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Mandolin Festival celebrates 10th anniversary

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Skip Gorman leads a workshop on Bill Monroe.

The 10th annual March Mandolin Festival was held March 2-4 at the Music School and was a smashing success. Fifty participants arrived from seven states and the Canadian Maritimes for the three-day event, which offered classes in bluegrass, Irish, old-time, blues, jazz, mandolin technique and repertoire. The weekend featured nationally known musicians Jesse Brock, Claudine Langille, Skip Gorman and David Surette, with special guests Susie Burke and Baron Collins-Hill.

"It's exciting that this is our 10th year," said festival producer and Music School Folk Department Chair David Surette. "I've had the chance to collaborate in performance with some of the finest mandolin players in the country. It's also been gratifying to see an extended community develop around the festival. We get a strong percentage of returning students, and they really look forward to seeing each other year after year, to reconnect, swap stories, check out new instruments, and share new tunes."

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The five mandolin teaching artists: Skip Gorman, Baron Collins-Hill, David Surette, Claudine Langille and
Jesse Brock.

Flanked by Friday and Sunday concerts at The Elysium Arts Folk Club in Rollinsford, N.H., and the Barley Pub in Dover, N.H., the Saturday night concert at the Music School was a highlight, featuring music of such icons as Bill Monroe, Django Reinhardt and Led Zeppelin, as well as roots music from the American and Celtic traditions. The party continued at the after-hours jam at the hotel, where performers and students shared tunes into the wee hours of the morning.

BJ Entwisle, a member of Surette's mandolin ensemble at the Music School, has attended the Mandolin Festival for the past five years.

"I enjoy seeing the same out-of-towners, and as the years go by, there is definitely a sense of community building," Entwisle said. "There is nothing so beautiful to my ears as hearing 50 mandolins playing one melody together. This is an amazing resource that is happening in my own backyard."

To listen to two group recordings from the Mandolin Festival, click here and here.

Cabbageheads debut at Capitol Center

The Music School's Cabbageheads, one of our student folk ensembles, were the opening act (with a week's notice!) for a recent performance by Black Violin (an internationally acclaimed classical/hip-hop fusion act) on the main stage at the Capitol Center for the Arts. Check it out here!

Performing for a great cause

Mark your calendars: Anniversary Weekend is around the corner! Join us for a faculty concert of vocal chamber music by Bach, Mozart, Schumann and Schubert on Friday, March 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall. To buy tickets, click here.

And on Saturday, our annual Performathon and Open House will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (all events this day are admission free). The Performathon includes non-stop solo and ensemble performances by more than 150 of the Music School's 1,300 students, alumni performances and an instrument petting zoo. The Performathon is an annual fund-raiser for the Music School's Financial Aid Fund. The $15,000 fundraising goal can be reached with your help. To sponsor a performer or make a general contribution, click here.

A special thank-you to our generous sponsors: Northeast Delta Dental for our Friday night Musicians of Wall Street concert and Merrimack County Savings Bank for the entire weekend!

Jaworski headed to regionals

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Voice faculty member Emily Jaworski won the state level of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Artist Award Competition on March 11. Music School Director of Education Calvin Herst collaborated on piano. They will compete at the regional level with the winners from the other New England states and eastern Canada in April. Contestants must prepare a full-length program of repertoire spanning several centuries and languages.

Join the team!

The Music School is fielding a team for the 10th Annual Rock N' Race on Thursday, May 17 at 6:20 p.m. in Concord. What better way to show our appreciation for music and our community spirit than joining together to run and walk in this signature Concord event that raises money for the Concord Hospital Payson Center for Cancer Care. So lace up those sneakers, don a complimentary Music School T-shirt, and sign up to be part of this proud musical team. To find out more about participating, contact team captain Anne Janeway at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit our Facebook page. The event website is here. Help us get the 10 runners and walkers needed to be an official team.  Students, families, faculty, staff, friends and volunteers are all welcome to join the fun.

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