The Barre Opera House’s upcoming season is set and, as always, Central Vermonters can look forward to another eclectic schedule of performances by regionally, nationally and internationally-known artists traveling to the Granite City’s historic stage. Up until several years ago, the BOH limited itself to the seven shows that made up the annual TD Bank Celebration Series. In recent years, with the addition of “BOH Presents” events, a student matinee series and performances by summer camp kids, that number has more than doubled. With more and more shows presented by the both the theater itself and renters the Opera House has become a very busy venue.

First, the Celebration Series: On September 28 we kick it off with the modern kings of swing, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Garbed in zoot suits, the septet has appeared in concert venues across the world, sold millions of records, and had their music appear in hundreds of movies and television shows. With sold-out concerts from the Hollywood Bowl to Lincoln Center and television appearances ranging from Dancing with the Stars to Superbowl XXXIII, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy continues it’s decades long mission to celebrate and revitalize jazz and swing music — America’s original musical art form — and bring joy to audiences around the world.

Next, on October 4, it’s guitar legend Jimmie Vaughan, co-founder of the Fabulous Thunderbirds and the biggest inspiration for his younger brother, Stevie Ray Vaughan. Far more than just one of the greatest and most respected guitarists in the world of popular music, he is, says Guitar Player magazine “a virtual deity -- a living legend.” Vaughan is a four-time Grammy winner and is considered the preeminent exponent of the Texas Blues. He’s dedicated his life to making sure the blues stay alive and remain an inspiration to all who listen to them.

The Vienna Boys Choir is the modern-day descendant of the youth choirs of the Viennese Court, dating back to the late Middle Ages. Until 1918, the boys sang exclusively for the Viennese court. Since the 1920s when the choir was reestablished as a private organization, they have completed over 1,000 tours in 97 different countries. Today, there are 100 choristers between the ages of nine and fourteen, divided into four touring choirs and offering around 300 concerts around the world each year, attended by almost half a million spectators. The choir makes its Barre debut on October 20.

Ranky Tanky, here on November 1, translates loosely as “Work It,” or “Get Funky!” “Gullah” comes from West African language and means “a people blessed by God.” The soulful songs of the Gullah culture are brought to life by this band of native South Carolinians who mix the low country traditions with large doses of jazz, gospel, funk, and R&B and whose two albums were listed at number one and two on iTunes in early August. Dynamic vocalist Quiana Parler, whose “voice is in a league of its own” (NPR) is joined by a tight efficient combo in delivering the bone-deep mix of spirituals and gutbucket blues that mark the low country mainland and Sea Islands – music made by a self-contained culture of descendants of enslaved Africans.

It’s a special night for bluegrass fans on November 3 when Sierra Hull and Noam Pikelny with Stuart Duncan take the stage. Hull has been recognized from age 11 as a virtuoso mandolin-player. She’s received five International Bluegrass Music Association nominations and the Bluegrass Star Award, presented by the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation, bestowed upon bluegrass artists who do an exemplary job of advancing traditional bluegrass music and bringing it to new audiences while preserving its character and heritage. Pikelny has emerged as the preeminent banjoist of his generation. He is a founding member of the Grammy-winning Punch Brothers and was awarded the first annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass in 2010 in addition to the IBMA’s Banjo Player of the year in 2014 and 2017. Duncan could easily be called America’s favorite fiddler. He has chalked up a career that includes four Grammys, a slew of Academy of Country Music Awards, and nine titles as the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Fiddle Player of the Year.

On March 7, it’s the award-winning Canadian group, Leahy, one of the most highly regarded progressive folk-roots bands performing today. Shows are full of energy, big rich sound, poignant songs, fiery instrumentals, and percussive step dancing, all delivered with unapologetic passion! They are, in one word - unforgettable. Leahy has earned three Juno Awards (Canada’s Grammys), “Best Instrumental Group,” “Best New Group,” and “Best Country Group or Duo.” To date, they have sold more than half a million albums worldwide and have been featured in three PBS television specials – Leahy Live in Concert, Gael Force (with the Chieftains), and Leahy Live from Gatineau, Quebec - and are the subject of a 1985 Academy Award winning documentary, The Leahys: Music Most of All.

The series wraps up with “Croce Plays Croce,” A.J. Croce’s salute to his famous father, Jim. Look forward to such timeless songs as “Operator,” “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim,” “Workin’ at the Car Wash Blues,” “Rapid Roy (The Stock Car Boy), “One Less Set of Footsteps,” “Lover’s Cross,” and “Box #10,” to name a few. A.J. Croce is a multi-instrumentalist roots-rock artist, known for his boogie-woogie piano playing, reminiscent of Dr. John. He’s recorded eight studio albums for both major and indie labels in 23 years as a professional artist and musician and his music incorporates pop, blues, folk, and jazz, and has charted on seven radio charts including Top 40.

Look for an ambitious BOH Presents schedule this year, as well.

EagleMania, here on October 5, is the world’s greatest Eagles tribute band. That isn’t their slogan by mistake! The group has dedicated itself to faithfully reproducing the music of The Eagles. Since their inception, EagleMania have been thrilling audiences all over the country with their stunning five part harmony and their uncanny ability to emulate the unmistakable sound of The Eagles. Their show consists of The Eagles’ greatest hits, as well as some of the solo work of Don Henley, Glenn Frey, and Joe Walsh.

Psychic medium Lauren Rainbow will be returning to the BOH for an evening of spiritual communication and healing on October 12. She began receiving messages from “spirit” in 2001, shortly after the events of 9/11. Since then she has described herself as paintbrush for the spirits helping families and friends communicate with loved ones who have passed on. Rainbow calls it blessing to help provide light and areas of light that remain in shadows.

On October 26, travel back in time to mid-50s Memphis, a town alive with a new genre of music – not quite rockabilly, not quite swing. The papers are calling it ROCK AND ROLL. As the new music phenomenon sweeps the nation, four men stand at the center of the swirling musical storm. In Presley, Perkins, Lewis & Cash, you’ll hear them all – plucked from the past and brought to stand before you.

Winter appearances by Vermont’s own No Strings Marionettes have become an annual tradition at the BOH. On January 26, experience one of the troupe’s most beloved shows - Jack and the Beanstalk - retold with all the magic and mischief the marionettes can muster! Marmalade the cow’s appetite drives the action from Jack’s humble cottage to a magnificent castle high above the clouds. With a nod to an ancient telling of the tale, we discover whether Jack – by taking gold and geese from the giant’s castle, is a thief – or is simply reclaiming his family’s heritage.

The Opera House has earned a reputation for bringing the finest Irish groups to Vermont and this season is no exception. On February 29, Socks in the Frying Pan, a dynamic trio from County Clare bring vocal harmonies, virtuosic musical ability and onstage wit, which has captured and captivated audiences the world around. Says Irish Music Magazine says “their Sound flows in magnetic, energetic waves, so does their banter on stage.” Then it’s The Friel Sisters on April 10. Anna, Sheila and Clare are traditional musicians born in Glasgow with their family roots firmly entrenched in the Donegal Gaeltacht (Derrynamansher). As siblings, they achieve a close blend on fiddle, flute and uilleann pipes interspersed with songs sung in unison, many from their family and local repertoire. Clare garnered the prestigious TG4/Young Musician of the Year award in 2018 from the Irish language television network.

Finally, One Night of Queen with Gary Mullen and the Works returns to the BOH by popular demand on April 13. This incredible re-creation of Freddie Mercury and Queen in concert was one of the best-received shows at the Opera House when they were here in 2018 and tickets were gone two weeks ahead of the performance. The extravaganza has sold out major venues all over the world, including the famous BBC Broadcast Proms In The Park concert series to a very enthusiastic crowd of 40,000.

The Barre Opera House offers discount to members, seniors and students. Order online at www.barreoperahouse.org or call 802-476-8188. The Opera House is handicapped accessible and equipped for the hearing impaired. It’s located at 6 North Main Street (City Hall) in Barre.

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