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Dancing Dream, a tribute band for Swedish super group ABBA, is one of several tribute acts performing in the region this summer. Their show will be July 10 at Sharon Playhouse in Sharon, Conn. Photo courtesy Dancing Dream​

Why We Love Live ‘Tribute’ Shows (And, Of Course, ABBA)

It seems that this summer there are more “tribute” shows than ever in the Tristate region. Maybe it has something to do with the COVID-19 pandemic, and ongoing uncertainty about when/where/how we can all gather in public venues.

Live performances, including concerts by the Shanghai Quartet, return to Music Mountain. Photo by Sophie Zhai

Chamber Music, Jazz and The Thrill of a Shared Music Experience

A year ago, many arts organizations in our region were staring into the abyss of a COVID year without live audiences or performances, and an uncertain future as a result. Many found creative ways to keep their audiences engaged through virtual means.

Our critic recommends“The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies”for film fans.

How To Survive a Pandemic, Part Two: Loving Weird Film

Back in the summer, I suggested some streaming and reading choices to combat the boredom of life during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The other day I was chatting (by phone) with someone who suggested I use my extensive knowledge of the world’s worst and weirdest films for a similar piece.

Yehuda Hanani will perform the Bach Suites for Unaccompanied Cello in an online performance for Close Encounters With Music on Feb. 28. Photo courtesy Yehuda Hanani​

Climbing Music’s Mount Parnassus, Again (and Again)

Yehuda Hanani, cellist, educator and artistic director of Close Encounters With Music (CEWM), has returned countless times to the Bach Suites for Unaccompanied Cello — what he calls a musical “Mount Parnassus” (home of mythology’s Muses).

A.J. Croce will do two shows in March (one celebrates his new album, “By Request”) online for The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, Mass. Photo by Joshua Black Wilkins​

Finding Time in a Bottle with the Music of A.J. Croce

Sometimes it’s hard to find the “click” with a new singer, one whose work isn’t presented to you on a platter by the radio, or a streaming channel or your kids or a friend or… And without someone to help you make a link to a song or a performer, sometimes you never find your way in.

Steve Katz, blues aficionado and a founding member of both Blues Project and Blood, Sweat & Tears, will perform in an online concert hosted by Dewey Hall in Sheffield, Mass. on Saturday, Feb. 13. Photo by Debra A. Aleksinas​

A Journey Through the History of Blues and Rock

Steve Katz is probably most famous as a founding member of the 1960s/1970s mega group Blood Sweat & Tears. He’s not unwilling to share stories about those wild years as a rock and roll superstar — he does so ably in his autobiography, “Blood, Sweat and My Rock ’n’ Roll Years,” published in 2015.

Pink Martini will present two glamorous, big band-style “virtual” shows
for the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, Mass., on Dec. 17 and 31.  Photo courtesy Pink Martini​

Enjoy a Bubbly Pink Martini This Year on New Year’s Eve

One thing we know for sure is that a majority of us will spend this New Year’s Eve at home. 

But there’s no reason why that can’t be festive and fun. No doubt in the weeks to come there will be any number of “virtual” concerts announced for the night of Dec. 31.

I’ve already chosen my concert, though. 

Georg Friedrich Handel hopes you’ll sing along to his masterpiece, “The Messiah,” this holiday season — and he hopes these tips from singers in the Tri-state region will help you sound your best ever. Original Painting by Balthasar Denner; Photo from Wikipedia ​

Pro Tips for Your 2020 Sing-Along Messiah

As soon as the Thanksgiving table is cleared, I feel liberated to start singing along to Handel’s epic oratorio, “The Messiah,” and to practice for the annual sing-alongs in Great Barrington, Mass., and Kent, Conn.

Brandee Younger’s graceful, gentle harp enhances and entices listeners into an appreciation of modern jazz music. She and her trio perform with the Hudson Jazz Festival on Nov. 14. Photo by Erin Patrice O’Brien​

The Harp as a Portal to Complex Jazz

On Nov. 4, the Hudson Jazz Festival decided to postpone its online concerts until the spring of 2021.

The harp isn’t an instrument you normally associate with improvisational jazz, free jazz, avant garde jazz, bebop or … well, you get the idea. 


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