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Calendar

Nov
30
Thu
2017
Sembene! – [framed] Documentary Film Series
Nov 30 @ 7:30 pm
Sembene! - [framed] Documentary Film Series @ Next Stage | Putney | Vermont | United States

The documentary series [framed] continues at Next Stage in Putney on Thursday, November 30 at 7:30pm with Sembene! It is written, directed and produced by Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman.

“Whether it’s DeMille, Hitchcock, the Senegalese filmmaker Sembene …

we’re all walking in their footsteps every day…”

– Martin Scorsese

In 1952, Ousmane Sembene, a Senegalese dockworker and fifth-grade dropout, began dreaming an impossible dream: to become the storyteller for a new Africa. SEMBENE! tells the unbelievable true story of the self-taught “father of African cinema,” who fought enormous odds to return African stories to Africa. SEMBENE! uses rare archival footage and more than 100 hours of exclusive materials to craft a true-life epic, as an ordinary man transforms himself into a fearless spokesperson for the marginalized. After becoming a hero to millions, Sembene suffers a startling fall from grace. Can Africa’s storyteller reinvent himself once more?

[framed] is a presentation by Next Stage Arts Project, in collaboration with Tribeca Film Festival former director Nancy Schafer, of a new series of feature length documentary films, each presented by the filmmaker in an intimate setting at Next Stage, 15 Kimball Hill, in Putney, Vermont. [framed] completed its highly successful first series of 6 films in the fall of 2016, and returns by popular acclaim! The current series of films will run on the last Thursday of each month through March 2018. Subsequent titles in the series TBA.

Curator Nancy Schafer worked for the iconic Tribeca Film Festival for 11 years, where she was most recently the festival’s executive director. Schafer and Next Stage co-founder Billy Straus met at the Camden International Film Festival in 2015 where Schafer serves on the advisory board, and the idea of programming a documentary series for Next Stage was born.

The films in the [framed] series have recently played on the festival circuit around the world including Sundance and Tribeca, and all have been recognized with festival honors.

The newly-renovated Next Stage is located at 15 Kimball Hill, Putney, VT in the village center. The landmarked building was constructed in 1841, and is now fully accessible with an elevator and hearing assist system. Next Stage has been recognized nationally, including receiving awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and ArtPlace America.

Individual event tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door. Available online at www.nextstagearts.org.

Dec
1
Fri
2017
The Turning of the Year: A Holiday Celebration with John Whelan, Low Lily and Katie McNally
Dec 1 @ 7:30 pm
The Turning of the Year: A Holiday Celebration with John Whelan, Low Lily and Katie McNally @ Next Stage | Putney | Vermont | United States

Next Stage Arts Project and Twilight Music present “The Turning of the Year: A Holiday Celebration with John Whelan, Low Lily & Katie McNally” at Next Stage on Friday, December 1 at 7:30 pm.

Seven-time All-Ireland accordion champion and Narada recording artist John Whelan teams up with roots band Low Lily and Scottish-style fiddler Katie McNally for a spectacular holiday mini-fest of traditional and original music from Ireland, Scotland and America.  Alongside uptempo jigs and reels will be lesser-known Christmas carols and wintry classics, featuring two fiddles, accordion, guitars, mandolin, double bass and lush, layered vocals.  This diverse and energetic show brings the generations together for a fresh new take on roots music from both sides of the pond.

Although John Whelan grew up near London in Dunstable, England, he was raised on the fiddle and pipe music of Ireland.  At the age of 14, already a seasoned winner of numerous accordion championships, John recorded his first album “Pride of Wexford.”  Since then, he has recorded six more albums, and has collaborated with such luminaries as Eileen Ivers, Bernadette Peters, Johnny Cunningham, Tim O’Brien, and Kathy Mattea.  He appeared in the major motion pictures “Ride with the Devil,” “The Drowning Plains” and “Gods and Generals,” and has performed live on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “Fox After Breakfast.”

Voted the Falcon Ridge Festival’s “Most Wanted” band of 2016, the Brattleboro-based band Low Lily explores the roots and branches of American folk music, creating a unique brand of acoustic music that is rooted yet contemporary.  Low Lily is Liz Simmons (vocals, guitar) Flynn Cohen (vocals, guitar, mandolin) and Lissa Schneckenburger (vocals, fiddle), with Corey DiMario (double bass).  They are all masterful players, composers and arrangers with deep relationships to traditional music styles ranging from bluegrass to Irish, Scottish, New England and Old Time Appalachian sounds.

“The new face of Scottish fiddling in the USA” – (The Living Tradition), Katie McNally has made waves in both the American folk music scene and abroad since the release of her debut album “Flourish” in 2013.  A 2009 New England Scottish Fiddle Champion and recent cover girl for Fiddler Magazine, Katie has performed and taught fiddle courses in the U.S., Canada, Spain, Scotland, England and France.  Katie attended both the University of Glasgow and the National Piping Centre in Glasgow, Scotland where she studied ancient and modern Scottish literature and Scottish traditional music.  She has performed and toured with famed Galician piper Carlos Núñez, the fiddle super-group Childsplay, Eric McDonald and with her own trio.

Dec
8
Fri
2017
Mark Erelli plus Stephen Chipman
Dec 8 @ 7:30 pm
Mark Erelli plus Stephen Chipman @ Next Stage | Putney | Vermont | United States

Next Stage Arts Project and Twilight Music present contemporary folk singer/songwriters Mark Erelli and Stephen Chipman at Next Stage on Friday, December 8 at 7:30 pm.

Mark Erelli has toured internationally as a solo artist for the past eighteen years, appearing onstage everywhere from coffeehouses and major folk festival stages (Newport, Philadelphia, Shrewsbury (UK)) to Fenway Park, where he once sang the national anthem before a Red Sox game.  He has won music awards ranging from the Kerrville Folk Festival Best New Folk Award to Grand Prize in the International Song Contest.  In recent years, Erelli has gained notoriety as a multi-instrumentalist sideman and producer, accompanying Grammy-winning artists such as Lori McKenna, Paula Cole and Josh Ritter everywhere from Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry to London’s Royal Albert Hall.

In addition to producing two records for McKenna, Erelli’s own diverse discography includes collections of western swing, lullabies, bluegrass (with his bandBarnstar!”) and songs of stirring social conscience, as well as several highly-acclaimed collaborations (2009’sDarwin Song Project” and 2010’sSeven Curses,” a collection of murder ballads recorded with Jeffrey Foucault).

Stephen Chipman grew up in Boston, where he learned to play guitar at an early age and rode the folk music wave through college frat parties and corner bars in the 1970s.  Forty years later, when he’s not rebuilding old parlor guitars in his Chester, VT shop, Chipman returns to his singer/songwriter roots with a set list of songs dedicated to poking fun at himself and the follies of his past.

Dec
15
Fri
2017
Groovebarbers A Capella Holiday Concert
Dec 15 @ 7:30 pm
Groovebarbers A Capella Holiday Concert @ Next Stage | Putney | Vermont | United States

Next Stage Arts Project is delighted to present international a capella sensation The Groovebarbers, with special guests, the Putney Central School Chorus, in the fourth annual holiday concert, on Friday, December 15th, at 7:30pm Tickets are $15 for adults, $7.50 for 6 years old and up, and $40 for a family.  Kids under 6 get in free. The newly-renovated and accessible Next Stage is located at 15 Kimball Hill, Putney, VT. Tickets are available online at www.nextstagearts.org, or at the Putney Coop or Turn It Up in Brattleboro.

Bring the family for an evening of harmony and song that will have your spirit soaring and your kids rushing to start their own vocal quartets as quick as you can say Wenceslaus!

Join international a capella sensation “The Groovebarbers” whose mellifluous vocal blend, close harmonies and warm arrangements of holiday classics from the secular to the sublime will warm your heart.

This is show is so family friendly that kids 6 and under are free when accompanied by an adult (limit of 1 free kid per adult ticket). There will be popcorn and other refreshments in the lobby.

The Village Voice calls The GrooveBarbers “acapella rock and soul royalty”. Each member of this all-vocal powerhouse quartet is a bona fide star in his own right: Sean Altman, Charlie Evett and Steve Keyes are former members of the pioneering modern a cappella group Rockapella of “Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?” TV fame, and Kevin Weist is a renowned bald vocal guru. Collectively they have established themselves as the go-to vocal group for rock, doo-wop, jazz, barbershop and — with the help of guest soprano Inna Dukach — a new hybrid genre they call “doowopera”. www.GrooveBarbers.com www.doowopera.com

Dec
17
Sun
2017
Next Stage Cooks – Yule Log Baking Class
Dec 17 @ 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Next Stage Cooks - Yule Log Baking Class @ Next Stage | Putney | Vermont | United States

NEXT STAGE COOKS – Yule Log Baking Class
Sunday, December 17, 2017
1:00pm-5:00pm

A “Yule log” (Buche de Noel) is a traditional dessert served near Christmas,
especially in Belgium, France, Switzerland, and Quebec, made of sponge
cake to resemble a miniature actual Yule log.

Ann-Michele Klug made her first Buche de Noel for French class as an twelve
year old and from that moment knew she was on to something. After
graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Ann-Michele was a pastry
chef in three and four star restaurants, worked on several cookbooks, and
decorated wedding cakes for Sylvia Weinstock. She and her husband left
NYC for New Hampshire (with baby in tow) to make chocolate and breathe
fresher air. She has trained professionals, given adult cooking classes, and
taught enthusiastic children.

Ann-Michele will show you first hand how these beautiful and delicious
holiday treats are made. This is partly a demonstration class, with some
hands-on work as well.

EVERYONE WILL GO HOME WITH A YULE LOG

Yule Log Baking Class
Date: Sunday, December 17, 2017
Time: 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Cost: $65
Instructor: Ann-Michele Klug
Limit: 12

To enroll, follow this link: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3094875

1st Yule Log: Yule Log with a chocolate sponge cake and
buttercream filling

Second Yule Log: Yule Log with a chocolate sponge cake and a
chocolate ganache filling

Beverages: Coffee will be served

Dec
19
Tue
2017
Bangsokol: A requiem for Cambodia, Paramount Theater, Boston, MA
Dec 19 @ 1:30 pm – 11:30 pm

BANGSOKOL:

A REQUIEM FOR CAMBODIA

RITHY PANH AND HIM SOPHY
Survivors of the Khmer Rouge collaborate on a stunning and cathartic musical experience.

Tuesday, December 19
at ArtsEmerson’s Paramount Theater, Boston, MA

Special Package cost: $67 includes ticket for performance and bus ride.

Limited tickets available.

MUST RESERVE BY NOVEMBER 1, 2017

Bus leaving from Putney, Vermont at 1:30pm
Stop in Keene, New Hampshire at 2:00pm
Arrive Paramount Theater 4:30pm-5:00pm

Doors open at 7:00pm
Performance at 7:30pm

Bus returns directly following performance, estimated time of arrival in Putney 11:30pm

Food and drink (non-alcoholic) are permitted on the bus.

No refunds.

Dec
22
Fri
2017
Sean Altman’s JEWMONGOUS
Dec 22 @ 7:30 pm
Sean Altman’s JEWMONGOUS @ Next Stage | Putney | Vermont | United States

Next Stage Arts Project presents Sean Altman’s JEWMONGOUS, at 7:30pm on Friday, December 22nd. Tickets are $20 in advance $24 at the door. Tickets on sale here. Also on sale at the Putney Co-op and Turn it Up in Brattleboro 3 weeks in advance of show.Next Stage is located at 15 Kimball Hill, Putney, VT, and features a newly-renovated, accessible performance space.

Ex-Rockapella star Sean Altman‘s unkosher comedy song concert JEWMONGOUS is “tuneful and sharply witty” (Los Angeles Times), “relentlessly clever” (Chicago Tribune) and “bawdy with a wicked modern streak” (Washington Post), with “hilarious pleasures” (The New Yorker) that combine “the tunefulness of the Beatles and the spot-on wit of Tom Lehrer” (Boston Globe) with a “silky tenor voice that produced chills” (New York Times).  Altman — one of “New York’s finest comedians” (New York Times) and “a terrific singer and a songwriter with an ear equally attuned to comic satire and the power of pop music” (The New Yorker) — “writes hilarious and irreverent acoustic rock songs about his awakening Jewish awareness” (Jerusalem Post) to make you “laugh your tuchis off” (Time Out) as “part of a new breed of Jewish hipster comedy that includes Jon Stewart, Sacha Baron Cohen and Sarah Silverman” (Philadelphia Daily News).  He is a former, founding member of Rockapella and led that pioneering vocal group through its heyday years on the Emmy-winning PBS-TV series, Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?, for which Altman co-wrote the famous theme song.  His classic Passover song “They Tried To Kill Us (We Survived, Let’s Eat)” has been featured on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross.  Altman has twice performed for The President at the White House Chanukah Party, he has shared concert stages with Billy Joel, Steve Miller, Whoopi Goldberg, Jon Stewart, Jay Leno, Joey Ramone and Moby, and he has recorded with artists as diverse as XTC, John Cale, Richie Havens and They Might Be Giants.  Altman sings vocal standards at the bedside of hospital patients as a volunteer with Musicians On Call and has performed JEWMONGOUS throughout the USA, Europe, Israel and once in China.  All faiths and the faithless are welcome but due to occasional potty-mouthedness, Sean Altman’s JEWMONGOUS is not appropriate for kids under sixteen unless you’re training them to be sailors.   www.jewmongous.com .Information about upcoming events and more at: www.nextstagearts.org

Dec
30
Sat
2017
Ukulele-in-a-Day! with Lisa McCormick
Dec 30 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

A 1-Day Quick-start Intensive for Beginners,
taught by Lisa McCormick!

Ukulele-in-a-Day!
Saturday, December 30, 2017, 10am – 3pm. Tuition – $125.

Reserve your spot: bit.ly/UkeDay

You will learn:

  • How to tune
  • How to strum
  • Proper positioning
  • Easy powerful chords that work magic together
  • How to make smooth chord transitions
  • The skills you’ll need to be able to play tons of fun and easy songs

No Musical Background Required!
Take-home handbook included, with all info from the workshop, songs to play, and more.

Ukuleles available to use for the day.

Location: Next Stage Arts, Putney, VT

Also: Ukulele-in-a-Day! at the Brattleboro Music Center
Sunday, January 7, 2018, 10am – 3pm. Tuition – $125.

Feb
10
Sat
2018
Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez
Feb 10 @ 7:30 pm
Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez @ Next Stage | Putney | Vermont | United States

Next Stage Arts Project is thrilled to bring Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez back to Putney by rousing popular demand for an all out rock n’ soul concert/dance party on Saturday, February 10, 2018, at 7:30pm, at Next Stage, 15 Kimball Hill, Putney, VT. This dance party will feature the expanded and improved Next Stage dance floor and lighting, part of major recent renovations. Tickets are $18 in advance, general admission, $20 at the door. Tickets on sale here. Also on sale at the Putney Co-op and Turn it Up in Brattleboro 3 weeks in advance of show. For more information, contact Next Stage Arts at (802) 387-0102 or nextstagearts@gmail.com.

Known as “The Beehive Queen” for her outrageous, mile-high hairdo, Christine is the current, long-time vocalist with the Saturday Night Live Band. Voted #7 on Alternate Roots’ list of top 30 Female Vocalists, this queen of blue-eyed rock n’ soul grew up loving equally the sweetness of a Memphis horn line and the raunch of an electric guitar riff, whether played by Muddy Waters, Keith Richards, or Pop Staples. Teased her blonde hair into a beehive in honor of Ronnie Spector and never looked back, picking up a guitar and forging a career as a songwriter in the process.

Christine and the Saturday Night Live Band sang at SNL’s 25th Anniversary telecast, Bob Dylan’s 30th Anniversary bash at The Garden (with George Harrison, Chrissie Hynde, and others), the 2009 Obama Inaugural Gala in Washington, D.C., The Lincoln Center “American Songbook” series with Sting and Lou Reed, and the Central Park Summerstage Tribute To Janis Joplin (fronting both Big Brother & The Holding Company and the Kozmic Blues Band); appears on Grammy nominees A Tribute To Howlin’ Wolf (with Taj Mahal and Lucinda Williams) and Charlie Musselwhite’s One Night In America (with Marty Stuart); sings the theme song for NBC’s 30 Rock; worked on a musical with the late Cy Coleman (who compared her sense of timing to Peggy Lee’s); duets live whenever possible with the aforementioned Miss Spector, as well as with blues legends Eddie Kirkland and Hubert Sumlin; collaborated on critically-acclaimed tracks with Marshall Crenshaw (Labour Of Love: The Music of Nick Lowe), Big Al Anderson (Pawn Shop Guitars), and Ian Hunter (Shrunken Heads); edited legendary Rolling Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham’s autobiography 2Stoned and is a cover-story-writing contributor to Elmore Magazine; and worked with Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder & others on the Rhythm & Blues Foundation Awards–all the while continuing to torch clubs up and down the Eastern Seaboard in support of her recordings (Strip, The Hard Way, Radio Queen, Wicked Time, 2008 career retrospective Re-Hive, 2010’s The Deep End, her first CD of original material in five years, featuring special guests/duet partners Ian Hunter, Dion DiMucci, and Marshall Crenshaw, plus Levon Helm, GE Smith, Andy York, Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, Catherine Russell, Big Al Anderson and others, and 2011 concert DVD “Live Hive”) with her band Rebel Montez (Michael Colbath-bass; Cliff Goodwin-guitar; Larry Donahue-drums). “I’ve come here tonight to set your souls on fire,” she’ll tell an audience. And she will.

Mar
10
Sat
2018
Claudia Schmidt CD release show
Mar 10 @ 7:30 pm
Claudia Schmidt CD release show @ Next Stage | Putney | Vermont | United States

Next Stage Arts Project presents Claudia Schmidt in a special CD release concert at 7:30pm on Saturday, March 10, 2018. Tickets are $20 in advance $24 at the door, available online, through the Next Stage website (www.nextstagearts.org) or 3 weeks in advance of show at the Putney Co-op or Turn It Up in Brattleboro 3 weeks in advance of show. Next Stage is located at 15 Kimball Hill, Putney, VT, and features a newly-renovated, accessible performance space.

Claudia Schmidt is a powerful vocalist and adventurous artist, who combines lively folk, jazz and blues with rich poetry and playful humor. Hailing from Michigan, she knew at a young age that she was destined to be a singer. Performing in numerous choirs throughout her youth, Claudia soon pursued a professional career while in Chicago, leading her to Wisconsin and Minnesota, where she was a frequent guest on the early days of A Prairie Home Companion. More than thirty years and 22 albums later, Claudia continues to perform on the road to her loyal legions of fans across the country. Mixing folk, jazz, traditional ballads and breathtaking originals, there’s not a style she can’t master.  Claudia ‘s incredible voice and charismatic stage presence makes her a marvel in concert.

More than 4 decades as a touring professional have found Michigan native Claudia Schmidt traversing North America as well as Europe in venues ranging from intimate clubs to 4,000 seat theatres, and festival stages in front of 25,000 rapt listeners. She has recorded mostly original songs, exploring folk, blues, and jazz idioms featuring her acclaimed 12-string guitar and mountain dulcimer playing.

This Next Stage show will mark the release of Hark the Dark, Claudia Schmidt’s 22nd recording in a career spanning almost 45 years of composing and performing. She takes a thematic turn here, offering an homage to the oft-maligned season of the winter. Along with her original pieces, she has gathered some musings of fellow musicians, and thrown in a couple standards. Along with her extraordinary voice, dulcimer, and deluxe pianolin, she is accompanied brilliantly by pianist Miro Sprague, bassist Marty Jaffe, drummer Conor Meehan, and pianist/accordionist Chris Haynes.

Winner of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts Grant in 2017 and ArtPlace America in 2014, Next Stage Arts Project has gained national recognition as a non-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing Putney’s cultural and economic village center through the programming, development and operation of Next Stage.

Since its founding in early 2011, NSAP has hosted dozens events including classical, folk, and popular music concerts, films, spoken word and theater. Folk artists appearing have included Jonathan Edwards, Cheryl Wheeler, Chris Smither, Patty Larkin, John McCutcheon and Tony Trischka.

Mar
17
Sat
2018
Bold Women, Brazen Acts; A Staged Reading and Open Mic Event
Mar 17 @ 7:30 pm
Bold Women, Brazen Acts; A Staged Reading and Open Mic Event @ Next Stage | Putney | Vermont | United States

Next Stage Arts presents BOLD WOMEN, BRAZEN ACTS at 7:30pm on March 17, 2018, in honor of International Women’s Day. Admission is $12 suggested donation at the door.

 

BOLD WOMEN, BRAZEN ACTS is based on That Takes Ovaries! Bold Females and their Brazen Acts, conceived and edited by Rivka Solomon. It is produced by writer, journalist, workshop leader and speaker Elayne Clift, and co-directed with Rebecca Waxman. The actors include: Acadia Barrengos, Nan Mann, Nancy Stephens, and U-Meleni Mhlaba-Adebo.

When Rivka Solomon decided to edit a collection of women’s and girls’ real-life stories of gutsy acts they’d committed she had no idea that the book, and the play that followed, would be read and performed around the world. The book placed all the stories, from frivolous to political, under the umbrella of freedom and empowerment. It became a way of saying to the world, “No way am I accepting the limits placed on me!”

The idea came to Rivka at a party one night when someone told a story about a woman who had done something totally brazen. When he finished, Rivka said, “Wow, that took ovaries!” She decided to use it as the title of a book to add to the literature of women’s studies that were rapidly appearing to celebrate women’s voices and resilience.

“I envisioned a book that would excite women — and men of all ages who wanted to see their sisters, mothers, grandmothers, friends and partners lead empowered lives — mothers and father who cared about their daughters growing up self-assured and confident, and girls eager to be part of the growing women’s movement. That Takes Ovaries! would be for everyone interested in challenging cultures wrought with inequality and double standards and anyone hungry for unabashedly powerful females.”

Convinced by the success of the book whose message was “What femininity needs is a boost of bravado,” Rivka and her mother, Bobbi Ausubel, a feminist activist too, developed a full-length play based on the stories in That Takes Ovaries!

An essential part of the play is the Open Mic at the end of the scripted reading. Audience members are invited to come onto the stage and share a story about themselves or someone they know whose brazen acts deserve to be heard. Men are especially encouraged to tell a tale of courage – their own or in honor of someone they know or love — perhaps a girlfriend, a relative, a boss whose actions have inspired or encourage them, or made them laugh!

Have you fought for gender equality? Spoken up for women? Encouraged local activism? The possibilities are endless. We hope to see you there and hear your stories. We know you’ll enjoy the ones Rivka has collected.

Apr
14
Sat
2018
Patty Larkin’s CD release concert
Apr 14 @ 7:30 pm
Patty Larkin’s CD release concert @ Next Stage | Putney | Vermont | United States

Next Stage Arts Project presents Patty Larkin in a special CD release concert at 7:30pm on Saturday, April 14, 2018. Tickets are $22 in advance $25 at the door, available online, through the Next Stage website (www.nextstagearts.org) or 3 weeks in advance of show at the Putney Co-op or Turn It Up in Brattleboro. Next Stage is located at 15 Kimball Hill, Putney, VT, and features a newly-renovated, accessible performance space.

Patty Larkin is a true phenomenon among singer/songwriters in the American folk music scene today. She redefines the boundaries of folk-urban pop music with her inventive guitar wizardry and uncompromising vocals and lyrics. The New York Times describes her as “A virtuoso guitar player and mood-shaper…She is also a superb slide guitarist whose mature work is comparable to the best of Bonnie Rait and Lucinda Williams.” “Riveting” says the Chicago Tribune, “hypnotic”, Entertainment Weekly and a “drop dead brilliant performer”, Performing Songwriter.

Patty Larkin is part of the urban-folk/pop music phenomenon that spun off of the singer/songwriter explosion of the seventies, reinterpreting traditional folk melodies, rock, pop, bossa nova, drawing on anything from Dylan (Bob) to Dylan (Thomas). A self-described “guitar-driven songwriter”, Larkin has wound her way through soundscapes of evocative vocals, inventive guitar wizardry and imaginative lyrics. Her songs run from impressionistic poetry to witty wordplay.

On her new project, Song Poems, slated for release in 2018, Larkin reflects:

I have been energized by the poets, writers and artists I have met while teaching, and find myself on a journey to break down some of the predictable pathways that songs can travel. I have begun my writing days by reading the work of my favorite poets. I sit in hotel rooms, in my studio, at my kitchen table and recite the lines out loud. I look at poetry the way I look at nature. It feeds my imagination like water. Over time, my morning ritual evolved into the desire to sing some of my favorite poems. By singing the words, I have been able to follow the poet’s mind where I would never have traveled alone. As a songwriter, the song form, the frame, can be restrictive. My task in songwriting has been to find the freedom within the form. To push the sides out and stretch it. But to set someone else’s words to music is to be freed from songwriting form, freed from the necessity of rhyming lines, making choruses or building bridges. Poems can do all of that, of course, but it happens in a different way. Lines in poems can stretch musically into another measure, or can appear as a wisp of melody that overlaps in the background. In short: anything is possible, and so, after writing songs since age 11, I sit in my studio with a “beginner’s mind.” Rhythm, cadence, song form, style, all of the elements of songwriting become more malleable when I set a poem to music.

 Song Poems, a collection of poems I have spontaneously, organically set to song. The process has inspired me in my own songwriting, and has reignited my love for the sound of words. The act of making music from poetry has been a very joyful one.   And what a beautiful thing it is to make a joyful noise.

 Winner of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts Grant in 2017 and ArtPlace America in 2014, Next Stage Arts Project has gained national recognition as a non-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing Putney’s cultural and economic village center through the programming, development and operation of Next Stage.

Since its founding in early 2011, NSAP has hosted dozens events including classical, folk, and popular music concerts, films, spoken word and theater. Folk artists appearing have included Jonathan Edwards, Cheryl Wheeler, Chris Smither, John McCutcheon and Tony Trischka.