The Barre Opera House’s upcoming season is set and, as always, Central Vermonters can look forward to another eclectic lineup of performances by regionally, nationally and internationally known artists traveling to the Granite City’s historic stage. In addition to the seven shows that made up the BOH’s signature TD Bank Celebration Series, the recently refurbished historic theater has scheduled several “BOH Presents” events, which will be added to as the season progresses.
First, the Celebration Series: On September 25 we kick it off with folk icon Tom Rush, who has been credited by Rolling Stone with ushering the era of the singer-songwriter. In addition to his own compositions, his early recordings introduced the world to the work of Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Jackson Browne. Today, Tom’s voice has grown even richer and more melodic and he’s doing what he loves and what his audiences love him for – writing and playing.
Next, on October 23, it’s Classic Stones Live. This premier Stones tribute band, featuring eight members, delivers all the raw energy of Mick and company’s shows. From the signature sax solo in Brown Sugar to the unforgettable backing vocals in Gimme Shelter, every last detail is captured authentically.
With more than 20 years as a stand-up comedian, Tom Papa is one of the top comedic voices in the country, finding success in film, TV, radio and podcasts as well as on the live stage. He’s host of the daily “What A Joke With Papa and Fortune” on Sirius, has appeared regularly on “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” “Live From Here (the rebooted Prairie Home Companion with Chris Thile)” and in February 2020, Netflix premiered Tom’s fourth hour-long stand-up special, “Tom Papa: You’re Doing Great!” Tom wants you to remember that you’re doing great; life isn’t perfect, it never will be, and that’s OK. He takes the BOH stage on November 12.
With the fiery Celtic high-energy style as its musical core, Nova Scotians, Còig, winners of the 2020 Canadian Folk Music Awards, easily shift between century-old tunes of past generations to original and upbeat compositions employing over a dozen instruments (vocals, fiddles, piano, guitars, banjo, mandolin, viola, bouzouki, whistles, and more). With driving tunes, haunting songs and infectious energy, Còig is an unparalleled music force. The group will offer their holiday concert on December 11, which has sold out in Vermont in earlier years as part of The Lane Series and at Pentangle Arts in Woodstock.
We Banjo 3 is one of the most prolific and exciting bands to emerge from Ireland in recent years. This Galway and Nashville-based quartet comprises two sets of brothers, Enda & Fergal Scahill and Martin & David Howley, on banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, bodhran and percussion, propelled by lead singer David Howley’s emotive voice. Collectively the group holds over a dozen “All Ireland” titles and their first album took the “Best Traditional Album” prize from The Irish Times. We Banjo 3’s music is a passionate blend of Americana, bluegrass, Celtic, world music and pop. Their most recent album premiered at the #1 spot on the Billboard charts and they have been featured at major festivals in the U.S., including Merlefest, BottleRock, Summercamp and the Milwaukee Irish Fest. See them on January 22.
On February 12, piano virtuoso and acclaimed recording artist A.J. Croce pays tribute to his late father, the legendary folk singer Jim Croce, with a heartfelt performance – Croce Plays Croce. A.J. has put together a set of Jim Croce covers mixed with his own works and songs that inspired them both. You’ll hear such timeless gems as “Operator,” “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim,” and “Time in a Bottle” (a song written for A.J.) along with music by artists like Lieber and Stoller, Bessie Smith, and many Americana greats.
Recipients of the 2019 BBC Best Traditional Track award and 2019 RTE Radio One award for Best Traditional Track, Best Group and Best Album, Ye Vagabonds, in Barre on March 5, might remind listeners of the exquisite harmonies and intricate musicianship of the legendary Planxty, even as they occupy an important role in the current innovative and vibrant Irish folk scene. These traditional songs speak to people now as they’ve always done, leaving audiences enthralled by gorgeous vocals and tight accompaniment on fiddle, harmonium, mandolin, bouzouki and guitar.
BOH Presents Events:
Winter appearances by Vermont’s own No Strings Marionettes have become an annual tradition at the BOH. On January 23, experience one of the troupe’s most beloved shows – The Snow Maiden. Mythical figures, animals and humans from one of Russia’s most beloved folk tales populate this production. While Father Frost spreads Winter’s cold throughout the land, he comes across a most amazing sight. A perfect little maiden sculpted entirely of snow and ice! A breath of life from Mother Spring awakens the frozen figure and the girl’s kind fun-filled nature delights everyone she meets.
There are few artists capable of appealing to music fans of all stripes, and Alan Doyle is one of them. From the moment he burst onto the scene in the early 1990s with his band Great Big Sea, Canadians fell in love with the pride of Petty Harbour, Newfoundland, whose boundless charisma and sense of humour was eclipsed only by his magnetic stage presence. His influence is now being heard in a new generation of artists as his solo work continues to endear him to roots music fans everywhere. Doyle and his “Beautiful, Beautiful Band” visit the BOH on February 18.
Finally, One Night of Queen with Gary Mullen and the Works returns to the BOH by popular demand on April 11. This incredible re-creation of Freddie Mercury and Queen in concert was one of the best-received shows at the Opera House when they were here in 2018 and tickets were gone two weeks ahead of the performance. The extravaganza has sold out major venues all over the world, including the famous BBC Broadcast Proms In The Park concert series to an enthusiastic crowd of 40,000.
The Barre Opera House offers a discount to members, seniors and students. Order online at www.barreoperahouse.org or call 802-476-8188. The Opera House is handicapped accessible and equipped for the hearing impaired. COVID protocols in place at the beginning of the season include both proof of vaccination and masks. These requirements will be reassessed as the CDC and State Health Department revise their mandates and recommendations.