An extraordinary array of acclaimed artists will grace the main stage at the Chandler Music Hall in Randolph during the coming months. It’s all part of the Chandler Center for the Arts’ mission to “strengthen and energize our community by offering opportunities for people to come together in pursuit and celebration of the arts.”
The 2017-18 Chandler MainStage Series kicks off with a special evening of stellar a cappella music featuring legendary vocal masters The Persuasions, who’ve carried the art form of unaccompanied vocal music forward, sometimes single-handedly, for well over 50 years. This Autumn A Cappella performance is set for Saturday, September 30. Joining The Persuasions on the Chandler stage will be two opening acts: Vermont’s own a cappella jazz octet, Maple Jam, and one of the country’s most respected collegiate vocal ensembles, the Dartmouth Aires.
This trio of scintillating vocal groups ushers in a series of standout folk, country, blues, gospel, jazz, Celtic, and pop performances throughout the Chandler season. Additional performances of note include folk and Americana icon David Bromberg and his hot quintet (October 5, 2017); propulsive Latin jazz with internationally acclaimed jazz trumpeter Ray Vega (November 3); bluegrass favorites the Gibson Brothers with openers the VT Bluegrass Pioneers (November 5); the first New England visit in nearly two decades by the glorious Howard University Gospel Choir (November 11; The Turning of the Year, a musical celebration of the holidays with Irish accordionist John Whelan, Scottish-American fiddler Katie McNally, and American roots band Low Lily (December 8); folk and singer-songwriter legend Tom Rush (February 23, 2018); New World Festival favorites De Temps Antan (April 6); and culminating with an enchanted evening with three critically acclaimed singer-songwriters, touring as The Texas Troubadours: Chandler favorite Ruthie Foster, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Carrie Rodriguez (April 13).
Classical music – long a Chandler tradition – will again have a strong presence on the main stage. Cellist Edward Arron and pianist Jeewon Park perform Beethoven’s Sonatas for Cello & Piano (October 7, 2017). The eclectic Sixth Floor Trio, including Teddy Abrams (clarinet, piano); Harrison Hollingsworth (bassoon, violin); and Johnny Tessier (clarinet) serves up a heady mix of music that interweaves classical sounds with hints of bluegrass, klezmer, jazz, and alt-rock (January 12, 2018). Chandler’s classical bill wraps up with Camerata New England, performing a trio of wondrous works, including piano quintets by Shostakovich and Dvorak (April 20).
Chandler’s Daytime Performance Series for regional school students and home schoolers features the Classic Repertory Company’s theatrical production of Harper Lee’s cherished coming-of-age story, To Kill a Mockingbird (October 5, 2017); a concert for kids with beloved Vermont folksinger and songwriter Jon Gailmor (October 27); ArtsPower’s lively staging of Judy Blume’s popular novel for grade schoolers, Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great (January 26); and a compelling dance theater work by choreographer and storyteller Lida Winfield – In Search of Air: Growing Up Dyslexic (March 23).
Contemporary dance glides across Chandler’s main stage for the first time in many years next spring. In its first-ever commission of an artistic work, Chandler will present the world premiere of a new work by Vermont dancer and theater artist Tracy Penfield, who is collaborating with California-based dancemaker Tamara Hurwitz Pullman on a powerful dance theater work dubbed The Passing Project (April 28). Passing will investigate the theme of dying in an uplifting, illuminating, multidisciplinary collage of seven dancers, four musicians, a soundscape, and a sculptural set. Far from being macabre or morbid, Passing is a moving examination of what is passed on to us, what we leave behind, and how life continues.
The 2017-18 season also includes the return of Chandler’s annual, ever-popular series of performances specially selected for families. This season’s offerings include the return of the No Strings Marionettes (November 25, 2017); the Mini Mud Youth Variety Show (March 24, 2018); and The Next Generation (May 18). The Chandler Family Series will also feature the debut Chandler performance by Jeh Kulu Dance & Drum Theater (March 11), bringing its high-spirited celebration of West African music and dance to central Vermont.
Join your friends and neighbors at Chandler for world-class music, award-winning festivals, innovative theater, and outstanding folkloric and contemporary dance this season. Tickets go on sale August 1st. For more information and tickets to all events, visit chandler-arts.org or call the Chandler Box Office, weekdays between 12 and 4 pm, at (802) 728-6464. Chandler Music Hall is fully accessible and equipped for the hearing impaired.