US and the British Isles for a dozen or so years now at farmers markets and other local venues. Classically trained violinist Nick Anzalone has been turned to the traditional side and leads the way with expressive fiddling; Stuart Corso contributes a lively button accordion; Hannah Davie adds depth with mandolin; and Steve Davie keeps it all together with guitar and octave mandolin (that's the weird-looking one). Along with Heather Alger and Kate Davie, everyone provides vocals in a repertoire that leans to songs about rural living and/or people who are behaving badly. If you need proof that folk music isn't necessarily politically correct, this is where you'll find it.

Grace Methodist Church - 6 and 9 pm

Alan Greenleaf & The Doctor

One of Vermont's most original and prolific songwriters, Alan Greenleaf writes ballads that tell stories inspired by his years as a farmer in northern Vermont. His music draws from many American traditions, including country, Appalachian, blues and jazz. Alan has been playing with the Doctor, Jonathan Kaplan, for a dozen years. "Doc" is a classically trained pianist who fell for the blues and old time traditional American music, and his keyboard work provides an inspired backdrop for "Americana" music at its best.Vermont Public Radio's Robert Resnik: "I've said it before, and I'll say it again...Alan Greenleaf is a true Vermont treasure!"

St. Johnsbury House - 7 and 9 pm

Michael Hahn Band

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

Morse Center Stuart Theater - 6 and 7:45 pm

Barry Hayes

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

Catamount Arts Theater Two - 5 pm

Lara Herscovitch

The many superlative reviews that Lara Herscovitch has garnered tell us that she is an "extraordinarily talented" singer-songwriter. Lara is a former Connecticut State Troubadour who blends modern folk with blues, jazz, and pop influences into "marvelous, inventive and thought-provoking songs." She doesn't write songs just for the ears, but also for the heart and soul to create "pure musical poetry." Lara "possesses not only a huge reservoir of musical talent and a voice with a bell-like clarity, but a keen sense of global concern and a fierce intellect... It might seem too good to be true, but true it is."

Catamount Arts Theater One - 7 and 9 pm

Highlands View Chamber Ensemble

Ranging in age from 7 to 12 years old, members of the Highlands View Chamber Ensemble are students of Glee and Kathy Charlestream, who founded their School of Music in the hills of Cabot, Vermont. Laughter and fun is what sets this group apart from others. In a family-like atmosphere, the students' music reflects the joy of music as well as a high level of musicianship. Pianist Robert Wilson of New York City accompanies the ten young violinists on Celtic fiddle tunes, as well as works from classical composers such as Bach and Vivaldi.

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church - 5 pm

The Hitmen

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

Morse Center Stuart Theater - 8 to 9:45 pm

Islay Mist Ceilidh

A ceilidh (pronounced "kay-lee") is a Gaelic word usually referring to an informal evening of Scottish traditional music. Islay Mist Celidh 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.

South Church - 7 pm

Kingdom All Stars

Accompanied by the dazzling effects of St. Johnsbury's own Light Squad!, the Kingdom All Star band will play a night of rock, blues, soul, modern, and even a bit of country music. Light Squad!, under the direction of St. Johnsbury Academy senior Maxwell Heck, will light-up the sounds of the band–the acclaimed group of all star musicians from public and private schools across northeastern Vermont. The Kingdom All Stars have been featured at the Burlington Jazz Festival and Caledonia County Fair, in addition to their regular gig at First Night North in St. Johnsbury.

Fuller Hall - 5 to 6:40 pm

Kingdom Recovery Center Karaoke

Making you a rock star on New Year's Eve, if only for three to five minutes at a time... The staff and friends of the Kingdom Recovery Center welcome you who want to make your own music by singing along to karaoke back-ups. Hot cider, coffee, and cookies are served at Dr. Bob's Birthplace on the corner of Central and Summer Streets.

Kingdom Recovery Center - 4 to 11 pm

Sophie and James Lamar

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

St. Johnsbury House - 5 and 8 pm

Willem Lange

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

Masonic Hall - 4 and 5 pm

Low Lily

The string and vocal trio Low Lily explores the roots and branches of American folk music with traditional influences and modern inspiration that weave together a unique brand of acoustic music. Liz Simmons on guitar, Flynn Cohen on guitar and mandolin, and Lissa Schneckenburger on fiddle are masterful players and singers with deep relationships to traditional music styles ranging from Bluegrass, to Irish, Scottish, New England, and Old Time Appalachian sounds. When you combine this with stellar composition skills and inventive arrangements you get music that is rooted yet contemporary. Enthusiastic audiences have heard them play locally at Bob Amos' annual Bluegrass Jamboree and the Peacham Acoustic Music Festival.

United Community Church - 6 and 10 pm

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.

Fuller Hall - 9 pm

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 runs past 11 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.

Fuller Hall - 10 pm

Ashley Miles

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

Universalist-Unitarian Congregation - 10 pm

Mr. Marshmallow Man & Madge

Duffy Gardner (aka Mr. Marshmallow Man) and Ariel Zevon (aka Madge) are a newly formed and revolutionary roots and rock duo. They present the world premiere of Marshlands, a ten-song rock ballad operetta they composed about a rural Vermont family's coming of middle-age saga. It is a tall tale of hardships, joys, loves and losses. When he's not writing songs, he is raising a family and building with stone in rural central Vermont. While preparing to release her first album with another musical partner, Ariel is raising several species of families in Peacham, including ducks, rabbits, goats and hogs, as well as a couple of humans.

Catamount Arts Cabaret - 11pm

Rachael Moragues

While traveling through Mexico, Rachael Moragues developed her skills as a Fire Spinner incorporating music and dance into many of her shows. Having performed her act on busy city streets, crowded beaches, music festivals, and the sleepy sidewalks and alleyways of Europe, look for Rachael out in front of the School under the bell tower with First Night revelers.

St. Johnsbury School - 4 to 8 pm

Newark Balkan Chorus

Based out of the Northeast Kingdom's Newark Street School's after school program, the Newark Balkan Chorus is a revival of the chorus that Evanne Weirich started in 1995. Returning to the First Night stage for the first time since 2005, the Chorus is now lead by Elly Barksdale and Erin (Barksdale) McKinnon and helped by Jericho Bicknell, who were all original chorus members during their elementary school days. The a cappella chorus sings traditional songs in the Macedonian, Croatian, Bulgarian, Serbian, and Russian languages in two, three, and four-part harmonies that range from sweet to dissonant. The unique quality of this style of music, often very robust, allows these young voices to soar and find themselves at a preciously young age. The Junior Chorus is comprised of students as young as 8 years old, and the senior group is capped by eighth graders. The senior chorus has been honored to sing in the Young Traditions Vermont showcase and for devotions for the Vermont House of Representatives.

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church - 6 and 8 pm

Nisht Geferlach Klezmer 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! The Nisht Geferlach Klezmer Band has been playing klezmer music in New England for almost 35 years. "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 Tin Pan Alley and New Orleans jazz influence on Jewish immigrant musicians. And in true Klezmer tradition, dancing is encouraged!

Morse Center Stuart Hall Hall - 5 pm

No Strings Marionette Theater

Welcome to the mysterious and magical world of marionettes. Creating one-of-a-kind puppets sparkling with spirit, Barbara Paulson and Dan Baginski masterfully animate these figures, channeling thought into gesture, transforming wood into being. A cast of hand crafted marionettes, both wild and tame, populate the forest and farmyard of The Cunning Little Vixen. The performance, a tribute to the classic 1920 Czech novel by Rudolf Tesnohlidek, engages the senses in a seamless blend of movement, music and masterful marionette manipulation. On a stroll in the woods on a sultry summer morning, forester Bartos encounters a fox kit. He nabs the young vixen to bring home as a pet for his grandson. The family dog, Catcher, teaches Sharp Ears how to live within the constrains of human rules.  But will a full belly and a safe life in a confined farm yard be enough for the vixen to compromise her wild ways? Told with minimal dialog to a soundtrack of eclectic music, No Strings Marionette Company hopes this story about triumph over injustice will allow audiences to connect with their own true nature.

St. Johnsbury School Auditorium - 4 and 5 pm



Northern Vermont Songwriters

They come from many walks of life with a common love of writing songs and performing them. This New Year's Eve they share a common stage for nearly two hours, taking turns singing and playing short sets of their wide variety of songs for each other and their First Night audience. In alphabetical order they are:

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

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

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

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

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

Ashley Miles is a two-time winner of the Country Showdown and several state and national country music awards and has appeared on stage with Jo Dee Messina. She is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Association International.

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 has just recorded his first CD.

Catamount Arts Theater One - 5 to 6:45 pm

PanAshe' Honeybee Steelband

Steelpans, also known as steel drums or pans, are chromatically pitched percussion instruments made from 55-gallon industrial drums to produce a unique sound. PanAshe' International's Honeybee Steelband draws on influences not only from the Caribbean islands from which steelpans sprang, but also jazz and classical music. This ensemble uses steelband music to bring attention to the challenges facing the world's honeybee population. With a highly danceable and energetic repertoire related to the theme of bees, this is happy music, for a good cause.

St. Johnsbury School Auditorium - 6 and 7 pm

Phoenix Bazaar

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. A fire arts performing troupe located in the Littleton, NH area, Phoenix Bazaar is an odd assortment of fire performers that are dedicated to exploring the balance of movement and flame. From poi, to fire staff, to fire fans, they bring a variety of fiery delights, in front of the St. Johnsbury Fire Department, appropriately enough.

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

The Lyman Spitzer, Jr. Planetarium hosts its annual First Night presentation, using its unique combination of modern technology and astronomy to explore the heavens, and reveal more about the nature of the universe. This 20-minute automated presentation runs every half-hour. Audiences are welcomed and seated for each show by Museum staff on a first-come, first-served basis.

Fairbanks Museum Planetarium - 6 to 9 pm

Poetry Slam

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

Catamount Arts Theater One - 8 to 9:45 pm

Tod Pronto

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

Catamount Arts Theater Two - 6 to 10 pm

Dana and Susan Robinson

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

United Community Church - 8 pm

Antonio Rocha

Welcome to Antonio Rocha's world of imagination. In "Animalesco" he presents animal stories from around the world with his unique fusion of mime, verbal narrative, realistic sound effects, and unforgettable characters set to tickle your funny bone and soothe your soul. His second show, "Kaleidoscopia," leaves audiences spellbound by myths, the absurd and the poetic through mime, sound effects, zany characters and physical comedy. A native of Brazil who earned his Summa Cum Laude degree in Theater in Maine, Antonio went on to study mime with masters Tony Montanaro and Marcel Marceau. He has performed his unique solo shows of stories and mime in 16 countries on six continents from Singapore to Hawaii at such prestigious venues as Wolf Trap, the National Storytelling Festival, the Kennedy Center, and the Smithsonian Institution. An award-winning storyteller, Antonio was presented with the Oracle of Circle of Excellence Award by the American National Storytelling Network.

St. Johnsbury Athenaeum - 5 and 7 pm

Lynn and Will Rowan

Folk Duo Lynn and Will Rowan present a concert of uplifting songs in harmony for the winter holidays. This concert draws from and builds on their recording Sing the Sun's Return, which features Yuletide songs not heard in mainstream holiday music. Having traveled all over Europe learning traditional polyphonic music from master singers, a deep love and understanding of harmony infuses everything they do. Lynn and Will teach for Village Harmony and Revels North and perform around the world as musical ambassadors for the US with their band Windborne. Their shows range from Lithuanian hymns to the sun accompanied on bagpipes to mournful tragic ballads to rollicking pub-style songs about the Norse Gods. Whether listening to their breathtaking harmonies, or singing along to their crafty arrangements, Lynn and Will's sheer joy of singing is sure to capture your heart.

Catamount Arts Cabaret - 8 and 10 pm

Shatterbox

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

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

Cosy Sheridan

Ever since winning songwriting contests at both The Kerrville Folk Festival and The Telluride Bluegrass Festival in 1992, Cosy Sheridan has been on the road playing everywhere from house concerts in Iowa and to a full house at Carnegie Hall. Her concerts explore topics ranging from love songs for adults to practical philosophy for a complicated world. And then there are her signature parodies on aging and women. Her songs are carefully crafted and often shorter than the average folk song. She plays a percussive bluesy guitar style, often in open tunings and occasionally with two or more capos. Backed by the strong rhythms and harmonies of her bass player Charlie Koch, Sheridan's concerts are full of energy and emotion.

Catamount Arts Cabaret - 6 and 9 pm

Shrimp Tunes

Here's something different: a one-man-band featuring bass and foot operated snare drum, guitar, harmonica, and vocals, playing an eclectic mix of classic rock, blues and country tunes. Glenn McElwain, aka "Shrimp" is a performing musician from the Northeast Kingdom. He performs regularly at resorts and music venues throughout New England. With decades of experience both on stage and in the studio, Shrimp's current performing projects include his two duos: Roughhead Blenny and the Malicious Brothers, his bigger party band Funky Crustaceans, the brand new alt/trad country groove group Wild Accusations, and his swamp funk band Mono Mal, and of course his remarkable one-man-band solo act Shrimptunes.

Catamount Arts Cabaret - 5 pm

St. Johnsbury Academy Hilltones

St. Johnsbury Academy's select mixed a cappella vocal group sing a delightfully eclectic program ranging from the sacred to contemporary. Having shared the stage with Vermont's premier professional vocal ensemble Counterpoint, the Boston Children's Chorus, and the North Country Chorus, plus an annual appearance at the Vermont Madrigal Festival in Burlington, director Alan Rowe refers to the Hilltones as the "Academy's vocal ambassadors".

South Church - 4 pm

St. Johnsbury Academy Jazz Band

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

South Church - 5 pm

Emma Strange

From deep within the heart of the Northeast Kingdom comes a voice. Close your eyes and you'd never guess that voice was coming from a 16-year-old girl who just got her driver's license, and digs Beyonce. Meet Emma Strange, a junior at Lake Region Union High School. From the time when her stage career began with the Orleans Family Theatre at age 8, hers is a talent honed by years of practice and dedication. Her classical training with Victoria Cole for the past five years has her performing art songs and arias she has prepared for upcoming college auditions. Accompanied by Robert Wilson, Emma will share the stage in two sets of different songs with baritone Lucas Weis. (See separate listing for Lucas.)

Souch Church - 8 and 9 pm

Swing North Big Band

This 18-piece "Basie"-style band with full orchestration boasts five saxophones, four trombones, four trumpets, piano, guitar, bass, and drums. Band director Phil Brown and Janet Edmundson add vocals to the beloved standards of the swing era. While no band members make their entire living from performing, Swing North has consistently attracted some of the finest musicians in Vermont and New Hampshire for over 30 years. Several are music educators with degrees from such acclaimed schools as New England Conservatory, Berklee and Eastman Schools of Music. Many of them also perform in other organizations including Maple Leaf seven, Vermont Jazz ensemble, and the Twilight Jazz Group.

Streeter Hall - 8 to 9:45 pm

Brendan Taaffe
and
Kesley Wells

A prominent New England musician who has performed at many festivals and with many bands, Brendan Taaffe, returns with contest-winning Tennessee fiddler Kelsey Wells to play traditional tunes and songs from the Upper South. Brendan also brings his delightful "crankies" which delighted audiences last year. A crankie is a scrolling illustration, wrapped up inside a wooden box and then hand-cranked so that it moves across a viewing screen. Back in the day they were called 'moving panoramas' and are complete magic. Deeply versed in Irish and American traditions, it is on the mbira that Brendan Taaffe has found a truly distinctive voice, blending old-time ballads with traditional Zimbabwean rhythms. The ripple of the mbira, an instrument over a thousand years old, and Taaffe's lush tenor casts old songs in a new light, creating "the kind of hushed, lonely warmth you experience sitting by a fire in a drafty house." The late, great folk singer Pete Seeger once commented to Brendan, "Your mbira playing is beautiful!"

St. Johnsbury Athenaeum - 6 and 8 pm

Bill Tobin

An outdoor enthusiast as well as an award-winning harpist, Bill Tobin's harp compositions are often inspired by the peace and joy that is found in nature. In addition to his highly regarded contemporary tunes, Tobin is also playing lively jigs and his arrangements of well-known classical and sacred music. In what is bound to be a moving and riveting music experience, this year's concerts will be shared with virtuoso guitarist Hiroya Tsukamoto. (See separate entry for Hiroya.)

St. Johnsbury Athenaeum - 9 and 10 pm

Tritium Well

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 Nicolas 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 bogie.

Morse Center Stuart Theater - 10 to 11:40 pm

Hiroya Tsukamoto

A one-of-a-kind composer, guitarist, and singer-songwriter, Hiroya Tsukamoto's guitar style is heavily classical, precise, and clear. Influences range from the folk music of his native Japan to Spanish Flamenco. In his concerts, Hiroya overdubs and improvises voice and guitar in real time to create what has been called "cinematic guitar poetry." Hiroya Tsukamoto began playing the five-string banjo when he was thirteen, and took up the guitar shortly after. He came from Kyoto, Japan to the United States on a scholarship to Boston's Berklee College of Music. Hiroya has been playing internationally including appearances at New York City's famed Blue Note Jazz Club. Hiroya has performed and recorded with such artists as Esperanza Spalding and Brooks Williams. At First Night North he is sharing the stage with the Northeast Kingdom's beloved harpist Bill Tobin(See separate entry for Bill.)

St. Johnsbury Athenaeum - 9 and 10 pm

Uncommon Folk

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

Universalist Unitarian Congregation - 5 pm

United Community Handbell Ensemble

Handbells are not just for the classics and sacred music anymore. The United Community Handbell Ensemble ring out with jazz and pop tunes too. Their First Night program will include seasonal selections and music specifically composed for handbells, plus music by George Harrison. The 13 members of the ensemble range in age from 16 to over 70 and work together to create a unified musical experience. Continuing a 60-year tradition of handbell ringing in St. Johnsbury that began with the Searchlight Quartet and continued with the South Church Handbell Ensemble, which local musical Phil Brown led for 30 years and developed into one of the most highly respected church-based handbell organizations in northern New England. Brown directs the present ensemble, as well as the Bells Angels Ensemble at St. Johnsbury Academy several other musical endeavors.

South Church - 6 pm

Va-et-vient

With backgrounds rich in French cultures and language, through lifelong experiences living and traveling in French-speaking lands, Va-et-vient  ("Come & Go") creates beautiful harmonies. Celebrating the many colors found in music from several French cultures, Carol Reed, Suzanne Germain, and Lausanne Allen take you from 16th century France to New Orleans with lively dance numbers, touching love songs, kickin' Cajun tunes, and rollicking Créole favorites. 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. The Addison county trio accompanies their vocal harmonies on guitar, mandolin, fiddle, flute, and percussion.

United Unitarian Congregation- 4 and 6 pm

Valley Improv

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

Masonic Hall - 6 and 8 pm

Vermont Vaudeville

Since 2009, Vermont Vaudeville has produced funny, spectacular, and heart-warming variety shows throughout the Green Mountain State. The Northeast Kingdom-based ensemble is comprised of Vermonters who live right here but perform circus, music, and comedy all over the world. World-class juggling, hilarious acrobatics, snappy novelty songs, witty Vermont humor, and an ever-popular Gorilla stagehand combine to make an unforgettable evening of live entertainment.

Fuller Hall - 7 and 8 pm

Village Harmony Alumni Ensemble

Led by Village Harmony founder Larry Gordon and Lysander Jaffe, the young adults of the Village Harmony Alumni Ensemble gather during the holidays to enhance their fluency in songs from a wide range of traditions. With clear command of radically-varied singing styles and infectiously joyous stage presence, Village Harmony performances create a sound that is guaranteed to be dynamic, unpredictable, and absolutely exciting.

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church - 7 and 9 pm

Lucas Weiss

Having studied voice at Westminster Choir College, baritone Lucas Weiss is at home in a variety of styles and ensembles, from choir stalls, to late night bluegrass jams, and much in between. Lucas takes great joy in sharing the masterworks of the baritone art song and opera repertoire here in St. Johnsbury where he teaches history at the Academy. He has wowed local audiences since being tapped as a soloist by the North Country Chorus for their major choral works. Accompanied by Robert Wilson, Lucas will share the stage in two sets of different songs with soprano Emma Strange. (See separate listing for Emma.)

South Church - 8 and 9 pm

Whose Muddy Shoes

We're talking about a sound that was prevalent about 75 years ago – a blues that swings with gorgeous melodies and rich three and four-part harmonies. Whose Muddy Shoes is an acoustic quartet playing unique arrangements of familiar jazz standards, blues, country, and original songs. The band features Bill Mantone on sax and clarinet, Mark Dix on guitar, and Jack Esher on bass. Robin Winter has the lead vocals much of the time, but they all sing. Whose Muddy Shoes performances are relaxed, fun, and interactive, designed to appeal to a wide range of audiences.

Grace Methodist Church - 8 and 10 pm

WindRose

Wind Rose continues their quest for the perfect blend of voices, striving for those moments of pure harmony, all the while entertaining the Northeast Kingdom and beyond for decades, with regular appearances on stage, television, and the radio. Now see them live, but beware - they may be having even more fun than you! This perennial First Night quartet, featuring the voices of Becky Canedy, Pat Webster, Sandi Breen, and Mark Breen (yes, the Fairbanks Museum's Eye on the Sky weatherman!) finds inspiration from Broadway, doo-wop, Big Band, pop hits, and even some original tunes.

Grace Methodist Church - 7 pm

AND FINALLY...

 

 

Firworks at Midnight

First Night revelers gather in front of the Academy Field House to welcome the New Year as Classen's 100-foot crane raises our big lighted ball. (We would never "drop the ball" at First Night.) When the ball reaches the top at the stroke of midnight a spectacular show by North Star Fireworks starts the year off with a boom and fills the sky with bright color and joyous oohs and aahs. Everyone is invited to come on out to welcome the New Year at this town-wide celebration. No button required.

Saint Johnsbury Academy Gymnasium – 12 Midnight

RELATED NEW YEAR'S WEEKEND EVENTS

 

 
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31    

Ecumenical Worship Service

Clergy from several local churches lead an ecumenical worship service to welcome the new year and celebrate unity and new beginnings. People of any faith, and no faith, are most welcome.

Grace Methodist Church - 10 am

  Ice Skating

Once there's sufficient snow and cold for ice-making the rink is always available for skating.

Main & Winter St. Park, All Day

MONDAY, JANUARY 1,
NEW YEAR'S DAY

   

Lake Willoughby Dip

You can start the year off with a splash at the biggest and best New Year's Day party at the beach. This 13th annual event supports the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life in Caledonia County. To jump in for a great cause, register at relayforlife.org/willoughbydip. Or just come to the North Shore Beach in Westmore, Vermont to cheer and warm everybody's heart.

Lake Willoughby, Westmore - 1 pm

Sacred Circle Dance

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

Universalist Unitarian Congregation - 2 to 4 pm