RR Arts Preview

Gypsy Reel returns to play its high-energy Celtic and original music at Brandon Music May 4.

Contributions should be sent to jim.lowe@rutlandherald.com at least two weeks in advance.

Gypsy Reel

BRANDON – Gypsy Reel has been perfecting its eclectic blend of Celtic and original music for over 20 years. A folk band that rocks, Gypsy Reel plays high-energy, stirring music rooted in the Celtic tradition but garnered from the whole world. They have “bags of originality” (Andy Cheyne, Folk Roots) and according to The Message in Chester, are “the hottest acoustic band around.”

Gypsy Reel is returning for its fifth show at Brandon Music at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 4.

Gypsy Reel’s lineup includes hot banjoist, guitarist and vocalist Claudine Langille, formerly of Touchstone, the sensational Irish/American fusion band that won critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic; Graham Parker, eclectic fiddler; Camille Parker, mandolin, bodhran and vocals; Reagh Greenleaf, formerly with the famous Clancys, on bodhran and vocals; and the young prodigy Silas Hamilton on standup bass and guitar.

Tickets are $20; pre-concert dinner is available for $25; reservations are required) call 802-247-4295 or email info@brandon-music.net. Brandon Music is located at 62 Country Club Road.

‘American Idiot’

MIDDLEBURY – The Middlebury College Department of Theatre and Dance will present a musical adaptation of Green Day’s 2004 concept album, “American Idiot,” directed by Michole Biancosino ’98 with musical direction by Clint Bierman ’97 and featuring the local Vermont band The Grift. The production features a company of over 30 Middlebury College students.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, May 2-4, in Wright Memorial Theatre. The performance runs approximately 95 minutes with no intermission; for mature audiences.

A musical about dreaming big and getting up off the couch and out into the world, “American Idiot” takes audiences on the trip of Green Day’s storied album, whose videos introduced audiences to a violent pop/rock/punk suburban landscape. Three working-class kids attempt to leave the suburbs and escape becoming screen-addicted zombies. Their journey begins with dreaming on a couch and leads to a drug-infused punk scene in a big city, an endless war in the Middle East, and an unplanned pregnancy. As these friends search for redemption in an ugly world, they discover what it means to really wake up.

Tickets are $15; call 802-443-MIDD (6433) or go online to http://go.middlebury.edu/arts. Wright Memorial Theatre is located at 96 Chateau Road.

The Revenants

BELLOWS FALLS – Bluegrass Gospel Project alums Taylor Armerding, Andy Greene and Kirk Lord will perform original, time-honored and contemporary Americana music at the Stone Church on the Hill at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 27.

Armerding was a founding member of the Boston-based progressive bluegrass band Northern Lights, which recorded nine albums and won a Boston Music Award. Greene is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, who, during the 1980s, performed with the acoustic group Up the Creek. In 2008, Lord became the bassist for The Bluegrass Gospel Project, and a year later he helped form The Modern Grass Quintet.

For tickets or information, call 802-460-0110 or go online to www.stonechurcharts.org.

Community music

MIDDLEBURY – Middlebury Community Music Center celebrates its fifth annual benefit concert at the Town Hall Theater at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 4, witha reception to follow.

Students and faculty will perform a variety of styles sharing lots of great music after a year of learning. The concert is a fundraiser to support this local nonprofit organization. It is their goal to offer high-quality music instruction to all who seek it in the community, and to give students access to the life-changing power of music. (For more information, visit www.mcmcvt.org.)

Tickets are $10 plus fees, $20 “generous”; call 802-382-9222, or go online to www.townhalltheater.org. The Town Hall Theater is located at 68 S. Pleasant St.

Swing into spring

POULTNEY – Everybody, including people who enjoy swing dancing, art lovers, and history buffs, is invited to come to a party at Stone Valley Arts at Fox Hill, 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, May 4. This is a fundraiser for the restoration of the Stone Valley Arts historic building.

East-coast swing dance lessons for beginners will be taught by Richard Cormier and Sherri McKirryher, followed by live music with Gary Schmidt and friends, more dancing, and a light buffet dinner. This event is for ages 21 and up. BYOB, water and lemonade will be provided.

Tickets are $25 (available at the door); for information, email stonevalleyartscenter@gmail.com or go online to www.stonevalleyarts.org.

‘Nuclear Family’

BRATTLEBORO – “Nuclear Family,” an exhibit of new work by Amy Bennett on view at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) through June 16, features small paintings that tackle large topics, including marriage, child rearing and female identity.

The smallest painting in the exhibit, “Problem Child,” is less than three inches high and four-and-a-half inches wide. In it, a girl stands near the center of a messy room, her back to the viewer, as a small fire burns in the corner. Like all the paintings in the exhibit, “Problem Child” implies a narrative, raising as many questions as it answers.

“What has the artist allowed us to see? What is implied but not seen?” asks BMAC Chief Curator Mara Williams. “When and how did the quotidian become dramatic?”

Bennett depicts realistic scenes of domesticity, but her models are not actual houses and people. Nor are they photographs. Instead, Bennett constructs elaborate 3D models and then paints what she sees, much like a still-life painter. This approach gives Bennett complete control over lighting, composition and angle of view.

“I have always preferred working from life — observing real light hitting real objects,” said Bennett. “In searching for an approach to make narrative paintings, I worked first from dolls and then dollhouse furniture, and eventually discovered the world of model railroad miniatures. I have been working at that scale, or even smaller, for more than 15 years.”

For more information, call 802-257-0124 or go online to www.brattleboromuseum.org.

Learn watercolor

SPRINGFIELD – Would you like to paint your pet or a wild animal? Join Joanna Alix at Gallery at the Vault to learn “Watercolor Painting Techniques for a Realistic Animal,” 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 5.

In this workshop you will focus on the watercolor techniques that will help you paint a realistic animal face. You will paint a sampler during the introductory lessons on how to use dry brushing techniques for the fur texture, how to create eyes using layering and wet into wet, and other methods of adding detail. Using this sampler and a photo, you will then paint the animal’s face. Knowledge of basic watercolor is helpful, but not necessary. A materials list will be available upon registration. Please sketch your animal before the workshop.

The fee is $50; call 802-885-7111 or go online to www.galleryvault.org.

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