Posts Tagged ‘Randolph’

chandler’s open house

September 25, 2010

It’s official: Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph is ready for business again as of today’s community open house, only 15 months after the first ceremonial spade of dirt was turned on the historic building’s major renovation project.

The thing is, though, Chandler never closed. Not even when the building lost heat in the heart of subzero overnight winter temperatures last February, causing the piano to throw a tuning tantrum on the day Simone Dinnerstein and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble were scheduled to perform.

Programs at Chandler also continued as usual through this spring and summer, when the planned expansion in the rear of the building became an UNplanned major-scale engineering feat to build a retaining wall, create a switchback driveway, and add drainage pathways to the street below.

The result of all this volunteer labor, generous community contributions and hard work is nearly 6,000 additional square feet of space, a new elevator that provides access to every floor, greener operations (in the lights, insulation, and water systems) and many other improvements for the 1907 building.

I arrived at the open house just as the party was getting started around 10 this morning. There were already music groups playing on all three floors and several tours were underway, guided by volunteers who I recognized from their dual roles as ushers from my many past visits to the music hall. As I came down the stairs just off the lobby I was especially curious to see the downstairs hallway. I recalled the drywall, plastic sheeting and dusty plaster that decorated the hallway last winter, when that space housed the reception following Simone Dinnerstein’s concert. That evening Chandler’s Board President Janet Watton reassured everyone about the progress that was being made on the renovations, and promised a spiffy new space when it was done. She was right! The handsome gray slate floors, silver fixtures and soft lighting completely transformed the hallway into an elegant transitional space. Walking further along, I encountered the new ‘green room’ kitchenette, the spacious new guest restrooms, and the impressive storage rooms afforded by the expansion.

Backstage – that is, the immediate backstage – remains as it ever was, with heavy black velvet curtains hanging at the periphery of the stage along with the usual assortment of gear and equipment. The backstage behind the immediate backstage is all new, another product of the expansion. The house piano looked comfortable in its new, dedicated temperature and humidity-controlled storage space and ample, light-filled dressing rooms with large mountain view windows make the vision complete. Not bad!

Chandler’s 2010/2011 performance season officially opens this coming Friday, October 1st with the bluegrass duet Tim O’Brien and Brian Sutton. The next night, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra’s “Made in Vermont” tour makes a stop there, and then the season will be well underway.

dinnerstein and bach

January 24, 2010

There can be considerable challenges in a live performance that the audience never knows about. That’s just as it should be.

At the start of last night’s concert with Simone Dinnerstein and ACME (American Chamber Music Ensemble), Chandler Center for the Arts Board President Janet Watton announced the successful completion of the center’s two year, 3.2 million-dollar capital campaign. Great news, coming in a pretty inauspicious time to be holding a capital campaign. Good news, too, that the construction is already underway to renovate the 1907 building as they work toward the official rededication ceremonies this coming fall.

In the meantime, this season staff and musicians alike are ‘pardoning the dust’ with determined good cheer (for the most part) and making the best of the occasional less-than-ideal circumstances inevitable in this omelette-making process…like the building losing heat overnight (in subzero Vermont winter temps) and the house piano putting a few of its keys on tuning strike in protest. It happens. Unfortunately it happened on the night before a visit from the world-class pianist Simone Dinnerstein, with no time to make things completely right with the sulking piano before showtime.

The situation was handled with grace and understanding from Dinnerstein and ACME. I have to remember, as professional touring musicians these folks deal with TSA all the time. This kind of intensive training can provide remarkable perspective to wash away the nuisance of everyday setbacks like temperamental pianos. (Not that this is a recommended method for stress management.)

So, despite the stage’s temporary scaffold lighting and the cool 61°F ambient temperature in the hall, the inspired spark and warmth of Bach’s d-minor and f-minor concertos and highlights from the Well-Tempered Klavier (book II) and Art of the Fugue quickly energized the audience and rightfully restored the focus to the music. Very fine playing all the way around.

Is there anything lovelier than the second movement of the f-minor?? (Here’s a version played on harpsichord.)

new world festival

September 3, 2009
(photo from newworldfestival.com )

(photo from newworldfestival.com )

This Sunday the 17th annual New World Music Festival is happening at Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph.

In the twelve hours between noon and midnight, the Festival promises around a hundred local and international musicians from New England, Cape Breton,  Ireland, and places beyond sharing a taste of  ‘old world’ in reels, jigs, quadrilles, and storytelling…sounds like a fun way to ring out the summer and welcome autumn this Labor Day weekend!

live music on a summer sunday

August 22, 2009

@ the lakefront Quadricentennial Festival in July

@ the lakefront Quadricentennial Festival in July

Shelburne’s Liberate Music and Arts Festival, the Music Festival of the Americas in Stowe, and many other festivals are wrapping up the season this weekend. We’re getting to that point in the summer, white shoes are still OK but the places to get out and wear them are dwindling. Pretty soon we’ll have to find the wool socks again to keep our toes warm in sandals.

Some options for your Sunday tomorrow, if your weekend could still hold a little more live music:

Saint-Gaudens Summer Concert Series (New Hampshire) – last performance starts at 2 at the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site and features “The Jennings”, Andrew (violin) and Gail (piano) Jennings

Maple Jam – concert 2–5PM at the Fisk Farm Art Center in Isle La Motte

Radio Bean in Burlington – starting at 5, gypsy jazz with Trio Gusto

Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival – last concert at 12:30; contra-dance at 2 – at the Three Stallion Inn in Randolph

Opera North – last performance at 7:30 – Rossini’s The Barber of Seville

Summer’s coming to a glorious end, enjoy what’s left in every way you possible can. The fall festival season isn’t too far off now!


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