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Newport Area Community Orchestra Tuning Up For Fall Concert

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Newport

DERBY LINE — Inside the social hall of the First Universalist Parish in Derby Line, the atonal sounds of violinists and cello players warming up, echos off the walls. String bass player Jessica Griffen staggers in under the weight of her instrument. Once the orchestra has set up, music director Ken Michelli stands facing the musicians, ready to lead them into their first score.

NACO 1“Remember to be real secure with the entrances,” Michelli advises.

Over the next hour and a half, the Newport Area Community Orchestra, or NACO, as they are known, will rehearse for their upcoming concert at the Goodrich Memorial Library in Newport.

With Mr. Michelli conducting, the orchestra ran through its repertoire. Although only a rehearsal, members of the orchestra played with intensity, and as the night progressed, Mr. Michelli had a lot to be excited about.

“This might be our best concert yet,” Mr. Michelli said to the group following rehearsal Tuesday night. “It happens every year at about this time, that things really start to click. Each year we continue to improve.”

Not only does the orchestra continue to improve, but they continue to grow as well. In their third season as an ensemble, the number of musicians involved has grown rapidly.

“We started with five members, but now we’re up to about thirty,” Michelli said.

NACO 2As members of the orchestra packed up their instruments, they were noticeably pleased with the way they are playing together. There was a sense of excitement in the room, with members realizing that NACO is maturing into a fine orchestra.

“I’ve been with this orchestra since its inception, and each year it just keeps getting better,” flute player Sue Brassett said.

Marc Semprebon, a horn player from Beebe Plain, expressed his appreciation of having a space like the hall of the First Universalist Parish to rehearse in.

“It’s nice to rehearse in this building because it’s big, and usually much louder than the places we will actually play,” he said. “It’s just a great building.”

Besides performing at various local venues throughout the year, the Newport Area Community Orchestra presents three annual concerts. They play once in the spring, and twice in the fall, with one fall concert done to raise money for the Haskell Opera House.

NACO4NACO’s fall concert at the Goodrich Memorial Library is Saturday, November 9, at 1 p.m. Admission will be free, however, to help support the orchestra’s efforts of bringing classical music to the Northeast Kingdom, a $5 donation at the door is asked.

The group serves the student communities of North Country Union High School, Lake Region Union High School, United Christian Academy, and Stanstead Academy. Students are encouraged to join.

Dancing in the Aisles at Derby Line Village Hall

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line

DERBY LINE — Over 80 people filled the Derby Line Village Hall for a night of old-timey music and dancing. The 4th Friday Music Jam is an ongoing event which has been taking place in Derby Line for 11 years now.

Jimmy Edwards kept the room thumping with his electric bass throughout the night. He later sang Willie Nelson’s, “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.” As many as five acoustic guitars strummed along throughout the night as the band of musicians entertained those in attendance.Derby Line Village Hall Music

The jam is more about the camaraderie of everyone involved, than showcasing anyone in particular, or the musical ability they possess. With so many different musicians on hand, each calling out a new tune to play, sometimes it can take a whole song before the group finds the groove.

“Well, we figured it out by that last note,” one guitar picker said jokingly to the other players behind Mr. Edwards on lead vocal.

Besides bringing people in the community together for a night of fun and music, the event is also run for charity. Each year, the group raises money to provide music and auto tech scholarships to students from Lake Region Union High School and North Country Union High School.

On a sad note, Pauline Marsden, 63, of Island Pond, who was recently killed in a car accident in Morgan on Wednesday, was a regular at the event. A sympathy card was organized as a way for people who knew Ms. Marsden to offer their condolences to her family.

“We’re passing around a card for people to sign for her family because Pauline and her three sisters used to love coming out to the jam,” Kitty McIntyre said.

Kitty and her husband Jim have been organizing the event for the past six years.

Vermont musician Seth Yacovone played Thursday night at Parker Pie.

An Amazing Night of Music at Parker Pie with Seth Yacovone

in Arts and Entertainment/Glover

WEST GLOVER — A dusting of snow sits on the cars parked outside Parker Pie. It’s cold, and everyone is reminded of winter. Inside, it’s warm, and people sit around sipping beer or wine, feasting on what is arguably the best pizza around. A soulful voice fittingly sings Bob Dylan’s, “Girl from the North Country.” The chatter has quieted, and everyone in the room hangs on to every note of the acoustic guitar, and every word of the song.

“If you go when the snowflakes storm, when the rivers freeze and summer ends,” the musician sings.

Seth Yacavone held the crowd's attention at Parker Pie on Thursday night.
Seth Yacavone held the crowd’s attention at Parker Pie on Thursday night. Photos by Tanya Mueller.
On the television, the Boston Red Sox are loosing to the Cardinals in Game 2 of the World Series, but people in the room are more interested in the musician as he continues his set. A bearded man walks around collecting tips for the musician inside an empty plastic beer pitcher.

The musician is Seth Yacovone, and to say that he is talented is an understatement. Mr. Yacovone has talent, but he has more than that. Gifted is a better way to describe him, and it’s a gift he shared with everyone at Parker Pie on Thursday night.

“My music varies a lot, depending on if I’m playing electric or acoustic. What I play is essentially a mixture of American music, from over the last fifty, sixty, or seventy years,” Yacovone said.

After already experiencing national recognition and success, Yacovone, who lives in Morrisville, is starting a new phase in his career.

At age 34, he has already accomplished things other musicians would envy.

When only 19 years old, he was invited to play with Vermont jam band Phish, in front of a crowd of 18,000 at the Worcester Centrum, in Massachusetts. Afterward, his band, the Seth Yacovone Band (SYB), opened for such acts as Ray Charles, Johnny Winter, Trey Anastasio Band, and BB King.

When asked how his sit in with Phish came about, he modestly recalled the experience.

“It came about very spur of the moment. They called me two days before it happened, so it wasn’t like I knew ahead of time or anything. It was crazy.”

After the success of the SYB, not to mention a grueling touring schedule, Yacovone decided to end the band in order to regroup, and push himself creatively into new territory. It was a decision that was good for him as a musician, and good for the people of Vermont.

1SYB4He used his time of hiatus from the SYB to tour his home state, playing solo acoustic shows. Although he has now put together a few new electric trios, he still plays solo acoustic shows like the one yesterday at Parker Pie.

“When I’m playing solo, I tend to do about every other song as one that someone else wrote.”

With Yacovone’s originals as good as they are, nobody would have minded hearing an entire set of his own music. Except, for his version of “Girl from the North Country,” which, Thursday night at Parker Pie, was perfect.

For more information and tour dates for Seth Yacovone and the SYB, visit his website at: SethYacovone.Com

As most people in Orleans County know, Parker Pie has a great menu, and wonderfully fresh pizza. Thursday is music night, and there is no cover charge.

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