• Stars fill the 30th Celebration Series
    August 21,2013

    Staff Report

    BARRE — The TD Bank Celebration Series, presented by the Barre Opera House, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and to mark the occasion organizers have assembled a lineup of well-known acts.

    Says Opera House Director Dan Casey, “Patrons have always been pleased with the quality of our programming and the feedback from attendees is uniformly positive. However, we’re also regularly asked to bring in bigger and more recognizable names. That’s a challenge for a small 650-seat theater, but with this season’s schedule we think we’ve successfully responded to those requests.”

    Leading off at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, is the iconic Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. The group, know for its groundbreaking “Will the Circle be Unbroken?” album, boasts multi-platinum and gold records, strings of top ten hits such as “Fishin’ in the Dark” and “Mr. Bojangles,” multiple Grammy, IBMA, CMA Awards and nominations, and the band’s accolades continue to accumulate.

    Next, at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, is the legendary Robert Cray Band. With five Grammy Awards, 15 nominations, millions of record sales worldwide, and thousands of sold-out performances, blues-rock icon Robert Cray is considered one of the greatest guitarists of his generation. In its April 2011 issue, Rolling Stone credited Cray with reinventing the blues with “distinct razor sharp guitar playing that introduced a new generation of mainstream rock fans to the language and form of the blues.”

    Mavis Staples, 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award-winner, and a National Heritage Fellowship Award recipient. VH1 named her one of the “100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll,” and Rolling Stone listed her as one of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time.” With the groundbreaking family gospel group The Staple Singers (“I’ll Take You There,” “Respect Yourself”) and on her own, Staples is responsible for blazing a rhythm and blues trail while never relinquishing her gospel roots. Dwight and Nicole (featuring powerhouse vocalist Nicole Nelson from “The Voice”) open.

    Lúnasa is internationally acknowledged as one of the finest Irish instrumental bands of recent times. It has appeared at internationally renowned venues such as the Hollywood Bowl, National Concert Hall, Dublin, and the Sydney Opera House and, in 2011, it was invited to appear at the White House. Lúnasa’s recordings have been hailed as some of the best and most important world music albums anywhere, while the blend of intelligence, innovation, virtuosity, and passion has brought them to the forefront of Celtic music. They stop in Barre at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30.

    The Capitol Steps, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, began as a group of U.S. Senate staffers who set out to satirize the very people and places that employed them. In the years that followed, many of the Steps ignored the conventional wisdom (“Don’t quit your day job!”), and although not all of the current members of the Steps are former Capitol Hill staffers, taken together the performers have worked in a total of 18 congressional offices and represent 62 years of collective House and Senate staff experience.

    Since its inception in August 2002, the Quebecois quartet Le Vent du Nord has enjoyed meteoric success. It has received several prestigious awards, including two Junos (Canadian Grammys) and is now one of the most-loved Quebec folk outfits performing today. Says The Boston Herald, “Le Vent du Nord is a leading force in (Quebec’s) progressive folk movement, and they leaven their hard-driving soulful music (a close cousin to Celtic music) with New Orleans polyphony and R&B.” The boys cross the border for a 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, performance.

    The 2013-14 season concludes at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 12, with Irish pianist John O’Conor, who has earned a worldwide reputation as a masterful interpreter of the Classical and early-Romantic repertoire. Following initial studies in his native Dublin, he studied in Vienna with the renowned Dieter Weber, won First Prize at the Beethoven International Piano Competition in Vienna in 1973, and made a special study of Beethoven with the legendary German pianist Wilhelm Kempff. Since then he has toured the world in recital and concerto appearances and makes regular visits to Europe, the USA, Japan, Korea and China.

    For tickets or information, call the Barre Opera House box Office, 802-476-8188, or go online to www.barreoperahouse.org.

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