MIDDLEBURY – When the Washington Post titles a concert review “Jupiter String Quartet delivers on its name with an out-of-this-world performance,” you can begin to understand why this ensemble is a longtime Middlebury College favorite. In a performance at the Mahaney Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, the quartet will celebrate Debussy in this centenary year of his passing, with a program of Ravel’sand Debussy’s solitary string quartets, plus Dutilleux’s “Ainsi la nuit.” Prior to the performance, Professor of Music Larry Hamberlin will present a free lecture about the music on the program at 6:30 p.m.
Performing Arts Series Director Allison Coyne Carroll considers these acclaimed musicians part of the extended Middlebury community: “The beloved Jupiter Quartet have been Middlebury friends for almost a decade, having performed seven acclaimed concerts to date since 2010. Years ago, they braved pushing their car up Worth Mountain in a blizzard to get here! This time they’ll stay an extra day to play through new compositions written by Middlebury College students.”
The Jupiter String Quartet is a particularly intimate group, consisting of violinists Nelson Lee and Meg Freivogel, violist Liz Freivogel (Meg’s older sister), and cellist Daniel McDonough (Meg’s husband/Liz’s brother-in-law). In addition to their performing career, they are artists-in-residence at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, where they maintain private studios and direct the chamber music program.
Tickets are $28, $10 for youth; call 802-443-MIDD (6433), or go online to www.middlebury.edu/arts/tickets. The Mahaney Center is located at 72 Porter Field Road, just off Route 30 South/S. Main St.
BRANDON – Vermont’s own Va-et-vient is a trio performing French, Québecois, Cajun and Créole music. Carol Reed, Suzanne Germain and Lausanne Allen each have backgrounds rich in French cultures and language through lifelong experiences living and traveling in French-speaking lands. They create harmonies, teaching and engaging audiences on both sides of the Quebec border. Take a step out of Vermont without actually leaving, and hear Va-et-vient at Brandon Music at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1.
Since 2001, the group has carved out its place in New England and particularly in Québec, where its ties to traditional musicians provide a fountain of resources in collections of songs, tunes and dances. “Their joyous music is filled with deep history and an unrestrained, soulful rhythm — it’s impossible not to smile, let alone keep your toes from tapping,” wrote the Addison Independent.
Reed, voice, guitar and mandolin, learned French at ten, attending school in Switzerland. Germaine, voice and percussion, grew up speaking French in a Québecois family in South Burlington. Allen, voice, fiddles, flutes and mandolins, spends her life pursuing music, dance and crafts.
Tickets are $20 (pre-concert dinner is available for $25; reservations are required); call 802-247-4295 or email email@example.com. Brandon Music is located at 62 Country Club Road.
MANCHESTER – Taconic Music Artistic Directors Joana Genova and Ariel Rudiakov invite the public to their Thanksgiving concert at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24 at 4 p.m. at the Manchester Community Library.
The concert program reflects the bounty of the season: Dvorak’s\Terzetto in C major, Op. 74, for two violins and viola, featuring Deborah Buck and Genova, violins, and Rudiakov, viola; followed by Johannes Brahms’ Quintet in B minor, Op. 110, for clarinet and strings, in which the three musicians will be joined by cellist Sophie Shao and clarinetist Todd Palmer.
Admission is by donation ($15 suggested) at the door; for information, go online to www.taconicmusic.org.
Celebrating the Pats
RUTLAND – At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29, Phoenix Books Rutland will host Glenn Stout for a talk on his new book, “The Pats,” the first book to tell the complete story of the Patriots, featuring thorough research, archival photos, and essays from notable authors, journalists and local celebrities.
Featuring essays by Richard Johnson, Upton Bell, Leigh Montville, Howard Bryant, Ron Borges, Lesley Visser and more, “The Pats” is a gift for fans, old and new, and an indelible portrait of the most talked-about team in NFL history.
Stout is a freelance writer, author and editorial consultant, and has served as series editor of The Best American Sports Writing since its inception. Currently he lives in Vermont.
Admission is free; call 802-855-8078, or online to www.phoenixbooks.biz. Phoenix Books Rutland is located at 2 Center St.
Fine art and craft sale
BRATTLEBORO – The Brattleboro-West Arts Fine Art and Craft Sale will once again fill a popular arts venue, 118 Elliot St., Nov. 30 to Dec. 2. Featuring original works — paintings, pastels, photography, botanical etchings, pottery, textiles, woodworking, jewelry and glass — this fifth annual event highlights work of 15 of Brattleboro-West Arts’ artists and craftsmen.
Hours are: 4 to 8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; admission is free; go online to www.brattleboro-west-arts.com.
Christmas in Grafton
GRAFTON – Christmas is a magical time of year, and the second-annual Christmas in Grafton Festival, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1 and 2, promises a dose of merriment to start the holiday season. A full itinerary of festive fun is on the menu: From horse-drawn hayrides through the village to cookie decorating and a Christmas tree lighting, the festival is full of free events, concerts and caroling, food and fun, holiday shopping and more.
Festivities happening on both days include the annual Christmas Bazaar at the Grafton Chapel with food available 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with additional vendors at the Grafton Elementary School. Grafton Fire and Rescue will be selling Christmas trees at Phelps Barn, and the Grafton Historical Society will be selling wreaths and other festive items. The Nature Museum will be offering arts and crafts projects for the whole family. On Saturday, children will especially enjoy cookie decorating at MKT, meeting Santa at the Grafton Public Library and later, also at the Library, Christmas stories with Bill Toomey.
The holidays are not complete without music. Plan to stay around on Saturday night to experience the angelic voices of Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble Seraphic Fire at 7 p.m. at the White Church. (Tickets are $15 and must be purchased in advance at www.seraphicfire.org.)
For more information, go online to www.graftonvermont.org.